Chelsea were unable to close out their first win of the Frank Lampard era as Leicester City’s Wilfred Ndidi enjoyed a redemption tale in Sunday’s 1-1 Premier League draw at Stamford Bridge.
Mason Mount embarrassed Ndidi to score his first Chelsea goal in the seventh minute as the hosts started superbly.
But, as in the 4-0 loss at Manchester United seven days ago and the UEFA Super Cup penalty shoot-out defeat to Liverpool in midweek, the Blues were unable to sustain their efforts over the course of the contest.
Ndidi levelled as James Maddison made life increasingly uncomfortable for Chelsea after the interval, meaning Brendan Rodgers’ side have started their campaign with back-to-back draws.
Lampard was serenaded on to the touchline in his first home game at the helm and a party atmosphere was almost ramped up inside the first minute – Pedro thumping a volley from Olivier Giroud’s knockdown into the side netting.
It was a high-tempo start from the hosts, with Kasper Schmeichel denying Mount and smothering Christian Pulisic’s attempted follow-up.
The opener felt inevitable and Mount pickpocketed a lackadaisical Ndidi to clip into the bottom corner.
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) August 18, 2019
Schmeichel was well-positioned to prevent Mount from heading a second before Christian Fuchs made a goal-saving challenge that denied N’Golo Kante.
Leicester grew into the game before the break and Maddison rounded a scrambling Kepa Arrizabalaga before being crowded out five minutes into the second half.
The playmaker twisted past Anders Christensen and hitf a shot across the face of goal as Chelsea struggled to find their earlier momentum.
If not in the same emphatic manner as Chelsea’s goal, the equaliser felt like it was coming by the time Ndidi atoned for his earlier error and converted Maddison’s 67th-minute corner.
Maddison’s dazzling, inventive play merited reward but he lashed wastefully over 17 minutes from time, before playing in Jamie Vardy to shoot wide. The full-time whistle ultimately felt like more of a relief for a Chelsea side exhausted and overrun by that stage.
What does it mean? Lampard’s vibrant side need substance to match style
As in his first two matches in charge, Lampard saw Chelsea play some wonderful football in patches but once Leicester gained a foothold, they struggled to turn the contest back in their favour. Having come through an early onslaught, Rodgers’ men stated their top-six credentials in assured fashion.
Mount and Maddison impress
A week on from Jose Mourinho querying his place in the Chelsea starting XI, England Under-21 international Mount turned in a performance as tenacious as it was technically assured. Maddison is a more established Premier League performer, having created 100 chances last season, and Chelsea found him increasingly unplayable as the game went on. England manager Gareth Southgate will undoubtedly have an eye on such exciting creative talents ahead of Euro 2020.
A very bright start to the second half of #CheLei.
Come on, City! pic.twitter.com/ETVIClA3TB
— Leicester City (@LCFC) August 18, 2019
Azpilicueta lets it slip
Lampard’s Chelsea do appear defensively short, especially as they wait for Antonio Rudiger to regain full fitness in the wake of David Luiz’s departure to Arsenal. The rookie coach could certainly do without the club’s most reliable defensive performer hitting a slump. Cesar Azpilicueta was culpable in the Old Trafford defeat and lost Ndidi for the Foxes’ equaliser.
Key Opta Facts
– After winning their first Premier League home game in 12 consecutive seasons between 2003-04 and 2014-15, Chelsea have failed to win three of their last five opening home games in the competition (W2 D2 L1).
– Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers has faced Chelsea on 13 occasions as a manager; against no other opponent has he managed as many games. However, he is yet to register a single victory against the Blues (D7 L6).
– Frank Lampard is the first Chelsea manager to fail to win any of his first three games in charge of the club since Rafael Benitez in the 2012-13 campaign.
– Having managed just one shot in the opening 45 minutes, Leicester had 11 attempts in the second half of the match. It is the most by a visiting team after half-time at Stamford Bridge since Leicester themselves in May 2016 (11).
– Mason Mount became the first English player to score on his first home appearance for Chelsea in the Premier League since Paul Hughes did so against Derby County in January 1997.
The Championship’s top two from last season – each bolstered by weekend wins – are next on the agenda for these sides. Chelsea travel to take on Norwich City, while Leicester are in action at Sheffield United. It is time for both to add victories to their promise.
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