GLYN KIRK/Getty Images
Chelsea missed the chance to leapfrog Manchester United and move into second place in the Premier League table after being held to a goalless draw by 10-man Leicester City at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.
The Blues were second best all afternoon and could not even find a way through an impressive Foxes side after Ben Chilwell had been sent off in the second half after picking up his second booking of the match.
Antonio Conte made two changes from the side that drew with Arsenal in the Carabao Cup last time out, with Gary Cahill and Tiemoue Bakayoko coming in for Andreas Christensen and Danny Drinkwater.
Leicester City welcomed striker Jamie Vardy back from injury and also gave starts to Chilwell and Aleksandar Dragovic.
Simon Johnson at the Evening Standard shared the two lineups:
Simon Johnson @sjstandardsport
#CHELEI team sheet https://t.co/8hSj2USsPP
The visitors enjoyed a dominant first half in which they created the best chances, and they may have felt aggrieved not to have gone in ahead at the break.
Chilwell carved out the first opportunity inside the first 10 minutes as he raced forwards and pulled the ball back for Shinji Okazaki, who fired over the bar. However, the pressure stayed on, and moments later Chilwell again caused problems only for Vardy to shoot into the side-netting.
Chelsea then left Wilfred Ndidi completely unmarked at a corner, but the midfielder’s header was well saved by goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois.
ESPN FC’s Liam Twomey explained how Leicester were hurting Chelsea:
Liam Twomey @liam_twomey
Leicester are battering Chelsea, who can’t keep track of Vardy & Okazaki. Conte said yesterday that they were the worst possible opponents at this stage of the season & his fears look justified #cfc
The hosts then suffered a blow just after the half hour mark as Cahill appeared to pick up a hamstring problem in a challenge with Vardy. The defender could not continue, and Conte sent on Christensen in his place.
Leicester continued to pose problems, with Riyad Mahrez beating Antonio Rudiger and crossing for Vardy, who could not connect at the far post.
In contrast, Chelsea offered little as an attacking force, and only Cesc Fabregas really managed to test Kasper Schmeichel in the first half with a shot that the goalkeeper tipped over the bar.
The Telegraph‘s Matt Law said this was Chelsea’s worst performance of the season:
Matt Law @Matt_Law_DT
This is as bad as I’ve seen Chelsea play this season. Leicester should be a couple of goals ahead. Mahrez and Vardy are tearing them apart.
Leicester then had a penalty shout early in the second half as Mahrez went down under pressure from Christensen, but no spot-kick was given.
Sam Wallace at the Telegraph said the incident raised questions:
Sam Wallace @SamWallaceTel
Intriguing penalty appeal by Mahrez. First view: a dive. But his path was blocked by Christensen, does he have to collide/hurt himself to win it?
Conte then used up the rest of his substitutions by sending on Willian and Pedro for Eden Hazard and Fabregas, and the Brazilian started to cause problems for the visitors with his direct running.
Chilwell was booked for a foul on Willian, and five minutes he later picked up his second yellow card after catching Victor Moses.
With the man advantage, Chelsea began to dominate for the first time in the match, but they lacked the inspiration and creativity to break down a packed defence without Hazard and Fabregas.
Leicester defended resolutely in the final minutes and were full value for their point. Meanwhile, Chelsea have now drawn their last three games 0-0, and Conte needs to find a solution for his misfiring team.