English Premier League

Leicester 2 – 2 Chelsea

Leicester and Chelsea played out an entertaining Premier League draw in a see-saw encounter at King Power Stadium.

The result means the Foxes stay third in the table, eight points above Chelsea in fourth.

After a largely uneventful first half, the game came to life just after the break when Antonio Rudiger headed Chelsea in front from Mason Mount’s corner.

Brendan Rodgers’ team levelled eight minutes later, Harvey Barnes’ effort deflecting off Blues defender Reece James into the top-right corner.

And Rodgers looked to be heading towards a first win over Chelsea at the 14th attempt as a manager when Ben Chilwell swept a Youri Tielemans cross into the bottom left corner.

But Rudiger’s second headed goal of the day – from another Mount delivery – ensured Frank Lampard’s side claimed a point.

Chelsea started this match a place higher but eight points worse off than at the corresponding stage last season.

And although Lampard has recently talked of his side being “underdogs” in the race for Champions League qualification, it is difficult to see which teams below them are capable of bridging the gap.

Lampard will have been delighted by the way his side took charge at the start of each half and then, when they fell behind to a transformed Leicester team, had the resolve to fight back to earn a merited point.

The outcome in part also vindicated Lampard’s decision to drop the world’s most expensive goalkeeper, Kepa Arrizabalaga, in favour of Willy Caballero.

At 38, the Argentine is heading towards the twilight of his career but he made a superb save early on to deny Jamie Vardy his 18th goal of the season and, although his decision to charge away from goal in pursuit of a cross in the build-up to Chilwell’s goal was an aberration, he was otherwise solid.

Caballero brilliantly saved Chilwell’s deflected cross, moments after Barnes’ equaliser, and appeared a calming influence on Rudiger and Andreas Christensen when his side came under pressure.

This was another Leicester performance in which they struggled to maintain the high standards they set earlier in the campaign.

Since winning comfortably at Newcastle on 1 January, the Foxes have collected only four points from a possible 12.

And although they took charge after Barnes had equalised and went on to lead, their authority was fleeting.

Barnes steered a glorious chance wide when through on Caballero, and Jonny Evans headed wide from a corner, but they never appeared fully in control.

Rodgers’ side appeared to be suffering a hangover from their Carabao Cup defeat by Aston Villa on Tuesday – making sluggish starts in each half.

But for the excellence of Evans – particularly in the first period – they could have be punished on at least five occasions.

The former Manchester United and West Brom defender made a series of excellent tackles and interceptions, with his only blot misdirecting a late chance to win the game.

However, the Foxes still have a considerable cushion to Chelsea, with the teams below that even further away from threatening their place in next season’s Champions League.

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Source – Sport365coza

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