Chelsea triumphed with a three-goal margin, which could easily have been even bigger, in a dominant display away at Leicester City.
The home side attempted to make a spirited start in front of their fans, but it didn't last long as the Blues soon stamped our authority on the game, with Ben Chilwell hitting the crossbar with a powerful effort shortly before providing the corner from which Antonio Rudiger headed us in front.
Although the Foxes briefly thought they had equalised when Ademola Lookman was correctly flagged offside when turning in a Marc Albrighton cross, we were two ahead by half-time. It was N'Golo Kante who found the net against his former club, being invited to shoot by the hesitant defenders after charging forward on the ball, wrapping his left foot around a shot that flew past Kasper Schmeichel at the near post from the edge of the box.
Things got even better after the break, as substitutes Hakim Ziyech and Christian Pulisic combined to make it three, and it nearly didn't stop there, as Callum Hudson-Odoi, Pulisic and Reece James all had goals cancelled out by the linesman, but again there could be no argument with the officials' decision, and three seemed to be plenty as we brushed Leicester aside to bounce straight back from the disappointment of the draw with Burnley in our last game before the international break.
Thomas Tuchel made two changes from the side that drew 1-1 at home with Burnley in the Premier League before the international break. Trevoh Chalobah came into the defence, alongside Thiago Silva and Antonio Rudiger, with Edouard Mendy continuing behind them in goal.
An unchanged midfield four from that previous match meant Reece James and Ben Chilwell continued as the two wing-backs, either side of N’Golo Kante and captain Jorginho.
In the attacking trio, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Kai Havertz both retained their place, but were joined by the returning Mason Mount, making his first start since scoring a hat-trick in the 7-0 thrashing of Norwich City, having missed the trips to Malmo and Newcastle due to dental surgery.
Timo Werner also returned, albeit on the bench, after being out of action since suffering a hamstring injury in the 4-0 home win over Malmo exactly one month ago.
Leicester also made two changes from their last match, a 1-1 draw at Leeds United, with Daniel Amartey and Marc Albrighton replacing Youri Tielemans and Ricardo Pereira. Chelsea Academy graduate and 2012 Champions League winner Ryan Bertrand was among their substitutes.
Fast out of the blocks
Leicester started the game matching up with Chelsea’s 3-4-3 system in an effort to get to grips with the threat our wing-backs have been causing teams recently, but the Blues nearly left that plan in tatters as early as the third minute.
Jorginho cleverly took a quick free-kick after being fouled in the centre-circle, finding Chilwell in behind in the left channel, but the wing-back’s powerful shot hit the crossbar and went behind, denying the England international a goal against his former club and a perfect response to the boos some of the home fans had been sending in his direction.
That wasn’t the end of the action in the opening exchanges, either, as in quick succession Rudiger had to be alert to clear a dangerous ball across goal by Jamie Vardy, with Harvey Barnes poised at the back post, and then Leicester keeper Kasper Schmeichel did the same at the other end as James flashed a cross into the six-yard box after good work down the right by Hudson-Odoi.
The excitement did then calm down a bit, but before long we had taken the lead and were well on top at the King Power Stadium. Chilwell may not have got his goal to silence his critics in the stands, but he achieved much the same result with his corner from the right which led to us opening the scoring.
There was still plenty for Rudiger to do from that delivery, though, smartly peeling away after starting on the goalkeeper to create space and sending a deft header looping to the far post and under the bar.
Leicester had Schmeichel to thank again soon afterwards for preventing us from extending our lead to two goals, when another pinpoint pass in behind found the run of Kante, but the ball was bouncing awkwardly and he couldn’t generate the power to beat the onrushing Schmeichel.
Mount also went close, a viciously dipping free-kick falling just beyond the crossbar and onto the roof of the net, but then the home fans were briefly cheering as they thought they’d found an equaliser against the run of play on the 25-minute mark. However, Ademola Lookman was correctly flagged offside when he turned in Albrighton’s cross at the back post.
Underlining our dominance
Almost as soon as those Leicester cheers had died down, Chelsea rubbed salt in the wound by getting the second goal which was no more than our first-half performance had deserved. Chalobah and James deserve credit for the way they got us moving forward on the halfway line, but it was a goal very much of Kante’s own making.
He carried the ball at pace fully 30 yards into increasingly dangerous territory and, when the defenders continued to back off, the Frenchman promptly accepted their invitation to shoot by firing a left-footed shot inside the near post from the edge of the box, scoring at the stadium where he first became a Premier League champion.
