Marcus Alonso ensured that the points were shared after his equalising volley meant that Chelsea drew 1-1 with Leicester City at Stamford Bridge in the penultimate matchweek of the 2021/22 Premier League season.
Chelsea dominated the ball during the first few minutes, but were unable to threaten Kasper Schmeichel’s goal, which is why it was so surprising that Leicester first chance of the game led to a goal.
The opening goal came from a counter-attack in the sixth minute, with Schmeichel getting the ball to Timothy Castagne as Alonso failed to close him down. The ball ended up at the feet of James Maddison, who took a touch to create some space for himself before netting a rocket from outside of the box, giving Edouard Mendy no chance.
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Chelsea dominated the ball after falling behind, as the visitors were happy to defend deep and take their chances on the counter.
This proved to be costly as in the 34th minute, a classic Reece James dink at the far post found Alonso, who volleyed it home.
The second half saw much of the same, with Leicester happy to sit behind the ball and defend as deep as possible, with Daniel Amartey and Wesley Fofana doing well to limit the chances that Romelu Lukaku and Christian Pulisic were getting in front of goal.
Chelsea had several opportunities to go ahead though, the most clearcut coming in the 63rd minute. Lukaku received the ball from James on the right-hand side, and his low cross was perfectly weighted for Pulisic. The American seemed to fumble with his feet, and was unable to poke the ball home into an open net.
In the final Premier League match of the season, Chelsea will host Championship-bound Watford, while Leicester City will take on Southampton at the King Power Stadium.
TALKING POINT: CHELSEA DON’T TAKE THEIR CHANCES
Chelsea were incredibly dominant on the ball and had several chances to put their side ahead. They had 68% possession, 20 shots to Leicester City’s two, and had several opportunities to capitalise on their opponents' woeful record of conceding goals from set-pieces. The chances were there, but poor play in the final third from Lukaku and Pulisic meant that the Blues once again dropped points at Stamford Bridge. One has to question if Thomas Tuchel would still be in the position had the sanctions on Roman Abramovich not taken place.
The good news is that the mere point means that third place is all-but secured. Tottenham would have to overturn an 18-goal difference to finish above Chelsea. Surely, Norwich aren’t that bad to allow Spurs that much fun on the final day...
MAN OF THE MATCH: REECE JAMES
His assist for the equaliser means that James has now registered 15 goals and assists this season from his 30 starts. He was consistently creating chances for the front men, with 124 touches, three key passes, and one big chance creates. He’s such a goal threat that late into the half, Tuchel moved him into midfield to better his side’s chances of scoring a winner. And he almost did, however, the ball into the box was a bit too high for him to get his head on it.
Hakim Ziyech gets an honourable mention for also being a threat. The two of them on the right side are lovely to watch.
CHELSEA: Mendy 6, Chalobah 7, Silva 7, Rudiger 6, James 9*, Jorginho 6, Kante 6, Alonso 6, Ziyech 8, Pulisic 5, Lukaku 6... Subs: Azpilicueta 7, Loftus-Cheek 6, Havertz 5.
LEICESTER: Schmeichel 7, Amartey 8, Fofana 7, Evans 6, Mendy 6, Castagne 7, Maddison 7, Dewsbury-Hall 6, Thomas 6, Vardy 5, Iheanacho 6... Subs: Barnes 6, Perez 6.
7’ - GOAL! CHELSEA 0-1 LEICESTER CITY: Completely against the run of play here as Maddison scores the opener! Their first attack of the game is a goal, and it's a blistering strike from outside of the box. It comes from a counterattack, and Alonso does poorly to close Castagne down before the ball gets to Maddison, whose rocket soars into the back of the net.
35’ - GOAL! CHELSEA 1-1 LEICESTER CITY: Alonso was partly at fault for the opener, but he's redeemed himself with this one! His fantastic volley is hit just right after a perfect ball from James at the far post.
63’ - THAT'S A MISSED SITTER: WOW! THAT IS NOT GOOD! Lukaku's low cross across the face of goal lands to Pulisic, who misses an absolute sitter! So poor from him. Yikes!
74’ - CHELSEA CORNER: Close! Chalobah gets the header on target but Schmeichel makes the save right over his head. Leicester really are woeful at set-pieces. They can never win the first ball, and are entirely reliant on their 'keeper to bail them out.
- Only Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne (15), has scored more goals from midfield than James Maddison (11) in the Premier League this season.
- Reece James has made eight assists for Chelsea in the Premier League this season; the most by a player 22 or under in a single campaign for the Blues since Eden Hazard in 2012-13 [Opta].
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