Chelsea 1:1 Leicester City
Wilfred Ndidi went from villain to hero at Stamford Bridge on Sunday, presenting Chelsea with the opening goal, and then nodding home the equaliser from a corner…
Brendan Rodgers made one change to his side for this Sunday afternoon trip to West London, with Fuchs coming in for the injured Chilwell.
City, resplendent in their new pink and black strip, soon found themselves under the cosh, as the pre-match fervour celebrating the return of Frank Lampard continued into the game.
Before the first minute was up Azpilicueta’s cross from the right was chested down by Giroud and Pedro lashed his shot into the side-netting.
A minute later Giroud set up Mount for a shot that was saved by Schmeichel, the City keeper recovered swiftly to block Pulisic’s follow up effort.
With City looking bewildered at the back Pulisic met the resulting corner with a near-post header that zipped across the face of goal.
When Chelsea took a 7th minute lead it already seemed overdue. As City played out from the back Ndidi dawdled too long on the ball and was robbed by Mount who stayed upright after being clipped by Ndidi and managed to stab the ball past a wrong-footed Schmeichel.
After the goal the pace relented a little and City began to slowly feel their way into the game. But Chelsea were still creating chances. In the 21st minute Mount got a head to a Azpilicueta cross but directed his effort straight at Schmeichel from the penalty spot.
Then an Emerson cross was back heeled by Giroud into the path of Kante, who was denied an 8 yard tap in when Fuchs flew in with an excellent last-ditch challenge.
At this stage City’s best chance had come when Kepa dithered over a clearance and Vardy chased him down, and the Chelsea keeper only just managed to prod the ball clear.
City had more of the possession in the closing stages of the first half, but were still struggling to create anything. A Maddison free-kick into the area that just evaded Ndidi was the closest they got.
The game turned on its head in the second half with City the better side and the chances had gone from famine to feast.
Maddison burst into the area down the left and rounded Kepa, but his cut back ball for Tielemans was intercepted by Mount.
After a corner was cleared Choudhury attempted a curling effort into the top corner, but it was too close to Kepa.
Maddison then twisted and turned his way past Christensen before delivering a cross/shot that flashed wide of the far post.
Inspired by Maddison it was all City now. Tielemans fired over from a corner, and then a Fuchs shot deflected over the keeper missing the bar by inches.
City made the breakthrough in the 67th minute, with Ndidi evading his marker and rising to meet Maddision’s flag kick with a thumping header that gave Kepa no chance.
Brendan Rodgers made his first change in the 72nd minute, with debutant Praet replacing Choudhury.
A minute later City should have taken the lead. Praet send Fuchs in down the left and his cross into the area was touched in Maddison’s path by Pérez. Maddison created himself room for a shot but lifted it over the bar from 8 yards.
Chelsea had a rare chance when a Pedro chip missed Abraham’s head by a whisker, but City were soon threatening again. More good work from Praet in midfield saw Maddison breaking forward and he slipped Vardy in down the left, but the striker’s low angled drive went just beyond the far post.
With ten minutes remaining Albrighton came on for Pérez, as City pressed for a winner.
In the 88th minute another breakaway came from Praet winning the ball and finding Maddison (the third time he’d done this). Maddison fed Albrighton on the right and his precise cutback saw Tielemans connecting well with a first time effort that went straight at Kepa.
Seconds before the full time whistle Albrighton and Kepa were involved in a straight race for the ball which the Chelsea keeper narrowly won, and both sides had to be content with a point.
It had been a strange game, City could have been 3-0 down very early on, but were also genuinely disappointed not to have claimed victory.
Brendan Rodgers commented: “It was obviously a tough start for us in the game. Frank got a great reaction when he came back, which fed into the players and gave them momentum at the start of the game. But that tests you as a team, your spirit and resilience, so we had to hang in there for that opening 10-15 minutes But I thought after that, we regained our composure again, the decision-making in the first half could have been better at times with the final pass, but it’s a case of reinforcing that to the players, there were a couple of little items to look at at half-time. Second half, we were very, very good. Defensively, we didn’t give a way much, we were really tight in our organisation and we created a number of chances, and good chances, too, to win the game.”
Chelsea: Arrizabalaga, Azpilicueta, Christensen, Zouma, Emerson, Kanté, Jorginho (Kovacic 71), Pedro, Mount, Pulisic (Willian 71), Giroud (Abraham 61).
Substitutes: Alonso, Barkley, Caballero, Tomori.
Leicester: Schmeichel: Ricardo, Evans, Söyüncü, Fuchs, Ndidi, Pérez (Albrighton 80), Tielemans, Choudhury (Praet 73), Maddison, Vardy.
Substitutes: Justin, Morgan, Ward, Iheanacho, Barnes.
Referee: Oliver Langford. Attendance: 40,629.
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