Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Chelsea 1-1 Leicester City: Alonso hits leveller as Blues and Foxes share the spoils

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 19 May 2022

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Chelsea all but secured a third-place Premier League finish with a 1-1 draw against Leicester City as Marcos Alonso coolly cancelled out James Maddison’s excellent opener.

Alonso volleyed home late in the first half after Maddison found the back of the net from 20 yards, but the Blues spurned several chances to find a winner.

Although Chelsea failed to respond to Saturday’s FA Cup final loss with a victory, the Blues’ significant goal difference advantage over Tottenham means they all but guaranteed a third-place finish with the draw.

Thomas Tuchel’s men will also be grateful for having taken another step towards the end of a challenging season as the club hopes for a resolution to the protracted takeover saga involving the Todd Boehly-led consortium.

The visitors needed just seven minutes to take the lead, with Maddison firing an excellent long-range strike beyond Edouard Mendy after latching onto a loose ball outside the area.

But that proved to be the Foxes’ only shot of the first half as Chelsea began to dominate possession, with Kasper Schmeichel forced to tip Trevoh Chalobah’s fierce 25-yard effort over the crossbar 10 minutes in.

Thiago Silva headed over from Reece James’ corner after half an hour, but the Blues levelled just five minutes later when Alonso fired home at the near post after racing onto James’ lofted pass.

Romelu Lukaku nodded Hakim Ziyech’s left-wing delivery wide as Chelsea continued to dominate, but Christian Pulisic was guilty of the Blues’ worst miss with the goal gaping just after the hour.

Chalobah then headed straight at Schmeichel as the Chelsea pressure continued, but Brendan Rodgers’ men clung on to deny Chelsea a rare home win at the end of a difficult campaign.

What does it mean? Chelsea close in on third, but home comforts still lacking

With a three-point advantage over Tottenham and a goal difference 18 better than that of Antonio Conte’s men, Chelsea are virtually assured of their first top-three Premier League finish since the 2018-19 campaign.

However, Chelsea have won on just one of their last five outings at Stamford Bridge, limping over the line as they search for an end to the off-pitch uncertainty around the club.

Creative James leads the way

Although Alonso applied a fine volleyed finish to score Chelsea’s equaliser, he was teed up by a sumptuous chipped ball from James, who has now recorded eight Premier League assists this season.

That is the most a Chelsea player aged 22 or under has managed in a single league campaign since Eden Hazard in 2012-13 (11), while only Mason Mount (10) has more for the Blues this term.

Maddison strikes from range again

Despite Leicester enduring an underwhelming season, Maddison has enjoyed his best goalscoring campaign for the Foxes, netting his 11th league goal of the season to open the scoring.

Since his Premier League debut in August 2018, meanwhile, the midfielder has scored 14 goals from outside the area in the competition – only James Ward-Prowse (15) has scored more in that time.

Key Opta facts

– Hakim Ziyech had seven attempts at goal in the match (two on target), his most in a Premier League game for Chelsea, while he last had more in a league game in November 2018 for Ajax (10 against Willem II).
– Reece James registered his eighth league assist of the season (25th appearance), twice as many as in his previous two campaigns combined (four in 56 appearances).
– Thiago Silva made his 50th Premier League start; at 37 years 239 days old, and is the third-oldest player to reach this milestone in the competition, after Kelvin Davies (38y 237d) and Kevin Moran (37y 299d).

What’s next? 

Chelsea finish their Premier League season at home to Watford on Sunday, while Leicester host Southampton on the same day.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

SoccerNews

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