Chelsea were again punished for their lack of killer instinct as they were pegged back by Brendan Rodgers’ combative Leicester City side in Frank Lampard’s first home game as manager.
Chelsea frantically sought about unnerving Leicester’s backline in the early stages with Olivier Giroud ensuring the highly coveted Caglar Soyuncu received a rather rude awakening to life in the Premier League. Giroud’s movement and hold up play in and around the edge of the box created a couple of bright openings before Mason Mount pounced upon a Wilfred Ndidi error to open the scoring and seal a dream home debut for the academy graduate.
The romanticism of Mount’s maiden Chelsea strike was soon lost, however, in a cloud of complacency and wearied legs as Leicester adopted a cavalier approach to try and capitalise upon the gaping holes that were beginning to appear between Chelsea’s defence and midfield. With the majority of Lampard’s starting eleven having played near enough 120 minutes in Istanbul, there was an evident drop in intensity and Ndidi, who’d gifted Chelsea the opener, atoned for his mistake with a bullet header from James Maddison’s perfectly weighted corner. Chelsea’s substitutes did little to stem the flow of Leicester pressure, and by full time it would be the Blues who were most relieved to hear the final whistle as they faltered once more in their search for a first competitive victory under Lampard.
Kepa Arrizabalaga - 6
Nearly caught out by Leicester’s high press when in possession, but was otherwise untroubled. There is certainly something to be said about team’s over reliance on goal keeper’s in possession, with Adrian only yesterday falling victim to the same sort of complacency. It is at times an unnecessary risk that only really serves to slow play down and allow the opposition to regroup or even counter-press the team in possession.
Cesar Azpilicueta - 6
Rarely let James Madison get the wrong side of him, forcing the Englishman in field whilst also preventing the overlap. Azpilicueta also, somewhat surprisingly, spearheaded Chelsea’s imperious threat aerially completing six duels in total. His crossing was yet again a cause for concern, and he was far too easily beaten to the ball by Ndidi.
Andreas Christensen - 5
Runners began to peel off the back of the Dane in the second-half with harrowing flashbacks of the Blues’s capitulation at Old Trafford reemerging momentarily.
Kurt Zouma - 7
Read the game very effectively, crunching into tackles and mopping up loose balls when possession broke down.
Emerson - 6
A solid game from the full-back as he defended his flank well, cutting off the ball in behind as well as getting forward in support. With his deliveries from deep failing to find their man, Emerson needs to look at utilising the overlap more efficiently.
N'Golo Kante - 6
Ghosted through proceedings in the first-half, but having only recently returned from injury and with 120 minutes in mid week he looked a little off the pace as the game went on, and Maddison became increasingly more influential as a result.
Jorginho - 6.5
Unfazed in possession, his balls round the corner were expertly handled and laid off by Giroud. Probably the most competent of all Chelsea’s midfielders and yet he was replaced by Mateo Kovacic.
Pedro - 6
Having created the single most chances of any Premier League player last weekend the Spaniard’s game revolved around instigating counter-counter attacks, ensuring Leicester were unable to relive pressure before quickly mounting attacks through frenetic turn overs and incisive passing. Faded badly as Chelsea chased the game.
Mason Mount - 7.5
Pressed Ndidi into giving the ball away before showing great composure to finish into the bottom corner. Aside from his attacking output Mount also showed great desire and work rate to track back and break up play.
Christian Pulisic - 5
His link up play with Emerson will improve as the season goes on but with neither player able to read the others intentions it lead the American to produce a rather conservative display, which was made no better by Leicester’s conscious effort to crowd him off the ball.
Olivier Giroud - 6.5
Within two minutes Giroud had already created two golden opportunities for Mount and Pedro respectively, his first time lay offs were a crucial route to goal for the Blues. He dragged Leicester’s centre-halves all over the pitch, creating free space for runners in and around the area . He created three times as many chances as every other player on the pitch combined in the first-half. Received very little service in the second-half before being replaced.
Tammy Abraham – 5, tried to link play together but he lacked the same quality that Giroud possesses and Chelsea were unable to find a goal.
Mateo Kovacic – 5, he looked indecisive in possession and having turned the ball over he was repeatedly found guilty of taking a heavy touch or misplacing a pass.
Willian – 4, never has there been a more dismal cameo appearance. He misplaced more passes than he completed, and his set pieces were dreadful. With huge respect to all he has done for the club, it is beyond me how the Chelsea board haven’t cashed in on the Brazilian even in light of the club’s transfer ban.
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