Morata and Kante cull the Foxes
Alvaro Morata and N’Golo Kante scored the goals that gave Chelsea three vital points as they defeated spiky but uninspiring Leicester City 2-1 at the King Power Stadium this afternoon.
Morata’s skilfully placed header on 19 minutes and a smooth low drive by Kante five minutes after the restart put Leicester to the sword.
But a spot-kick by Jamie Vardy on 61 minutes put life into the home side but the Premier League champions had too much power and guile.
First chance for the Blues came in the first minute when a lung-bursting run by Tiemoue Bakayoko. he fed the ball to Alvaro Morata, who took a touch and sent a goal-bound daisy-cutter straight into the gleeful path of goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel.
Fabregas almost saw his flicked touch on nine minutes from a marcos Alonso byline cross arrow into the net but after beating Schmeichel, Wes Morgan was on hand to hack the ball clear.
A snatched half-chance by Jaime Vardy was the home side’s first real effort on goal on 25. Minutes after Ricardo Mahrez sent the England forward free. The effort, thankfully for the Blues went inches wide of Thibaut Courtois’s right post.
Leicester had a brilliant counter-attack on 39 minutes when N’Golo lost the ball outside the Foxes penalty area. Mahrez ran the length of the pitch, and with Islam Slimani over-lapping him was given the ball. Courtois the produced a fine save to parry it away. Thirty seconds later and the visitors took the lead through the head of Alvaro Morata who finished off superbly from close range after an inch-perfect Cesar Azpilicueta defeat cross.
Craig Shakespeare made Tesco half-time changes, Demarai Gray and Andy King on four Marc Albrighton and Islam Slimani. Antonio Conte kept the same 11.
But within five minutes of the restart the league champions had doubled the lead. A simple pass to Kante saw the former Fox try his luck from long range. Incredibly the low drive beat the defence and the despairing dive by Schmeichel and nestled into corner of the goalkeeper’s net.
N’Golo respectfully failed to celebrate.
But on the hour Courtois gifted Leicester City a penalty by needlessly upending Jaime Vardy after Fabregas gave a dangerous backpass. The striker made no mistake from the spot kick to thump it home.
Conte then substituted Pedro for Willian.
Davide Zappacosta then came on with 17 minutes left on the clock for Victor Moses.
It was the Italian’s debut after signing in the transfer window from Roma, £23million.
He was quickly followed by Eden Hazard for Fabregas.
Zappacosta almost struck the third with his first meaningful touch on 80 minutes but his angled effort screamed across the goal but inched wide.
Chelsea had a worthy shout for a penalty when Alonso’s deep cross was headed towards goal by Morata. Harry Maguire had his arm outstretched and the ball hit it. Referee Lee Mason ignored the pleas.
Willian should have made it three deep into added time, but Schmeichel snaffled the fierce drive.
A late rally by the home side, gave the 3,000 travelling Chelsea fans a few heart-stopping moments.
Next up it’s return to the Champions League on Tuesday when the Blues face Qarabag at Stamford Bridge.
Team: Chelsea: Courtois, Rudiger, Alonso, Fabregas, Kante, Morata, Pedro, Bakayoko, Moses, Azpilicueta, Luiz
Caballero, Drinkwater, Hazard, Zappacosta, Willian, Batshuayi, Christensen
Leicester City: Schmeichel, Simpson, Morgan, Vardy, Albrighthon, Maguire, Slimani, James, Ndidi, Mahrez, Fuchs
Subs: Chilwell, Gray, Iheanacho, King, Hamer, Amartey, Ulloa,