Chelsea dispatched league champions Leicester City with relative ease as the Blues picked back up after the international break with a convincing win and clean sheet.
Early goals from Costa and Hazard did enough to kill Leicester’s momentum, before a controlled display saw Victor Moses add the cherry on top in the final 10 minutes.
It puts Chelsea in 5th position with 16 points from 8 matches, and back-to-back wins in the new 5-2-3 system will no doubt please Antonio Conte, who reacted quickly after the two heavy back-to-back losses against Liverpool and Arsenal.
It was the perfect start from the Blues, from the very first corner. Hazard’s low set-piece in the 7th minute evaded everyone and Costa was totally unmarked to volley home past Schmeichel. It was his seventh league goal of the campaign and asserts himself as the league’s top scorer to date.
Luiz had little defensive duties to contend with and, with Huth cynically fouling Hazard and a free-kick opportunity presented itself, had the opportunity to showcase his offensive prowess too. The woodwork spared Schemichel’s blushes.
It did become two later on in the first half when Matic, who has been afforded a more advanced role with the summer acquisition of Kante, dribbled further up-field and laid off to Pedro. The Spaniard, on his back-side, did expertly to acrobatically pass it to Hazard who rounded the goalkeeper to score his third of the season. Like Costa, Hazard paid tribute to Willian in his celebration who lost his mother earlier in the week.
The second-half would be as one-sided as the first. Luiz found Pedro with a delicious long-range through ball and Pedro’s controlled matched Luiz’s finesse. Fuchs then handled from Pedro’s shot but Andre Marriner deemed it unintentional.
When Leicester did get forward, Moses was as solid as a rock on the right. One moment for jitters came when Hernandez’s cross into the box was diverted onto the post by the sliding Luiz, but other than that Chelsea were dominant.
It should have been three moments before, when from an Albrighton corner, Chelsea expertly countered and in the space of a few seconds via Pedro, Hazard and a superb Kante cross, Moses found himself furthest forward in a one-on-one with Schmeichel. His low first-time drive was well-struck but Schmeichel saved well.
Kante, who was running the show in midfield, has an opportunity to get on the score-sheet himself against his former club, but Morgan deflected behind his effort.
Chalobah entered the fray to add more defensive steel alongside Kante to see out the match, but instead went on to help produce the game’s best goal.
Kante found the on-rushing Moses, who laid the ball to Chalobah, whose expertly-timed back-heel return found Moses and he finished off the one-two with consummate ease.
Bring on Mourinho and Manchester United.
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Man of the Match
VICTOR MOSES: When the whole team plays well it is difficult to pick one stand-out performer, and Kante equally deserves credit, but there is something about Moses, who has seized his opportunity under Conte, regardless of position, and shown his defensive and offensive prowess, especially after 3 years in loan wilderness. The Englishman has excelled in the new role and now may be one of the first names on the team-sheet. 8/10
Conte lavished praise on his side: “It was a good game. From the start I asked them to play well with intensity and to try to do what we are doing in training. I am very happy because I had a good reply. This is the best game for us. I saw good commitment. When you work hard it is important to have a good performance.”
Ranieri knew his side’s short-comings: “We made mistakes. Our approach to the match was not good. Maybe we were a little nervous. We must concentrate more. Now we must react because we have the Champions League on Tuesday.”