The Foxes were looking rattled as half-time began to approach, as shown when Schmeichel was fortunate to get away with a loose pass at the back which was intercepted by Hudson-Odoi, but the Blues winger’s touch took him wide and Jonny Evans was able to recover in time to clear his cross before it reached Havertz in the six-yard box.
We had another chance to make it three before the break, after Hudson-Odoi did brilliantly to shield the ball in our box before breaking forward at pace and finding Mount on the left. He slid in Chilwell to deliver a floated cross, but when Kante and Havertz both got free to meet it near the penalty spot, they got in each other’s way, meaning the former’s eventual header lacked conviction and the keeper was able to gather comfortably.
Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers tried to spark a response from his team by making two changes at half-time, bringing on both James Maddison and Kelechi Iheanacho, and Mendy had to be sharp to dive low and gather a cross from the former right at the start of the second half.
Normal service was soon resumed, though, and once again Chilwell was desperately unlucky not to find the net. Jorginho released Hudson-Odoi down the left and as the winger carried possession into the box, he slid a pass sideways into the path of the wing-back on the edge of the box. He drilled it low first-time across goal, with his shot destined for the bottom corner until Schmeichel somehow got down to tip it around the post with a brilliant save.
With an hour of the game played Leicester produced their best attempt so far, but it was a tame long shot from Maddison which bounced comfortably into Mendy’s arms. In contrast, Chelsea were looking supremely comfortable in our lead again, with Chilwell coming close to latching on to a brilliant long pass by Chalobah and Hudson-Odoi curled just over after cutting in from the left.
Out of nowhere, Mendy was required intervene to keep our clean sheet intact, though, rising acrobatically to tip over a rasping Amartey drive, which had seemed to be heading into the net from a long way out.
Blues out of sight
While we were still certainly good for our lead, there wasn’t quite the same measure of control for the Blues as Leicester tried to salvage something out of the game. However, we still showed plenty of threat going forward, as Christian Pulisic was inches away from adding another goal to our tally from fellow substitute Hakim Ziyech’s cross.
Before long, those two did combine to make it 3-0, although our defenders are also deserving of a healthy share of the praise. The move began with a fantastically composed intervention by Thiago Silva, to cushion a Leicester long ball down to the feet of Jorginho. He laid it off for Chalobah, who charged forward before sliding a through ball in behind for Ziyech. When he sent a pass low across goal, Pulisic met it to control with his left foot before sliding it across the line with his right to make sure.
There could even have been more goals for the Blues, as Hudson-Odoi, Pulisic and James all had the ball in the back of the net before the end, only to see the linesman’s flag raised for offside, and there was still time for another impressive Mendy save from a Maddison long shot. The only negative for Chelsea was an injury to Jorginho, which saw him leave the pitch to be replaced by Ruben Loftus-Cheek.
By the end we had definitely knocked the fight out of the Foxes and were playing the ball around at will, with the home side fortunate not to have ended up losing by more, given the three goals we had disallowed, even if the officials were correct on each occasion. Even without those additional goals, the final score of 3-0 summed up our supremacy at the King Power Stadium well enough, as we just proved far too strong for Leicester in every area and comfortably returned to winning ways in the Premier League to maintain our spot at the top of the table.
We are back at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday evening for the Champions League and the visit of Juventus, with kick-off at 8pm. We stay in west London for our next Premier League game too, when we host Manchester United at the Bridge at 4.30pm next Sunday.
Chelsea (3-4-3): Mendy; Chalobah, Thiago Silva, Rudiger; James, Kante, Jorginho (c) (Loftus-Cheek 77), Chilwell; Mount (Ziyech 62), Havertz (Pulisic 62), Hudson-OdoiUnused subs: Kepa, Alonso, Azpilicueta, Christensen, Barkley, WernerScorers: Rudiger 14, Kante 28, Pulisic 71Booked: Mendy 65
Leicester City (3-4-3): Schmeichel (c); Amartey, Evans, Soyuncu; Albrighton, Ndidi, Soumare (Dewsbury-Hall 75), Castagne; Lookman (Iheanacho h-t), Vardy, Barnes (Maddison h-t)Unused subs: Ward; Bertrand, Vestergaard, Choudhury, Daka, Perez
Booked: Amartey 40, Evans 45, Schmeichel 45+1
Referee: Paul Tierney