Chelsea reaffirmed their place at the top of the Premier League, as the league leaders defeated Leicester City at the King Power Stadium by a 3-0 score.
Two goals from Marcos Alonso at the start of each half and a third added by Pedro keep the Blues at the top of the Premier League table, and they will maintain a seven-point gap to second place Tottenham Hotspur.
After a defeat to Spurs just 10 days ago and the emerging news of a bust-up with Diego Costa that saw the striker left out of the squad, Chelsea haven’t had the best time so far at the start of 2017.
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In the absence of Diego Costa, Antonio Conte once again selected the trio of Eden Hazard, Pedro, and Willian in attack, just as he had when Costa was suspended against Bournemouth.
Claudio Ranieri chose to do what most sides facing Chelsea do these days; select a back three and try and match the Blues’ shape.
From the start, the warning signs were there for Ranieri’s men. Chelsea enjoyed quite a lot of possession in the Leicester half and had the Foxes defence and midfield pinned back.
It took just six minutes for Leicester’s defence to be breached. Cesar Azpilicueta’s cross from the right evaded the heads of the Leicester defenders. A deflection off of the leg of Pedro saw the ball fall to Hazard, who teed up the advancing Alonso to guide a right-footed shot past Kasper Schmeichel.
After the initial shock of the goal began to wear off, Leicester started to play their way back into the match. Marc Albrighton sent a warning to the Chelsea defence, producing a brilliant curling ball from midfield that just evaded the run of Jamie Vardy.
Just a minute later, Danny Drinkwater tried to exploit Chelsea’s defending at the back post, as sent in a cross that Ben Chilwell just headed wide.
Chelsea nearly punished Leicester for their misses just before the half. A training-ground routine saw David Luiz slide his free kick to Hazard, who slipped the ball into Pedro, but the Spaniard couldn’t guide his shot into the top corner.
Alonso repeated his trick from the first half, scoring six minutes after the restart. Willian’s free kick from the right was half-cleared by the Leicester defence, and Alonso fired in a half-volley that took a deflection off of Wes Morgan and wrong-footed Schmeichel.
Alonso nearly earned his hat trick just after the hour mark when Victor Moses’ cross found him just on the left side of the 18-yard box. Alonso caught the ball sweetly on the volley, but it was just wide of the post.
Chelsea’s third goal simply showed the confidence and class that the side had exuded all match. Pedro initiated the move with a pirouetting back-heel that found Willian in space on the right. Willian’s cross deflected off Schmeichel and looped up in the air for Pedro to guide just inside the far post to put a nice gloss over a good win.