CHELSEA 1-1 LEICESTER CITY: Chelsea’s prospective new owner Todd Boehly was present to watch the Blues welcome an inconsistent Leicester City side to Stamford Bridge with little to play for
Chelsea came from behind to draw 1-1 with Leicester CIty despite being the dominant side for the bulk of the game.
The Blues welcomed the Foxes to Stamford Bridge for a contest that had very little on the line for either side in West London.
Chelsea ’s place inside the top four was secured long before kick-off thanks to Arsenal ’s disastrous defeat away at Newcastle United on Monday night, while Leicester languished as low as ninth going into the game.
James Maddison fired the visitors in front inside the opening 10 minutes when he lashed a fierce-right footed effort beyond Edouard Mendy after some dismal defending from both Marcos Alonso and Antonio Rudiger.
Reece James has been a miss for the Blues at times this term and his eighth assist of the season showed why – the right-back finding Alonso with a delightful chipped through ball before the Spaniard volleyed home to level things at 1-1.
Chelsea would have been desperate to bounce back from last weekend’s FA Cup final heartache but failed to find a breakthrough to secure all three points.
Mirror Football has analysed five talking points from Chelsea’s penultimate clash of the season at home to Leicester.
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Potentially distracted by some well-documented off-field ongoings, Jamie Vardy was a peripheral figure for the majority of this contest.
The Foxes forward barely got very little joy out of the Chelsea backline and in truth was starved of service for much of the game.
Vardy has endured an injury-hit campaign this season, particularly since the turn of the calendar year and tonight marked one of his quietest displays.
It was a similar story for Lukaku, who saw another game pass him by where his most meaningful contribution came in the form of a glaring header he missed just after the hour mark.
The former Inter Milan has had a nightmare return to the club this season with the 29-year-old being nowhere near as prolific as the Blues would have hoped.
This contest was not one for the forwards and both Vardy and Lukaku were hooked off by their managers at the same time with just over 10 minutes to play.
Alonso’s mixed night
The Blues were up against it from the beginning thanks to a lapse in concentration from Alonso after the Spaniard switched off while dealing with Kasper Schmeichel’s cross-field pass.
Alonso appeared as if he thought either the ball was going out of play or that Rudiger would deal with, but his pause allowed Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall to spring into life and latch onto the loose ball.
His pass deflected off of Rudiger and into the path of Maddison, who made no mistake with a stellar strike from the edge of the box.
Alonso has been touted with a move away from the club in the summer, with FC Barcelona rumoured to keen on securing his signature – but the left-back has been a key part of a Chelsea backline in miserable form, notably at home – the Blues have conceded 10 goals at the Bridge in their last four league games.
However, for every error Alonso also has a moment like his goal in the armoury. The defender latched on to an impressive lobbed pass from Reece James and met it with a sweet left-footed volley to beat Schmeichel at his near post.
The goal meant Chelsea’s record of not trailing at half-time for any league game this season remained in tact, with just one more to go on Sunday.
62 games and counting for Chelsea
Much has been made of the amount of games Liverpool have played this season as they remain in the running for an unprecedented quadruple, but Chelsea’s clash with the Foxes on Thursday evening marked their 62nd game of what has been a long and tiring season for the Blues.
Thomas Tuchel’s men have reached the final of both domestic cup competitions, only to lose both in heart-breaking fashion via two penalty shoot-out defeats.
They also contested the Club World Cup and arguably as a result have seen their Premier League form dip at times. At stages of this game, certain players did show signs of fatigue – which is understandable given the workload this term.
The likes of Christian Pulisic and Lukaku found it difficult to make their mark and looked way off the pace from the opening exchanges. The former missed a huge chance to put Chelsea in front when he fired wide unmarked from about eight yards out.
A 63rd game is in store for these tired Chelsea stars as they welcome already relegated Watford to Stamford Bridge on Sunday.
Fofana’s recovery continues
Making just his sixth appearance of the season after missing seven months of the campaign with a serious injury, Fofana showed little sign of any rust against a Chelsea side boasting plenty of attacking talent.
Fofana enjoyed one of his busier evenings as Maddison’s early goal appeared to spark the hosts into life and Chelsea spent much of the game playing their football inside Leicester’s defensive third.
The Blues fired eight shots at Leicester’s goal inside the opening 30 minutes, while Leicester mustered up just one – but the most important one, giving them the lead.
Despite the Belgian’s woeful form this term, dealing with Romelu Lukaku is no easy feat for any defender – particularly one as young and relatively inexperienced as Fofana, yet he nullified the £98million man well.
In periods where Leicester could enjoy some possession of their own, it was Fofana looking to build attacks out from the back and relieve some of the pressure his teammates were being subjected to.
Alonso’s goal robbed Fofana of a well-deserved clean sheet before the interval, but his lengthy spell on the side-lines this season goes some way to explaining Leicester’s miserable record of one away clean sheet in the league all season.
Todd Boehly’s attendance
After an incredibly challenging few months for everyone associated with the Blues, the sight of American businessman Todd Boehly in the stadium would have been one greeted with a sigh of relief by Chelsea fans everywhere.
Boehly watched on from the plush executive seats as Chelsea fought tirelessly to break the Foxes down to no avail.
A consortium spearheaded by Boehly are the new prospective owners of Chelsea as they wait on approval from the Premier League and Blues fans can expect the Los Angeles Dodgers chief to be an active presence at Stamford Bridge in the near future.
Roman Abramovich’s reign was an illustrious one and throughout his time as owner the Russian oligarch was a regular fixture at games until government ruling ensured otherwise. It was part of what ensured his relationship with the fanbase was as strong as it was until the very end.
If the American can strike up a similar kind of rapport with the Chelsea faithful, it could be the start of Boehly restoring the kind of feel-good factor that has been missing since Abramovich was first sanctioned back in early March.