Ben Chilwell, Kai Havertz and Mateo Kovacic got on the scoresheet as Chelsea continued their upturn in form with a 3-1 win at Leicester City in the Premier League on Saturday.
After a dismal run of two wins in 15 games, Graham Potter’s side have won three on the trot in all competitions and are 10th in the league standings with 37 points, while 16th-placed Leicester will now be looking over their shoulders with concern.
“It’s been a really positive week for us, three wins against Leeds, Dortmund and today says a lot about the development of the team,” Chelsea manager Graham Potter told Sky Sports.
“It’s a hard fought game as they always are but in the end I thought we deserved to win.”
High on confidence following wins over Leeds United and Borussia Dortmund, the visitors started strongly and bossed the opening spell of the game.
They drew first blood in the 11th minute when Chilwell scored against his former club with a crisp left-footed volley, which beat goalkeeper Danny Ward at his near post.
Leicester almost came up with an instant response to going behind, as James Maddison whipped in a dangerous cross two minutes later, but Daniel Amartey missed a gaping goal with a wayward header from point-blank range.
In an action-packed first half, Chelsea’s Joao Felix and Leicester’s Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall both rattled the woodwork before the Portuguese international had a goal ruled out by VAR for offside.
Felix then lost possession in his own half in the 39th minute, with the ball breaking to forward Patson Daka, who fired his effort past Kepa Arrizabalaga to level the score.
Leicester continued to press forward after the equaliser, but it was Chelsea who scored just before halftime when Enzo Fernandez played Havertz through with a delicate chip, which the German lobbed over the head of Ward and into the net.
The hosts did not let up in their intensity after the break and were denied an equaliser by a goalline clearance from substitute Conor Gallagher, before Dewsbury-Hall miscued an effort from five metres to let Chelsea off the hook.
Chelsea made the most of their lifeline, as January signing Mykhailo Mudryk had a goal ruled out for offside before he turned provider for Kovacic, whose thumping volley sealed the three points for the London club in the 78th minute.
Leicester’s misery was complete when Wout Faes was sent off after receiving a second yellow card for his tackle on Carney Chukwuemeka.
Sitting in the stands, ex-Leicester and England forward Gary Lineker will have taken little comfort from the result amid his ongoing row with the BBC, as he watched his former side succumb to a fourth straight league defeat.
“Over the course of the game, the players gave everything and at 2-1 we had two great chances,” Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers told Sky Sports.
“It’s disappointing for us and we looked like the team that was on top. Then we don’t get that goal and when they have that quality, they get the chance and score it.
“They then make it 3-1, we got down to 10 men and it’s difficult.”