Leicester is quietly in a tail spin and Brendan Rodgers old club did what he could not. What can Chelsea expect as he watches the world burn?
Liverpool should have won the title. It was all set up for them. But Chelsea had to get in the way. More specifically, a tuft of grass that sent Steven Gerrard to the deck had to be. Demba Ba took advantage and effectively ended the title run under Brendan Rodgers.
Rodgers did not last long after that, replaced by Jurgen Klopp after a rough start to the season. Rodgers went to Celtic and found success, but a hollow success compared to what the Premier League could have been. He suddenly opted to go to Leicester City and he has been rebuilding there since.
The rebuild started extremely well and it is currently at its peak. But at the same time, Leicester has been steadily falling off since New Years. Just three league wins out of 11 is not good reading for a team that currently sits in third. Meanwhile, Klopp did what Rodgers could not at Liverpool, in part thanks to Chelsea. So as Rodgers watches the world burn and prepares for the FA Cup, what tactics can Chelsea expect?
As always, Rodgers is fluid in his formation selection. In the two matches since the restart, they have used a 4-1-4-1 and a 4-4-2, but the former is usually Rodger’s preference. 3-5-2 could be thrown in, but for the most part the players available will dictate the shape and generally that leads Rodgers down the 4-1-4-1 route.
Chelsea and Leicester have seen each other to a stalemate twice this season in the Premier League. Stylistically, the two sides are remarkably similar and the similarities go beyond the pitch as well. Both teams will understand that the FA Cup is their only chance for silverware this season and while top four is very important (and arguably more crucial), the allure of being just three games away from a trophy is strong.
But that being said, who needs the silverware versus that Champions League qualification more? Based on current form, Chelsea could have both. Leicester, however, may have to pick one or the other. Their league form has been rough and there is a very real chance Manchester United or Wolverhampton Wanderers could catch them if it does not improve. So, whether they mean to or not, the cup may have to be left aside by Leicester.
Regardless, expect a chaotic match like the other fixtures between the two sides this season. Both sides will want to press high and win the ball quickly. Both will want to use passing to quickly progress the play. And both teams are capable of quick and dangerous counters if they decide to coil in that way. On paper, Chelsea has more talent and should win that one versus one bout, but that has not been the case thus far this season.
Chelsea can win the psychological battle by starting hot and scoring early. The longer they keep it even, the more Leicester will revel in the chaos of the match. Frank Lampard’s men need to take advantage of the tail spin before it can be used as motivation against them.