3. How will the former Leicester players fare against their old employers?
There are no ifs, ands or buts about it—Ben Chilwell will get all of the attention ahead of this game. The English left back spent 11 years of his young life in Leicester, joining the Foxes as a youth player in 2009 before departing in the summer of 2020. Chilwell is now viewed as Chelsea’s left back for the next decade or so, and after spending so much time at the King Power, this is a highly anticipated return.
Chilwell will join fellow teammate N’Golo Kante as a former Leicester star to visit his old stomping ground in a Chelsea shirt. Kante spent significantly less time in the midlands, but he is a beloved figure there nonetheless. Both are now important cogs in the Blues’ starting XI and they will have to set their emotions aside and focus on the task at hand: beating Leicester. This task will be far more challenging for Chilwell, considering he’s still a young player and his emotions will run high in his return to his boyhood club. Regardless, his play will be crucial to the success of Chelsea at both ends of the pitch.
Don’t feel sorry for Leicester though, the Foxes are doing just fine without the two stars. A tip of the cap is in order for their scouting department. It’s not particularly easy to replace either Kante or Chilwell—some may consider it impossible—but Leicester has done a fantastic job. Wilfred Ndidi has been touted as the next Kante in the Premier League and rightfully so. The Nigerian is one of the most promising young stars in defensive midfield. Further, Timothy Castagne may not play left back at all times, but the Chilwell replacement has been one of the best signings of the season to date.
The relationship between Leicester and Chelsea is a unique one. The Blues may continue to poach the Foxes’ most promising stars—with the exclusion of Danny Drinkwater, obviously—but Leicester continues to thrive. The performances of the former Leicester City duo on Tuesday could decide the game for Chelsea; just as their replacements could tip the scales in favor of the Foxes.
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