Chelsea-Leicester City Preview
Frank Lampard does not want Chelsea to concern themselves with their involvement in the Premier League title race, focusing instead on facing a Leicester City side he considers genuine contenders.
The Blues were tipped for a championship challenge earlier in the campaign but have endured a testing run and could be as low as eighth heading into Tuesday's game at Leicester.
They are still only eight points off the top of the table, however, with no team yet pulling clear.
Either way, Lampard is not worrying about the state of play at the summit - even if he acknowledges second-placed Leicester are firmly in the running.
"They're in it, for sure, the way they're playing, the results they're getting and their position in the league," Lampard said of Chelsea's opponents. "It's clear.
"They are a very good team with very good individuals and a really good manager in Brendan Rodgers.
"We have to not consider the race too much as it stands and consider ourselves and get a result against Leicester."
Lampard's praise might offer some comfort to opposite number Rodgers, who suggested Leicester have been overlooked in title discussions.
"There's a natural look towards the 'big six' clubs," Rodgers said. "It will always happen.
"I can't worry about that. I will just try to make us as competitive as possible. There is always a look towards those clubs."
After leaders Manchester United held champions Liverpool, who fell to fourth as a result, on Sunday, Leicester will go top with a win.
Rodgers added: "I'm very satisfied. The players have been outstanding in their application.
"I know we disappointed most people when we stopped the first-v-second game yesterday. That was unfortunate.
"The players have been outstanding to this point. You have to retain that hunger and desire if you want to constantly be up in the top echelons."
Leicester City - Harvey Barnes
Jamie Vardy has long been Leicester's chief threat, but Chelsea must also be wary of winger Barnes. Having netted last time out against Southampton, a game in which he also created two chances, the England international has scored 10 goals in 24 games in all competitions this season, already matching his best club return in a single campaign (10 in 2018-19).
Chelsea - Timo Werner
Lampard has vowed ahead of this game he will work with Werner, who is dismally out of form. The Chelsea forward has not scored in any of his past 10 Premier League games and has netted with just 9.8 per cent of his shots this season (4 of 41), his lowest conversion rate in a top-flight campaign since 2015-16 (9.4 per cent). Werner has not even hit the target in his past four appearances.
- Leicester are unbeaten in their past five Premier League meetings with Chelsea, although four of these games have ended level (W1). The Foxes had lost nine of their previous 11 league meetings with the Blues prior to this run (W1 D1).
- Leicester are looking to start a calendar year with three consecutive league victories for the first time since 2014, while they last did so as a top-flight side back in 1968.
- Since beating Leeds United to go top of the table in December, Chelsea have taken just seven points from 21 available in the Premier League (W2 D1 L4), although the Blues did end a run of three straight away defeats with victory at Fulham last time out.
- In their first nine Premier League games this season, Chelsea scored 22 goals and had an expected goals (xG) total of 13.4, scoring roughly nine goals more than would be expected based on their chances. In their subsequent nine, however, they have scored 11 goals from an xG total of 15.7, around four goals fewer than expected.
- Leicester's Rodgers has beaten 33 of the 34 teams he has faced in the Premier League, with the only exception being Chelsea. Rodgers is winless in each of his 11 top-flight meetings with the Blues (D7 L4).
Updated January 18, 2021