Chelsea were made to rue missed chances as they fell to a 1-1 home draw against Leicester City on Thursday night.
Leicester had two shots all game but went ahead when James Maddison rifled one home early on, before Marcos Alonso levelled things up before the break. The Blues dominated the possession and chances thereafter but could not find a winner, though the result did all but secure third spot in the Premier League this season.
Chelsea started the game on the front foot but it would be the visitors who took the lead inside six minutes. Kasper Schmeichel fired a long pass into the channel which Alonso failed to deal with. The ball then broke to Maddison who wriggled free of his marker and lashed home from outside the box.
Moments later Trevoh Chalobah almost netted an even better goal with Schmeichel at full stretch to deny the centre-back from 25 yards out.
After this quick start things simmered down with Chelsea dominating possession as Leicester were content to sit back and defend – which, for the most part, they did so stoically.
They did endure a scary moment when Daniel Amartey gave the ball away in a dangerous area, but the Ghanaian darted back just in time to deny Romelu Lukaku the chance to shoot.
The Foxes’ resistance only lasted until the 35th minute though, when Alonso levelled things up. Reece James was the architect, floating a ball to the back post which was volleyed home by his fellow wing-back, who timed his run perfectly.
The second half got off to a sleepy start and it took until the 55th minute for the first shot – a wild effort struck well over by Kelechi Iheanacho.
Hakim Ziyech then had a couple of half-chances, first striking a free kick straight at Schmeichel and then doing the same from open play seconds later.
Just after the hour mark, Chelsea should have made it 2-1 with Christian Pulisic somehow putting Lukaku’s cutback well wide from a few yards out. It was seriously bad.
Chelsea continued to turn the screw as the second half progressed, camping out in their opponents’ half and swinging in a litany of crosses. The Foxes also looked nervy from set pieces – who would’ve thought it?! – and Trevoh Chalobah nearly converted from a corner with just over 20 minutes to play.
After this scare Leicester tightened up at the back and ended up seeing out the draw without too many issues. The point consolidated their position in the top half of the table and they could finish as high as eighth if results go their way on the final day.
Here are your player ratings from Stamford Bridge…
Edouard Mendy (GK) – 6/10 – Reduced to a spectator for the vast majority. Nothing he could do about the goal.
Trevoh Chalobah (CB) – 7/10 – Comfortable moving into midfield when in possession and distributed accurately.
Thiago Silva (CB) – 7/10 – Helped his side progress up the pitch when Leicester sat in their mid block.
Antonio Rudiger (CB) – 6/10 – Booked for a really poor challenge in the second half. Might have been sent off. Not troubled defensively.
Reece James (RWB) – 7/10 – Switched the play excellently and set up Alonso’s equaliser with a fine cross.
N’Golo Kante (CM) – 6/10 – Did not always time his challenges correctly but was always busy. Subbed while on a yellow.
Jorginho (CM) – 7/10 – His delivery was enticing and would have earned him an assist on another day. Tidy in possession.
Marcos Alonso (LWB) – 6/10 – Made a bizarre error which gifted Leicester their opener but made up for that with a great finish.
Hakim Ziyech (RF) – 3/10 – Wasteful in the first half. Wasteful in the second half. Subbed.
Romelu Lukaku (ST) – 5/10 – Too slow to set his feet when presented with a rare first-half opening. Hold-up play improved after the interval.
Christian Pulisic (LF) – 3/10 – Missed a complete sitter in the second half. Its xG value was 0.41… which seems extremely generous.
SUB: Cesar Azpilicueta – 6/10
SUB: Ruben Loftus-Cheek (CM) – 6/10
SUB: Kai Havertz (ST) – N/A
Kasper Schmeichel (GK) – 7/10 – Saved well from Chalobah early on but was then beaten at his near post by Alonso. Had a good second half.
Daniel Amartey (CB) – 6/10 – Pretty uncomfortable on the ball and played himself into trouble. Did make a couple of great blocks.
Wesley Fofana (CB) – 7/10 – Started strongly but started to look less assured as Chelsea’s pressure grew in the second half.
Jonny Evans (CB) – 8/10 – Had a mammoth first half, making eight clearances and completing a combined six tackles and interceptions. A bit leggy after the break but playing in the middle of a back three suits him.
Nampalys Mendy (DM) – 6/10 – Kept plugging away and broke up play effectively at times. Will be interesting to see if Leicester chuck him another contract in the summer.
Timothy Castagne (RWB) – 6/10 – Defended diligently, blocking a couple of crosses. Little to report in other direction as he barely left his half.
James Maddison (CM) – 8/10 – Justified his choice as Leicester’s player of the season with a stunning early goal.
Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall (CM) – 5/10 – Sold himself by failing to make an interception in the lead up to Alonso’s goal. Kept his shape and tried to help his side get up the pitch.
Luke Thomas (LWB) – 6/10 – A tad rash at times. Made some important recovery runs and clearances.
Jamie Vardy (ST) – 4/10 – Service was non existent – he had 11 touches in his 78 minutes. Disciplined off the ball.
Kelechi Iheanacho (ST) – 4/10 – Failed to hold it up on the rare occasions the ball came to him.
SUB: Harvey Barnes (ST) – 5/10 – Isolated.
SUB: Ayoze Perez (ST) – N/A