Raheem Sterling and Reece James stood out, but Conor Gallagher was unimpressive as Chelsea beat Leicester City 2-1 on Saturday.
Chelsea looked strong in the early exchanges and dominated the proceedings for much of the first half an hour when they could have scored twice. But Leicester weathered the storm before getting a numerical advantage when Conor Gallagher made two bookable offences in five minutes to get sent off.
Leicester nearly pounced but could not convert two glorious openings to take a lead into half-time. The visitors’ profligacy would come back to haunt them as Raheem Sterling broke the deadlock early in the second period with a looping strike from the edge of the box. Chelsea then came close to scoring through Sterling again but could only hit the woodwork.
However, Sterling completed his brace with a trademark point-blank tap-in from Reece James’s exquisite cross. But that was Leicester’s cue to hit back, and they halved Chelsea’s advantage with a well-worked goal that ended with Harvey Barnes beating Edouard Mendy at his near post.
Leicester continued to put pressure on Chelsea after that, but Mendy made a string of crucial saves to earn his side the three points. The Blues thus held on somehow to get back to winning ways with a 2-1 victory, climbing to sixth on the Premier League table. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Thomas Tuchel’s men.
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) August 27, 2022
Edouard Mendy: 6.5/10
Mendy made several crucial saves to earn Chelsea a win. His stop to deny Timothy Castagne in the first half kept the score level going into half-time. Mendy then made several important stops at 2-1 to get his side the three points. But he should have done better to deny Harvey Barnes at his near post, which docks his rating.
Reece James: 8/10
James has arguably been Chelsea’s best player in the early days of the 2022/23 season, and he was top-class again on Saturday. The English international should have celebrated a goal, but his thumping effort smashed the upright. However, James got his comeuppance with the assist for Raheem Sterling’s second strike. He needs to play an advanced role and might do so once Wesley Fofana joins Chelsea.
Thiago Silva: 7/10
Silva used his experience well to produce crunching tackles (5) and critical clearances (4) on Saturday. The veteran Brazilian defender held things together at the back when Leicester City looked to dismantle Chelsea, marshalling the defensive unit with aplomb.
Thiago Silva won the most tackles (4) and lost just one single duel (9/10) against Leicester. 👊
38 next month and showing no signs of slowing down! 🤩 pic.twitter.com/h6QXZlOSU9
— London Is Blue Podcast ⭐️⭐️ (@LondonBluePod) August 27, 2022
Trevoh Chalobah: 5/10
Chalobah seems to be closing in on leaving Chelsea on loan amid interest from several clubs. And in what might have been his final appearance in blue, he was sub-par, especially when Leicester amped up the pressure in the second half. Vardy even sat him down in one of the moves, and that showing did not do him any favours.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek: 7/10
Loftus-Cheek essayed different roles and looked comfortable, despite Chelsea’s numerical disadvantage to Leicester. The English international would have had a goal if not for a solid save by Danny Ward. He also earned a penalty before VAR pulled Kai Havertz back for offside during the build-up. Loftus-Cheek also looked solid in midfield and should continue his run in the team.
Conor Gallagher: 2/10
Gallagher has failed to take his chances in the absence of N’Golo Kante and Mateo Kovacic. And the performance on Saturday, his first home start for Chelsea, was another instance where he left a lot to be desired. The English international endured a nightmare of a game that ended in less than half an hour, with the tackle for his second yellow card being senseless, to say the least.
Conor Gallagher sees red 😬 pic.twitter.com/EmTrBGISF8
— GOAL (@goal) August 27, 2022
Jorginho should get some credit for keeping Chelsea in control, even though the Blues were a man down. He also initiated the move when Loftus-Cheek nearly scored in the first half. But Leicester found a way to bypass him in the final half an hour, although he barely misplaced a pass when he saw the ball.
Marc Cucurella: 7/10
Cucurella seems to be performing in every alternate game at the start of his Chelsea career. The Spaniard was brilliant whenever he forayed forward and deservedly got the assist for Sterling’s first goal. He could have had another shortly after, but Sterling smashed the woodwork. Nonetheless, Cucurella took some steps in the right direction.
Mason Mount: 5/10
Mount has looked off the pace in the early days of the 2022/23 season, and that trend continued against Leicester City. The English playmaker failed to stitch plays as well as he would have liked while flitting in and out of the proceedings. So it was hardly surprising that he made way for Cesar Azpilicueta at half-time to shore up the backline.
Raheem Sterling: 8/10
Sterling has been longing for his first goal in Chelsea colours, and he got two against Leicester City. The English international toiled in the first half without much reward but wasted no time to get on the scoresheet for the first time for Chelsea with a superb curling effort. He could have scored another soon after but got his brace with a typical point-blank tap-in. Sterling should now be in his element henceforth.
Three players have scored a Premier League goal for Liverpool, Manchester City and Chelsea:
✅ Nicolas Anelka
✅ Daniel Sturridge
🆕 Raheem Sterling
Welcome to the club, Raz. pic.twitter.com/kY1Jd4ohef
— William Hill (@WilliamHill) August 27, 2022
Kai Havertz: 5/10
Havertz endured another forgettable afternoon as he failed to pose a threat in and around the opposition box. But there were some positives as he made a few incisive runs and was involved in the build-up to one of Sterling’s goals. However, he also lost the ball cheaply, including an instance when Leicester embarked on a blistering counter-attack. He needs to step up.
Cesar Azpilicueta: 6/10
Azpilicueta blew hot and cold in the second half as he was out of position when Barnes scored for Leicester but made a few critical interventions. The one to stop a late goal was important and helped Chelsea earn three points.
Mateo Kovacic: N/A
Kovacic looked to regain sharpness on Saturday with a 15-minute cameo. And the lack of fitness and rhythm was evident as he clumsily lost the ball a few times when Leicester looked to get back on level terms.
Christian Pulisic: N/A
Pulisic barely saw the ball in the last 15 minutes, with Leicester City on top of Chelsea in the game’s final quarter.
Ben Chilwell: N/A
Chilwell was a late replacement for Cucurella and helped tick down the remaining seconds.