MX23RW : Friday, December 28 07:05:22

Live Commentary: Chelsea 0-1 Leicester City - as it happened

Relive Sports Mole's live coverage as Leicester City register a 1-0 victory over Chelsea in Saturday's Premier League clash at Stamford Bridge.
Live Commentary: Chelsea 0-1 Leicester - as it happened
© Reuters

A second-half goal from Jamie Vardy has given Leicester City a 1-0 win over Chelsea in Saturday's Premier League fixture at Stamford Bridge.

The Blues squandered a number of chances during the first half with Eden Hazard striking the crossbar from 12 yards out and Willian scuffing an effort straight at Kasper Schmeichel, and the home side were made to pay after the restart.

Ricardo Pereira and James Maddison combined to tee up Jamie Vardy, who drilled the ball inside Kepa Arrizabalaga's near post for his sixth goal of the top-flight campaign.

Find out how all of the action unfolded in West London courtesy of Sports Mole's minute-by-minute updates below.

2.00pmHello and welcome to Sports Mole's live coverage of the match in the Premier League between Chelsea and Leicester City. Both of these clubs have won the title in recent years, but they both have different priorities heading into this contest.

2.02pmLATEST! Arsenal are currently playing Burnley at the Emirates Stadium and it has been a fiercely-fought contest. Arsenal hold a 2-1 advantage heading into the final 15 minutes. Click here to follow the closing stages of that match.

2.04pmWithout further ado, let's take a look at the two starting lineups, beginning with the home side...

2.06pmCHELSEA XI: Arrizabalaga; Azpilicueta, Rudiger, Luiz, Alonso; Kante, Jorginho, Kovacic; Willian, Hazard, Pedro

CHELSEA SUBSTITUTES: Caballero, Cahill, Zappacosta, Fabregas, Barkley, Loftus-Cheek, Giroud

2.08pmLEICESTER CITY XI: Schmeichel; Pereira, Morgan, Maguire, Chilwell; Choudhury, Mendy, Ndidi; Albrighton, Maddison, Vardy

LEICESTER CITY SUBSTITUTES: Ward, Fuchs, Evans, Iborra, Gray, Okazaki, Iheanacho

2.10pmLet's start with the Chelsea side as Sarri once again decides against using a recognised centre forward. Olivier Giroud has been left on the bench and Alvaro Morata has only just returned to training after a knee injury, so Eden Hazard lines up down the middle.

2.12pmSarri has also been cautious with his midfield. Mateo Kovacic has been given the nod over both Ross Barkley and Ruben Loftus-Cheek. Jorginho and N'Golo Kante return after missing Wednesday's EFL Cup win over Bournemouth.

2.14pmThe defence is as expected. Cesar Azpilicueta and Antonio Rudiger were both involved in midweek, but remain in the team. Andreas Christensen does not feature in the squad due to a minor hamstring injury.

2.16pmSarri has made no surprise picks on the bench. Davide Zappacosta is back in the fold after not featuring against Bournemouth, while there is no place in the 18-man squad for Callum Hudson-Odoi.

2.18pmAs for Leicester, Puel has opted to make just the two changes to the team which suffered defeat at Crystal Palace last weekend. The most notable inclusion is that of Ben Chilwell, who returns after missing a couple of games with a knee injury.

2.20pmPuel has also decided to hand a start to Hamza Choudhury, who made an impression in the EFL Cup tie with Manchester City on Tuesday night. Demarai Gray is the man to drop out with Puel seemingly going for a more defensive-minded selection.

2.22pmWilfred Ndidi had been a doubt with a knee injury but the midfielder takes his place in the team. Jamie Vardy is also available to start despite an ongoing groin problem. Wes Morgan has got the nod over Jonny Evans in the centre of defence.

2.24pmLeicester have plenty of options on the bench with Gray join by Shinji Okazaki and Kelechi Iheanacho. Vicente Iborra is also an option in the middle of the park.

2.26pmRESULT! The full-time whistle has gone at the Emirates Stadium and Arsenal netted a late goal to seal a 3-1 triumph over Burnley. That's a big win for the Gunners. Click here to read our on-the-whistle match report.

