CHELSEA 2 LEICESTER 0 BY AYODELE ODUMADE Chelsea laid down a marker as title contenders, as they beat Leicester, with a five-star second half performance. But for the excellent Kasper Schmeichel, in goal for Leicester, it could have been more. In the early part of the game Chelsea dominated possession against Leicester as
CHELSEA 2 LEICESTER 0
BY AYODELE ODUMADE
Chelsea laid down a marker as title contenders, as they beat Leicester, with a five-star second half performance. But for the excellent Kasper Schmeichel, in goal for Leicester, it could have been more.
In the early part of the game Chelsea dominated possession against Leicester as was expected. However they were not uprooting any trees or doing much with the ball. Leicester’s strategy in their first away game back in the Premiership was clear – keep it tight at the back and hope to knick a goal.
Six minutes after the hour mark the first shot on target was registered surprisingly by the visitors Leicester. Riyad Mahrez turned two Chelsea players on the edge of the box and Thibaut Courtois, who was once again picked in goal ahead of Petr Cech, saved his shot.
Shortly after a pass from Branislav Ivanovic found Eden Hazard, who in turn found Diego Costa but Costa’s shot was deflected for a corner. The game remained scoreless at the break and Chelsea did not have a single shot on target.
You knew Chelsea would turn up in the second half. Straight after the break Oscar hit the post with a shot. Seconds later a cross game in from the right but Schmeichel saved Ivanovic’s header by tipping it round the post.
Courtois had to make a save with his foot one minute, the next he threw the ball to Oscar who found Andre Schurrle. However Schurrle’s shot was just wide of the post. You could not take your eyes off the game now. As it ebbed and flowed from end to end.
Ivanovic hit a shot from the edge of the Leicester box and Schmeichel dived to his right and tipped the ball round the post for another Chelsea corner. We had hardly got our breath back, when David Nuggent was played through from the centre circle and he bore down on the Chelsea goal. Courtois stood his ground and made a great save.
Just before the hour mark, Cesc Fabregas hit a shot cum cross but once again Schmeichel stood tall and made a save. The game was simply breathless but still needed a goal.
A minute later Fabregas tried to side foot a shot but it went straight into the hands of the Leicester keeper.
Chelsea took the lead in the 62nd minute. Ivanovic went past two Leicester defenders on the wing and passed the ball into the box, and it eventually found its way to goal poacher Costa, who side footed the ball into the net. The move was good but the goal itself was scrappy. Chelsea would not care how they go in so long as they win. Make that two in two for Costa. Now that is an instant return on a £32 million investment.
With a little over a quarter of the game left Chelsea put the game to rest. Eden Hazard cut in from the right and hit a low shot, which fizzed past Schmeichel.
As soon as the second goal went in Jose Mourinho brought Didier Drogba on for Costa and the Chelsea fans all rose in unison to give him a standing ovation.
Just before the end of the game, Willian picked up the ball in the centre circle and left a few Leicester players for dead with a burst of pace. Once again Schmeichel came to the rescue as he save his shot.
Leicester City gave good account of themselves and would rue the chance, which Nuggent missed when it was still scoreless. At this level teams like Leicester must take their chances as they are usually few and far between.
As for Chelsea at the end of last season Mourinho said they would not win the title in the first season back as manager. Now he has his own team. They will not be far from the coronation come May. Mourinho said after the first half “I told them the way we were playing was not good enough to win the game. In the second half we were too strong for them. I did not forget that when it was 0-0 they had one situation with Courtois. We have lots of work to do. You can never stop thinking that you cannot improve. It is important not to lose points at home and against teams that you have to beat.”