10th of September 2017

Blues make it three wins in a row beating Foxes (1-2)

It’s now three wins in as many matches for Antonio Conte’s side who took the points at the King Power Stadium thanks to goals from Alvaro Morata and N’Golo Kante.

Having led 2-0, with Morata heading home four minutes before the break and Kante scoring early in the second half, Leicester reduced the deficit courtesy of a Jamie Vardy penalty.

The expected onslaught from the home side never materialised, however, and it was the Blues who went closest to scoring again, with substitute Willian curling one effort inches wide before being thwarted by a late Kasper Schmeichel save.

There was further positivity for Conte with Eden Hazard coming on for the last 13 minutes, his first involvement of the season, and Davide Zappacosta making his Blues debut.

Tiemoue Bakayoko was handed his second start of the season in midfield for the Blues, with Kante and Cesc Fabregas also named in the starting line-up. Antonio Rudiger continued to deputise for the suspended Gary Cahill and it was Morata, scorer last time out against Everton, tasked with leading the line.

Hazard was among the substitutes for the first time this season and the Belgian was joined on the bench by our two new signings, Zappacosta and Danny Drinkwater, as well as Willian.

It was a lively start as both sides attempted to take an early initiative, with Morata forcing Schmeichel into a save low down to his left following a driving run by Bakayoko, and Vardy delivering a dangerous ball across the face of goal at the other end.

Conte’s men were next to go close when a lovely Morata flick released Victor Moses down the right-hand side. The Nigerian’s whipped cross was kept in play by Marcos Alonso and his delivery, seeking out Fabregas, was diverted behind.

From our next attack, a minute later, we should have taken the lead. Fabregas picked out the run of his compatriot Morata, but the striker misjudged the flight of the ball and was unable to execute his volley in the way he would have hoped, allowing Schmeichel to make the save.

The Blues - wearing all white – were enjoying plenty of possession, with Leicester content to defend deep and look to utilise the pace of their attacking players on the break.

After Wilfred Ndidi brought Pedro down 30 yards from goal David Luiz tried his luck with a trademark free-kick, but it was a comfortable save for Schmeichel.

As the 25-minute mark approached Fabregas, operating alongside Pedro just behind Morata, opened the Leicester defence up with a brilliant slide-rule pass, which Moses raced on to, only for the wing-back to see his cross deflected behind for a corner which came to nothing.

Soon after the home side had their first serious sight of goal, and it was a decent opportunity. Riyad Mahrez picked the ball up inside the Chelsea half and advanced towards goal before slipping in Vardy. It was a position from which the striker has enjoyed plenty of success in the past but, on this occasion, he took it first time and dragged the strike just wide of the far post.

At the other end Morata was thwarted by a Wes Morgan block having been teed up by Kante, who displayed the impressive ball-winning skills which were so instrumental in the Foxes’ success two years ago.

Six minutes before the break the best opportunity of the game up until that point fell Leicester’s way after a Chelsea attack had broken down on the edge of their box. The numbers were in the home side’s favour with Mahrez, the man in possession, supported by Vardy and Islam Slimani. The Algerian opted to play in Slimani but the attacker, who looked set to score, was denied by a brilliant one-handed Courtois save.

Leicester were made to pay for their profligacy immediately as a minute later, from our next attack, we took the lead.

Bakayoko switched the play out to the right-hand side where Cesar Azpilicueta picked up possession and the defender took a touch before delivering a cross which was expertly headed into the back of the net by Morata, who got there ahead of Morgan.

The same combination which had served up our second goal against Everton had done it again, and this time it created a precious opener. For Morata, it was his third goal in four games for the Blues, all scored with his head.

Moses had a fierce left-footed snap-shot well saved as the half came to an end but we headed in at the break with a 1-0 advantage.

The home side made a couple of changes ahead of the second half, with Andy King and Demarai Gray replacing Marc Albrighton and Slimani respectively, but within five minutes of the restart our lead was extended thanks to a goal from former Leicester midfielder Kante.

It came from a Chelsea throw-in and as Rudiger switched it inside to Kante, the home defence backed off, allowing the Frenchman to fire a low strike from 25 yards through a crowded penalty area into the bottom corner.

Out of respect to his former club Kante’s celebrations were low-key, but the away supporters over in the far corner had no such restraint, knowing just how crucial the goal could potentially prove to be.

Just after the hour, however, our advantage was halved as the Foxes were awarded a penalty after Courtois was adjudged to have tripped Vardy inside the box with the pair challenging for a loose ball. It was the Leicester striker who stepped forward to take the kick and, although Courtois got a hand to it, he was beaten by the power of the strike.

Conte replaced Pedro with Willian soon after and Zappacosta was given his Chelsea debut 10 minutes later when he was introduced at the expense of Moses.

Courtois and David Luiz collided in mid-air after the Belgian had claimed a Christian Fuchs cross which was intended for the head of Vardy, but thankfully both players were quickly back on their feet.

The hosts made an attacking change with Kelechi Iheanacho, the former Man City striker, coming on for Matty James, and it was then time for the return of Hazard, who replaced Fabregas with 13 minutes left to play.

The Belgian was quickly into the action, collecting an Alonso pass and picking out Zappacosta who dragged his effort inches wide, and the Blues were then appealing for a penalty when Morata’s header was handled by Harry Maguire.

Willian, scorer of a stunning goal for Brazil in midweek, looked to have wrapped the points up with a delightful right-footed curler from just inside the box, but the ball dropped a fraction past the far post with Schmeichel well beaten.

The Brazilian was then denied by a brilliant Schmeichel save in the dying minutes but we held on for what was a deserved victory, our third in a row.

 

- Matc stats:

Chelsea (3-4-3): Courtois; Azpilicueta (c), David Luiz, Rudiger, Moses (Zappacosta 72), Kante, Bakayoko, Alonso, Pedro (Willian 62), Morata, Fabregas.
Unused subs: Caballero, Zappacosta, Christensen, Drinkwater, Hazard, Batshuayi.
Scorers Morata 41, Kante 50

Leicester (4-4-1-1): Schmeichel; Simpson, Morgan (c), Maguire, Fuchs; Mahrez, James, Ndidi, Albrighton (King h/t); Slimani (Gray h/t); Vardy.
Unused subs: Hamer, Chilwell, Amartey, Ulloa, Iheanacho
Scorer Vardy (pen) 61
Booked Ndidi 84

Referee Lee Mason

- Match report by chelseafc.com


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