Leicester City 2:1 Chelsea
Goals from Vardy and Mahrez saw City topping the Premier League table again with a 2-1 victory over champions Chelsea at the KPS on Monday night….
Claudio Ranieri made no changes to the side that won at Swansea for this much-anticipated meeting, though he was forced into one after just 16 minutes.
Mahrez slipped past two markers before testing Courtois with a low shot soon after kick off and then Morgan blocked a dangerous Hazard effort.
But then Drinkwater appeared to pull his hamstring and after a fruitless attempt to carry on he was replaced by King.
This didn’t have an effect on City who were the better side throughout the first half. Mahrez forced another save from Courtois and then Kanté curled an effort narrowly over from the edge of the area.
City deservedly took the lead in the 34th minute, Mahrez crossed from the right and Vardy nipped in like a greyhound between Zouma and Terry for a finish from close in past Courtois. It was his 15th of th eseason, ending his goal drought of one game.
If defending corners has been City’s Achilles heel this season they dealt with five of them in the first half, though Matic did get his head to a Willian flag kick and brushed the top of Schmeichel’s crossbar.
City managed to preserve their lead to half-time, something they didn’t manage against Manchester United.
Even better, City extended their lead just three minutes into the second half.
Albrighton saw Mahrez unmarked and picked him out with a long cross. The Algerian international changed direction several times and despite the close attention of Azpilicueta, half a yard was all he needed to curl an incredible unstoppable shot round Courtois and into the net.
An increasingly agitated Jose Mourinho then replaced Terry with Fàbregas and three at the back helped Chelsea regain some ground in midfield.
This led to their best spell around the hour, though their most clear-cut chance – Costa in a one on one with Schmeichel – saw the City keeper pull off a fine block. That did nothing to dispel the little black cloud above Costa’s head.
Simpson blocked a Pedro shot and then Ivanović was twice denied by Fuchs after another Chelsea corner.
Chelsea finally made a breakthrough with 13 minutes remaining when Rémy got his head to a Pedro cross to beat Schmeichel from close range, and this made for a nervy closing spell.
Goalscorers Vardy and Mahrez were replaced by Inler and Okazaki, and City rallied well, with Pedro’s narrowly wide shot being the most alarming moment.
At the other end Albrighton capped a fine performance with a run and shot that whistled past the post.
After five minutes of time added on the final whistle brought scenes of utter delight as City reclaimed top spot with a win over the Champions.
Claudio Ranieri looked delighted, but was keeping his feet firmly on the ground: “For our fans we are top of the league, for my players we need another five points. Don’t laugh. It’s true…”
Leicester: Schmeichel, Simpson, Huth, Morgan, Fuchs, Mahrez (Inler 82), Kanté, Drinkwater (King 16), Albrighton, Ulloa, Vardy (Okazaki 88). Subs Not Used: Dyer, Wasilewski, Benalouane, Schwarzer.
Chelsea: Courtois, Ivanović, Zouma, Terry (Fàbregas 53), Azpilicueta, Ramires, Oscar (Rémy 65), Hazard (Pedro 31), Matić, Willian, Diego Costa. Subs Not Used: Begović, Mikel, Kenedy, Cahill.
Referee: M Clattenburg. Attendance: 32,054.
ALL PHOTOS: Simon Kimber.
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