Monday, 14 December 2015

Leicester 2-1 Chelsea: 5 Things We Learned As Vardy And Mahrez Crank Up The Pressure On Mourinho

Troubled Champions Chelsea suffered their ninth defeat of the season as Leicester piled up the pressure on Blues boss Jose Mourinho.

It was Jamie Vary - who else? - that put the Foxes in front, when he got on the end of a teasing Riyad Mahrez cross to finish first-time past Thibaut Courtois. He was due a goal, after all.

Things went from bad to worse for the Mourinho immediately after the break, as Mahrez turned from provider into goalscorer, turning Cesar Azpilicueta inside out and curling a shot into the roof of the net.

Second-half substitute Loic Remy pulled one back for the visitors with 13 minutes remaining as Mourinho's men looked to salvage at least a point, but it proved to only be a consolation.

The utterly convincing win for the Foxes leaves them 20 points clear of Chelsea as their fans begin to believe that a Champions League spot is theirs for the taking.

For Chelsea meanwhile, Mourinho's job prospects hang by a thread, as talk of a relegation battle increases with the Blues languishing in 16th place.

Here are five things we learned from a hectic night at the King Power.

Another dismal night for Jose Mourinho

After a decent showing in midweek against Porto, Mourinho kept faith with the XI that saw his side through to the last 16 as group winners.

He seemed chipper in his pre-match interview, and there was a feeling that three points this evening against one of the pace-setters could finally kickstart their season.

It didn't happen.

Chelsea were bang average, at best, once more, and Mourinho was left scratching his head on the touchline.

His decision to replace skipper John Terry with Cesc Fabregas was a particularly noteworthy moment.

Blues turning on each other?

As if the first goal wasn't enough of a problem for Chelsea, what followed showed just how much disharmony is in the camp among the Blues' struggling stars.

Diego Costa was less than impressed with how the defence reacted to Mahrez's ball into the box and Vardy's finish, and wasted no time in telling them.

He bellowed at the back four, before putting his hands to the side of his face and shutting his eyes in a sleeping motion.

Simply put: "Wake up."

While he may have had a point about the sluggish defending, carrying out the dressing down of teammates in the public eye probably wasn't the wisest move from the Spanish international, particularly given his own indifferent form.

Will the Vardy party ever end?

Almost inevitably, Jamie Vardy's frustrating one-game goal drought finally came to an end this evening.

The Foxes striker broke the Premier League record by scoring in 11 consecutive games, just in case you have been living in space over the last couple of months, before firing a blank as Leicester beat Swansea 3-0 in their last match.

It was a Riyad Mahrez hat-trick that did for the Swans, and the Algerian was the one to unlock the Blues' defence tonight.

You could say Cesar Azpilicueta should have been tighter to him, and you could say Kurt Zouma should have tracked Vardy's run better, but let's enjoy the goal for the sensational passage of football it was.

A pinpoint ball into the box and a tremendous near-post finish, from two players operating at the absolute prime of their powers.

Vardy showed his gritty side by clattering into Eden Hazard just moments earlier, forcing the Belgian down the tunnel, and his all-round game only seems to be getting better.

If he continues the form he is in now, he must be a shoo-in for Roy Hodgson's Euro 2016 squad.

It could be a long way back for Cesc

Rather unsurprisingly, Jose Mourinho stuck with the same starting XI that did the business against Porto in the Champions League last week.

This meant that Cesc Fabregas was again named among the Chelsea substitutes, as he struggles to get over his slump in form. In came Ramires, as Jose goes back to old habits, favouring steel over style.

“Last year he had a huge responsibility for the quality of our team, he was fundamental," the Portuguese said last week.


"This season he is at the same level as the team and it is difficult to play especially well."

Only Bournemouth's Matt Ritchie has misplaced more passes than the former Arsenal skipper in the league this season and the fact that Chelsea turned in one of their best performances of the season against Porto doesn't bode for the Spain star.

The fans had already begun to turn on Fabregas before last week, with the general consensus being that he can only function in a side that's playing well around him and he's not the man to dig in.

But with Ramires' inclusion giving Chelsea a much sturdier base to build from, when can we expect to see last season's assist-king back in the starting line-up?

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