2.28pmArsenal have moved level on points with Chelsea, but the Gunners remain in fifth position on goal difference. Chelsea can go third with a win over Leicester due to Tottenham Hotspur not playing Everton until tomorrow.

Burnley remain in 18th place in the standings. Leicester can realistically move as high as eighth with a win this afternoon.

2.30pmRandom thought...

How many players do you think still read the matchday programmes before a match?

2.32pmChelsea head into this game as one of three teams not to suffer a home defeat in the Premier League this season. The Blues have recorded six wins and three draws from their nine outings at Stamford Bridge.

2.34pmSarri may have concerns over his forwards, but the Blues have already netted 37 times this season. It's their biggest tally since the 2014-15 campaign.

2.36pmHazard is looking to equal a record this afternoon. Only Gianfranco Zola has contributed assists for Chelsea in five successive games in the Premier League, and Hazard will reach that total by setting up a goal today.

2.38pmThe Belgian's ratio of goals and assists this season has been phenomenal. As it stands, Hazard is playing a key role in a goal every 72 minutes.

2.40pmLet's turn our attention to Leicester now who are attempting to avoid their third successive defeat in the Premier League. That has not occurred for almost two years.

2.42pmHowever, the Foxes have done relatively well away from home this season. Eleven points have come from nine outings.

2.44pmLeicester's issues have come in attack because their backline currently possess the joint fifth-best record in the division. Only the current top four have performed better.

2.46pmIt's that time of year where players may not be too bothered about picking up a fifth yellow card of the season in order to land a suspension for Boxing Day, but there is no-one from either side who are walking a disciplinary tightrope heading into this game.

2.48pmPREDICTION! Chelsea have arguably failed to produce a convincing performance in the Premier League since the end of October, and we expect another tight game here. Leicester may relish the tag of underdogs, but Chelsea should still have enough to seal a hard-fought triumph. Chelsea to prevail by a 2-1 scoreline.

2.50pmHEAD TO HEAD! Saturday's game will represent the 113th competitive meeting between the two clubs, with Chelsea recording 56 wins in comparison to 25 victories for Leicester.

2.52pmLeicester famously defeated Chelsea to end Jose Mourinho's second spell at the club, but that remains the Foxes' only win over the Blues in 16 attempts. Chelsea have registered 13 wins and two draws during that period, with their last defeat against Leicester in West London coming in September 2000.

2.54pmWe are also providing coverage of Manchester City's fixture with Crystal Palace this afternoon. You can follow that game by clicking here.

2.56pmIt's time for the two teams to start making their way out at Stamford Bridge. Both sets of supporters are in full voice as they bid to begin the Christmas period with a positive result.

2.58pmA reminder of the two starting lineups...

CHELSEA XI: Arrizabalaga; Azpilicueta, Rudiger, Luiz, Alonso; Kante, Jorginho, Kovacic; Willian, Hazard, Pedro

LEICESTER CITY XI: Schmeichel; Pereira, Morgan, Maguire, Chilwell; Choudhury, Mendy, Ndidi; Albrighton, Maddison, Vardy

1 minKICKOFF:  Leicester get us underway!

2 minCHANCE!  Almost an early goal for Chelsea. A long ball from the back looks harmless enough but Willian gets to the pass ahead of Schmeichel, and his flick past the goalkeeper only goes marginally wide of the post.

4 minIt has been all Chelsea during these early stages. Puel is already animated on the bench.

6 minLeicester have managed to get a couple of crosses into the box without posing much of a threat. Chelsea, on the other end, look dangerous every time that they go forward.

8 minThe visitors are sitting too deep once they have lost possession. It is only inviting pressure from a team who are moving the ball about extremely well. Chelsea well on top.

10 minTo give you a clearer idea of how this game is going, Leicester are defending like they have just entered the final 10 minutes with a one-goal lead. They really have set up ultra-defensive here.

12 minThen just like that, Leicester put together a brilliant move down the left with Maddison and Chilwell linking up. Chilwell advanced into the penalty area, but Luiz got across to deal with the danger.

14 minChelsea win a corner on the left but Willian's inswinging corner is low and straight into the side-netting. That was a bit of a waste.

16 minMore of the same from both sides in terms of general play. Leicester are prepared to sit tight and wait for Chelsea to make a mistake.

