Monday, December 14, 2015

Monday Night Football: Leicester downs Chelsea at ruckus King Power Stadium

Leicester City 2-1 Chelsea
In August, this match was probably going to be looked at as relegation batting Leicester looking to survive an encounter with a potential champion. Instead, it's Leicester playing for the right to be in first place with Chelsea fighting off what would be a shocking drop out of the Premier League.

It was evident from the very beginning of the match that Leicester City were on a mission. A mission to dethrone the defending champions and take great pride in that accomplishment regardless of how awful of a year Chelsea were having. The ground was buzzing right from the start in what was probably perceived as the biggest game Leicester City had played to date, even though it was against a club from the bottom of the table.

Just as things inside the stadium looked to be calming down, Jamie Vardy sent King Power Stadium back into a frenzy in the 34th minute. A perfect cross from Riyad Mahrez latched onto the newly crowned star's right foot and evaded a helpless Thibault Courtois on the Chelsea net. Mahrez would net one of his own in the 48th minute with a well placed shot from the corner of the penalty area.

Cheeks would climb back into the match once they were down a pair. Lioc Remy nailed a close range header in the 77th minute, but that would not be enough for the Blues. Despite pressuring right down to the end, ghee Leicester defense held firm to earn their victory over the defending champions and take back the top spot in the standings. Chelsea are down in 16th with 15 points in 16 matches.

The question here is whether this says more about Leicester as a championship contender or about Chelsea as a relegation candidate. The answer is far from simple. We saw a Leicester team with two budding stars in Vardy and Mahrez playing as one cohesive unit. They don't have the star power of the other top for sides, or even of Chelsea, but they play as a team perhaps more than any other club. Chelsea, on the contrary, may have the skill and name recognition of any big club, but they play as a collection of individuals, not as a team. That all leads back to their manager. Jose Mourinho had no control over his side and, as a result, keeps dropping games to lesser opponents.

So who does this result say more about? I'd have to say Chelsea. With all due respect to Leicester, they are playing miles above expectations and, had they lost tonight, wouldn't have been viewed as a fraud or anything. They just would have been coming back down to earth. Chelsea just continue to get crapped on as a fallen empire who continue to rack up defeat after defeat. This result solidifies that this group isn't going anywhere in the league. They need changes, although it's probably too late for a new man to step in and turn this year around into something meaningful.

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