Match report and highlights as Leicester ease to a 2-0 win against Chelsea; Goals from Wilfred Ndidi and James Maddison seal all three points; one win in five in the league for Frank Lampard and Chelsea, who stay eighth after lacklustre display
Wednesday 20 January 2021 07:05, UK
Leicester moved to the top of the Premier League after sweeping aside Chelsea with a comfortable 2-0 victory at the King Power Stadium.
Brendan Rodgers' side got off to the perfect start when Wilfred Ndidi's strike gave them the lead in the sixth minute.
Chelsea thought they had been given a route back into the game when referee Craig Pawson adjudged Jonny Evans to have fouled Christian Pulisic inside the penalty area. However, VAR intervened and overturned the decision, awarding the visitors a free-kick right on the edge.
Chelsea were further behind minutes later as James Maddison (41) steered Marc Albrighton's long ball past Edouard Mendy.
Chelsea seemed to have grabbed a lifeline late on when substitute Timo Werner converted Hakim Ziyech's free-kick, but the German strayed into an offside position as Leicester kept their clean sheet intact.
It was a comfortable night for Leicester, who move one point above Manchester United having played a game more. Meanwhile, it's more disappointment for Frank Lampard as his side stay eighth.
Leicester made the perfect start as Ndidi fired the hosts ahead after six minutes.
Leicester: Schmeichel (6), Castagne (8), Fofana (7), Evans (7), Justin (7), Ndidi (8), Tielemans (7), Albrighton (7), Maddison (9), Barnes (8), Vardy (7).
Subs: Perez (6), Ricardo (6), Iheanacho (n/a).
Away Team: Mendy (6), James (5), Rudiger (6), Silva (6), Chilwell (5), Kovacic (5), Hudson-Odoi (6), Mount (6), Havertz (4), Pulisic (6), Abraham (5).
Subs: Werner (6), Ziyech (6).
Man of the match: James Maddison.
The midfielder drilled the ball in off the post from the edge of the area after Harvey Barnes had miscued Marc Albrighton's cut back following a short corner which caught Chelsea cold.
Lampard's side were not at the races defensively and they were inches away from being further behind when Maddison's powerful effort from 20 yards clipped the top of the crossbar.
Chelsea did eventually start to trouble the hosts as Kasper Schmeichel turned Reece James' driven effort over before Callum Hudson-Odoi's strike hit the side netting after he was played in by Pulisic.
The Blues thought they had a lifeline six minutes before the break when Pawson pointed to the spot after Evans tripped Pulisic. However, a VAR review rightly judged the foul was just outside the area and Mason Mount blazed the resultant free-kick over the crossbar.
It turned out to be a crucial moment in the game as the hosts immediately doubled their advantage. Albrighton's long pass reached the unmarked Maddison, who comfortably beat Mendy from 15 yards for his eighth goal of the season.
Chelsea's marking disappeared again just after half-time and the unmarked James Justin should have made it three, but his header hit the side netting.
Albrighton then had the ball in the net but the goal was correctly ruled out by the offside flag before Mendy smartly saved from Youri Tielemans.
Substitute Timo Werner, who is without a goal in the Premier League since October, thought he'd set up a nervy finish, turning in Hakim Ziyech's free-kick with four minutes remaining, but he was also correctly ruled offside as Leicester held on comfortably to go to the summit.
Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers: "It was a very good performance, they're [Chelsea] a talented team with individual quality but as a team we were excellent. We had a great attacking threat in the first period. Harvey Barnes was sensational, really exciting. We were very good.
"Last 15 or 20 minutes of the first half our shape allowed them to play through the bodies so they started to get some combinations on the edge of the box. We changed our defensive shape in the second half and that nullified a lot of their threat. We looked very dangerous in the game. Two very good goals. We really deserved it.
"My satisfaction is seeing the relationship from training into the game and the players have won a lot of games against the big teams this season. You see the maturity in the performance as well - that's a pleasing aspect. Tonight was a good professional performance and we had some really good moments of football."
Chelsea boss Frank Lampard: "We were beaten by the better team. They were sharper than us, ran more than us and they looked in form - we looked out of form. It's a disappointing goal form a set piece and the second goal is just not good enough. There were quite a lot of moments where our sharpness wasn't there, those are moments you have to dig in and the basics are important like running and sprinting and we didn't do that.
"The most disappointing thing is to come here and lose the game, but the basics off the ball are important. The game on the ball was a bit slow at times but it was okay, we created a few opportunities and I thought it was a penalty but I'm not going to lean on those things. We weren't good enough.
"We won against Fulham without playing brilliant, from that we come and lose a game, so it's a small step backwards. I am worried about the slump - from the form we were in to get so quickly into the form we're now in, and we've had some wins but five losses in eight isn't where we want to be. It takes character to get out of that - I'm not against the lads in the dressing room because they're disappointed. It's a young team and it's a big lesson that if you come off it and think you're fine then you've got to get yourself out of the hole."
Sky Sports' Andy Hinchcliffe: "It has to be James Maddison. He was involved in the first goal and scored the second goal. There was some wonderful passing, some great movement and he worked hard off the ball too. He's been brilliant."
Leicester will play away at Brentford in the FA Cup fourth round on Sunday at 2.15pm before returning to Premier League action at Everton on Wednesday January 27; kick-off 8.15pm.
Meanwhile, Chelsea host Luton in the FA Cup fourth round, also on Sunday at 12.30pm before hosting Wolves on Wednesday January 27; kick-off 6pm.