Sunday, May 26, 2019

Leicester City 0 Chelsea 0: Stalemate seals third for Sarri´s Blues

SoccerNews in English Premier League 12 May 2019

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Chelsea finished third in the Premier League after a final-day 0-0 draw at Leicester City.

The Blues secured Champions League qualification last week and Maurizio Sarri made changes after his side needed penalties to down Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League semi-final.

Gonzalo Higuain missed the best chance to break the deadlock at the King Power Stadium on Sunday, but Chelsea ended the campaign above Tottenham after the Champions League finalists drew 2-2 home to Everton.

Kasper Schmeichel made a great reaction block to deny Ross Barkley in the third minute before the Leicester goalkeeper dived low to his left to keep out Willian’s tame effort.

James Maddison and Higuain fired off target in a first half played at low tempo but Leicester should have struck first, Jamie Vardy playing a poor pass at the end of a quick break.

Chelsea wasted an even better chance to open the scoring on the stroke of half-time, Higuain making a mess of a seemingly straightforward opportunity created by Marcos Alonso.

Barkley pulled a shot wide after the restart before a crucial Cesar Azpilicueta intervention prevented Vardy from having a clear sight of goal.

Sarri brought on Eden Hazard with 21 minutes to go while Leicester introduced title-winning duo Shinji Okazaki and Danny Simpson for farewell appearances.

But, with little riding on the result, the match petered out, although Youri Tielemans shot over late on, Chelsea’s attention having seemingly turned to their Europa League final against Arsenal in Baku.

 

What does it mean? Blues finish third

Chelsea rested key players including Hazard and Kepa Arrizabalaga with an eye on the May 29 showdown with the Gunners, and Tottenham’s failure to win ensured Sarri’s decision did not backfire.

Leicester end a campaign that will be remembered for the passing of chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha in ninth, having made good progress under Brendan Rodgers.

Ndidi solid in Foxes midfield

Chelsea kept Leicester under pressure in the first half but the Foxes were able to push up the pitch after the break, mostly due to the steady influence of Wilfred Ndidi in midfield.

Higuain in last chance saloon

Chelsea’s hunt for a successor to Diego Costa looks set to continue, with Higuain failing to make his mark. The striker got his feet in a muddle as he wasted a simple opening late in the first half.

What’s next?

Chelsea have a trip to Boston for a post-season friendly before taking on Arsenal in Azerbaijan. Leicester will hope to push for a top-six finish under Rodgers next term.

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