LEICESTER, England — Chelsea deepened Leicester City’s relegation fears and turned up the pressure on Foxes boss Brendan Rodgers with a comfortable 3-1 win at the Premier League’s King Power Stadium on Saturday.
goals of ben chilwell, Kai Havertz and matthew kovacic — patson daka had equalized for Leicester in the first half, it sealed Chelsea’s third win in a week to extend their renaissance. And with Leicester falling to two places above the relegation zone, his day was made worse by the defender. what do you do being sent off for two yellow cards late in the second half.
1. Chelsea coming out of her slump and starting to click
Graham Potter has been driven to the depths of despair during his brief reign as Chelsea manager, but this victory at Leicester suggested that he and his team may finally be coming out of their months-long nightmare. The Blues have now won three games in the space of a week, and qualified for the Champions League quarter-final, after winning just one of their previous 11 games.
The dominance of their King Power win was underscored by also having two goals disallowed for offside against the struggling home team.
With Potter once again able to field his favored 3-5-2 formation, Chelsea looked in control from the start, and they took the lead on 11 minutes when Chilwell hit a left-footed volley to score against his former club. Leicester responded well and had their chances, equalizing through a 39th-minute goal from Daka, but regained control when Kai Havertz made it 2-1 with a high goal four minutes into first-half stoppage time.
That goal allowed the visitors to dictate the game even more, and their millionaire signing began to shine. Loanee Joao Félix was solid in the first half before being pulled at half-time, and Enzo Fernandez and Mykhailo Mudryk both impressed before Kovacic made it 3-1 in the 78th minute.
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Chelsea had been so poor during their woeful mid-winter run that Potter seemed to be on borrowed time as manager, but perhaps the board’s patience in the former Brighton & Hove Albion boss is now paying off.
There were clear signs of progress and of a team coming together in this victory. A top-four finish seems beyond them, but if they can capitalize on their renaissance, a top-seven finish and perhaps even a run to the Champions League final could still be on the cards.
2. Rodgers feels the heat as Leicester heads into relegation
Rodgers was the subject of chants of “We want Rodgers out” as Leicester fell to their 16th Premier League defeat this season, a loss that leaves them just one point clear of the bottom three. All managers know that their grip on a job is only truly strengthened or weakened by results, but when supporters start to change, it usually hastens the beginning of the end.
Rodgers knows this better than most, having been a top-flight manager for over a decade, but the former Liverpool and Celtic boss has undoubtedly been forced to work under difficult circumstances at King Power in recent seasons. . He has seen star players like harry maguire, kasper schmeichel and Wesley Fofana they all leave without being properly replaced, and the lack of new signings last summer has led to problems this season.
Despite winning Leicester’s first FA Cup in 2021, Rodgers has apparently lost credit with the club’s fans, who now fear relegation to the Championship.
Rodgers said before this game that keeping Leicester on their feet this season would be one of the greatest achievements of his career, so he clearly feels he’s been up against that this season. However, having been in charge for four years, Rodgers will also know that he is running out of time to extend that tenure for a fifth year.
3. Maddison crucial to Foxes’ hopes of survival
The King Power Stadium held its breath when james madison he fell to the ground following a late challenge from Fernández in the 58th minute. With the Leicester midfielder clutching his foot in agony, the prospect of serious injury would have been highly detrimental to his club’s prospects of survival.
In the end, the 26-year-old was able to return to action, despite still clearly worrying about injury.
However, Leicester are now in such a dangerous situation on the wrong end of the table that they need Maddison on the field, even if he is not 100 per cent. He is their best player by some distance and the only one capable of creating the chances to score the goals Leicester desperately need to score.
At times against Chelsea it was like watching a lead fiddler trying to jam with a local band in a garage, with Maddison too often on a different wavelength than his teammates. Despite an injury-plagued season, he managed nine goals in 19 Premier League games and registered five assists, so his importance to Rodgers’ team is obvious.
If Maddison can help keep Leicester on top, it will probably be his final contribution to the club, with a move to bigger and better things seemingly only a matter of time for the England man.
Best and worst performers
BEST: Kai Havertz, Chelsea. The Chelsea striker was at his best at the King Power. Great pass and movement, but he also scored with a spectacular lob to restore his team’s lead.
BEST: James Maddison, Leicester City. Leicester need Maddison to stay fit if they are to avoid relegation. He sticks out a mile as the best player on the team.
BEST: Enzo Fernandez, Chelsea. The Premier League’s most expensive player is growing into his role at Chelsea and dominated the midfield alongside Kovacic. However, he was lucky to avoid a serious foul booking on Maddison.
WORST: harry souttarLeicester City. The Leicester defender was lucky to escape a yellow card, or worse, for a crude late challenge on Mudryk in the second half. Too cumbersome as a center midfielder in the Premier League.
WORST: Wout Faes, Leicester City. Not only does he resemble former Chelsea defender David Luiz, but he also has the same reckless defensive mindset as the Brazilian. Sent off for two yellow cards, with his second foul — in Carney Chukwuemeka — worthy of a red card on its own.
WORST: ricardo pereiraLeicester City. Booked for a bad challenge on Fernández, but escaped punishment for an even worse foul on Félix early in the game.
Highlights and Highlights
He’s saying something that it’s hard to say which was more impressive: Fernandez’s fly ball or Havertz’s first high shot. Two beautiful samples of technique.
Kai Havertz? Cooler than the other side of the pillow.
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After the game: what the players/coaches had to say
Potter: “It’s been a really positive week for us. Three wins – a decisive win against Leeds, an important win against Dortmund in the Champions League and then backing it up with a win here away from home in the Premier League says a lot about the developing the spirit, developing the unity we have at the club”.
Rogers: “I thought it was very hard on the players at the end… What encouraged me a lot is the spirit of the team, they kept fighting, they kept working and I think we were unlucky to lose the way we did.” “
Key statistics (provided by ESPN Stats & Information research)
– Chelsea have now scored multiple goals in consecutive games for the first time since a five-game spell between October 1-16.
– Chelsea broke a run of 24 games without scoring three or more goals in any competition.
Until next time
Leicester City: The Foxes will travel to West London in a week when they take on Brentford for a Premier League clash on Saturday afternoon.
Chelsea: Chelsea will return to the comfort of home at Stamford Bridge on Saturday when they host Everton in the Premier League.