While goals from Diego Costa and Eden Hazard gave the Blues the all-important victory, it was a much tougher three points than the scoreline suggests.
The Foxes forced Chelsea to play their way during the opening 45 minutes, giving the Blues’ star-studded outfit very little time to operate as fans’ frustration grew.
Bleacher Report’s Garry Hayes revealed exactly how the first half had played out, with Chelsea’s lack of shots on target telling the story:
However, the Blues appeared a totally different animal in the second half. And while Leicester had chances to get themselves on the scoresheet, the hosts deservedly took the lead just after the hour mark.
Summer signing Costa was at it again after he opened his Premier League account at Burnley last week, needing only a half-chance to put his new side in front.
Good work from Branislav Ivanovic saw the ball ping around the Leicester box, but Costa was the first to react as he clinically put the Blues in front—per the club’s official Twitter account:
Diego Costa pounces inside the penalty area to break the deadlock, his second goal in as many Chelsea games. #CFCLive— Chelsea FC (@chelseafc) August 23, 2014
Hazard then put the game beyond Leicester 15 minutes later with a well-taken strike, and such a result will give fans a great deal of optimism on their quest for this season’s title.
The gritty games in the 2013/14 campaign caught Chelsea out at times, but they showed on Saturday that they can produce the goods in a tense affair that optimised the cliché of a “game of two halves.”
That’s something that Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho reflected on during his post-match interview, saying to Sky Sports that while his side started slowly, they deserved the three points—per BBC Sport:
We didn't play good in the first half. Leicester came with great defensive intensity, trying to scare us in counter-attack and we were a bit slow—slow in moving the ball and slow thinking and we needed to change and we did that. The second half was compete control. I don't forget they had a good chance with the result 0-0 but we had so many chances, so many opportunities to score obviously we deserved the victory.
Though the Blues have been gifted with a couple of, let’s say, generous fixtures to kick off the 2014/15 campaign, the way that they’ve gone about their business suggests that even the most daunting of opponents would be hard pressed to take points from them.
They’ll certainly need to continue their form when the Premier League returns next weekend, as a trip to Goodison Park to face Everton is by no means a banker.
Leicester faced the Toffees on the opening day of the season at the King Power Stadium and came away with a lot of positives to take from a 2-2 draw.
Manager Nigel Pearson believes that plenty of optimism can be taken from Saturday’s defeat at Stamford Bridge, too, telling BBC Sport that missing chances on the day cost his side dearly:
We're disappointed. Key moments didn't quite go our way today. I thought we played exceptionally well in the first half, but it's about taking your chances when you get them. There are more positives today than there are negatives. We're not talking about us coming to places like this and being happy to lose the game, but I think the players showed what they're capable of. What we need to do is sustain it for the entirety of the game.
When any newly promoted side comes into the top flight, mission No. 1 is extending their Premier League status for another year through survival.
Though just two matches into the campaign, the Foxes have proved that they can more than hold their own against some of the best in the business.
However, the day well and truly belonged to Chelsea, who sit top of the table on goal difference with six points out of a possible six on the board.
It’s staying there that’ll be at the top of Mourinho’s agenda as the season progresses. But with new arrivals firing on all cylinders and the squad looking stronger than ever, betting against that eventuality wouldn’t be the wisest move.