Antonio Rudiger scored twice to salvage a point for Chelsea, as they held Leicester City to a 2-2 draw at the King Power Stadium on Saturday.
A keenly contested first half saw the game ebb and flow beautifully, but the deadlock would not be broken before the break. Just a minute into the second period, though, the first goal was finally scored, as Antonio Rudiger nodded in from Mason Mount’s corner. Chelsea’s lead did not last long, as Harvey Barnes equalised in the 54th minute through a heavily deflected strike.
Ten minutes later, Leicester were in front, with Ben Chilwell tapping the ball into the net after Willy Caballero had strayed off his line. But, there was time for one more twist, as Rudiger completed his brace, looping a header from Mason Mount’s free-kick delivery. With the points shared, The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Frank Lampard’s men.
Willy Caballero: 5/10
Given a rare start in the Premier League ahead of the underperforming Kepa Arrizabalaga, this was Caballero’s chance to impress. A solid first half would have left Lampard vindicated, with Caballero making one fine save.
However, the second period was mortifying, as after being left stranded for the opening goal, he inexplicably left his line to chase a lost cause, which ultimately allowed Ben Chilwell to tap the ball in effortlessly. A chance wasted by the veteran goalkeeper, who might as well lose his spot to Kepa.
Reece James: 7/10
Another impressive display by James, who was constant outlet down the right flank. Struck a nice bond with Callum Hudson-Odoi on his wing, looking for overlap opportunities. Created quite a few opportunities with his dangerous low crosses and on another day he might have had an assist to boast. The second half was difficult and he was beaten a few times by the dangerous Barnes.
Andreas Christensen: 7/10
Back in the side, Christensen produced a decent display at the back, marking Jamie Vardy smartly. The big Dane impressed with his positioning, reading the game well. In the second half, he had a lot on his plate, especially with Jorginho failing to remain disciplined. Passing left a lot to be desired at times, though.
Antonio Rudiger: 9/10
2 – Antonio Rüdiger is the first defender to score a brace for Chelsea in the Premier League since John Terry against Fulham in April 2013; both of his goals that day were also headed. Noggin. #LEICHE pic.twitter.com/hACIstv5u4
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) February 1, 2020
This was a game in which he used his imposing figure to perfection. In the two set-pieces that Mason Mount delivered accurately, Rudiger rose the highest to slot the ball into the back of the net. The first was a powerful effort while the equalising header was looped smartly over a despairing Kasper Schmeichel.
At the back, he stitched up a strong partnership with Christensen and kept a check on the Leicester danger man Vardy. Was more accurate than his partner when building play from the back, but he too lacked precision at times.
Cesar Azpilicueta: 6/10
A game of two halves for the Chelsea captain. In the first 45 minutes, Azpilicueta posed a constant threat when charging down his flank, showing unprecedented confidence on his forays. Post the interval, with Leicester taking the game to Chelsea and he was nowhere to be seen when Youri Tielemans squared the ball to Chilwell. A game of hits and misses.
The vice captain did not rise to the occasion when his team needed him to. In the first half, he was smart with his conduct of the game, but after the interval, he was all over the place, leaving acres of open space in behind him, which left the defenders with a lot to do. That Tielemans was in open space for the second Leicester goal was also down to him. Terrible disappointing.
N’Golo Kante: 8/10
An all-action performance by Kante, who appeared to be clawing his way back to his best form. To begin with, the former Leicester City midfielder was a little underwhelming, losing possession a few too many times for comfort. However, he slowly found his groove and was the reason Leicester did not run away with the game when they improved in the second half. Top class.
Callum Hudson-Odoi: 5/10
This was a game that could have gone completely differently for Hudson-Odoi, who posed a great deal of threat in the final third, particularly when he dropped his shoulder and tried to get past his marker. However, for all his trickery, there was little in way of end product and a simple shot was missed, as he kicked the air instead. Back to the drawing board.
Mason Mount: 7/10
A performance wherein Mount delivered two peach of deliveries to get the assist for Rudiger’s goals but otherwise did not deliver one bit. That he was crucial for both of Chelsea’s goal earns him this rating, but lacked the incision when linking up with his teammates in open play. Some positives but some major negatives as well.
A surprise starter ahead of Willian, Pedro needed to use his experience to good effect when Chelsea were up against it. However, the veteran forward failed to rise to the occasion. While he cannot be faulted for effort, the end product was nowhere to be seen, with the Blues lacking bite in the final third.
Tammy Abraham: 4/10
Frustration was the name of the game for Abraham on the day, as he struggled to latch on to the balls that were coming his way. The Chelsea striker inexplicably failed to provide the finishing touches when handed two chances within a minute. By the time the final half hour rolled in, it was clear that he was not fully fit and was taken off for Ross Barkley with ten minutes left.
Played in a false nine role, Willian struggled to come to grips with the demands of the position and did not make much of an impact.
Mateo Kovacic: 7/10
A bundle of energy for the final 15 minutes, the Croat helped Chelsea grab control on the game.
Ross Barkley: N/A
A late introduction, Barkley did not have an influence on the game.