Eden Hazard’s first goal of the new campaign and a second goal in two games for Diego Costa continued Chelsea’s unblemished start to the season with a 2-0 win over newly-promoted Leicester.
In something of a rarity, Jose Mourinho named an unchanged line up for his side’s first home game of the season, after their 3-1 away win to Burnley last Monday. This meant that Thibaut Courtois remained in goal, as well as home debuts for Cesc Fabregas and Diego Costa. Nigel Pearson made two changes to the Leicester side that drew away at Everton in their first Premier League game for a decade, with Jeffrey Schlupp and Dean Hammond coming in for the injured duo of Anthony Knockaert and Danny Drinkwater.
It was a largely a first half performance that many would have expected from the travelling Foxes, whose excellent defensive organisation made it difficult for Chelsea to break them down – very similar to how fellow promoted side Burnley played against us last week. Chances were at a premium for the home side. Oscar had an effort deflected over in our first half-chance of the afternoon, while Andre Schurrle went close soon after.
After a goalless 15 minutes our East Midlands visitors grew into the game and started to create some chances of their own – it was indeed the away side that achieved the first shot on target, some 32 minutes in. Riyad Mahrez did wonderfully well to squirm his way into a shooting chance, but was denied by the imposing figure of Courtois, who palmed away with relative comfort.
Chelsea responded in kind when the two goalscorers combined, Costa feeding Hazard, whose effort could only be deflected over. There were shouts for a penalty too as Diego Costa was felled in the box, but Lee Mason was not interested as the two sides went in at the break level.
Chelsea really began to turn it on after the second half, as the difference in class began to show as Oscar went a post’s width away from scoring what would have been a delightful opener. His low driven effort from 23 yards had clattered off the post, much to the relief of Leicester stopper Kasper Schmeichel. There is a strong argument that the Dane in the visitors’ goal could have been man of the match, producing some world-class saves to keep his side in the game, first to deny Branislav Ivanovic’s header, and then coming up with a delightful stop clawing out a top corner-bound effort from the same player.
Leicester soon had their best chance of the afternoon as a swift counter attacking move saw one-time England international David Nugent clean through with only Courtois to beat. It took some fine goalkeeping to deny him, as the Belgian blocked his effort with his legs.
Then came the goal that underlined Chelsea’s second half dominance. Lovely play from Oscar and Ivanovic down the right hand side allowed Diego Costa to poke in from six yards. Hazard made it two not long after with a nice solo effort.
Having received the ball from the ever-orchestrating Fabregas out on the left hand side, he cut and found himself given all the time and space he could want as the Belgian number 10 drove a low effort past Schmeichel, with the help of a minor deflection.
The game began to wind down as Chelsea seemed content with just the two goals, though there was a late chance for substitute Willian, but couldn’t make it count as the full time whistle went not long after. Victory meant Chelsea sit atop the Premier League table on six points from two games, with Swansea the only other team to enjoy a 100% record thus far. Leicester currently sit 14th with their defeat. Our next game is away to Everton next Saturday, the 30th August.