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Chelsea almost secured third place in the Premier League with a 1-1 draw against Leicester City when Marcos Alonso coolly canceled James Maddison’s excellent opening.
Alonso volleyed home late in the first half after Maddison found the back of the net from 20 yards, but the Blues rejected several chances to find a winner.
Although Chelsea failed to respond to Saturday’s FA Cup final loss with a win, the Blues’ significant goal difference over Tottenham means they all but guaranteed a third place draw.
Thomas Tuchel’s men will also be grateful to have taken another step towards the end of a challenging season as the club hopes for a solution to the long-running takeover saga involving the Todd Boehly-led consortium.
The visitors only needed seven minutes to take the lead, with Maddison firing an excellent long-range attack beyond Edouard Mendy after locking himself on a loose ball outside the area.
But it turned out to be Foxes’ only shot of the first half as Chelsea began to dominate ball possession, with Kasper Schmeichel being forced to tip Trevoh Chalobahs fierce 25-yard effort over the crossbar 10 minutes later.
Thiago Silva headed over from Reece James ‘corner after half an hour, but the Blues equalized just five minutes later when Alonso shot home on the nearest post after driving on James’ high pass.
Met it perfectly!
Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) May 19, 2022
Romelu Lukaku nodded Hakim Ziyech’s left wing wide as Chelsea continued to dominate, but Christian Pulisic blamed the Blues’ worst miss with the goal wide open just after the hour.
Chalobah then crashed directly against Schmeichel while pressure from Chelsea continued, but Brendan Rodgers’ men insisted on denying Chelsea a rare home win at the end of a difficult campaign.
What does it mean? Chelsea are close to third place, but home comfort is still lacking
With a three-point advantage over Tottenham and a goal difference that is 18 better than Antonio Conte’s men, Chelsea have largely secured their first top-three in the Premier League since the 2018-19 campaign.
However, Chelsea have won on just one of their last five excursions at Stamford Bridge, limping across the line as they look for an end to the uncertainty off the pitch around the club.
The creative James shows the way
Although Alonso made a fine finish on the volley to score Chelsea’s equalizer, he was put up by a lavishly chipped ball from James, who has now recorded eight Premier League assists this season.
That’s the most a Chelsea player aged 22 or under has managed in a single league campaign since Eden Hazard in 2012-13 (11), while only Mason Mount (10) has more for the Blues this season.
Maddison strikes out of reach again
Despite Leicester enduring an overwhelming season, Maddison has enjoyed his best goal-scoring campaign for the Foxes, scoring his 11th league goal of the season to open the scoring.
Since his Premier League debut in August 2018, the midfielder has meanwhile scored 14 goals outside the area of the competition – only James Ward-Prowse (15) has scored more in that time.
Key Record facts
– Hakim Ziyech had seven attempts on goal in the match (two on goal), his most in a Premier League match for Chelsea, while he last had more in a league match in November 2018 for Ajax (10 against Willem II).
– Reece James recorded his eighth league assist of the season (25th appearance), twice as many as in his previous two campaigns combined (four in 56 appearances).
– Thiago Silva got his 50th Premier League start; at 37 years 239 days old, and is the third oldest player to reach this milestone in the competition, after Kelvin Davies (38y 237d) and Kevin Moran (37y 299d).
Chelsea end their Premier League season at home against Watford on Sunday, while Leicester visit Southampton on the same day.