Chelsea 0:0 Leicester City
City earned a point at Stamford Bridge on Saturday, but were the much the better side until Ben Chilwell’s dismissal…
Claude Puel made seven changes to the side that drew at Fleetwood, with Vardy returning from injury, but Silva left out of the squad.
Chelsea had a couple of early attacking moves, with shots from Kanté and Moses being blocked, but then City got a grip on the game and didn’t let go.
In the 7th minute a great run by Chilwell saw him get in behind the Chelsea defence on the left and tee up Okazaki at the near post, but he sent his shot on the stretch wide.
A minute later Chilwell delivered another ball from the left, but Vardy’s attempted flick found the side-netting.
City were all over the Champions at this point and Vardy, sent through by James, then fired a low drive across Courtois that went narrowly wide.
Moments later Vardy fired in a cross for Okazaki at the near post but his touch was blocked. From the resulting corner the ball bounced up for Ndidi, but his header was tipped away by Courtois, James’ follow-up shot being charged down by Rüdiger.
Chelsea then broke forward and Schmeichel had his palms stung by a Fàbregas shot, but City were soon pushing forward again. An Albrighton cross from the left found Mahrez in space on the edge of the area, but he got his shot all wrong and sent the ball into the top tier.
A fine ball from Mahrez then sent Vardy through, but his miscued shot went well wide of the right hand post.
The home side were forced into a change after 32 minutes when Cahill limped off to be replaced by Christensen.
Morata then wriggled past a challenge on the goal-line, but his shot was blocked by Schmeichel at the near post.
Mahrez was having a superb game and ghosted round Rüdiger down the right before firing a low shot across the goalmouth, but no black shirts were in the six yard box.
Okazaki had a shot on the turn blocked, before Albrighton latched onto the loose ball and fired it wide of the left hand post.
As half-time approached Fàbregas saw his shot tipped over by Schmeichel.
0-0 at the break, and after a superb display you wondered if a stat of 12 shots (only one on target) would come back to haunt City later in the game.
However, the second half continued in much the same vein, with City pressing forward and Chelsea looking disjointed.
City earned a couple of early free-kicks, but James had a shot blocked from Mahrez’s delivery, and Albrighton sent the second one drifting wide.
There were big shouts for a penalty in the 54th minute when Mahrez dribbled through the Chelsea defence before tumbling over a Christensen challenge, but the ref was right to wave play on.
Mahrez was loudly booed as he cut in from the right and loosed a shot on goal that struck Christensen and span narrowly wide of the right hand post.
There was more booing from a frustrated home corwd when Hazard was replaced by Pedro in the 58th minute.
The game had a more physical edge now and Kanté got an overdue yellow, before Okazaki and Chilwell followed him into the book.
Sadly for Chilwell, and for an intriguing game, he received another yellow just five minutes later. It was unfortunate, with Chilwell only having eyes for the ball, but Moses arrived on the scene and was caught in the shin by a raised foot.
This changed the pattern of the game, with Fuchs brought on for Okazaki and City now defending a point. But this they did very well.
Schmeichel fielded a low shot from Willian, and then Bakayoko sent a shot well wide.
In the final ten minutes Puel brought Gray on for Vardy and then Iborra for the injured James.
City defended doggedly, frustrating the Champions, and the only nervy moment came in time added on when Chelsea were award a free-kick 25 yards out. Alonso’s well struck effort was heading for the bottom right hand corner, but Schmeichel got down to it well and tipped it behind.
Moses then attempted a shot that was nearer the corner flag than the goal, and City had earned a rare point at Stamford Bridge.
It had been a fine performance that could have seen a win, but a point away at Chelsea was most welcome.
Claude Puel commented: “Of course it’s a good reward after playing 10 against 11 at the end. But we deserved the point and perhaps more with all the chances we had. In the first half it was crazy not to find the possibility to score. They have had some opportunities but with all the good moves we make on the pitch, with quality and good chances…It’s a little disappointment because we had a lot of chances without finding the clinical edge, but it’s good for the confidence.”
Chelsea: Courtois, Azpilicueta, Cahill (Christensen 33), Rüdiger, Moses, Fàbregas (Willian 58), Kanté, Bakayoko, Alonso, Hazard (Pedro 58), Morata.
Substitutes: Caballero, Zappacosta, Batshuayi, David Luiz.
Leicester: Schmeichel, Amartey, Dragovic, Maguire, Chilwell, Mahrez, Ndidi, James (Iborra 90), Albrighton, Okazaki (Fuchs 73), Vardy (Gray 82).
Substitutes: Iheanacho, Hamer, Slimani, Benalouane.
Referee: M Jones. Attendance: 41,552.
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