Chelsea vs Leicester City 18/5/21 – Full Match Report

Revenge is sweet – Blues power past Leicester just days after FA Cup defeat.


Pre-game:

Just three days after Saturday’s FA Cup final defeat to Leicester, Chelsea were back in action against the Foxes again, as the Blues welcomed Brendan Rodgers side to Stamford Bridge on Tuesday evening.


The London club were hoping to seek revenge against Leicester, with the fixture being seen as a ‘must win game’ in order for Chelsea to secure a top four finish. The clash was of similar value for the visitors, with a victory being enough for the Foxes to finalise their place in the top four ahead of Sunday’s final game.


In addition to tasting victory in the first game of the double-header of fixtures, Leicester also have an impressive recent record against Chelsea. The Foxes are unbeaten in their last six Premier League games against the London club, whilst also avoiding defeat in their last three trips to Stamford Bridge. Brendan Rodgers side will be looking to emulate Arsenal, by securing their first league double over Chelsea in 20 years.


Ahead of the game, Thomas Tuchel made three changes to the Chelsea side that started in Saturday’s defeat, with Édouard Mendy, Ben Chilwell and Christian Pulisic all returning to the starting eleven.

Similarly, Brendan Rodgers made two changes to his winning Leicester side, with Marc Albrighton and James Maddison being rotated into the team for the injured Jonny Evans and Kelechi Iheanacho.


First half:

To the relief of many, it was a breath of fresh air to see fans welcomed back to stadiums as both teams were welcomed with a roar from the crowd. It cannot be emphasised how crucial a victory was for Chelsea’s season, and they needed every bit of help from their ‘12th man’ throughout the game.


Saying that, it seemed as if the boost of the crowd had put an extra spring in Chelsea’s step as they started the game on the front foot. There were early attempts from Ben Chilwell, Reece James, N’Golo Kanté and Christian Pulisic – with the Blues looking to ensure they got the job done.


On the 18th minute, Chelsea and Timo Werner were controversially denied a penalty as the German was kicked in the penalty area by Youri Tielemans. Instead, Leicester was awarded a free kick, with Mike Dean’s decision also being supported by VAR.

Tuchel’s side looked the sharper of the two in the opening 20 minutes, with the game being mostly one way traffic. The Blues were almost rewarded for their efforts as Timo Werner found the back of the net, but once again he was penalised as the linesman flag was raised for offside.


Leicester’s first ‘half’ chance didn’t arrive until the 25th minute, as Jamie Vardy’s improvised effort from a corner sailed over the crossbar.


However, there was chances galore in the first half for the hosts as Mason Mount was denied by Kasper Schmeichel, just as he was on Saturday.


On the 34th minute, Timo Werner had the ball in the back of the net again as he turned in a corner at the back post. However, luck just wasn’t on the German’s side, as VAR cancelled the goal and penalised the striker for handball.

The Blues later had attempts through Mason Mount and Christian Pulisic, yet failed to make a breakthrough in a dramatic first half at Stamford Bridge.

Second half:

Having now not scored in five straight halves of football, Chelsea needed to take their opportunities if they were to leave Stamford Bridge with all three points.


On the 47th minute, the Blues did exactly that as Antonio Rüdiger converted a corner with his thigh to launch Chelsea ahead. The German was in the right place at the right time, as Jamie Vardy’s headed clearance went horribly wrong, and fell perfectly for the defender who was available at the back post.

Rüdiger has been in inspired form since Thomas Tuchel’s appointment and wasn’t shy in showing off his skills, as he attempted to move forward and take on the Leicester players in search for a second.


On the 63rd minute, a searching ball from substitute Mateo Kovačić found the surging run of Timo Werner, but the German saw his attempt on goal comfortably saved by Leicester’s Danish shot stopper.


Minutes later, Timo Werner was fouled by Wesley Fofana with the decision initially given on the edge of the penalty area. However, the involvement of VAR highlighted that the foul actually took place inside the penalty area – with Jorginho sent to the penalty spot to double Chelsea’s lead.


With a hop, skip and a jump – the Italian coolly passed the ball beyond Schmeichel to give Chelsea a two-goal cushion with 25 minutes left on the clock.

Having just been substituted on, Leicester was relying on their inform striker Kelechi Iheanacho to give them a lifeline back into the game. The Nigerian striker looked lively coming off the bench, yet dragged a shot wide on the 75th minute.


From the goal kick, Chelsea looked to play the ball out from the back. However, Mateo Kovačić was caught in possession by Wildfred Ndidi, who found Iheanacho clean through on goal. The Leicester striker made no mistake in his conversion, with the visitors back in the game with 15 minutes left to play.


There were later chances for Werner, Iheanacho and Pulisic, with the best falling for Ayoze Pérez in the final remaining minutes of regular time.


Full back Ricardo Pereira did brilliantly on the right-hand side, before teasing a low, driven ball across the penalty area. The cross evaded everybody but Pérez, who had a chance on a plate just inside the penalty area – but the Spaniard failed to even hit the target.


As the gamed rolled into stoppage team, a brawl broke out between the teams with all players, benches and coaches involved. Despite there being five minutes added on, the game continued to the 98th minute – with Chelsea eventually hanging on to three vital points.

After the whistle:

A game full of drama and entertainment in South-West London, which almost had the feel of the ‘battle of the Bridge’ game back in 2016.


Thomas Tuchel’s side must be given credit as they rose to the occasion and bounced back from consecutive 1-0 defeats to earn three, valuable points. For Leicester, the Foxes looked lacklustre, and failed to create chances against what was a determined Chelsea defence.

With a top four finish back in Chelsea’s hands and out of Leicester’s, it is shaping up to be a blockbuster final game of the season. On Sunday, Chelsea will look to confirm their Champions League spot for next season as they take on Aston Villa at Villa Park, whilst Leicester host Ryan Mason’s Tottenham at the King Power Stadium.


Final score:

Chelsea 2-1 Leicester City.

- Rüdiger (47’).

- Jorginho (66’ pen).

- Iheanacho (76’).


BBC Sports player of the match:

Timo Werner (Chelsea).


Line-ups:

Chelsea (3-4-2-1): Mendy; James, Silva, Rüdiger; Azpilicueta © (88’), Kanté (32’), Jorginho, Chilwell; Pulisic, Mount; Werner (90+1’).

- Subs: Kovačić (32’), Zouma (88’), Giroud (90+1’).


Leicester City (3-4-2-1): Schmeichel ©, Castagne, Fofana, Söyüncü; Albrighton (67’), Tielemans, Ndidi, Thomas; Pérez, Maddison (60’); Vardy.

- Subs: Iheanacho (60’), Pereira (67’).


Referee:

Mike Dean.


Possession:

Chelsea (59%) vs Leicester City (41%).


Shots:

Chelsea (17) vs Leicester City (7).

Shots on target:

Chelsea (6) vs Leicester City (3).

Corners:

Chelsea (6) vs Leicester City (5).

Fouls:

Chelsea (15) vs Leicester City (16).

- (credit | BBC Sport).


Match highlights:

- (credit |).

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Written by Ryan Bellenie (@BellenieSport).

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