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Champions League

Chelsea 2-1 Leicester: 5 talking points as Blues win to leapfrog Foxes in race for top four


Chelsea beat Leicester 2-1 to close in on securing a place in the top four and leave the Foxes’ Champions League hopes in serious risk.

The Blues – who were roared on by 8,000 fans – dominated the first-half, and had two Timo Werner goals ruled out and a strong penalty appeal turned down.

But they finally grabbed a deserved lead early in the second period as Antonio Rudiger bundled in from close range from a Ben Chilwell corner.

And after Werner was tripped in the box by Wesley Fofana Jorginho doubled the advantage from the spot.

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The visitors were given hope a quarter-of-an-hour from the end, however, when Kelechi Iheanacho took advantage of some slack Chelsea defending to finish.

But Chelsea got over the line to go third and get their revenge for the weekend’s FA Cup final defeat.

And now all eyes will turn to Liverpool to see if they can leapfrog Leicester into fourth by beating Burnley on Wednesday.

Here are five talking points from Stamford Bridge…

Blues close in on top four spot

Chelsea took a giant step towards a top four finish with victory tonight
Chelsea took a giant step towards a top four finish with victory tonight

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Following the disappointment of Saturday’s FA Cup final loss, Thomas Tuchel was insistent that tonight’s game was a more important one for his side.

And the German would have been delighted with his players’ response as they outclassed their opponents to move above them into third place in the table.

Tuchel’s main objective when he arrived in west London was to seal a Champions League qualification spot, and they are now in the driving seat to do so.

They now only need to beat out-of-form Aston Villa on the final day to do so – and may not even be required to do that if other results go their way.

There was no panic at the thought of their season crumbling around their eyes, and there could yet be the biggest prize of all in store when the Blues take on Manchester City in the Champions League final in ten days’ time.

This was a hugely significant victory, and the ease with which Chelsea went about their business is to be admired.

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Same old story for Werner

Tonight's game encapsulated the story of Timo Werner's season
Tonight’s game encapsulated the story of Timo Werner’s season

Look up the expression ‘down on your luck’ in the dictionary and you will find a picture of poor old Werner.

Yet again the Chelsea forward worked hard, showed moments of brilliance -particularly with a delightful touch to get away from two Leicester defenders in the first-half – and at some points ran the Foxes defence ragged.

But somehow once again he failed to score after first having a goal disallowed for offside (surprise, surprise) before the same result shortly afterwards for a handball.

He continued to persevere in the second-half, and his endeavour won his side a penalty to essentially kill the game off.

Nevertheless, Chelsea have a huge decision to make this summer about whether or not to keep the faith in Werner or splash out on a new striker or not.

The former RB Leipzig man has so much potential, and could well come good next season, while the Chelsea fans were audibly right behind him from the first whistle to the last.

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Yet with the likes of Harry Kane and Erling Haaland possibly on the market, the temptation may be to splash the cash on a proven prolific finisher instead, which could see Werner’s playing minutes limited.

Werner will be praying his club choose the former option, and will no doubt be determined to show he has what it takes to succeed at Stamford Bridge.

Foxes suffer Wembley hangover

Leicester were disappointing in their rematch against Chelsea
Leicester were disappointing in their rematch against Chelsea

Judging by tonight’s performance Leicester may have gone slightly overboard in celebrating their maiden FA Cup win on Saturday.

A win for Brendan Rodgers’ side at Stamford Bridge would have secured a top four finish, yet they just did not look at the races, and were thoroughly dominated and outclassed by Chelsea throughout the 90 minutes.

While in many senses it would be understandable if the players let their hair down in the aftermath of that Wembley glory, unfortunately it could result in them blowing a top four finish for a second season in a row, and after coming within touching distance of managing it they are now the underdogs to do so.

Leicester must now hope and pray that Burnley or Crystal Palace can do them a favour against Liverpool, because otherwise a great deal of the shine will be taken off their season.

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Kante a worry for Champions League final

N'Golo Kante had to be taken off in the first half
N’Golo Kante had to be taken off in the first half

Chelsea picked up an injury worry ahead of the Champions League final when N’Golo Kante had to hobble off to be replaced by Mateo Kovacic against his former side just after the half-an-hour mark.

It does not need to be said just how crucial the French midfielder is to the Blues, and he was instrumental in their progression past Real Madrid in the semi-finals of Europe’s elite competition earlier this month.

Thomas Tuchel and Blues fans will be desperately hoping the injury issue is nothing too serious, because their chances of winning a second Champions League title are certainly more likely with Kante in the side.

Blues fans in fine form

Eight thousand Chelsea fans returned to Stamford Bridge
Eight thousand Chelsea fans returned to Stamford Bridge

Chelsea’s supporters certainly appeared to enjoy their return to Stamford Bridge, and the crucial nature of the victory meant it was a thoroughly satisfactory night.

They started with a traditional song about hating Tottenham, before moving on to serenade Frank Lampard, who is clearly still adored despite the disappointing end to his managerial tenure.

And they even had time to poke some fun at the current unusual situation by deriding the lack of away supporters.

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From start to finish they got behind their team, and ultimately it helped them get over the line to seal the three points.





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