N’Golo Kanté’s stunner helps seal Chelsea’s comfortable trip to Leicester

Chelsea extended their lead at the top of the Premier League in the day’s early kick-off with a straightforward victory over a Leicester City side who seem to have lost their way this season.

This was the European champions’ fourth successive away win without conceding a goal, their best such run since 2008, as goals from Antonio Rüdiger, N’Golo Kanté and Christian Pulisic sent them six points clear, at least for a few hours.

Brendan Rodgers may have attempted to match up Chelsea’s 3-4-3 shape but it only served to embed the existing trends: Leicester’s atrocious home record and the league leaders’ superb away form.

Two goals to the good by half-time, Thomas Tuchel’s table toppers dominated possession in the opening 45 minutes (70% at that stage) without undue difficulty while Leicester did not muster so much as a shot until the 63rd minute.

While Chelsea have lost only two of 21 away games in all competitions under Tuchel, no Premier League team have suffered as many as Leicester’s 12 home defeats since the start of last season.

If Leicester fans thought that booing Ben Chilwell for the manner of his departure to Chelsea would boost their team’s chances, they were soon disappointed.

The England left-back had already raced in behind Marc Albrighton on to Jorginho’s quick free-kick, taken a neat touch and struck a shot against the top of the crossbar before he made the opening goal in the 14th minute.

Christian Pulisic (centre) celebrates scoring Chelsea’s third goal on a dismal afternoon for Leicester’s defence.
Christian Pulisic (centre) celebrates scoring Chelsea’s third goal on a dismal afternoon for Leicester’s defence. Photograph: Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images

This was Chilwell’s first game back in front of a crowd at the King Power Stadium since his £50m switch and he was leaping high on to the celebratory huddle after his corner was flicked home by Antonio Rüdiger in the 14th minute. “Ben Chilwell’s won the European Cup” sang the Chelsea fans to the home contingent.

N’Golo Kanté, much more appreciated by Leicester followers for his role in their title triumph five years ago, nearly made it 2-0 three minutes later, running clean through the middle only for Kasper Schmeichel to save his attempted lob.

Ademola Lookman had a volley correctly ruled out for offside, after he turned in Albrighton’s cross, before Chelsea’s dominance was rewarded.

If Boubakary Soumaré’s role was to keep Kanté quiet, then he might have wanted to get closer than he did in the 28th minute when his man ran off the back of him from a throw-in, proceeded goalwards without anyone coming out and then let fly with a left-footed shot from the edge of the penalty area right into the corner of Schmeichel’s goal.

Leicester were better for the third quarter of the game, after James Maddison and Kelechi Iheanacho came on at the break and played slightly narrower, but then Tuchel introduced a pair of substitutes and they promptly combined for the goal that killed the game.

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Hakim Ziyech, sent scampering down the right channel by Trevor Chalobah, checked back inside Caglar Soyuncu and passed just behind Jonny Evans for Christian Pulisic to show neat control and pass in from close range. Both Leicester centre-halves were made to look cumbersome.

Callum Hudson-Odoi, Pulisic and the excellent Reece James all had further efforts ruled out for offside while at least, at the other end, Édouard Mendy stretched himself to make acrobatic saves from Daniel Amartey and Maddison.

source: theguardian.com