4 Key Battles That Could Decide Saturday's Meeting Between Chelsea and Leicester City

Chelsea play host to Leicester City at Stamford Bridge on Saturday, hoping to keep pace with Manchester United in the title race. 

Antonio Conte's side sit third in the Premier League, just one point behind United, but a whopping 16 points behind the remarkable Manchester City .

Claude Puel's Leicester lie eighth in the table after enjoying a decent start under the former Southampton manager. Their recent form has been patchy however, with the Foxes looking to improve on their record of one win in their last seven.

This clash at Stamford Bridge pits the last two Premier League champions against each other - and here are four key battles which could decide the destiny of Saturday's points.

4. N'Golo Kante vs Adrien Silva

Much of Chelsea's success stems from their ability to dominate proceedings in the heart of midfield.

N'Golo Kante's controlling presence is a reassuring sight for all Blues fans, with the PFA Players' Player of the Year expected to protect Chelsea's back three while his team-mates pour forward.

The former Foxes midfielder could come against Portuguese international Adrien Silva, who made his long awaited debut against Huddersfield Town on New Year's Day. The £22m signing from Sporting CP has been forced to watch on from the sidelines since arriving in August, after his registration papers were processed 14 seconds after deadline day ended.

Now free to play, Silva will be keen to make an impression in Leicester's midfield, but will face a stern test against the best defensive midfielder in the Premier League.

3. Alvaro Morata vs Harry Maguire

Chelsea marksman Alvaro Morata's Premier League career has got off to a decent start, with the Spaniard netting ten times so far this season.

The goals have dried up recently though, with Morata only scoring twice in his last eight games. The former Juventus and Real Madrid striker has faced criticism in recent weeks, so he will be keen to get back amongst the goals.

Leicester will look to central defender Harry Maguire to keep Morata under wraps. The 24-year old is said to be admired by Pep Guardiola, and made his international debut towards the end of 2017.

2. Marcos Alonso vs Riyad Mahrez

Leicester's main attacking threat will come from Riyad Mahrez. The Algerian international is back on top of his game, with his resurgence coinciding with the appointment of Claude Puel.

The 26-year old has contributed to 17 goals for the Foxes this season, with seven goals and 10 assists to his name. Mahrez has been linked with a move away from the King Power Stadium, with fans hoping their main asset will not have lost his focus.

Mahrez is likely to line up on the right-hand side of midfield, meaning he will do battle with Chelsea's Marcos Alonso.

The Spaniard has been a revelation for the Blues since joining from Fiorentina, excelling in Antonio Conte's favoured wing backs system. The 27-year old has scored 12 Premier League goals in 53 appearances since his return to England, developing quite a reputation for his attacking theat.

His defensive capabilities have been questioned at times though, and Mahrez will be hoping to exploit any ventures up field that Alonso makes.

1. Eden Hazard vs Wilfred Ndidi

Chelsea's most dangerous asset will always be Eden Hazard. The Belgian has been in good form this season, but has perhaps not contributed as many goals and assists as he would like.

Six goals and four assists is a decent return, but doesn't reflect the importance of Hazard to Chelsea's style of play. The 27-year old dictates the tempo at which the Blues play at, and will orchestrate the majority of Chelsea's attacks on Saturday.

Likely to be tasked with taming him is Nigerian midfielder Wilfred Ndidi. Signed for £16m in last year's January transfer window, the 21-year old has attempted to fill the void left by N'Golo Kante's departure to Stamford Bridge 18 months ago.

Ndidi has performed well this season, and will need to be at his sharpest to contain the threat posed by Hazard.