Italians Go To War As Chelsea Seek Resurgence At Leicester


Premier League Preview

By Toyin Akiode

Your favourite league is back after one week break for the Emirates FA Cup.

It is also going to be an exciting and busy weekend for fans and athletes alike as the Nations Cup kicks off in Gabon tomorrow.

I wrote yesterday about the unpredictability of the premiership and the continuous addiction of pundits to the default surprises being thrown up virtually on a weekly basis. This is likely to continue tomorrow and will not stop soon!

Tottenham Hotspur VS West Bromwich Albion

Starting with the White Hart Lane encounter; Tottenham will be in for a very tough time in trying to breakdown a highly organised, stubborn and defensive Baggies. My prediction? I think Tottenham will nick it with a lone goal – possibly a penalty by Harry Kane.

While I won’t even try to come up with predictions for any European league say less the premiership; I have isolated four matches that I sense will have significant interest for most Nigerian fans. The first match has been briefly addressed.

Swansea City VS Arsenal

To the next one. Swansea against Arsenal, on paper should be an easy task for Arsene’s men to navigate. Right? Wrong!

If there’s any top team in this league that most struggling sides fancy their chance against – that team is Arsenal.  Lack of consistency where and when it mattered most have seen them pick up far less points than the horde rampaging for the glittering silverware. All the same; they seem to have turned the corner at Bournemouth by offsetting a three goal deficit to earn a point in a more than disappointing performance.

Aside from situations where they lost grip of wining positions by losing at Everton and Manchester City; Arsenal have been almost perfect on the road. This will work for them against their Welsh opponents. My call? Arsenal SHOULD win!

Leicester City VS Chelsea

This is the ‘top match’ of the day for me due to two reasons. Leicester City have been far from solid this season. While they can be excused for lack of pedigree; they are still the defending champions and are expected to show some class and grit. They haven’t done that until now. Will they start against Chelsea?


Claudio Ranieri’s calming demeanor in contrast to Antonio Conte’s more animated personality will hold not a few gaze on the touchlines on Saturday. Both are Italians and they know how to defend. While Conte’s reputation is built on stability and sparing team changes; Ranieri earned the nickname ‘the tinkerman’ during his first sojourn in the premiership while with the Blues. And he has not totally changed!

What gives?  Conte and his Chelsea juggernauts are still smarting from a round beating by their London rivals Tottenham and will be looking to get back into their winning stride. They have the resources to cage a slightly resurgent Leicester who have been rather lacklustre and inconsistent all season. It is also a battle of wits, tricks, tact and grit – The younger Italian is tipped to come out tops.

Today’s Fixtures:

13:30 Tottenham Hotspur VS West Bromwich Albion

16:00 Burnley VS Southampton

16:00 Hull City VS AFC Bournemouth

16:00 Sunderland VS Stoke City

16:00 Swansea City VS Arsenal

16:00 Watford VS Middlesbrough

16:00 West Ham United VS Crystal Palace

18:30 Leicester City VS Chelsea

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