Chelsea 0: Leicester city 0
45+1min: Great work in the middle from Kovačić to keep Chelsea alive in the attack, but a move with Pedro and Willian breaks down, and Leicester get the half-time whistle.
44min: A couple blocked shots after good play from Azpi on the right, from Kovačić, then Alonso. Then Jorginho tries a half volley that draws a decent save from Schmeichel.
42min: From the Leicester corner, it’s Chelsea who break forward through Kanté and Hazard. Kanté finds Willian with a great pass, but his finish is hilariously poor and Schmeichel saves easily.
41min: Chelsea stop the counter, but the visitors hold onto the ball, eventually producing an absolute howitzer from Ndidi. Kepa gets a strong hand to it. The game’s first shot on target!
40min: Pedro finds Hazard over the top but he has absolutely no support and his eventual cutback is cut out and actually gets Leicester breaking forward.
36min: This time it’s Willian winning a free kick in a good position. Hazard crosses in and fades it towards the far post run to Alonso. His cutback is blocked for a corner. In comes the corner from Willian, then a cross from Alonso, then a catch from Schmeichel.
34min: Hazard digs out a cross from among four on the right, but it’s just over Willian’s head who would’ve had an empty net to aim at.
33min: Hazard hits the crossbar! Pedro’s through ball to Hazard is almost cut out by Maguire, but it goes through him and Hazard is suddenly in. He takes a touch and unleashes with the right foot, only to find the crossbar. Needed that one.
31min: Ndidi earns himself a yellow for hacking down Hazard from behind.
30min: Leicester have another corner after Rüdiger heads clear a Ricardo cross. Chelsea clear, but Hazard gives away a foul 25 yards out and central, which Leicester completely waste.
26min: Some slick passing on the right side creates a decent chance, but Pedro’s cutback is cut out. Azpilicueta jumps on the rebound and spanks it goalwards, but it’s well over.
22min: Hamza Choudhury fouls Hazard just outside the penalty area, on the left side. Willian curls it in, but Leicester clear once again.
21min: Albrighton blocks an Alonso cross. Hazard takes this corner, but can’t find David Luiz at the far post.
19min: Leicester win another corner, but it’s Chelsea who counter from it through Hazard and Willian. His cross-field ball comes too late however and Kanté pulls it back out for more possession versus Leicester, who flooded back really well.
17min: A break in the pattern as Kanté’s run breaks the lines and is almost found by David Luiz. Chelsea have a corner instead, which Willian takes, finding Pedro for the near post flick. David Luiz almost arrives on time at the far post to head that in, but only he himself ends up in the net as the ball goes wide.
15min: Chelsea up against the massed ranks of Leicester, don’t seem to have a clear idea of how to break it down. Kovačić has a go from range after a strong layoff from Pedro, but it’s well high.
14min: Kovačić wins Chelsea a corner. Willian takes, and hits it into the side netting on the near post.
11min: Chilwell and Vardy combine well on the left side but a combination of David Luiz, Rudiger, and Kepa clear the lines. Leicester have it back however and win a corner with a blocked cross from the right. Maddison takes, David Luiz heads clear, but Leicester recover and eventually work another cross, which Morgan heads wide. Not the most convincing sequence of defending there from Chelsea.
9min: Chelsea move the ball around in the final third but without getting into the penalty area. Azpilicueta’s cross is blocked and Leicester come forward. But Rüdiger intercepts well and gets Chelsea moving forward once again.
6min: Willian crosses in from the free kick, but Schmeichel punches clear.
5min: Pedro’s cross-field ball is cut out, but Alonso recovers. Chelsea having a bit of early trouble stringing passes together, but Jorginho then wins a free kick in a promising position by getting pushed over by Maddison.
2min: Hazard’s introduced to the game by Wes Morgan’s solid frame, then David Luiz nearly picks out Willian with a ball over the top.
KICK-OFF: Leicester get us underway in what is rare traditional Saturday afternoon 3pm kick-off. The two teams in oddly non-clashing colors…
Chelsea look for a third Premier League win on the bounce, and a fifth match in a row unbeaten in all competitions. Three points in this one guarantees at least top four, maybe even top three at Christmas, which isn’t bad.
As predicted and expected, Sarri has gone with Hazard at center forward once again.
Here we go.
Chelsea starting lineup (4-3-3):
Arrizabalaga | Alonso, Rüdiger, David Luiz, Azpilicueta (c) | Kovačić, Jorginho, Kanté | Willian, Hazard, Pedro
Substitutes from: Caballero, Cahill, Zappacosta, Fàbregas, Barkley, Loftus-Cheek, Giroud
Leicester City starting lineup (4-3-3):
Schmeichel | Chilwell, Maguire, Morgan (c), Ricardo | Ndidi, Mendy, Choudhury | Maddison, Vardy, Albrighton
Substitutes from: Ward, Fuchs, Evans, Iborra, Gray, Okazaki, Iheanacho