Frank Lampard replaced Maurizio Sarri as manager of The Blues in the summer after leaving Derby County.
Nicholas predicts a tough season for Lampard and expects a stern test at the hands of Leicester City at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.
“I see pain and suffering for Chelsea.” Nicholas told Sky Sports.
“Frank Lampard is playing youth team players at Old Trafford because he is left with no other scenario, but his anger at not being able to drag people off the treatment room is a reflection of where Chelsea are but also where Leicester are.
“Brendan Rodgers will play pass and move, pass and move, but this is different, this is Leicester.
“He has lost Harry Maguire, which was a great deal for Leicester. Is he going to change from what we saw at the latter end of last season? Yes he will, but it will take time.
“Ross Barkley will struggle here, because Leicester keep the ball well and move it, so he will see less of the ball to make things happen.”
“It has been a change of circumstances at Leicester and massively so at Chelsea.
“This weekend is about Lampard getting his team over the line. It is going to be a rollercoaster ride of a season and they will not make the top four.
“I am going to go for a surprise score in this one, 2-1 to Leicester. This is not a negative throw towards Lampard, I wish him well.
“This team will just take time to truly understand what they are, and they will be more exposed at home than away from home in my opinion.”