Well, that’s all we have time for from Stamford Bridge this afternoon, where the Chelsea players and coaching staff are now making their way around the pitch in a lap of appreciation for their fans. While it has been a dour season from their perspective, it could not be more different for the Leicester support, who have witnessed their side go unbeaten in the final 12 games of the campaign in order to storm to their first-ever top flight title. Until next time, thank you and goodbye!
It was an entertaining affair in west London, with both sides looking to get on the front foot from the off. Chelsea took the lead when Fabregas converted a penalty won by Nemanja Matic, but Leicester never gave in, and Drinkwater ensured that they did not end an incredible season on a sour note with a brilliant leveller. With Tottenham having slumped to a 5-1 defeat at relegated Newcastle, and Arsenal having eased to victory over Aston Villa, it means that Leicester’s tally of 81 points sees them finish 10 above the second-palced Gunners. Meanwhile, the draw - combined with Stoke City’s win over West Ham - means that Chelsea finish in 10th place.
FULL-TIME! It’s all over at Stamford Bridge, where it has finished all square at 1-1 between Chelsea and Leicester City, as the 2015/16 champions salvaged a point thanks to a thunderous equaliser from Danny Drinkwater late on after Cesc Fabregas had put the hosts ahead from the penalty spot.
We're into the first minute of three added on at the end of this game...
CLOSE! What an effort that is by Abraham, who stands up his marker before drifting inside onto his right foot and unleashing a venomous strike towards the right-hand corner. It beats Schmeichel, but unfortuantely for the youngster it also skims wide of the upright.
CLOSE! That’s a superb run by Vardy, as the striker powers his way towards goal from the right wing. He slips at the vital moment, but still manages to get back to his feet and hammer a strike towards the target, but he can only find the side netting on this occasion.
That goal has sparked life back into Ranieri’s side, as Albrigthon looks to make an immediate impact by lofting in a cross from the right, which Courtois can only flap at. Fortunately for the Chelsea goalkeeper, the rebound avoids a Leicester attacker, and the hosts clear the danger.
Assist Jeffrey Schlupp
It was a patient move by the visitors, but nothing looked on when Schlupp slipped a pass inside to Drinkwater, who takes all the credit for that thunderous leveller.
Goal Danny Drinkwater
GOOOOOAAAAALLLLL!!! WHAT A STRIKE BY DRINKWATER! Well, Leicester looked to be just going through the motions, but we should have known better than to doubt the champions, as the England midfielder powers in the equaliser with a dipping, swerving effort from 30 yards out that nestles in the bottom-right corner.
A final change now for the visitors, as Riyad Mahrez makes his way off the field to a standing ovation from not just the travelling Leicester support, but also the Chelsea fans. It has been a fantastic season for the winger, who has netted 18 goals and amassed 10 assists across all competitions. His replacement is Marc Albrighton.
CHANCE! Great play from Leicester, as they work a move inside from the right flank, with Schlupp driving towards the area before teeing up Mahrez. The PFA Player of the Season side-foots an effort on target, but it lacks the power to trouble Courtois, who is able to make an easy save.
That’s great tracking back by Baba who, after finding himself high upfield in Leicester territory, sprints back the better part of 70 yards in order to prevent Mahrez dribbling his way into Chelsea’s penalty area. The former Augsburg full-back has put in an impressive display this afternoon, and seems to be finally finding his feet in the Premier League following a difficult first season.
Chelsea are playing smart now, retaining possession in an aim to take any sting out of Leicester’s potent attack. Ranieri still has one more substitution at his disposal, however, though the only attacking player he has remaining on the bench is Marc Albrighton.
CLOSE! That’s a poor miss by Wasilewski. The veteran defender had a free header in the centre of the area after latching onto Mahrez’s precise corner, but he could only direct his effort wide of the upright.
Pressure now from Leicester, as the visitors look for an immediate response after going behind. The Foxes have lost just two of their last 21 Premier League away games, and will be in no mood to extend that to three defeats this afternoon.
Penalty Goal Francesc Fàbregas i Soler
GOOOOOOAAAAALLLL!! FABREGAS CONVERTS FROM THE SPOT! That’s a neat finish from the Spaniard, who steps up to slot home a composed strike into the left-hand corner, sending Schmeichel the wrong way. Chelsea 1-0 Leicester!
PENALTY TO CHELSEA! Well, that really is reckless from Schlupp, who lunges in stupidly on Matic as the Serbian midfielder drove into the area, giving Craig Pawson no choice but to point straight to the spot.
CHANCE! That’s so unfortunate for Abraham who gets in the way of a Hazard strike that was heading for the back of the net. Just before that opportunity, Baba had done well down the left to evade three Leicester defenders and drill in a cross, but Cahill was unable to make a firm connection with his header.
A third and final change for Chelsea now, as Branislav Ivanovic is replaced by another of the youngsters, Fikayo Tomori. Just a moment earlier, Okazaki should have given the visitors the lead when he stole into the area unmarked, but he could only direct his strike straight at Courtois.
