Chelsea have gone thirteen points clear at the top of the table after an impressive 3-1 victory away at Leicester City which means one more victory will see them crowned Premier League champions.
Chelsea started slowly with the home side taking the initiative early on, despite not creating any clear chances. There were brief moments of danger in the first quarter-of-an-hour when Leicester City appeared to set their sight on goal but were let down by the first touches of their forwards.
The champions-elect first opening came on fifteen minutes and did so courtesy of a quick sprint with the ball from Willian who, with the on-running Ramires slightly too far ahead- pulled it back to Drogba whose mishit troubled nobody. It was sign that Chelsea were getting into the rhythm, however, and sight on goal came just a minute later when, from more orthodox approach play, Fabregas made a brilliant pass through the centre of the home defence, lobbing the ball over the heads of everyone to Ramires whose cut back reached no one in Chelsea colours.
The general play from Chelsea began to improve but the home side were still a threat, particularly from the wings- on a number of occasions John Terry had to hook the ball away from the near pot area when crosses threatened the goal. For their part, Leicester were quick to get players behind the ball when Chelsea were attacking. Fabregas and Hazard, Chelsea’s two main sources of creativity this season, found it hard to find space for their team mates even if their individual play was fine. A scrap in the penalty area followed Konchesky fashioning an attempt on goal from a deep cross on the right which Cech was able to make the save if not turn it around the post, but Leicester did take the lead a few moments later when Azpilicueta slipped and failed to clear a pass into the box from the left hand side which gave Mark Albrighton the easy task of passing the ball into the left hand corner.
It was a goal that Chelsea deserved to concede, such was their sloppy football in the first half. The team appeared too static and the moments of improvement were sporadic and never threatening. When the second half began, the deficit vanished within three minutes when a rejuvenated Chelsea played with far greater intent and drive. It was Drogba who got the Blues level, collecting a cut back from Ivanovic and bringing back memories of years gone by when he finished coolly into the same corner of the goal that Chelsea had conceded in at the end of the first period. That preceded a flurry of chances that they did not take, one from the old Ivorian, who found himself in a better position than he did when he scored but shot over, and another when Fabregas couldn’t quite connect to a brilliant run and cross from Willian which he probably didn’t expect to reach him.
Following that the game fell into a pattern of both sides taking it in turns venture forward in search of a third goal. To their credit Leicester did not sit back in search of a valuable draw in their struggle against relegation. Having won their previous four games their were confident to keep up the pressure that served them so well in the first half, but their wanderings into the Chelsea penalty area didn’t threaten the away side a great deal. Willian had a shot that curled over the bar, and it was the Brazil international who was one of Chelsea’s most threatening players as he often ran from one penalty area to the other.
The breakthrough for Chelsea came from an old source when Terry reached the ball first, as he has done so many times in his long career, after Cahill’s flick on header was saved from Fabregas’ corner with ten minutes to go. Ramires increased the lead just a few minutes later finishing brilliantly with his left foot from twenty-five yards out, and that point the Chelsea players knew the game, and perhaps the title, was won, such were their celebrations. It might not be mathematically certain yet, but tonight’s win means another three points will mean they are champions of England for the first time since 2010.
Leicester City: Schmeichel, Wasilewski, Huth, Morgan (c), Albrighton, King, Cambiasso, Drinkwater, Konchesky, Vardy, Ulloa.
Unused substitutes: Schwarzer, Hammond, Wood, Kramaric.
Manager: Nigel Pearson
Chelsea: Cech; Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry (c), Azpilicueta; Ramires, Matic; Willian, Fabregas, Hazard; Drogba.
Substitues: Courtois, Filipe Luis, Ake, Oscar,
Manager: José Mourinho
Referee: Mark Clattenburg