17 minCHANCE!  Almost an opener for Chelsea. Willian's corner is flicked on by Pedro and the ball just evades both Luiz and the far corner.

19 minLeicester won a corner of their own but Chelsea cleared and instantly went on the break. Kante was eventually found on the far side of the penalty area, but the Foxes got back to see off the threat.

21 minStill no more clear chances to speak about, but the pace of the game has definitely lifted. There is a greater urgency about Chelsea, while Leicester are showing more ambition on the counter.

23 minChelsea win another set piece - this time on the edge of the area - but Willian's delivery is easily cleared by a defender.

25 minThe home supporters are yet to get frustrated with their team's lack of chances, which is mainly due to Leicester sitting back and soaking up pressure. The Blues would have probably benefitted from Giroud lining up in attack.

27 minSHOT!  A low cross from the right is only half-cleared into the path of Azpilicueta, but the Chelsea right-back drills a shot over the crossbar from around 16 yards out.

30 minLeicester win a corner and although Chelsea are able to get the ball clear, Hazard concedes a free kick around 30 yards out. It will be a cross rather than a shot, but the ball goes straight to Arrizabalaga.

31 minYELLOW CARD!  Ndidi goes into the book for scything down Hazard on the touchline. Easy decision for the referee.

33 minOFF THE BAR!  Chelsea are getting closer. Maguire fails to make the interception on the edge of the area and it allows Hazard to advance into the area. The Belgian opts for power and proceeds to hit the top of the crossbar from 10 yards out.

35 minThe Blues are trying to build on that missed opportunity. This is an important 10 minutes for Leicester because while they have been second-best, reaching the break on level terms would prove to be a moral victory for the visitors.

37 minWe have barely seen anything of Vardy, who has acknowledged in the media this week that Puel's tactics do not benefit him. He will always remain a threat while he is on the pitch, however.

39 minLATEST! Crystal Palace have come from behind to take the lead against Manchester City. It's probably worth keeping an eye on that contest by clicking here.

41 minSAVE!  What a save this is! The ball breaks invitingly for Ndidi who is waiting 30 yards out and he hits an absolute bullet of a shot towards the roof of the net. However, Arrizabalaga gets across to put out a hand to divert the ball over the bar. It's a stunning intervention.

42 minCHANCE!  Chelsea go straight down the other end and the Blues should be ahead. Willian is teed up around 12 yards out and it's perfect for the Brazilian to find the far corner. However, the playmaker can only scuff a shot straight at Schmeichel.

44 minJust a minute left now. Both teams will welcome the break for different reasons!

45 minSHOT!  Another chance for Chelsea with the ball dropping perfectly for Jorginho. However, the Italian's volley from 20 yards is too close to Schmeichel who parries the effort away.

46 minHALF TIME:  Chelsea 0-0 Leicester City

3.51pmThe half-time whistle goes at Stamford Bridge and we remain on level terms. Chelsea have had the better chances during the opening 45 minutes, but the save of the contest has come from Arrizabalaga. Still all to play for in the second half.

3.55pmChelsea performed well during that opening 45 minutes and should be ahead. Pedro was unlucky to see a glancing header goes wide of the far post, but Hazard should have netted from 10 yards rather than hitting the crossbar. Willian also had the opportunity to score towards the end of the half, only to hit a shot straight at Schmeichel.

3.59pmLeicester's one real chance went the way of Ndidi, who almost scored one of the goals of the season from 30 yards only for Arrizabalaga to divert the shot over the crossbar with one hand. You will struggle to see a better save all season.

46 minKICKOFF:  Chelsea get us back underway.

47 minThe Blues have gone straight onto the front foot and after Chelsea earned a corner, Luiz sent a header over the crossbar.

49 minChelsea are not giving Leicester any peace on the ball. Sarri has told his players to pressurise the visitors when they have possession in defence.

51 minGOAL!  Chelsea 0-1 Leicester City (Jamie Vardy)

51 minWell then. Leicester take the lead and it's a superb goal. Pereira advanced inside before giving the ball to Maddison. The Englishman ran towards the Chelsea defence before sliding a pass through to Vardy, who fired a shot inside Arrizabalaga's near post from 12 yards.

