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Chelsea demolish Leicester as Premier League title challenge gains momentum

A trip to the King Power Stadium to face a team supposedly looking to cement themselves in the top six may have had a veneer of difficulty, but Chelsea have the knack of making the complex seem simple.
Leicester City v Chelsea Premier League 21/22 Match summary

A trip to the King Power Stadium to face a team supposedly looking to cement themselves in the top six may have had a veneer of difficulty, but Chelsea have the knack of making the complex seem simple.

They demolished Leicester with a straightforward but bravura performance which bordered on the complete. The visitors won by three, but the boos rang out at 90 minutes and ragged, lacklustre Leicester could have had no complaints had the margin of victory been twice that.

With the Carabao Cup and Europa League as distractions, the truth is that Leicester have struggled to push on. With Ricardo Pereira joining Youri Tielemans on the treatment table, manager Brendan Rodgers gave a first league start to Marc Albrighton since September and restored Daniel Amartey to his starting line-up.

Chelsea’s international brigade returned home unscathed and head coach Thomas Tuchel rotated with the insouciance of a manager at the top of the table.

There was more insouciance after just four minutes, when Jorginho took a quick, long free kick as Leicester ambled rather casually into position. Ben Chilwell – jeered with a venom not accorded to his fellow former Fox, N’Golo Kante – outpaced Albrighton, cut inside and clipped Kasper Schmeichel’s crossbar.

Leicester’s respite was brief and Chelsea were ahead after Jonny Evans sloppily conceded a corner. Pantomime villain Chilwell took it from the right and Antonio Rudiger – scorer of two here in 2020 – took two steps away from goals, rose above the flat-footed Timothy Castagne and Wilfred Ndidi and twisted in mid-air to nod past Schmeichel for a goal which belied its apparent simplicity.

Ahead, Chelsea remained relentless. Mason Mount curled a free kick onto the roof of Schmeichel’s goal and, in the absence of Tielemans, Jorginho had the run of midfield, spraying passes left and right as Chilwell and Reece James overlapped at will.

The second was only a matter of time and when Trevoh Chalobah rolled the ball into James’s path, it came. James found Kante who easily outpaced the lumbering Boubakary Soumare. Kante strolled forwards unchallenged to the edge of the penalty area, firing his second goal of the season past Schmeichel.

Leicester were as ragged as Chelsea were ruthless. Up front, Jamie Vardy was starved of service and, for all Harvey Barnes’ on-the-ball prettiness, without Tielemans, they lacked midfield spark. Defensively, they were outnumbered by Chelsea’s strike force and, with no home midfielder keen on dropping back, the yellow-shirted supporting cast.

Unsurprisingly, Rodgers undertook major surgery at half time. Off went Barnes and the similarly underwhelming Ademola Lookman in favour of James Maddison and Kelechi Iheanacho. The traffic, though, remained largely one-way and only a flying Schmeichel save to deny Chilwell kept the deficit to two.

Just after the hour, with the points seemingly in the bag and competition more fierce from within the Chelsea squad than from outside, Tuchel made a double substitution of his own and Leicester began to rally. Before long, Edouard Mendy was forced to fling himself across goal to tip over Amartey’s piledriver.

Momentarily startled, Chelsea cruised through the gears once again. Chalobah instigated their third with a perfectly weighted pass for one substitute, Hakim Ziyech, to out run and bamboozle Caglar Soyuncu before squaring for another replacement, Christian Pulisic, to bundle home his second of the season. Game over.

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 Leicester vs Chelsea: as it happened
2:32PM
That's all for our live coverage

... but we'll have a full match report and plenty of analysis to follow.

2:24PM
Full time, Leicester 0-3 Chelsea

Had they been a bit more ruthless at the end, Chelsea could easily have scored five or six.

While they rallied after the introduction of Maddison and Iheanacho at half time, Leicester found themselves chasing shadows for much of the game. Chelsea are now six points clear at the summit of the Premier League, while Leicester remain 12th.

2:19PM
89 mins

It's "ole, ole, ole" time in the away end. Chelsea are strolling to victory here.

2:17PM
NO GOAL!

That's three goals in under 10 minutes that Chelsea have been denied by the linesman.

James and Ziyech exchange a brilliant one-two before the former leathers a shot into the far corner. Unfortunately for him, Chilwell has been flagged for straying offside in the build-up.

2:11PM
81 mins

Maddison has another pop from distance which takes a deflection, but Mendy is equal to it.

2:10PM
NO GOAL!

Chilwell gets in behind and sets up Pulisic to lash into the back of the net, but the former Leicester man mistimed the initial run and another goal is chalked off for offside.

2:08PM
Loftus-Cheek on, Jorginho off

Final Chelsea sub.

➡️ Loftus-Cheek⬅️ Jorginho

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