Leicester City moved top of the Premier League table by comfortably beating Chelsea 2-0 at the King Power Stadium.
The home side were excellent in the first half and took advantage of some woeful Chelsea defending to establish a lead. Wilfred Ndidi hammered in the first after good work from a short corner, before James Maddison sneaked in behind the Chelsea defence to double the advantage four minutes before half-time.
The visitors struggled to get any kind of foothold in the game and Leicester came close to adding another goal when James Justin and Youri Tielemans missed clear chances to extend the lead.
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The defeat is Chelsea’s fourth in their last five away matches and will only increase the pressure on manager Frank Lampard.
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Where can Leicester go in the second half of 2020-21? On New Years’ Day last season Leicester were second in the league behind the eventual, runaway champions Liverpool. There followed an agonising slump from that lofty position, either side of the suspension of football due to the coronavirus, and they finished fifth when a top-four finish had looked likely at the turn of the year.
Their last 17 matches saw them win four, draw five and lose eight to secure a season of Thursday night European football rather than the optimal Champions League variety. Since then, Brendan Rodgers has bolstered his defence with the signings of Timothy Castagne and Wesley Fofana as well as bringing in a useful attacking option from the bench in Cengiz Under. With two rising stars in Harvey Barnes and James Maddison, and Jamie Vardy still impervious to age, a repeat slump this season seems unlikely right now.
Given their recent history, Leicester have earned the right to dream even bigger than merely securing Champions League football. Rodgers went close to the title with Liverpool and has assembled a seriously impressive team here. If there are no injuries in key positions, and with the Premier League looking likely to be won with a similar points total to their incredible season in 2015-16, they could still be right in the argument for the title when Spring comes around.
Wilfried Ndidi celebrates scoring for Leicester against Chelsea
Image credit: Getty Images
MAN OF THE MATCH – James Maddison (Leicester City)
While Chelsea are struggling to balance their attack and midfield, Maddison is a telling presence in both areas for Leicester. His eye for the quick release and ability to drive forward with the ball when the pass isn’t on are key parts of his game, and he took his goal calmly to ensure all three points for his team.
Leicester City (4-2-3-1): Schmeichel 6; Castagne 7, Fofana 7, Evans 6, Justin 6; Ndidi 7, Tielemans 6; Albrighton 6, Maddison 8, Barnes 7; Vardy 6
SUBS: Perez 6, Ricardo 6, Iheanacho 6
Chelsea (4-3-3): Mendy 6; James 5, Rudiger 5, Silva 6, Chilwell 6; Kovacic 5, Mount 7, Havertz 5; Pulisic 7, Abraham 6, Hudson-Odoi 6
SUBS: Werner 6, Ziyech 6
6’ GOAL! Leicester City 1 (Ndidi 6) Chelsea 0 From a corner following the free kick, Maddison and Albrighton work a short one. Albrighton cuts it back to Barnes, who air shots; behind him on the edge is Ndidi, who absolutely smashes in a shot off Mendy's right hand post to put Leicester ahead!
38’ SO CLOSE TO A PENALTY! Mount bursts into life, playing a quick one-two and then poking a ball through to Pulisic right on the edge of the area. He goes past Evans who brings him down. VAR reviews it - this is so close - and what was originally given as a penalty is now a free kick to Chelsea.
41’ GOAL! Leicester City 2 (Maddison 41) Chelsea 0 Leicester are two up! Chelsea cough the ball up in midfield and Albrighton chips a simple ball to Vardy in the edge of the area. Rudiger comes in to challenge him and the ball sails over both; behind them Maddison sneaks in behind James, and calmly sidefoots the ball into the net.
49’ WHAT A CHANCE! Leicester should be home and hosed. They work it to the right and back to Albrighton; his cross finds Justin completely unmarked at the back post, but he can only head the ball down and into the side-netting. He should have hit the target at the very least.
57’ WHAT A CHANCE! Leicester slice Chelsea open on the break here. Maddison finds Vardy, who then slides in Tielemans, clean through on the left of the area. Tielemans delays his shot slightly before shooting across Mendy, who pulls off a fine save with his outstretched foot. This really should be over.
- Leicester have won all ten games in which they’ve scored first this season.
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