Chelsea gained some measure of revenge for their FA Cup final defeat by leapfrogging Leicester City into third spot with a 2-1 victory that puts Thomas Tuchel’s men firmly in the driving seat in the battle to finish in the Champions League places.
The hosts dominated throughout a one-sided first half but couldn’t find the breakthrough. Once again Kasper Schmeichel made some excellent saves while Timo Werner had two goals correctly disallowed for offside and handball respectively.
The German felt he should have had a penalty too, but referee Mike Dean gave a free kick the other way and it was not overruled by VAR despite there being clear contact from Wembley goal-hero, Youri Tielemans.
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Chelsea were highly frustrated but finally got the goal they deserved when Antonio Rudiger bundled in Ben Chilwell’s right-wing corner on 47 minutes.
The Blues then doubled their advantage past the hour when VAR worked in their favour with a penalty award for a trip on Werner that Jorginho confidently converted.
Leicester had barely threatened but grabbed a lifeline 14 minutes from time when substitute Kelechi Iheanacho coolly fired home after Chelsea were caught playing out from the back.
Tuchel’s side held on to move up to third place on 67 points with a game to play. Leicester are a point further back in fourth, but will be anxiously monitoring fifth-placed Liverpool’s result at Burnley on Wednesday. The Merseysiders are on 63 points but a win at Turf Moor would edge them above the Foxes on goal difference heading into the final Premier League fixtures on Sunday.
Chelsea make a significant step but it's nervy times for the Foxes. This top-four race could make for very interesting viewing come Sunday afternoon. With the title done and relegation sorted, it’s all about who can finish in the Champions League spots. If Liverpool do manage to win at Burnley, they will go into the weekend in fourth. There’s no guarantee Jurgen Klopp’s Reds will pick up the victory, but this result at Stamford Bridge means they will have a chance on the final day regardless.
Leicester finish by hosting sixth-placed Spurs, who can no longer make the top four. Liverpool are at home to Crystal Palace, while Chelsea head to Aston Villa knowing a win will guarantee them third spot. Leicester had a moment of history in the FA Cup final, but could yet face the déjà vu of missing out on the Champions League again after looking likely for much of the campaign. It's going to be a cracking finale and don't rule out more twists and turns just yet.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Mason Mount (Chelsea). The England man continues to shine as one of Chelsea’s brightest stars. He was the driving force throughout and would have had a goal to show for his efforts but for Schmeichel.
CHELSEA: Mendy 7, Rudiger 8, Silva 7, Azpilicueta 7, Chilwell 8, James 7, Jorginho 7, Kante 6, Mount 8, Pulisic 7, Werner 8. Subs: Kovacic 6, Zouma n/a, Giroud n/a.
LEICESTER CITY: Schmeichel 7, Fofana 7, Soyuncu 7, Castagne 6, Thomas 6, Albrighton 6, Ndidi 6, Tielemans 6, Maddison 5, Perez 6, Vardy 5. Subs: Iheanacho 7, Ricardo 6.
4’ – CHELSEA CHANCE! Werner spins in the midfield and surges through the middle. He lays it to the left of the area for Chilwell who drags a very god opportunity wide of the far post.
19’ – CHELSEA PENALTY APPEAL! Werner darts in front of Tielemans as he looks to clear. The Foxes man catches the German but the referee gives the free kick the other way. Werner insists it should be a spot kick. VAR checks - but there's nothing doing for Chelsea on this occasion. That was clear contact. Strange that VAR didn’t at least ask the official to look at that on the monitor.
44’ – CHELSEA CHANCE! Pulisic is denied at the near post by Schmeichel's boot after the American met Mount's pull back from the right. It was a sublime run from the England man to create the opening.
47’ - GOAL! – Chelsea 1-0 Leicester City. The home side finally have the breakthrough. Rudiger bundles home Chilwell’s right-wing corner from close range following a flick-on at the near post.
67’ - GOAL! – Chelsea 2-0 Leicester City. Jorginho doubles the advantage with a cool spot kick that outfoxes Schmeichel. The penalty was awarded after a VAR check on a trip on Werner.
76’ - GOAL! – Chelsea 2-1 Leicester City. Iheanacho sweeps in a first-time shot from Ndidi's pass after the Foxes midfielder had won the ball high up the pitch.
90+1’ – LEICESTER CITY CHANCE! Perez strides on to a low ball from the right but blazes his shot from 18 yards out over the bar.
Each of Antonio Rüdiger's last three Premier League goals have all come against Leicester City, accounting for 50% of his total goal tally in the competition (3/6).
Iheanacho is the first player in Premier League history to score a goal on all seven days of the week within a single season in the competition.
Of Jorginho's 13 Premier League goals, 11 have been penalties (85%), the highest such ratio by any player with 10+ goals in the competition's history.
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