Abuja – Wilfred Ndidi has made his English Premier League
debut for champions Leicester City in a 3-0 defeat to Chelsea on Saturday.
Ndidi and compatriot Ahmed Musa were given starting shirt
for Leicester, as well as Victor Moses who was in the line-up for Chelsea.
Marcos Alonso scored twice as Chelsea beat Leicester on
Saturday to move seven points clear at the top of the English Premier League in
spite of Diego Costa’s absence.
The Blues were without their top scorer after a training
ground dispute over his fitness, amid reports he has been offered a lucrative
move to China.
That saga did not affect them at the King Power Stadium
however, with Eden Hazard setting up Alonso to fire home after only six
The Spanish wing-back added his second early in the second
half when his shot from the edge of the area was deflected in.
Pedro made sure of the points with a deft header from
Leicester, lining up in a new-look 3-5-2 formation,
struggled to find a way back into the game.
Ahmed Musa had tested Chelsea keeper Thibaut Courtois before
his side fell behind, but the defending champions did not manage another shot
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Before kick-off, Chelsea manager Antonio Conte had played
down any row involving Costa, claiming he was not in his squad because of a
Whatever the truth behind Costa’s absence, the Blues showed
again that they can win without the Spain striker, who has scored 14 goals and
provided five assists for them this season.
Chelsea initially had to work harder for the points than
they did when Costa was suspended in their 3-0 victory over Bournemouth on Dec.
It was the only other league game he has missed in
Again they used Hazard to lead the line rather than turn to
£33 million summer signing Michy Batshuayi, who was left on the bench and still
awaits his first league start.
Alonso, rather than Hazard, will get the headlines on this
occasion, but Chelsea’s dominant performance was further evidence it will be
hard to dislodge them from top spot.
This was Chelsea’s 12th clean sheet in 21 games and, even
without Costa’s belligerent presence upfront, they remain difficult to break
down and dangerous when they come forward.
Conte’s side had seen their 13-game winning streak ended by
Tottenham in their previous Premier League game, but that remains their only
defeat since the end of September.
Spurs’ emphatic win over West Brom earlier on Saturday had
reduced the Blues’ lead to four points, but if Chelsea are feeling any pressure
in the title race they did not show it here.
Their form is becoming ominous for the chasing pack, and
Liverpool — their nearest rivals before the weekend — can ill afford to lose
any more ground.
They face Manchester United at Old Trafford on Sunday.
Foxes manager Claudio Ranieri, named FIFA’s coach of the
year this week, attempted to match Chelsea’s formation by playing with
wing-backs of his own.
But his experiment did not pay off as Albrighton and Ben
Chilwell failed to make the same impact as their opposite numbers, Alonso and
To compound their woes, the Foxes also struggled to create
England striker Jamie Vardy was back from suspension to lead
their attack, but he made little impression apart from playing one dangerous
cross and did not manage a single shot.
Leicester are still six points above the relegation zone in
spite of this defeat.
But, with Riyad Mahrez, Islam Slimani and Daniel Amarty away
at the African Cup of Nations (AFCON), Ranieri must find a better blend with
the players still at his disposal.
Chelsea host struggling Hull on Jan. 22, while Leicester
travel to Southampton on the same day, hoping for their first away win of a disappointing
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