Chelsea reasserted their championship credentials with a convincing 0-3 win over last seasons’ Premier League champions Leicester. It was a result that puts some daylight between Chelsea at the top of the table and the chasing pack – and was considerably impressive considering the week of drama provided by Diego Costa’s shenanigans.
Story of the First Half
Leicester haven’t been having a great season after the heroics of winning the league last time out, yet they have put in some impressive performances at the King Power Stadium, particularly in their 4-2 drubbing of Manchester City earlier in the season. The Foxes looked to take the game to Chelsea early on with Jamie Vardy and Ahmed Musa providing good movement and threatening Thibaut Courtois’s goal. The Blues were quick to crush Leicester’s early menace with a goal in the sixth minute from an unlikely source.
Cesar Azpilicueta provided an inviting cross that the Leicester defence was slow to deal with, the ball eventually falling to Eden Hazard, who provided a sumptuous touch for Marcos Alonso to lash into the back of the net. Claudio Ranieri’s team couldn’t reestablish their early threat and were unable to find an answer to the danger Chelsea provided with the movement of the front three of Hazard, Pedro and Willian. With Gary Cahill and David Luiz repelling any efforts to cause nuisance in the Chelsea box and Nemanja Matic and the returning N’Golo Kante bossing the midfield, Antonio Conte’s team went in at half time feeling in control of the game.
Second Half Authority
Chelsea’s dominance was rewarded just six minutes into the second half when a poor clearance fell invitingly to Alonso, who drove a low strike past keeper Kasper Schmeichel to record his third goal of the season. Alonso put in what is probably his best performance in a Chelsea shirt, earning a rating of 9.6 at Whoscored.com and almost becoming one of the few left-backs to score a hat-trick when he volleyed just inches wide of the goal a few minutes later. The third goal did come with around twenty minutes still to play when Willian found space and was able to loop a cross over Schmeichel that allowed Pedro to head into the abandoned goal. It was a convincing win and as well as ensuring The Blues keep their position at the top of the table, it should also help in guaranteeing Chelsea are not the worst ever Premier League champions for much longer.
Hull City are up next and after this result, Chelsea fans should be feeling confident of dispatching any team in the lower reaches of the Premier League. If you’re feeling particularly assured of Chelsea’s facility to win, you can visit site where SportsBet allows you to wager Bitcoins on a variety of possible results – including Chelsea to beat Hull 3-0 with odds of 134/25 at the time of writing. With fixtures against title rivals on the horizon, a couple of resounding victories are perfect preparation, but off-the-pitch issues could hinder Conte’s arrangements.
Although Chelsea provided the perfect response to the loss at White Hart Lane last time out, it seems that the black pages will be dominated by news of a possible £30 million-a-year move to China for Costa. That the Spaniard has had his head turned by an offer that would make him one of the highest-paid players in the world is understandable, but many will be mystified as to why a player would consider a move to Tianjin Quanjian when Chelsea are on the brink of another Premier League title. It appears that there is an opportunity for Costa to make an apology and rejoin his teammates before this disagreement becomes one of the all-time infamous manager-player bust-ups. That Chelsea were able to perform so well without their fourteen goal centre-forward is testament to the depth of quality Conte has available for selection, but sterner tests await and a revolvement of the Costa situation would be good news for all concerned.