Tuesday, 23 January, 2018

Defending champs Chelsea continue to stutter, failing to beat 10-man Leicester

GaryCahill- cropped Getty Images Chelsea captain Cahill forced off with hamstring injury
Kristopher Love | 14 January, 2018, 15:28

Antonio Conte blamed tiredness for Chelsea's lacklustre performance in their 0-0 draw with Leicester at Stamford Bridge.

The Foxes dominated possession for large periods of the encounter and created the better chances than the home team.

Took greater responsibility for monitoring Vardy and Shinji Okazaki when Gary Cahill left the pitch injured, and assuming the captain's role came easily to the Spain worldwide.

6 - Conte was booed by sections of the crowd for replacing Hazard and Fabregas, but it was to the Italian's credit that he made the substitutions when he did and switched to 4-3-3 as neither player was making an impression on the game.

In contrast to Chelsea's lethargy, Leicester were electric, particularly Jamie Vardy, who harried the Blues' defenders, and in-form Riyad Mahrez, whose deflected shot nearly caught out Thibaut Courtois after the Belgian had been at full stretch to parry Ndidi's header.

When looking to the bench, Conte did not have the players required to change the game despite Willian and Pedro coming on as Morata once again struggled and Cahill's injury took up one of their options.

Antonio Conte had been wary of the Foxes and his concern proved well founded as the movement and energy of Riyad Mahrez, Jamie Vardy and Shinji Okazaki troubled Chelsea.

But Ben Chilwell received two yellow cards inside five minutes in the second half, giving his side a tough final 20 minutes.

October 2017: After United beat Benfica in the Champions League, Mourinho aimed a jibe at Conte: "I never speak about injuries".

Meanwhile, Jonny Evans helped to end West Bromwich Albion's long wait for an EPL win with a 2-0 home victory over Brighton. We are in all three cup competitions, and if we don't win the title, we at least ought to be runners up.

Elsewhere yesterday, Watford manager Marco Silva defended Abdoulaye Doucoure's controversial last-minute equaliser for his side in their 2-2 draw with Southampton, believing that it balanced out decisions that had gone against the Hertfordshire club earlier in the season.

Chelsea got the better of the Red Devils in their first Premier League meeting of 2017-18, winning 1-0 at Stamford Bridge.

Jordan Ayew's header on the hour mark had given the basement side the lead, but that was cancelled out eight minutes later by Newcastle substitute Joselu's low finish.