After their exertions against Arsenal in the Carabao Cup midweek, Chelsea made a quick return to Premier League football. Their opponents this weekend: eighth-placed Leicester City FC.

Leicester were in relatively decent form; they’d won four and drawn one of their eight league games since the start of December. Their pace and counterattacking style tended to work well against teams at the top end of the league table: the one draw in that run of results was a 2 – 2 vs Manchester United. They also drew 1 – 1 with Manchester City in the league cup, before getting knocked out on penalties.

Chelsea were five places and sixteen points ahead of their visitors overall, but they weren’t that much better in terms of recent form. The London club had five wins and two draws since December; they were only four points ahead of Leicester City in that period of time. […]

Back to the bridge now for the fourth instalment of the Chelsea-Arsenal derby this season. The occasion this time, the first leg of the Carabao Cup semi-final.

Bristol City played well in the other semi-final, but failed to upset Manchester City at the Etihad. If there was going to be a surprise at Stamford Bridge, it would be one of the teams actually winning the game – every time Chelsea and Arsenal have met this season, once in the Community Shield (1 – 1), twice in the league (0 – 0 & 2 – 2), it’s ended up a draw.

Another weird Chelsea-Arsenal 2017/18 fact – it’s been a pretty good fixture for full backs. Four of the six goals in their games so far this season were scored by full backs: Victor Moses, Sead Kolasinac, Marcos Alonso and Hector Bellerin. […]

Arsenal were down in sixth place, seven points behind Chelsea in third, six points behind Liverpool in the last Champions League spot – this particular derby was a must win game for them.

The game started at a relatively moderate pace, and Chelsea had the better early chances. But after referee Anthony Taylor wrongly gave a free kick for a Lacazette dive off a Kante tackle, the Arsenal players seemed to gain confidence and started ripping into their visitors at pace.

Chelsea responded with their own counterattacks, and the game devolved into an attacking free-for-all, with both sides creating brilliant chances, and only failing to score in the first half due to the dazzling form of their goalkeepers. Or in Chelsea’s case, finishing so weak, it made you scratch your head. […]

Chelsea were in a 3-5-2 today, with Gary Cahill, Antonio Rudiger and Cesar Azpilicueta in defence. N’golo Kante, Tiemoue Bakayoko and Cesc Fabregas were just ahead of them in midfield.

It wasn’t the most aggressive line-up but even taking that into account, they started this game pretty sluggishly. It was almost as if the players were recovering from a really heavy Christmas dinner.

Brighton set up in two defensive lines of four and five, with Tomer Hemed as the lone striker up top. They showed much more energy and desire than the home side in the first half, as well as a willingness to get forward in numbers when the opportunity presented itself.

For a midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko gets into a lot of good positions to score, and he had a great opening early on – but he wasn’t able to get the right contact to put his shot on target. […]

As expected, Antonio Conte started Eden Hazard in place of Morata, with Michy Batshuayi back on the bench as usual. Apart from the game against Huddersfield, whenever Chelsea have used Hazard as a striker this season they’ve been a bit ineffective in attack. It was the same today – lots of chances but no goals.

Everton crowded their penalty area, with only Calvert-Lewin up top. The effect was that Chelsea could easily get back possession whenever Everton tried to go forward, but they didn’t really counter-attack properly, even with speedy players like Hazard, Kante, Willian and Pedro in their side.

This meant Chelsea lost the offensive benefit of the large number of opposition turnovers they forced in their defensive area and in the middle of the park.

They made thirty (!) crosses in total this game – it was difficult to tell at what point they would realize the strategy wasn’t working. They tried 25 shots to Everton’s 5, and although they were 8 – 0 up on the home side in shots on target, only one stat counted at the end. […]

London is Blue is a soccer fancast created by Chelsea FC fans from America and covers all things Chelsea. Hosts are @BBBusbee, @DanDormer and @NickVerlaney. London is Blue is proud to be presented by WorldSoccerShop. Visit them at www.WorldSoccerShop.com to find the best Chelsea FC gear! GUEST: Vaishali Bhardwaj Twitter: @VaiBhardwaj Instagram: @VaiBhardwaj Facebook: /VaiBhardwaj YouTube: VaishaliBhardwaj Part 1: […]

Chelsea on the other hand had been in relatively good form recently – at least in the premier league. Yet this fixture screamed out BANANA SKIN.

The last time they’d faced a struggling team after an international break, Chelsea had been well beaten. In fact Antonio Conte referenced that particular loss to Crystal Palace in comments before the game, highlighting how important it was for his players to bank the points against teams in the relegation zone.

Local rivals Arsenal had also beaten Tottenham Hotspur 2 – 0 earlier that day, and were now fifth in the table, level on points with Chelsea. Arsene Wenger had sent his neighbours a clear message with the win, and the Champions were under pressure to respond. […]

Michy Batshuayi has been a little bit of an enigma since he arrived at Chelsea. He’s young and has all the tools to be a top striker, but so far most times they’ve started him, he’s made all the wrong choices and been almost completely ineffective.

When he’s brought on as a sub though, he’s sometimes… completely unplayable. It’s not just that he’s better against tired defenders, he actually plays better all round – his movement is much better and his finishing is lethal.

Maybe it’s a language issue, so when he comes on as a sub he’s had time to figure out for himself what the game needs? Either way, Chelsea definitely got Good Michy today. […]

London is Blue is a soccer fancast created by Chelsea FC fans from America and covers all things Chelsea. Hosts are @BBBusbee, @DanDormer and @NickVerlaney. London is Blue is proud to be presented by WorldSoccerShop. Visit them at www.WorldSoccerShop.com to find the best Chelsea FC gear! GUEST: Joe Tweeds, @JoeTweedie Part 1: Tottenham Hotspur Review […]

These are emails exchanged between a fan of the pod and one of our hosts. Enjoy these unfiltered thoughts from two fans. Hey Brandon, I hope all is well, at least as well as it could be after today’s shit show.  The thing that stood out to me most, was how Cesc is not a […]