N'Golo Kante, Alvaro Morata score as in-form Chelsea hold off Leicester
Chelsea racked up a third straight victory with a deserved 2-1 victory over Leicester City at the King Power Stadium. There was a Spanish flavour to Chelsea's opener when Alvaro Morata nodded home Cesar Azpilicueta's pinpoint pass just before the break and when ex-Fox N'Golo Kante drilled home a low shot to make it 2-0 early in the second half it looked like the Blues might run away with the game.
Leicester striker Jamie Vardy had other ideas though, capitalising on an Azpi error to draw a penalty from Thibaut Courtois and smashing home the spot-kick. It made for a nervy ending to the game, but Chelsea were good value for their victory. The future suddenly looks very bright once more.
Chelsea's big three summer signings all had immense games. With youth on their side, Antonio Rudiger, Tiemoue Bakayoko and Morata look set to have excellent long-term careers with the London club. Another new face, Davide Zappacosta, showed enough promise off the bench to suggest he will also be an asset to Antonio Conte, and the return of Eden Hazard -- who had an effervescent cameo role as substitute -- cannot be underestimated. The Blues boss has plenty of reasons to be cheerful.
Chelsea failed to capitalise on the amount of possession they enjoyed for much of the game and similarly, Conte will be annoyed at the number of goal-scoring chances that were created but not completed. Better opponents than Leicester might take advantage of such wastefulness should it continue.
Manager rating out of 10
8 -- Conte's mastery of tactics is quite sublime. There's no second-guessing the Italian at the moment and once again his delicate tweaks paid off. This time it was the decision to tuck Cesc Fabregas in behind Morata and have Bakayoko venturing box-to-box which caught the eye and made life hard for Leicester. The Italian's substitutions were well-timed as well, 30 minutes for Willian might have brought goals had the Brazil international been more fortunate.
Player ratings (1-10, 10 = best, players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Thibaut Courtois, 7 -- A brilliant one-handed Courtois save from Islam Slimani kept the score level at 0-0, but the Belgium international will be disappointed with the penalty he conceded when rashly bringing Vardy down. A clawed hand almost kept the spot-kick out, but it wasn't to be and Chelsea had a nervy end to the game as a consequence.
DF Cesar Azpilicueta, 8 -- Azpilicueta may be billed as a centre-back for Chelsea these days, but the Blues skipper hasn't lost the appetite for getting down the flanks and delivering precision passes. A fabulous cross at the back post picked out Morata's head for 1-0. Unfortunately, a less precise back pass from Azpi allowed Vardy in to draw a foul from Courtois. Had Leicester made further capital from the resultant goal it would have taken the gloss off what on the whole was a compelling performance.
DF David Luiz, 7 -- Functional defensive performance from Luiz who had to stay focussed for the full 90 minutes as Leicester battled to try and get something from the game.
DF Antonio Rudiger, 7 -- Rudiger will take some shifting from Conte's Premier League starting XI. Robust and mobile in defence, the Germany international was equally effective further forward and it was his short-snapped ball to Kante which produced the winning goal for Chelsea.
MF Victor Moses, 7 -- Used pace to good effect with plenty of probing runs to the byline and decent crosses. Might have scored before the break but struggled increasingly with the physicality of the contest late on and was replaced by Zappacosta.
MF Marcos Alonso, 7 -- There's a new Chelsea chant for Alonso which to the tune of the Buddy Holly song Heartbeat starts off with the line, Marcos, Marcos Alonso runs down the wing for me and that's what the Spaniard did effortlessly all afternoon against Leicester. He makes the game look easy.
MF N'Golo Kante, 8 -- Back-to-back Premier League title winner Kante put in a midfield masterclass against his former club. The PFA Player of the year doesn't score many goals, but a speculative long-range strike sealed all three points for Chelsea and by way of underlining his class the France international didn't celebrate.
MF Tiemoue Bakayoko, 8 -- An impressive display from the 23-year old whose energy matched Kante's. Bakayoko excelled Playing box-to-box and his vision and ability to switch play always made life difficult for Leicester.
FW Pedro, 6 -- Kept quiet by Harry Maguire and Wes Morgan, Pedro struggled to make an impact on the game and was replaced by Willian shortly after the hour mark.
FW Cesc Fabregas, 7 -- A big opportunity for Cesc to impress in an advanced role. Linked-up well in play, but after an enterprising first half fizzled out in the second period. Corner-kick balls left a lot to be desired. A decent enough performance, but with Bakayoko looking imperious, and Hazard back in contention, Fabregas could soon be destined for a place on the bench which is where he ended this game.
FW Alvaro Morata, 9 -- Club-record signing Morata is rapidly repaying the initial £58 million that Chelsea paid Real Madrid for his services. A third successive headed goal gave the Blues the lead and it was no more than the Spain international deserved for yet another impressive performance.
MF Willian, 7 -- Replaced Pedro and immediately helped Chelsea up the ante. Had a couple of excellent chances to kill the game off late but dragged one shot wide of the post and brought a great save from Kasper Schmeichel with the other.
MF Davide Zappacosta, NR -- Replaced Moses in a like-for-like switch and made an enterprising start to his Chelsea career which might have culminated in a goal had a shot-come-pass not fizzed tantalisingly just the wrong side of the post.
FW Eden Hazard, NR -- Replaced Fabregas and along with Willian gave Chelsea purposeful intent. Showed enough razzamatazz to suggest he'll be starting against Arsenal next weekend.
Mark Worrall is one of ESPN FC's Chelsea bloggers. You can follow him on Twitter: @gate17marco