Chelsea 3:0 Leicester City
City came a distant second in this meeting of the last two Premier League Champions, with Chelsea cruising to a 3-0 win at Stamford Bridge on Saturday…
Claudio Ranieri employed some squad rotation, with Tuesday’s Champions League game against Copenhagen in mind, and Hernández, Schlupp and Musa replaced Simpson, Mahrez and Slimani in the starting line-up.
Chelsea dominated from the start, and had the lead by the 7th minute.
Once again, it was a from a set-piece with Hazard’s near post corner from the right flicked on by Matic. Costa, deserted by a frozen Morgan, had half the penalty area to himself as he strolled in to put the home side ahead.
The rest of the half was played almost entirely in City’s half, with Vardy and Musa completely starved of possession.
A second goal for the Blues looked almost inevitable and there was a close call in the 28th minute. Huth was booked for a foul on Hazard 25 yards out and Luiz sent his dipping free kick against the left hand post.
Antonio Conte’s side doubled their lead in the 33rd minute, and although they enjoyed a stroke of luck, City’s defence lacked any authority. Huth and Hernandez got in a tangle trying to get to Matic’s through ball. It fell for Pedro, who set up Hazard. A lucky deflection saw the Belgian through and he rounded Schmeichel before netting with a shot that just evaded Fuchs last-ditch attempted block.
City’s first chance came in the 38th minute, when Vardy met a Hernandez near post cross, but Luiz managed to intervene.
Luiz then delivered another tricky, swerving free-kick, which Schmeichel punched clear.
City had plenty to think about at half time after a desperately poor first half performance in which they had chased shadows and created next to nothing.
Chelsea had loud penalty appeals turned down just seconds into the second half when a Pedro shot struck Fuchs raised arm, but there was a distinct improvement in their play.
City had penalty appeals of their own turned down a couple of minutes later when Schlupp was baulked by Moses as he charged into the penalty area, but Andre Marriner waved play on again.
In City’s best spell of the game, Musa and Albrighton both missed the target with shots.
Chelsea wasted a 57th minute chance to seal the game when Kante went on an energetic run down the left, before setting up Moses. Schmeichel produced a fine save to keep City in the game.
Although City didn’t manage an on-target effort all game, they went close in the 62nd minute with a bit of help. Albrighton delivered a low cross from the right and Luiz lunged in with a block to deny Vardy, waiting in front of goal, the ball firmly striking the right hand post with Courtois beaten.
Claudio Ranieri made his first changes in the 67th minute with Slimani on for Musa, and Mahrez replacing Schlupp.
What would have been a very painful goal was avoided in the 73rd minute when Morgan did very well to block a Kante shot from close in.
However, Chelsea’s third arrived with ten minutes to go. Moses cut in from the right and passed Chalobah with his back to goal. A brilliant backheel unlocked City’s defence and Moses beat Schmeichel from close in.
City have still to pick up a point on their travels this season, but Claudio Ranieri made no apology for his team selection: “The Premier League is one year long. Champions League is two months, in or out. We want to go in the knockout in Champions League or Europa League. To achieve this you have to have all your players fit and I prefer to preserve some players for Tuesday night.”
Chelsea: Courtois, Alonso, Kante, Hazard (Loftus-Cheek 81), Pedro (Chalobah 68), Moses (Aina 81), Diego Costa, Matic, Cahill, Azpilicueta, Luiz. Subs Not Used: Begovic, Batshuayi, Terry, Solanke.
Leicester: Schmeichel, Hernández, Huth, Morgan, Fuchs, Drinkwater, Amartey, Albrighton (King 74), Schlupp (Mahrez 67), Musa (Slimani 67), Vardy. Subs Not Used: Zieler, Simpson, Gray, Ulloa
Referee: A Marriner. Attendance: 41,547.
PHOTOS: Simon Kimber.
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