60 min Here comes Kelechi Iheanacho. He replaces the disappointing James Maddison, who barely had a kick, although he was kicked a few times.
59 min Rudiger goes on a barnstorming run, including a Zidane-style roulette, before being fouled by Tielemans. The crowd loved that.
58 min Leicester are having a bit more of the ball now, human nature being what it is, but Chelsea are still well in control of the game. They haven’t only outplayed Leicester tonight, they have bullied them as well.
57 min “Hi Rob,” says Ian Copestake. “Mike Dean’s propensity for comedy is explained by his having long ago been replaced by Jasper Carrott.”
56 min Mount puts Perez on the floor again, this time with the help of Rudiger. Again Mike Dean isn’t interested.
54 min Mount flattens Perez 35 yards from goal, a revenge tackle that might have brought a yellow card. Mike Dean isn’t interested. Tielemans’ free-kick is headed away by Thiago Silva.
54 min “To paraphrase a great Tipperary hurler, if Timo Werner had ducks, they’d drown,” says Justin Kavanagh. “Something tells me he’s going to score the winner in the Champions League final, because no-one’s form in front of goal can stay that wretched for that long. Either that, or he’ll miss the plane.”
53 min Mount gets to his feet. He’s moving pretty gingerly but he wants to continue.
52 min Mount is down, and in some pain, after a clash of knees with Perez. It looks like an impact injury, in which case he’ll be fine.
51 min “Thoroughly entertaining evening so far,” says Matt Dony. “Plucky Fulham getting a brilliant point (not that it matters, of course), Brighton screaming to a Pep-Infuriating home win against City (two seasons too late, though), and now Chelsea having goals disallowed left, right and centre. It’s not big or clever, but seeing bad things happen to rival teams is almost as satisfying as seeing your own team do well. My word, football brings out the worst in us.”
50 min It surely won’t be long before we see Kelechi Iheanacho. Leicester have offered nothing in attack, though that has largely been down to Chelsea’s intensity.
GOAL GIVEN! It’s fine, it’s all fine. Chilwell’s corner was flicked on at the near post by the stretching Vardy and shoved over the line with his thigh by Rudiger. If he meant it, that was a really smart finish because he had to react very quickly to Vardy’s inadvertent flick. I’m not sure he did, in truth, not that Chelsea will care.
GOAL? Chelsea 1-0 Leicester (Rudiger 47)
Thomas slips and concedes a corner on the Chelsea right. Chilwell’s inswinger is forced over the line from close range by Rudiger – but with what?
47 min “I know there’s an argument that a professional player should let the officials make a decision for themselves,” says Brad McMillan. “But, having seen the Werner handball replay just now, I’m left feeling like he should have been booked for cheating. Or stupidity. He must have known it would be ruled out and that he was wasting everybody’s time.”
Given some of the recent VAR decisions, I’d try my luck as well. Stockley Park could quite easily have recommended a goal for Werner and a red card for four Leicester players.
Half time: Chelsea 0-0 Leicester
The story is old, I know, but it goes on: Chelsea have done everything but score in a totally one-sided first half. Timo Werner had two goals disallowed, one for offside and one for handball, which went down a storm with the 8,000 fans at Stamford Bridge.
N’Golo Kante also went off injured, though it looked more of a precaution than an OHMYGODHOWCANWEBEATCITYWITHOUTHIM. Leicester defended diligently, sometimes desperately, but did nothing going forward.
In other news, Brighton have come from 2-0 down to beat ten-man Manchester City
45 min A dangerous cross on the turn from Perez drifts across the six-yard box. Vardy was the only player in the middle.
43 min The brilliant Mount nutmegs Soyuncu on the right, hares into the area and fizzes a low cross towards Pulisic at the near post. His instinctive flick from four yards hits the outstretched leg of Schmeichel and goes behind. That’s a terrific save. It’s also Chelsea’s 11th attempt at goal to Leicester’s one.
41 min On reflection, I’m not sure Leicester have been deliberately defensive; I just think they’ve been forced back by a rabid Chelsea. There’s probably a bit of subconscious caution as well, as they know a draw keeps things in their own hands.
40 min “Any sign of a Leicester hangover?” says Niall Mullen. “Have they turned up with a bottle of Lucozade, a packet of mints, and one eye on where the nearest bog is?”
It’s worse than that. I’m pretty sure I’ve just seen Jamie Vardy wolfing down a grab bag of Flamin Hot Monster Munch.
39 min Werner’s deflected shot is kicked away desperately by Soyuncu in the six-yard box, with Pulisic waiting behind him. The xG computer is going to explode any minute now.
38 min More excellent approach play from Chelsea. Jorginho’s crossfield pass finds Azpilicueta near the byline in the area. He cushions a volley back towards Pulisic, who lets it run on to Mount. He slaps it over the bar on the bounce. It was a difficult chance but the build-up was lovely.
37 min “Evening Rob,” says Stephen Carr. “Alex Ferguson said Filippo Inzaghi was born offside. Timo Werner must have been conceived, born and raised that way.”
NO GOAL! Chelsea 0-0 Leicester
No controversy with that, though Chelsea will wonder how Werner managed to miss with his head before the ball hit his arm. He was two yards out, with an open goal. Poor bloke is having a nightmare, and he’s already had two goals disallowed tonight.
It’s handball! The corner was flicked on at the near post, and Werner bundled it over the line with his right arm after missing a header.
GOAL! Chelsea 1-0 Leicester (Werner 34)
Werner scores, VAR permitting!
34 min This is so one-sided. A corner is half cleared to James, whose long-range shot takes a big deflection off Tielemans and goes behind for another. From which…
33 min Werner, on the right of the box, has a shot very well blocked by Castagne.
32 min Kante is replaced by Kovacic. He is walking off at a reasonable pace, which suggests a muscle strain rather than a tear. The Champions League final is a week on Saturday.
32 min Ayoze Perez takes his defensive No10 role a bit too far by booting Chilwell up in the air. He’s booked.
31 min Mateo Kovacic is getting ready to come on. It sounds like N’Golo Kante is injured, which is a worry for all sorts of reasons.
29 min The resulting corner, taken by Chilwell, is headed over from four yards by Thiago. He was stretching and under pressure from Soyuncu, which made it really hard for him to get over the ball.
28 min Marvellous play from Mason Mount. He picks up the ball on the halfway line and scurries all the way into the area. An attempted pass to Werner is blocked, but the ball loops straight up in the air. Mount backs into Soyuncu (I think) to shield the dropping ball, controls it deftly and lashes a shot on the turn that is pushed over by Schmeichel. That was a delightful bit of play, a perfect mixture of attitude and aptitude.
28 min Leicester look like a team who have come for a draw, though I thought that at the Etihad in September and they won 5-2.