City 2 Chelsea 0
Report by Kate Thompson
The first line of The Times report sums up an excellent win for Leicester. I have long argued that a team can beat 11 so-called superstars any day and this match was further proof of that.
Somewhat to my surprise, Rodgers named an unchanged team; I had expected Soyuncu to replace Fofana, but clearly the talk that Rodgers apparently had with the young Frenchman was very effective, as he was immaculate in this game.
City started in impressive style, pressing Chelsea and not allowing them any time to settle on the ball. A short corner routine led to the first goal in the 6th minute from the most unlikeliest of sources, Ndidi; you could see by his team-mates’ reactions that they were delighted for him.
It was refreshing to take the lead so early on, although it was clear that most City fans would not relax until they scored again. Chelsea couldn’t cope with them and there were numerous fouls – apparently 16 from Chelsea compared with seven from City. We also won a number of corners but failed to capitalise again. In the 15th minute Maddison hit the crossbar and ten minutes later Albrighton had a powerful strike saved by Mendy. City were defending very effectively and the threat from Chelsea was minimal; I couldn’t have been the only Leicester fan who mentally asked Chilwell if he had joined the right team!
In the 30th minute Schmeichel raced out of his goal to intercept a long pass, almost reaching the halfway line, and Hudson-Odoi hit the side netting soon afterwards. In the 37th minute came the first controversial moment, when the referee awarded a penalty; for once we were grateful to the VAR referee for changing it to a free kick on the edge of the box. After some nervy moments, Mount skied it over the crossbar.
Only a couple of minutes later a goal kick was brilliantly touched on by Albrighton to Vardy, who appeared to be clipped by Rudiger. However, it didn’t matter as Maddison was there to strike an unstoppable shot into the net. The Sky commentator described Chelsea’s ‘shocking defending’.
Apparently Rodgers tweaked the formation at half-time but the pattern continued. Not for the first time, the possession stats were completely meaningless; according to the BBC report, Leicester had only 36%, but they scored two goals and Chelsea none. Justin could have added to the tally in 49th minute, but headed into the side netting.
Schmeichel had one of his easier games, just needing to be alert – especially at corners where we have been a bit vulnerable. Albrighton thought he had scored in the 54th minute, but it was ruled out for offside, and two minutes later Tielemans had a wonderful opportunity from a Vardy pass which Mendy saved with his legs.
Halfway through the second half Lampard made two changes: Werner for Hudson-Odoi and Ziyech for Havertz but they had little impact. Werner did score in the 85th minute but the excellent female linesman (lineswoman?) ruled it offside and VAR confirmed this.
The weather had deteriorated towards the end of the game but it did not affect the team, although it must have been very unpleasant to play in. City made their first substitutions in the 75th minute: Perez for Maddison and Ricardo for Albrighton; it was so nice to see the latter back on the pitch and let’s hope he has no further setbacks. With two excellent fullbacks in Justin and Castagne, he may well play as a wing back. Unfortunately, Fofana was booked in the 84th minute but it was a relief that Tielemans avoided the same fate, as it would have meant he missed the next match. Apparently, any yellow cards are scrubbed once the halfway mark in the season is reached. City’s final substitution, Iheanacho for Vardy, came in the 86th minute.
So, for 24 hours at least, Leicester are top of the table. Maddison gave an exemplary post-match interview, which has been widely praised. We move onto my favourite competition on Sunday, the FA Cup and here’s hoping for more good news.
Leicester City: Schmeichel; Castagne, Fofana, Evans, Justin; Ndidi, Tielemans; Albrighton, Maddison, Barnes; Vardy. Subs: Ward, Soyuncu, Amartey, Pereira, Thomas, Choudhury, Under, Perez, Iheanacho.
Chelsea: Mendy; James, Rudiger, Thiago Silva (c), Chilwell; Mount, Kovacic, Havertz; Hudson-Odoi, Abraham, Pulisic. Subs: Kepa, Zouma, Christensen, Azpilicueta, Emerson, Jorginho, Gilmour, Ziyech, Werner.
Ref: Craig Pawson
The views expressed in this report are the opinions of the Trust member nominated to file the report only and do not represent the views of the Foxes Trust organisation