Chelsea took a huge step towards qualifying for next season’s Champions League, defeating Leicester 2-1 in front of 8,000 spectators at Stamford Bridge.
The game got off to a breathless start with Chelsea playing some scintillating football. Timo Werner thought he had opened the scoring 20 minutes in, only for the linesman’s flag to go up, before the German had a second effort ruled out for handball.
Less than three minutes into the second half, the Blues did get their deserved breakthrough with Rudiger bundling home from a corner.
Just after the hour mark they grabbed a second goal from the penalty spot, after Wesley Fofana was penalised for a foul on Werner and Jorginho made no mistake from the spot. With 15 minutes to play, Leicester finally burst into life – with substitute Kelechi Iheanacho finishing well to pull one back.
Ayoze Perez then missed a great chance to equalise in the dying seconds as Chelsea just hung on to three points. The result means they are guaranteed a top four spot if they win against Aston Villa on Sunday, while Leicester are relying on Liverpool slipping up in their remaining matches.
Here are your player ratings for both teams as the Blues banished some of their FA Cup final demons…
Edouard Mendy (GK) – 6/10 – Barely involved until Iheanacho’s strike pulled one back. He had no chance for that.
Reece James (CB) – 7/10 – Dealt with Vardy’s runs into the channels with ease. His corner delivery was superb as well.
Thiago Silva (CB) – 7/10 – Perhaps should have been closer to Iheanacho for his goal. Other than that, he did fine.
Antonio Rudiger (CB) – 8/10 – Showed Chelsea’s how to finish early in the second half. Also delighted the fans with a few entertaining romps forward from centre-back.
Cesar Azpilicueta (RWB) – 7/10 – Got forward and put in a few dangerous crosses, but did give away a few silly fouls.
N’Golo Kante (CM) – 7/10 – Started very brightly against his former club before being forced off with injury. Hopefully it is just a minor problem.
Jorginho (CM) – 8/10 – Marked Maddison out of the game. His trademark penalty was an cool as a sour cream and chive dip.
Ben Chilwell (LWB) – 7/10 – Came out of the blocks with a point to prove and had a great first half. Faded slightly thereafter but still strengthened his England chances.
Christian Pulisic (RW) – 6/10 – Looked dangerous at times but his decision making and final ball was not the best.
Timo Werner (ST) – 7/10 – Had two goals disallowed, both of which he could have avoided. Should have had a penalty in the first half – and then did get one after the break. A strange display, but he was always involved.
Mason Mount (LW) – 8/10 – Found space between the lines with incredible regularity. Tore Leicester apart at times.
Mateo Kovacic – 7/10 – Did a good job of nullifying Leicester’s two attacking midfielders.
Kurt Zouma – N/A
Olivier Giroud – N/A
Kasper Schmeichel (GK) – 7/10 – Made plenty of top saves to keep Leicester in it early on.
Timothy Castagne (CB) – 7/10 – Defended against Werner’s threat in behind very well, making a few vital interventions.
Wesley Fofana (CB) – 6/10 – Won back the ball plenty of times and carried forward confidently. However, his challenge for the penalty was needless and Werner caused him a lot of problems.
Caglar Soyuncu (CB) – 7/10 – Fairly stoic display. He did not play the occasion as he has been guilty of doing in the past.
Marc Albrighton (RWB) – 6/10 – Full of running and swung in a few decent crosses. Too direct at times.
Youri Tielemans (CM) – 6/10 – Fortunate not to concede a penalty before the break. Did not let that phase him, though, putting in an all-action performance.
Wilfred Ndidi (CM) – 7/10 – Destructive as usual and tidy in possession. Created the goal with a terrific piece of pressing.
Luke Thomas (LWB) – 6/10 – Covering the entire left flank was a tough ask, especially with Azpilicueta playing so well. He largely rose to the challenge but will be gutted his mistake led to Chelsea’s opener.
Ayoze Perez (RW) – 4/10 – Wasteful in possession. Did the defensive side on things okay but very poor in the final third. His miss at the end was horrific.
Jamie Vardy (ST) – 5/10 – Isolated and looked a bit sluggish at times. His runs were not on point.
James Maddison (LW) – 4/10 – A complete passenger. His selection over Kelechi Iheanacho on current form was bizarre.
Kelechi Iheanacho – 8/10 – Made an instant impact. Should have started.
Ricardo Pereira – 6/10 – Full of running.