Antonio Conte's men moved to fifth in the points table with an easy 3-0 victory over Champions Leicester City on Saturday. Diego Costa was once again on target opening the scoring with his seventh Premier League goal of the season while Eden Hazard and Victor Moses sealed the win for the Blues.
Leicester City's struggles in defending their Premier League title continued as they were condemned to their fourth defeat of the season at Stamford Bridge on Saturday afternoon. The visitors looked lacklustre in the first half as goals from Diego Costa and Eden Hazard put Chelsea on the front. Despite upping their work rate in the second half, Claudio Ranieri's men did not have a reply as Victor Moses sealed the three points for the home team with a brilliant finish ten minutes from time. With this defeat, Leicester dropped to 12th position in the points table behind Watford and Bournemouth.
How they started:
After his decision to play the wing-back system in the 2-0 win against Hull City, Antonio Conte again employed a three-man defence. While star player Willian was unavailable due to his mother's sudden demise, winger Pedro played his part brilliantly with constant runs around the Leicester box. David Luiz continues to scare the Chelsea fans as he missed an own goal despite striking some beautiful set pieces near the box.
Meanwhile, Leicester boss Claudio Ranieri made three changes to his team that featured against Southampton, with Danny Simpson, Riyad Mahrez and Islam Slimani making way for Luis Hernandez, Jeffrey Schlupp and Ahmed Musa, respectively. But the changes upfront failed badly as the Champions hardly troubled Courtois throughout the first half while Marcos Alonso made life difficult for Luiz Hernandez on the left side.
Conte's plans finally working for Chelsea:
After achieving huge success at Juventus with the 3-5-2 formation, Antonio Conte had ample reasons for being unable to play the wing-back system. But, with Gary Cahill's return, the Italian manager was able to put his plans into execution in the game against Hull City. The Blues looked a totally different side after demoralising defeats to Liverpool and Arsenal, and finally put a full stop to against the struggling Tigers with a 2-0 win at The KC Stadium.
Despite a patient start to the opening 5 minutes, the home team looked comfortable on the ball once the back three started to play it out from the back. The formation was basically a 3-2-2-3 with N'golo Kante and Nemanja Matic playing the pivot role which allowed the home to move the ball smoothly.
The wing-backs Marcos Alonso and Victor Moses were also brilliant as they dragged the Leicester's fullbacks down the flanks allowing the forwards to take out the holding midfielders and the centre backs of the visitors. Despite Leicester's improved efforts after the break, Antonio Conte's men looked hardly troubled as they repelled the Foxes attacks with some solid defending. If this trend continues, Chelsea stay in the top 4 will become imminent.
Moses and Alonso wreak havoc
It is a known fact that the systems playing a three-man defence are successful as their wing-backs and Chelsea's wing-backs were arguably the best part of Saturday's match. Victor Moses and Marcos Alonso's work rate down the flanks gave that the back three of David Luiz, César Azpilicueta and Branislav Ivanović had the freedom to play higher up the pitch and venture forward occasionally.
Moses, who had struggled to find a place in the starting XI under previous coaches, finally seemed to have found a concrete role under Conte down the right side. The Nigerian's movement was a nightmare for Christian Fuchs as his link up with Matic and Pedro helped Chelsea moved the ball seamlessly in small triangles. His 80th-minute goal off a brilliant Chalobah backheel was just the icing on the cake.
At the other end, Marcos Alonso excelled in his new-found role with some dangerous deliveries into the box. The versatile defender was a thorn in Leicester deep defence as his runs down the left side often freed Hazard or Diego Costa lurking in the box. In the second half, his performance improved even more as he handled Riyad Mahrez to nullify some late Leicester efforts on the goal.
Leicester's defence in tatters
Things seem to go from bad to worse for Ranieri and his defending Champions. After shipping in four goals in the first 45 minutes against Manchester United, the Foxes lacked positional discipline as Kante and Matic's passes cut through their midfield like a hot knife through butter. Danny Drinkwater and Daniel Amartey were woeful in marking Pedro who has started just for the second time this season in the league.
The pairing of Robert Huth and Wes Morgan, which was key for Leicester's title win last season, lacked the understanding they had throughout the 2015-16 season. Wes Morgan's misjudgement of Eden Hazard's corner left Diego Costa with acres of space allowing the striker to fire home following a flick from Nemanja Matic inside the box.
While the visitors improved in the second half following the introduction of Islam Slimani and Riyad Mahrez, but they were clearly exposed on the counter by Chelsea and Victor Moses' brilliant goal in the closing minutes of the game. It is high time that Ranieri rethinks his tactics in order to make his side more solid in all the departments.