Álvaro Morata and N’Golo Kanté scored a goal each as they weathered the storm at King Power Stadium, winning 2-1 over Leicester City on Saturday.
The rain was pouring hard at times, much like the home team’s attack led by Jamie Vardy, who put his own penalty into the back of the net after drawing a foul in the box.
Chelsea luckily had their umbrellas out. Thibaut Courtois made some key saves in the match, stopping Islam Slimani in a two-on-one counter attack.
There were many talking points throughout the match, and here are five things we learned from Chelsea’s 2-1 win over Leicester City.
Welcome to England, Álvaro
Throughout the match, Morata had a hard time finding space in the middle. Wes Morgan marked the new Spanish striker and kept him on a tight leash whenever he ventured into the middle. Eventually, Morata would drift wide where there was more space to work, but he was less dangerous on the wings.
Morgan played wonderfully, and statistics may show that he won the battle against Morata, but only one goal was needed to change the outcome of the match. A pinpoint cross from César Azpilicueta from the right found the head of Morata who timed his run perfectly to beat the Leicester City captain.
Morata still has to adapt to the physicality of the Premier League to make a more significant contribution to his new club, but he’s impressing everyone with his ability to get a sudden goal at the right time.
You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take
Vardy was a nuisance to the Chelsea defense. He continuously pressured Courtois into wayward clearances. That aggression made it difficult to play out of the back, something Chelsea usually prefers to do.
The English striker’s pressing paid off when he baited Courtois into tackling him, earning a penalty which he quickly converted. It wasn’t enough to win the match, but he didn’t go down without a fight.
This might be a key for other clubs to getting Courtois to make mistakes. He’s known for his shot-stopping ability, but his distribution isn’t the greatest. This could put him and his club into precarious situations with forwards roaming around for a quick goal.
Hazard’s back, tell a friend!
Eden Hazard made a cameo appearance in the 78th minute, replacing Cesc Fàbregas. This was his first Chelsea appearance since fracturing his ankle on international duty with Belgium in June.
Hazard is set to bring some life to the Chelsea attack. The Blues have been passing aimlessly around the box, and they’ll be happy to have their main chance creator return to the pitch.
The 26-year-old played during the recent international break, scoring a goal against Gibraltar. Antonio Conte chose not to start the star player, but an easier matchup on paper is on the horizon. Chelsea play against Qarabag in the Champions League on Tuesday. It will be a great warmup match before the London Derby against Arsenal next Sunday.
Rüdiger took his chance. Has he run away with it?
Antonio Rüdiger gained the most ground when Gary Cahill was suspended for three matches. Chelsea have won all three games during the suspension, and Rüdiger played wonderfully after he was given the chance to start.
The German international makes some mistakes here and there, but he generally looks good defending in a back three. He’s not afraid to put in a tackle, unlike Cahill who backs away until the very last second (which works for him, I’m not complaining). He looked comfortable on the ball, which is essential for a Chelsea defense that builds from the back.
There will be more than enough games for Cahill and Rüdiger to play with domestic and European competitions. However, Rüdiger may have made his case to be the more trusted defender. He made the most of the chance he received.
Here comes the weekly rant about referees
Lee Mason missed one of the most blatant handball calls when Morata had his header blocked by the outstretched arms of Harry Maguire in the box. The referee’s whistle remained unblown.
The calls that were missed were unacceptable, and Mason should be reprimanded for the mistakes he made. These calls (or lack thereof) could easily change the atmosphere and outcome of a match.
What’s worse is that we as fans and spectators won’t know if anything will change for the future. It doesn’t seem like the referees are held accountable for their errors, and we just continue to expect the same nonsense every week. Referees need to be reviewed by the Premier League so the quality can improve. Nobody wants a decision from an official to decide a match, and this is something that needs to be worked on.