In a sunny afternoon affair, Chelsea FC hosted Leicester City FC in the first Premier League match of the season at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea started the same lineup that saw them win 3-1 vs Burnley, with Diego Costa leading the line ahead of Eden Hazard, Oscar and Andre Schurrle.
Early on Costa looked to get involved, racing down the wing off a turnover and earning the first corner kick for Chelsea when he was taken down near the corner flag, his physicality and excellence with the ball were evident again. He seemed to revel in taking on defenders one on one, and looked to create some chances early on.
Some sloppy play midway through the first half saw Leicester gain a few chances, but Chelsea still seemed to be in control.
30 minutes in, Leicester gave Courtois his first real challenge of the match, but the big Belgian was up to scratch and made the save. He looked comfortable in goal again, calm and collected at the back. Leicester’s counter attacking was strong in the first half, but Chelsea’s defenders (especially Azpilicueta) were well up to the challenge, shutting down attacks even in the danger areas.
Chelsea did have a few chances early on, some of them even quite dangerous, but could not seem to break down the Leicester defense quite enough. Just before halftime, Cesc Fabregas and Andre Schurrle showed their chemistry again, as Cesc played another ball on to Schurrle in the box, Schurrle was subsequently taken down by the keeper and the ball went harmlessly wide, but the offside flag was up regardless.
At the half it was scoreless, with some bright spots for Chelsea but an overall better half for Leicester City. The Foxes must have felt good going into the break, but surely new the Blues attack would be fierce in the second half.
No changes were made in personnel to start the second half, but it would seem none were needed. Just 2 minutes in, Oscar fired a thunderbolt towards goal, however it was stopped by the crossbar and back out. Seconds later Ivanovic had a strong header saved by the Leicester keeper. Chelsea were pressing, and a goal seemed imminent.
The Chelsea attack had come alive, with chance after chance being fired at the Leicester goal, but a quick Leicester counterattack saw two players alone against Thibault Courtois, who came out quickly and made a decisive save to send the shot wide.
Both keepers proved acrobatic today, with Leicester’s Kasper Schmeichel (son of the Manchester United legend, Peter) making brilliant saves on Ivanovic and Fabregas.
Finally in the 62nd minute, the Ivanovic-Costa combination struck gold when Diego controlled a pass off his chest and flashed the ball under the diving keeper, 1-0 to Chelsea and Diego Costa had cored his 2nd Premier League goal and first at Stamford Bridge.
In the 77th minute, Eden Hazard froze the entire Leicester defense, opened a space, and slotted the ball underneath the keeper. 2-0 to Chelsea FC. (One might say he outfoxed the Foxes)
Diego Costa came off and Didier Drogba made his return to the Stamford Bridge pitch in a blue uniform with around 10 minutes to play, Chelsea supporters giving Costa a strong round of applause and a song for Drogba as well. The atmosphere was much more festive after the 2-0 lead.
The 2-0 scoreline was complete, Eden Hazard opened his scoring account for this season, Diego Costa scored his first goal at home for Chelsea, Courtois earned his first clean sheet in a Chelsea kit and the top of the Premier League table would still read Chelsea FC.
Overall, Chelsea played well in the second half after a relatively poor first half. Diego Costa seems as if he is the center forward we’ve needed for quite some time, Thibault Courtois is everything we never knew we always wanted in a goalkeeper not named Petr Cech, and we’ve still yet to see anything from new boy Fillipe Luis.
Chelsea take on Everton and former striker Romelu Lukaku next Saturday at Goodison Park.
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