Another good move by Leicester down the left sees Schlupp float in a cross that Okazaki connects with, but the Japan forward can only help the ball onto Mahrez. His cross finds Fuchs, who attempts to prod a strike into the bottom-left corner, but Cahill was well placed to make the block.
Almost! That was nearly the moment for Abraham who, just a few minutes after his introduction, races in behind Leicester’s defence and almost gets onto the end of a raking pass from deep. Unfortunately for the youngster, however, Morgan - who has played every minute of Leicester’s Premier League campaign so far this term - recovers just in time to make a vital challenge.
Pedro Eliezer Rodríguez Ledesma
The second substitution sees Pedro make way for Ruben Loftus-Cheek, another Chelsea and England youngster who looks set to have a bright future.
Bertrand Isidore Traore
Another glut of substitutions now, and they are for the hosts this time, as Hiddink introduces academy graduate Tammy Abraham in place of fellow youngster Bertrand Traore.
The switch in formation seems to have suited Leicester, who are playing with a semblance of authority you associate with champions so far in this second half, controlling possession and dictating the tempo, pressing Chelsea back in their own half. However, they are yet to create a clear-cut chance, with the hosts’ defence remaining relatively comfortable.
A promising start to proceedings in the second half for the visitors, as they win a corner down the right. Mahrez drifts in the cross, but Courtois does well to come out and punch it clear under pressure from Morgan.
Welcome back! We are up and running in the second half at Stamford Bridge, where there has been two changes at the interval for the visitors. The first sees Shinji Okazaki replacing Andy King, and it seems that Leicester will most likely return to their preffered 4-4-2 system, and though there is relatively little to play for in this game, Ranieri is obvioulsy determined to end this fabulous campaign with a victory.
The second change for Leicester at the interval has seen Demarai Gray make way for Jeffrey Schlupp.
HALF TIME! That’s it for the first half at Stamford Bridge, where it remains goalless between Chelsea and the Premier League champions Leicester City. It has been an open encounter, but one lacking in quality when it comes to the finishing from both sides, though the hosts did have a goal correctly ruled out for offside just before the interval.
That’s a sublime run by Mahrez, who drives at the heart of Chelsea’s defence before eventually trying to pick out Vardy, but his pass is slightly underhit and Azpilicueta is on hand to hook it clear.
DISALLOWED! What a period of play that was! First, Fabregas tests Schmeichel with a driven effort that the Denmark goalkeeper does brilliantly to parry away. The rebound deflects back into the path of Pedro, who jinks to the byline before finding Traore. The youngster’s effort loops up toward the far corner, but the Leicester shot-stopper is again equal to it, but his punch only falls as far as Azpilicueta. The Spain full-back drills in a cross which his compatriot Pedro tucks in, only for the flag tp be raised for offside.
CLOSE! Excellent counter-attacking play by Leicester once again, as Mahrez drifts out to the right and loops in a superb left-footed cross towards the back post. Vardy looks set to meet it after making a late run into the area, but the former Fleetwood Town man is just unable to stretch far enough to make contact with his attempted header.
FANTASTIC SAVE! That’s a top-class stop by Schmeichel, as the Leicester goalkeeper reacts instinctively to prevent Willian’s low, close-range effort finding the bottom-right corner after the Brazilian had been played in excellently by Fabregas.
Really, bar the opportunity for Vardy at one end and Traore’s miss-timed effort at the other, neither side have managed to create what you would consider to be a clear-cut chance so far in this game. It definitely has an end of the season feel to it, but given the efforts that the Leicester players have put in this campaign, you can hardly blame them for relaxing slightly, while Chelsea have had little to play for other than pride since they slumped out of the Champions League and FA Cup back in March.
Another decent move by the hosts down the left, as Fabregas threads in a pass to the feet of Baba, whose cross is blocked out for a corner by Simpson. The set-piece is delivered into the six-yard box, but Schmeichel, as commanding as ever in his area, comes out swiftly to gather it in.
Good defending at the other end now, as Ivanovic gets across in timely fashion to block Vardy’s goalbound effort. It’s certainly an open game at Stamford Bridge, but so far the quality has been lacking from both sides in the final third.
Again, Traore picks up possession in a decent area and his first thought is - rightly so - to try his luck with a low strike. However, once more he fails to make a proper connection, and can only watch on as his shot trickles harmlessly wide of the upright.
CHANCE! What a miss that is by Traore, who completely miscues his effort after latching onto a great cross by Pedro at the near post. The 20-year-old really should be doing better in that position.
GREAT DEFENDING! That’s superb stuff from Simpson, who prevents a certain goal by blocking Traore’s strike. The chance came about due to a rare mistake by Schmeichel, who overcommitted to a challenge with Pedro and lost out to the Spaniard, who then set up his teammate.
