In pictures: Leicester v Chelsea
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Chelsea extended their lead at the top of the Premier League table with a 3-0 victory over Leicester City on Saturday. Thomas Tuchel’s side excelled in all departments and the Foxes never looked like laying a glove on the Blues, and it will be very hard for any young talent to break into that side over the next few years.
Tuchel’s side took the lead in the 14th minute when Antonio Rudiger found himself unmarked at a corner and glanced a looping header over Kasper Schmeichel.
Chelsea then doubled their lead in the 28th minute when unlikely goalscorer N’Golo Kante, who was a key player in Leicester’s historic 2015/16 season, picked the ball up in midfield before charging towards goal and curling a left-footed strike into the back of the net.
The second-half substitutes then combined in the 71st minute when Hakim Ziyech beat his man on the right-wing before teeing it back to Christian Pulisic to tap home from close range.
Considering how easily they dispatched of a top side in the shape of Leicester, many feel that the performance will make Tuchel’s side the ones to beat this season.
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The performances in midfield from Kante and Jorginho were outstanding and the pair don’t look like changing any time soon unless Tuchel decides to move away from his 3-4-3 formation, which is unlikely and thus bad news for academy product Conor Gallagher.
The midfielder has been in flying form at Crystal Palace so far this season with four goals and two assists in ten appearances.
Gallagher has also impressed England manager Gareth Southgate, who handed the 21-year-old his Three Lions debut earlier this week against San Marino.
Rumours have circulated in recent weeks about how the former West Brom loanee may fit into Chelsea’s team when he returns ahead of next season, with some speculating that he may push for a permanent move away if his future at Stamford Bridge looks like it will be made up of bench-warming and making five-minute cameos.
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Chelsea director Petr Cech then put those rumours to bed on Chelsea’s official website by writing in his column: “For Conor to get the England call-up was absolutely amazing and to make his debut was obviously even more amazing.
“If he didn’t go to Crystal Palace and perform but rather stayed here and maybe didn’t play every game then that would never have happened.
“Once you start to play regularly in the Premier League and show what you can do, that gives you all these chances to be selected. If you have the opportunity to do it when on loan, you can come back to Chelsea in a much better and stronger position.
“Conor will come back to us in a completely different situation than he was six months ago and that’s the beauty of it.
“If everything works out perfectly, this is the idea behind it and obviously it’s great to see that it’s worked out perfectly for Conor so far.”
Tuchel already has Kante, Jorginho, Mateo Kovacic, Mason Mount, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Ross Barkley at his disposal in midfield for next season, and the former PSG boss could make Saul Niguez’ loan move permanent as well to add another option.
Although Gallagher is clearly a top talent and held in high regard at the Blues, he may have to succumb to a spot on the bench until one of the regular starters departs.
Being just 21, Gallagher will be in no rush to start knocking on Tuchel’s door and demanding minutes in the 2022/23 campaign, but if Kante and Jorginho continue in the same vein of form up until that point then the Englishman may be waiting for his moment for a while.
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