Leicester 0-3 Chelsea: Premier League leaders ease to victory to extend gap at the top
By Oliver Yew
Last Updated: 15/01/17 7:12am
Chelsea restored their lead to seven points at the top of the Premier League with a comfortable 3-0 win against Leicester at the King Power Stadium.
Antonio Conte’s side, who were without top goalscorer Diego Costa, were sent on their way in the sixth minute when Marcus Alonso opened the scoring.
The wing-back doubled his side’s advantage six minutes after half-time with the help of a deflection before Pedro rounded off the scoring in the 71st minute.
The win leaves Chelsea with a healthy gap at the top over nearest rivals Tottenham, who beat West Brom 4-0 earlier in the day.
For Leicester, defeat leaves them in 15th and five points clear of the relegation zone.
Much of the build-up to this game was dominated by Costa, who was left out of Chelsea’s squad with Sky sources saying the Spaniard had fallen out with boss Antonio Conte after he was the subject of a £30m-per-year offer from a club in the Chinese Super League.
However, Costa’s absence - which Chelsea claimed was due to a back injury - was brushed aside in only the sixth minute when Cesar Azpilicueta’s cross found its way to Eden Hazard in the penalty area and the Belgium international laid the ball off to Alonso, who drilled a shot past Kasper Schmeichel and into the bottom corner.
Leicester, who played three at the back to match up with Antonio Conte’s side, looked short of ideas going forward, especially in the absence Riyad Mahrez, Islam Slimani and Daniel Amartey, who are all on Africa Cup of Nations duty.
Jamie Vardy was an isolated figure up front for the hosts but he did cause Chelsea’s only real alarm of the first half when Courtois clawed away the England international’s low cross.
However, the visitors always looked in control and they could have extended their lead just before the break after a well-worked free-kick resulted in Pedro steering an effort wide three minutes before the interval.
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The lead was extended six minutes after the break after Willian was fouled by Christian Fuchs. The Brazilian’s right-wing free-kick was cleared only as far as Alonso on the edge of the penalty area, and the 26-year-old’s low shot found the back of the net after deflecting off both Wes Morgan and Danny Drinkwater.
Chelsea were in full control and attacking with freedom as Gary Cahill's overhead kick was blocked, before Alonso fired a powerful volley just wide when going in search of his hat-trick.
Pedro sealed all three points with just 20 minutes left to underline Chelsea’s superiority.
His flick released Willian and the Brazilian’s cross deflected up off Schmeichel for Pedro to head into an empty net.
Leicester: Schmeichel (6), Morgan (6), Huth (5), Fuchs (6), Chilwell (7), Mendy (6), Drinkwater (6), Ndidi (7), Albrighton (7), Musa (6), Vardy (6).
Subs used: Simpson (6), Gray (6), Okazaki (6).
Chelsea: Courtois (7), Azpilicueta (6), David Luiz (7), Cahill (7), Moses (7), Kante (6), Matic (7), Alonso (9), Willian (7), Hazard (8), Pedro (8).
Subs used: Fabregas (6), Batshuayi (n/a), Loftus-Cheek (n/a).
Man of the Match: Marcos Alonso