Tuesday, 20 February, 2018

Antonio Conte blames fatigue for Chelsea's draw with 10-man Leicester

Cahill suffers injury in Chelsea clash with Leicester Cahill suffers injury in Chelsea clash with Leicester
Betsy Taylor | 14 January, 2018, 00:45

English Premier League football champions Chelsea endured a third successive goalless draw as they were held at home by 10-man Leicester City this morning.

Antonio Conte's side could have moved above Manchester United and up to second but were outplayed by a Foxes team that wasted several good chances and ended the game with 10 men after Ben Chilwell picked up a second booking.

Yet still Chelsea, who had won their previous seven Premier League home games since September's loss to Manchester City, could not break the Foxes down as the Blues followed stalemates with Norwich and Arsenal with a third in a week.

Their double substitution with less than an hour on the clock highlighted the home side's struggles to find a way through this Leicester defence - even tired, those two had been Chelsea's most likely route towards a goal against the run of play in a first half dominated by the Foxes.

The big game of the weekend sees Liverpool host Man City on Sunday afternoon, and I've put up three selections at 9/1, 6/1 and 11/2 for the game in my Big Match Preview right here. "I think a lot of our players were exhausted", Conte said during his post-match interview. If Conte is unable to motivate his players then we have very little chance of progressing in the competition.

"It was a good game for us, we showed a lot of quality, we played well, but if it were 11 v 11 I think we would have got the win", he said.


Conte is optimistic the hamstring injury suffered by Gary Cahill is not severe, although the length of absence the captain faces is uncertain.

"It's good news. Now I don't know the time he needs to recover". He has made just two league starts this term after being named in the first XI only once in 2016-17 - sparking talk of a possible loan switch to Sevilla.

David Luiz was Conte's first choice in the centre of his back three in last season's title-winning campaign. Many of the Chelsea faithful, however, are losing faith in the Italian.

However, outside of the two goals given up to Arsenal in their first encounter of the year, Chelsea have kept Courtois's goal on lockdown.

Jonny Evans and Craig Dawson scored to secured a 2-0 win for West Bromwich Albion over Brighton & Hove Albion - their rirst victory in 21 league games.

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