53 minIt's very much game on at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea would not have been expecting that. It surely won't be long before Giroud is introduced to give them a different option.

55 minSHOT!  This a bit greedy from Willian but at the same time, he was entitled to take on the shot. The Brazilian drifted inside before seeing a 25-yard strike comfortably held by Schmeichel.

57 minLATEST! Leicester lead here and Palace have moved into a 3-1 lead at Manchester City! The door is open for Chelsea to close the gap but right now, they are missing out.

59 minCHANCE!  Better from Chelsea who create a chance for Hazard. The Belgian beats the offside trap but Schmeichel makes a smart save at his near post.

61 minSUBSTITUTIONS! Here comes a double change for Chelsea. Loftus-Cheek and Giroud are being introduced for Kovacic and Willian.

63 minLeicester still look a threat on the break. Vardy has just got behind the Chelsea backline and his hard work and Maddison's support eventually lead to a free kick being earned in a threatening position.

64 minNothing comes from the resulting set piece with Maddison's delivery being slightly over-hit. Still, it is more seconds eaten up at an important stage of the contest.

66 minCHANCE!  Almost a second for Leicester! A cross from the right is fumbled into the path of Vardy by Arrizabalaga, but Azpilicueta makes a crucial block with Vardy looking certain to score. How important could that be?!

68 minLeicester are starting to look more likely to add a second than Chelsea find an equaliser. The visitors have upped the intensity and Chelsea are rattled.

70 minChelsea win a corner with Azpilicueta's low cross being diverted wide for a corner. The ball is only half-cleared, but Rudiger's attempted volley does not go to plan.

72 minMaguire gives away a free kick on the corner of the area and it's a great opportunity for Chelsea to get players forward. However, Hazard's set piece is headed clear.

74 minChelsea are getting more balls into the middle, but Morgan and Maguire continue to be excellent. Just the 16 minutes left for Chelsea to find an equaliser.

75 minSUBSTITUTION! Chelsea make a final change with Fabregas replacing Jorginho.

77 minLeicester are yet to make a change but that probably suits them. Each and every player looks well drilled to this formation and they are really frustrating their hosts.

79 minFabregas finds Giroud with a delightful floated pass over the top of the defence but although the Frenchman controls the ball on his chest, he can make no connection with a volley.

81 minYELLOW CARD!  Mendy goes into the book for a foul on Hazard. Leicester are preparing changes.

82 minSHOT!  Chelsea manage to clear a free kick from Leicester but the ball only goes to Albrighton, who sees a 25-yard strike parried away from goal by Arrizabalaga.

83 minSUBSTITUTION! Puel decides to throw on Gray, who takes the place of the excellent Maddison.

84 minSUBSTITUTION! Vardy has also been withdrawn with Iheanacho taking his place.

86 minChelsea don't look like scoring an equaliser. They remain in the ascendancy but there is just no space to play. It has been over 25 minutes since they came close to scoring.

88 minThe visiting supporters are in full voice. They have full confidence in their side that they will see this game out. Nothing is coming from Chelsea.

89 minCHANCE!  Chelsea win a corner and they almost find an equaliser. Pedro's inswinging corner finds Rudiger - who meets the ball ahead of Schmeichel - but his header is directed wide of the far post.

90 minThere will be four minutes of added-on time.

90+1 minOFF THE POST!  Chelsea hit the post! Chelsea carve open the Leicester defence and Alonso only has Schmeichel to beat, but the Spaniard hits the inside of the post and the ball bounces to safety!

90+3 minJust a minute to go and Leicester have the ball in the Chelsea half...

90+5 minFULL TIME:  Chelsea 0-1 Leicester City

4.58pmThe full-time whistle goes at Stamford Bridge and Leicester have held on to record a narrow 1-0 win at Chelsea. The Blues hit the woodwork on two occasions, but Vardy's goal just after the restart proved enough for the Foxes to get back to winning ways.

5.00pmThat will be all from Sports Mole for this match. Thank you for joining us this afternoon and we hope that you can stick around for the fixture between Cardiff City and Manchester United.

If you would like to read our on-the-whistle match report, you can do so by clicking here. Goodbye for now.

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Maurizio Sarri watches on during the pre-season friendly between Chelsea and Arsenal on August 1, 2018
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