A most eventful first-half led to a slightly less eventful second-half, but Chelsea were able to slug it out, ride all the ridiculous late challenges, survive some shaky moments to collect all three points and win a third game in a row.
Leicester started with more intensity and impetus than Chelsea, but it were Chelsea who got on the scoreboard first, right on 10 minutes, as Ben Chilwell’s volley found a path through a sea of bodies and beyond the goalkeeper at the near post.
Leicester should’ve been down to 10 by then, after Ricardo Pereira studded Félix with a late tackle high on the ankle. He got away without even a yellow, just one of several poor decisions from the referee/VAR.
The teams then traded woodworks (Félix, Dewsbury-Hall) before Félix ruined a lovely flowing move from Chelsea by straying quite needlessly a foot offside. He compounded that mistake by giving the ball away to Daka, who beat Kepa from range.
Kepa then had to make two great saves to keep things level, before Amartey got away with a judo kick into Havertz’s chest (not even a booking!). But Havertz paid some of that karma back with a wonderfully taken goal just before the half-time whistle.
The second half began much the same way the first ended, with Fofana forcing a great save on a corner header then Ricardo Pereira getting away with another red card-worthy challenge. This time he at least got a yellow.
After those 10 minutes, and after Enzo got away with a late tackle on Maddison, the game settled a bit, but that didn’t last too long. Leicester saw an effort cleared off the line, then missed an easy tap-in after Kepa flapped at a cross. At the other end, Havertz forced a great save from the goalkeeper with a downwards header from a corner and Mudryk saw a goal chalked off for yet another needless offside.
But just a few minutes later, there would be no offside as Mudryk turned provider for Kovačić to acrobatically get Chelsea’s third and settle and decide the game. Wout Faes was sent off late on for a second yellow, which was nothing more than Leicester deserved for their efforts all game.
Three goals, three points, and plenty of drama!
- Just two changes from midweek, both enforced, with Mudryk and Loftus-Cheek coming in for the injured/ill Sterling and Reece James. Mudryk generally the most central of the front three.
- Half-time sub of Gallagher on for Félix, who presumably was affected by those early studs to the ankle from Ricardo Pereira.
- Switch to a back-four for the final 20, with Cucu-K2-Wes-Chalobah
- Hopefully Fofana’s knock is nothing significant. Cucu-BB-KK-Trev for the final 10.
- Very poor refereeing performance from Marriner, too lenient and generally inconsistent
- First away win since October! Three wins in a row!
- Chelsea stay tenth, but now just 5 points behind Liverpool in 5th.
- Next up: Everton at home next Saturday