N’Golo Kante returned to the King Power to inflict a third Premier League defeat of the season on Craig Shakespeare’s Leicester City as Chelsea picked up their second successive 2-1 away victory.
In a week where all of the media interest and scrutiny surrounded wantaway striker Diego Costa’s seemingly imminent departure from Stamford Bridge, his former team mates picked up a positive result at the home of the 2015-16 champions.
Early Morata brilliance sets tone
It was a cagey start at the King Power, with both teams looking comfortable in possession. Alvaro Morata posed the most problems for the home defence early – twice being denied by two Wes Morgan blocks.
It was third time lucky for the Spaniard, though, who got the better of Morgan aerially as he latched on to Cesar Azpilicueta’s pinpoint ball in the 39th minute to give the visitors the lead. That seemed to affect Leicester, who looked rocky before half-time and despite Craig Shakespeare making two tactical changes (removing Albrighton and Slimani for King and Gray), they were slow out of the traps for the second half, which ultimately cost them the game.
Respectful showing from former Fox
Whilst Danny Drinkwater bore the brunt of the home fans’ frustrations following his move from Leicester to Chelsea on deadline day, it was another former Fox who proved to be the match winner. N’Golo Kante was given too much space by the Leicester defence on the 50th minute and was able to arrow a low strike past Kasper Schmeichel – who will feel he could have done better. Kante refused to celebrate against his former employers, which will endear the two-time Premier League winner to the Leicester faithful even more.
Following that goal, Chelsea seemed to take their eye off the ball a little and allowed Leicester to get back into the game. Riyad Mahrez was afforded more time and space and his direct style of play seemed to trouble Chelsea’s defence – and, in the 62nd minute, they were offered a lifeline. Thibaut Courtois’s reckless challenge on Jamie Vardy left Lee Mason with no option but to point to the spot. Vardy dusted himself off to confidently dispatch his third goal of the campaign.
Chelsea regained control of the game from that moment on and substitutes Willian and debutant Davide Zappacosta came close to putting the game to bed. Eden Hazard’s return to Premier League action was also a huge positive for Conte’s blues and he could be integral to their success this season.
Despite being willed on by their home fans, Leicester couldn’t put the champions under any real pressure in the later stages and Chelsea head in to their Champions League tie with FK Qarabag on Tuesday full of confidence – whilst Leicester will be looking to pick up their first away points of the season against Huddersfield next Saturday.