Yesterday saw Leicester City host Premiership rivals Chelsea in a top section of the table clash in the Premier League at the King Power Stadium. It promised to be an intriguing match with Leicester City having the chance to go top of the league if they won and Chelsea could have closed the gap on a Europa League place if they won.
Despite the fact that Leicester were sat in 3rd place and on a decent run of form, and Chelsea being inconsistent at best at the moment and sitting in 7th just before West Ham won their match, the bookies were looking at Chelsea as favourites to win. We did find this betting preview that predicted a Leicester City win but Chelsea were fairly strong favourites with the online bookmakers, despite being the away team.
Leicester City started the match with the same team that had beat Southampton on the previous Saturday, which excited many fans. You can see the starting eleven here which looked like it would be a 4-3-3 formation. As expected Brendan Rodgers Rodgers team started with 4 at the back with Fofana and Evans playing centre back, James Justin left back and Timothy Castagne playing the right back role. The ever impressive Wilfred Ndidi would play the holding midfielder role with Tielemans alongside him. James Maddison would play in front of those with Harvey Barnes covering the left, Albrighton right and Jamie Vardy leading the line up front on his own.
Leicester City were always going to play a hard working game off the ball and fast moving attacking football with the ball and quickly got their stride in. The team were quickly putting pressure on Chelsea and seemed to be on them constantly if they had the ball.
It didn’t take Leicester long to break the deadlock, 6 minutes to be precise, from a well worked corner. It was a move quite clearly straight off the (new) training ground with Albrighton playing it short to James Maddison who returned the ball to Albrighton who had found himself some space to pull the ball across the goal towards Harvey Barnes on the around the penalty spot, who had found himself in acres of space. Unfortunately for Barnes he did a fresh air kick totally missing the ball, which then ran through to Wilfred Ndidi on the edge of the box who hit the ball on the outside of the boot , taking it away from Chelsea goalkeeper Mendy, and hitting the inside of the post and nestling in the bottom corner in the opposite side of the goal.
With 15 minutes into the game Leicester City were close to extended their lead after a weaving run from Castagne followed by him pulling the ball back to Maddison on the edge of the D. He quickly pulled the trigger and hit a left foot strike sweetly drilling the ball against the crossbar and over for a goal kick.
Chelsea did manage to go close with 3 efforts before Evans brought down Pulisic on the edge of the box, and the referee awarding a penalty. Thankfully, for Leicester though a VAR check confirmed the challenge, and the foul, took place outside the box and the penalty was change to a free kick, which went well over the bar.
Minutes later Marc Albrighton picked the ball up in the middle of the park and hit a long ball forward towards Jamie Vardy on the edge of the box. Vardy clashed with Rudiger and the ball ran through to Maddison who had made space for himself off the shoulder of Vardy and drilled the ball low and hard across the goal into the bottom corner of the net. 2-0.
Not long into the 2nd half Justin had a great effort to make it 3-0 but his header dropped agonisingly the wrong side of the post to go wide. 5 minutes later Albrighton has a goal chalked off for offside. A few minutes later Tielemans was denied a goal after a good save from the Chelsea goalkeeper Mendy.
Chelsea did make some chances, in fact they actually had more attempts on goal than Leicester but not many really troubled the Leicester goal. Timo Werner did find the back of the Leicester net, getting on the end of a Chelsea free kick but the flag was quickly raised as Werner had drifted into an offside position, which was confirmed by a VAR check.
With the game finishing 2-0 to Leicester it was a great result that put Leicester at the top of the Premier League. Without a doubt, Leicester were the better team, you can see the highlights here, and pretty much outplayed Chelsea all over the park. All of the Leicester team pretty much played well, but some standout performances were certainly Wesley Fofana at the back, who looks like a brilliant signing and certainly a future star, and Youri Tielemans, who took control of the centre of the park all match. For us though the man of the match performance has to go to James Maddison. He was involved in just about everything and was an attacking threat to Chelsea all game.
With the 3 points in the bag for Leicester City they now have a little time until the next match, the FA Cup 4th round tie against Brentford on Sunday. They can also enjoy at least 24 hours at the top of the table and fans will be sitting back today thinking, could they really win the league again this season? With the performance we saw against Chelsea we certainly saw no reason why Leicester can’t be challenging at the top come the end of the season. Lets see what happens next!