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Chelsea discover Eden Hazard heir vs Leicester as familiar problem remains for Thomas Tuchel

Football London logo Football London 19/05/2022 Adam Newson
Marcos Alonso and Reece James celebrate Chelsea's goal against Leicester City © Harriet Lander/Copa/Getty Images Marcos Alonso and Reece James celebrate Chelsea's goal against Leicester City

There comes a point in the lifespan of a successful television series that ideas finally run short, and the only thing left to do is a clip show of standout moments from previous episodes. And that is, in essence, what we got this evening during Chelsea's 1-1 draw against Leicester City.

There was comical Marcos Alonso defending followed by an inevitable make-up goal from the Spaniard. There were countless chances missed, the most glaring of which was by Christian Pulisic. And there was a reckless and entirely unnecessary lunging challenge from Antonio Rudiger.

Given this was game number 62 of the season for Thomas Tuchel's side, it should have come as no surprise that much of what played out at Stamford Bridge had been seen before by those in attendance. Not that it made the experience any less frustrating for Chelsea supporters.

READ MORE: How Marcos Alonso annoyed Thomas Tuchel despite netting crucial Chelsea equaliser vs Leicester

Their side has simply not been good enough on their own patch this term. Too many wins have become draws – and too many points have been dropped as a result. It's why the Blues' title challenge has fizzled out and a problem that Tuchel will have to find a solution to over the summer if Chelsea are to compete next season.

The positive from the evening is that Tuchel's side claimed the point they needed to, essentially, wrap up third place in the Premier League. Tottenham could still overhaul Chelsea on the final day in theory but would need an 18-goal swing. That is simply not going to happen.

The Blues finish their campaign on Sunday with a visit from Watford. It will be one final chance to send the home supporters home happy – and to win in front of Todd Boehly, whose consortium is in the final stages of purchasing the club from current owner Roman Abramovich.

Boehly has attended several games in recent weeks and, like the majority of fans, has become used to a certain performance from Chelsea. One of energy and endeavour, but perhaps not always quality. That is something that he will have to help change in the summer transfer window.

Against Leicester, Chelsea attempted to start quickly, and Hakim Ziyech fired an early warning shot. Yet poor defending, another recurring theme of the season, proved to the visitors' benefit. A long punt forward from Kasper Schmeichel was left by Alonso to Rudiger, but it only enabled Jamie Vardy to collect the ball and find James Maddison, who whipped a shot beyond Edouard Mendy.

Trevoh Chalobah came close to an immediate response with a long-range effort reminiscent of his wonderful strike on the opening day of the season against Crystal Palace. On this occasion, however, Kasper Schmeichel was equal to the shot and produced a fine one-handed stop.

As has often been the case throughout his Chelsea career, Alsono atoned for his error with a final piece of work in the final third. He remains – and always will – a far better-attacking presence than a defensive one. His volley was crisp and left Schmeichel with no chance.

Yet it was the pass that Reece James – who was excellent – that made it. The academy graduate now has eight Premier League assists this term, the most of any Chelsea aged 22 or under since Eden Hazard. And it's increasingly difficult to argue the academy graduate doesn't have the same elite level as the Belgian.

In the second half, Chelsea fashioned countless opportunities. Ziyech saw a free-kick saved, and Romelu Lukaku glanced a header wide. The best of the chances fell to Pulisic, however. The American star was teed up by Lukaku yet managed to skew his shot wide from ten yards despite being free of pressure from covering defenders.

James was then denied, and Rudiger too. The German responded to his effort being saved by flying into a two-footed challenge on Wesley Fofana. He escaped with a yellow card, having not connected with the Leicester City defender. He was fortunate as this would've been his Stamford Bridge bow had the colour been red. Although at least that would've provided a dramatic twist.

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