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After their heavyweight clash in the FA Cup in midweek, Chelsea and Leicester met with both teams knowing a win will significantly strengthen their European ambitions for next season. Both teams started brightly, with Leicester old boy Chilwell flashing a shot wide after being set up by Werner. Chelsea enjoyed much of the early possession, desperate to find the first goal. Kante drew another sharp save from Kasper Schmeichel in the opening ten minutes. 



There were clearly some leftovers from the cup final with plenty of fouls going around, referee Mike Dean caught in the thick of things. Werner thought he should have had a penalty when Tielemens’ swinging foot seemed to catch him on his heel but VAR stuck with the on-field call. The German thought he had opened the scoring only for the offside flag to cut short his celebrations.



Mount was the next to try his luck, having charged into the box and seeing his shot tipped over by the Dane in goal. Werner again had the ball in the net, this time confirmed by goal-line technology. However, VAR intervened with the German having scored the goal with the help of his hand. Despite the bucketful of chances for the London club, both teams headed into halftime at 0-0.

The second half got off to a blistering start with the Blues finally breaking the deadlock in the opening two minutes. Chilwell’s corner bounced off the thigh of Rudiger, who was left unmarked and did not know much about it, to spark joyous scenes from the fans inside Stamford Bridge. 



Chelsea kept the pressure up with Leicester struggling to get ahold of the ball. Rodgers opted to bring on Iheanacho in place of the ineffective Maddison for a more direct threat. But it was Werner who had the next shot on target, this time far easier for Schmeichel. Then the Blues got a penalty.

The German was fouled by Fofana inside the penalty box, which was confirmed after a quick VAR check. Jorginho stroked home the resultant penalty in his trademark hop-skip style to seemingly put the game to bed.



However, the Foxes were seemingly charged up after that second goal. Their pressing in the final third increased drastically, which resulted in them getting a goal back. Silva passed to Jorginho who was quickly closed down by Ndidi. The Nigerian’s pass found Iheanacho who side-footed it home first time with a little more than 10 minutes left.




Perez missed a glorious chance to level matters up in the 90th minute after Leicester belatedly tried to make a game of this. His side foot curler blazed over the bar after being left unmarked in the box. The game boiled over in injury-time with all the players getting heavily involved in an argy-bargy near the fourth official’s touchline. 



Here are the three takeaways from the match and the implications it has for the Champions League spots:



After an enthralling victory midweek, it would have been natural to assume a few tired legs in the away side. That fact was clearly amplified in the opening half where Chelsea could have scored 3-4 goals with their running. Rodgers’ men were slow in every department, failing to keep possession for long enough to do something meaningful. Vardy was left utterly isolated up top and Chelsea’s defence kept a tight leash on Maddison, Perez and Tielemans. The Foxes’ defence were up to the task for most parts but the goal was clearly coming. 



Their defensive failings surfaced when Rudiger put the home side in front before Jorginho’s penalty seemed to have put Chelsea above Leicester in the table. However, the Foxes got a route back into the game, courtesy of some heavy pressing which resulted in Iheanacho extending his fantastic goal scoring form. That was all Leicester could manage though, with Tuchel’s men able to hold on in order to seal a vital three points for the club. 



Chelsea’s agony on losing the final was evident in the manner they were pressing the Leicester defence back. The direct running of Werner, Mount and Pulisic was becoming too much to handle for the away side. Tuchel would have felt his side should have been ahead in that first, but two disallowed goals for Werner and some stout rearguard action saw Leicester just about make it to halftime with the scores level.



The second 45 started just how the home side would have wanted. They were 2-0 up midway through the half and looked to coast home. However, a defensive lapse saw them being pegged back with Foxes substitute Iheanacho scoring with just over 10 minutes left to play. Perez had a golden chance to level matters up before the game collapsed into fracas involving both sides. The result was certain by that point with Chelsea giving themselves a major shot in the arm for making it into the Champions League for next season.



Though Chelsea climbed up to 3rd, their position is by no means certain. It will depend on them winning their last match against Aston Villa, in order to complete their mission. For Leicester, the road just got a lot trickier. They need Liverpool to lose in either of the Reds’ two remaining games. Rodgers’ side also have to win their last game which will be no easy feat against Tottenham. Even doing all of those might leave the Foxes out based on goal difference. One thing is for certain- nothing is certain yet!

Ratul Ghosh
His name means Red and a fan of devilish food, which equals to his favourite team being Manchester United. Can be found sleeping or in front of the TV otherwise. Hates waking up early but loves staying up late for football.

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