In Profile: Chelsea, This Weekend’s Opponents
City’s maiden away fixture of the upcoming campaign will see them tackle the six-time champions, who opened their 2019/20 campaign with a 4-0 defeat by Manchester United at Old Trafford.
The Blues concluded the 2018/19 season in third-place in the Premier League, securing UEFA Champions League qualification, while they also lifted a second UEFA Europa League title in Baku, Azerbaijan.
Romford-born Frank Lampard is a man who requires no introduction to football followers around the world after a trophy-laden, 13-year spell at Stamford Bridge as a player.
Lampard, son of West Ham United legend Frank Lampard Sr., initially followed in his father’s footsteps during his early playing career, emerging through the Upton Park club’s academy.
Signed by future Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri at Chelsea in 2001, the midfielder would go on to carve his name into Stamford Bridge folklore forever.
It was under the management of José Mourinho when Lampard would truly flourish, winning both the Premier League title and the League Cup during their first season together.
While managers changed at the Bridge, Lampard’s winning touch remained and his 211 goals in 646 appearances coincided with the most successful spell in the Club’s history.
Domestically, Lampard won three Premier League titles, four FA Cups, two League Cups and two Community Shields, while UEFA Champions League and Europa League honours came in 2012 and 2013.
Before retirement, he also starred for Major League Soccer’s New York City and Manchester City, on loan, and last summer he was named as manager of Sky Bet Championship side Derby County.
Lampard guided the Rams to the Play-Off Final, where they were beaten by Aston Villa, but earlier this summer, following the departure of Maurizio Sarri, an emotional return to Chelsea was announced.
While Chelsea supporters will be disappointed to have lost two-time league winner Eden Hazard to Real Madrid this summer, they will nonetheless be enthused by the talent within their playing squad.
The Blues have a series of experienced operators, including Olivier Giroud, Willian and César Azpilicueta, but the likes of Mason Mount, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Tammy Abraham are ones to watch.
Spanish midfielder Pedro, meanwhile, has an incredible CV following Chelsea’s UEFA Europa League success, taking his tally of major honours to 25 since emerging on the scene in the Tercera División.
The 32-year-old has now won the World Cup, European Championship, Club World Cup, Champions League, Super Cup, Europa League, Premier League, FA Cup, La Liga, Copa Del Rey and Supercopa de España.
In Chelsea’s squad, Foxes supporters, will recognise two figures – N’Golo Kanté and Danny Drinkwater (on loan at Burnley) – the midfield pairing which won the title with City at King Power Stadium in 2016.
The trophy cabinet
Chelsea enjoyed success during their early seasons, lifting a combined eight trophies before the millennium, but it was the arrival of owner Roman Abramovich which inspired their post-2003 achievements.
Across their entire 114-year history, the Blues have won the English title on six occasions – in 1955, 2005, 2006, 2010, 2015 and 2017 – alongside eight FA Cup triumphs and League Cup successes.
An indicator of Chelsea’s regular presence at the top table of English football comes with the fact that they have just two Second Division titles to their name, in 1984 and 1989.
Meanwhile, in the 21st century, Chelsea have lifted 17 trophies, including the UEFA Champions League in 2012, where they beat Bayern Munich at Allianz Arena, the German club’s own stadium.
They’ve also won the Europa League on two occasions and have secured two UEFA Cup Winners’ Cups and one UEFA Super Cup. Four Community Shields complete the impressive list.
Stamford Bridge has been Chelsea’s permanent home venue since the club’s foundation in 1905, although it had in fact been used by other local sports clubs since 1877.
It has staged England internationals, FA Cup finals and semi-finals and Community Shield fixtures, as well as hosting cricket, rugby union, speedway, greyhound racing, baseball and American football.
With just over 40,000 seats, Stamford Bridge is the ninth-largest stadium in the Premier League and plans to expand the ground to a capacity closer to 60,000 are in discussion.
The stadium’s largest attendance, meanwhile, was 82,905, for a match between Chelsea and Arsenal on 12 October, 1935, before Stamford Bridge was modernised in the 1990s into an all-seater venue.
Before the Foxes head to the capital, Chelsea have already faced Manchester United in the Premier League, a 4-0 defeat, before Wednesday’s Super Cup Final against Liverpool.
That clash with Jürgen Klopp’s men at Vodafone Arena in Istanbul, the home of Turkish side Beşiktaş JK, comes just four days before the visit of Leicester to London.
Following that encounter with Rodgers’ City side, the Blues face two newly-promoted outfits, heading to Norwich City the weekend afterwards and hosting Sheffield United at the end of August.
On the other hand, an away clash at Wolves awaits the six-time champions following the first international break of the 2019/20 season, ahead of a home league encounter with Liverpool a week later.
Following a 0-0 draw in Leicester on the final day of last season, meanwhile, the Foxes will welcome Chelsea back to King Power Stadium on Saturday 1 February, 2020 (3pm BST kick-off).