Three losses in 38 matches in the Premier League 2015-16 season, en route to winning the title. Four losses in eight games in the 2016-17 season – that pretty much says it all. The wheels are coming off the Leicester title defence, with Chelsea the latest team to inflict a heavy defeat on Claudio Ranieri's men.
After scathing 4-1 losses to Liverpool and Manchester United and an opening 2-1 defeat to newly-promoted Hull City, Leicester's away woes continued as Chelsea outclassed the champions in a thoroughly deserved 3-0 win. Diego Costa, Eden Hazard and Victor Moses scored the goals in a Blues performance that brought smiles to the majority at Stamford Bridge, a performance that would have banished any doubts over Antonio Conte's suitability for the job.
Chelsea started in the manner in which Arsenal did against them last month, not allowing Leicester a proper touch of the ball and always winning any second ball that popped up. It looked like Leicester were still in the dressing room as the Blues bossed the first half.
Much of the talk coming into his match was about N'Golo Kante, the midfielder who moved from the Foxes to Stamford Bridge in the summer and the France international had a wonderful game. Kante, a defensive midfielder by trade, was the playmaker extraordinaire – pinging in passes, through balls and crossfield balls with great aplomb, with Leicester not able to get near him or stop Chelsea from dictating the match.
So, it was no surprise when Chelsea took the lead, from a setpiece. A low corner from the Chelsea right was flicked on at the near post by Nemanja Matic and Diego Costa, allowed to run into acres of space by Wes Morgan, was on hand to finish from close range with his left foot in the seventh minute.
That goal did not wake Leicester up and Chelsea just kept finding space in and around the Leicester area. David Luiz came close to making it 2-0 when he saw his freekick ping off the post – Luiz would also force a save from Kasper Schmeichel with another decent setpiece – but Eden Hazard would not miss just past the half hour after a bit of fortune saw the ball come to him in a dangerous position. Once he got the ball, Hazard hared inside the box, saw Schmeichel come off his line, coolly went around the goalkeeper and slotted the ball in.
Leicester had a couple of maybe-chances off a cross and a corner, but the fact that the champions had just two touches inside the Chelsea box in the first half said it all – Leicester also would end up having zero shots on target in the entire match.
The second 45 was much better with Leicester showing a lot more intent after a formation change. However, with Chelsea playing with three-centre-backs – Antonio Conte went with the same defence that won at Hull City before the international break, which meant John Terry was on the bench – they were a lot more assured at the back, even if Luiz was a little lucky not to score an own goal when he saw a clearance off a cross from Marc Albrighton come off the base of his own post.
With Chelsea coming close from a couple of counter-attacks, particularly when Victor Moses forced a brilliant save from Schmeichel after Kante had broken free and laid on an outstanding pass to his teammate, the predictable double substitution came when Claudio Ranieri decided to bring on Riyad Mahrez and Islam Slimani, not in the starting lineup, with the manager keeping the Champions League match against FC Copenhagen on Tuesday in mind.
With 20 minutes to go, it was now or never for Leicester, but it was Kante, at the other end, who nearly scored against his former team with only a brilliant block from Morgan denying the midfielder.
Despite Leicester's improvement in the second half, you felt a Chelsea icing-on-the-cake goal was coming and it came in stunning fashion. Moses and Nathaniel Chalobah played a one-two with the final pass to Moses coming via a delightful backheel from the Chelsea youngster, while the Nigerian made sure the wonderful move and afternoon would have a suitable finish.
Other results: Stoke City 2-0 Sunderland; Arsenal 3-2 Swansea City; Bournemouth 6-1 Hull City; West Brom 1-1 Tottenham; Manchester City 1-1 Everton.