The Blues managed to climb into the top 5 of the Premier League with an emphatic victory over reigning champions Leicester City
The build-up to the clash between the last two Premier League champions revolved around manager Antonio Conte. Chelsea were still reeling from two back-to-back defeats to Liverpool and Arsenal, and questions were being raised of the Italian manager.
However, his team silenced some of the critics with their 3-0 victory over the Foxes at Stamford Bridge. Here are five talking points from the game.
1. Marcos Alonso could be the answer to the Blues’ full-back woes
Branislav Ivanovic has often been the whipping boy for Chelsea fans, and the aging Serbian looked more out of sorts by the day. He was dropped for the game against the Foxes and it paid rich dividends, as 25-year-old Spaniard Marcos Alonso took his place in the team.
Regular left-back Cesar Azpilicueta moved to the right side of a three man defence, while Alonso played left wing-back. The deadline day signing looked very impressive, especially in attack. He was a constant menace on the left wing, but didn’t compromise on his defensive duties either.
2. Pedro looking good up front with Costa and Hazard
Former Barcelona striker Pedro notched up an assist for the Blues against Leicester City. The 29-year-old hasn’t exactly set the stage on fire at Stamford Bridge. He scored seven goals and made two assists for Chelsea last season after arriving from Camp Nou.
Pedro has started two games so far this season, against Watford and Leicester, and the Blues have won both. The Spaniard has linked up well with Diego Costa and Eden Hazard, but it remains to be seen if he can keep summer signing Michy Batshuayi out of the first team.
3. Ranieri’s tactical changes at Leicester City aren’t paying off
The reigning champions have won just two games this season. While 2016-17 wasn’t expected to be a stroll for Leicester, right now they’re barely even crawling. Three goal defeats to Liverpool, Manchester United and now Chelsea see them in 13th place on the table.
One major change has been in a tactical sense, as the Foxes threw bodies forward against Chelsea. There were four or five players in the opposition half during most of the game, a far cry from the counter-attacking football of last season.
Claudio Ranieri is trying out something new with the Foxes this time around, but it doesn’t seem to be working at all.
4. The clown is back — Luiz dazzles and stupifies
The signing of David Luiz from PSG was definitely the shocker of transfer deadline day. The Brazilian returned to Chelsea after three years in Paris, and Blues fans didn’t know whether to rejoice or be horrified.
Luiz gave them reason to feel both emotions with his performance against Leicester City. A beautiful free kick in the first half was followed by a bizzare attempt at an overhead kick which almost injured the center-back.
The Brazilian made many good tackles in dangerous situations, and almost put the ball into his own net from a Luis Hernandez cross to Jamie Vardy. Stamford Bridge really didn’t know what to expect from Luiz, but he’s here to stay now and they can expect more madness.
5. Conte and his beloved three man defence
It has taken some time, but Antonio Conte is now finally fielding his preferred three-man defence system at Chelsea. Having started out with the regular 4-2-3-1 system, dipping results provoked a change, and that tactical change is now paying off.
With Luiz, Cahill and Azpilicueta playing in defence, Conte deployed Marcos Alonso and Victor Moses as wing-backs. Kante and Matic manned the midfield, as Pedro, Diego Costa and Eden Hazard went on the attack. The implementation of this 3-4-3 system is the real start of the Italian’s reign at Chelsea.