SAVE! Another well-worked attack by Leicester sees Gray get free down the right, and the former Birmingham City youngster duly drills in a cross-cum-shot that forces Courtois into making a decent stop low down to his right. Leicester are starting to build some momentum now!
CHANCE! Sublime play by Leicester, as they carve open Chelsea’s defence with a wonderful move that eventually results in Mahrez lofting a delicate pass over the top to Vardy. The England striker beats Courtois to the ball, but is just unable to direct his effort on target under pressure from the Belgium goalkeeper. Unlucky!
The game has entered something of a lull at the moment, with Chelsea unwilling to commit as many men forward as they were in the early stages - most likely due to the proficiency of the visitors on the counter. The hosts almost manage to create an opportunity out of nothing as Fabregas slips through a pass to Traore, but the youngster had strayed just offside in the build-up and the move is swiftly halted by the linesman’s flag.
STAT FLASH - Chelsea had won six straight league games against Leicester City before the Foxes' 2-1 win in the reverse fixture at the King Power Stadium back in December. However, Hiddink’s side have claimed just five victories at Stamford Bridge in the league this term - against the bottom four and Arsenal.
Leicester have slowly but surely started to stamp some authority on proceedings now, and are looking increasingly dangerous on the counter as Gray jinks his way infield from the left and tries his luck from range. The strike is a wayward one, but it will certainly be encouraging for Ranieri that his side are managing to find so much space.
A first real opportunity of the game now for the visitors, as Vardy does well to win a free-kick 30 yards out. However, rather than go for goal from the set-piece, Drinkwater slips a pass out wide in a pre-orientated move, and though Simpson latches onto the pass and floats in a cross, Fuchs is unable to keep it in play at the back post.
POOR! It is the Spaniard himself who takes the set-piece, but his effort is a tame one directed straight into the wall of Leicester defenders. The visitors counter at pace, with Vardy driving deep into Chelsea's territory before unleashing a low, left-footed strike towards the bottom-right corner. However, although it beats Courtois, it skips a yard wide of the upright.
News now from a game elsewhere in the Premier League, and it is that the match between Manchester United and Bournemouth has been abandoned due to a suspect package having been found in Old Trafford. Meanwhile, back at the Bridge, Chelsea have won a free-kick, 20 yards out from goal, after Fabregas was brought down by Morgan.
CLOSE! That’s a good effort from Pedro who, after receiving the ball on the left-hand side of the area, stands up Simpson before using the Leicester defender to shield the view of Schmeichel. The Spain winger uses that opportunity to curl a low strike towards the far post, but it whistles just wide.
Appeals for a penalty now from the home faithful, as Willian’s attempted cross clips the hand of Fuchs, who was standing right on the edge of the area. However, there is nothing doing for the referee, and rightly so, as the Leicester defender was stood just yards away from the aforementioned Chelsea playmaker.
Superb skill by Mahrez, as the Algerian winger combines excellently with King to play their way out from the back down the right flank. Chelsea have started well here, applying the pressure high up the pitch, but so far Leicester are coping with it easily enough.
Neat and tidy play from Chelsea, as they string together a crisp attack down the left, with Fabregas slipping in a through ball to Hazard. The former Lille winger drills a low cross back towards the edge of the box, but - as he has been so often in this campaign - Kante is there to intercept and prod the ball back to Schmeichel, who duly hoofs it clear of danger.
KICK OFF! We are underway at a sunny Stamford Bridge, with the hosts getting proceedings up and running at the sound of Craig Pawson’s whistle.
One player who is not appearing this afternoon is John Terry, with the long-serving Chelsea skipper serving the second match of his two-game suspension. Though he has been offered a new contract by the club this week, it is not clear if he shall remain at Stamford Bridge next season. He is, however, on the pitch now as part of the guard of honour for the visitors, as Ranieri receives a standing ovation from every supporter in Stamford Bridge.
During his first spell in the Premier League, Ranieri earned a nickname of ‘the Tinkerman’ due to his tendency to change his side regularly. However, the Italian has rarely switched from a 4-4-2 system - often including the same players week in week out - during his time at Leicester, though this afternoon he has amended it slightly, instead employing a 4-2-3-1 formation to match the hosts. Out goes Shinji Okazaki, with Danny Drinkwater returning from suspension to sit in midfield alongside N’Golo Kante. It means that Andy King will play behind Jamie Vardy, while Demarai Gray comes in to start on the right in place of Marc Albrighton.
So, two changes in total for the home side compared to the starting XI from the 1–1 draw against Liverpool. After missing out on Wednesday evening through illness, goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois returns, replacing Asmir Begovic, while John Obi Mikel makes way for Branislav Ivanovic. After an awful campaign, Eden Hazard has refined his form in recent weeks, having scored in three out of Chelsea’s last four fixtures, including a wonderful effort to give the Blues the lead at Anfield, and the Belgian winger - who has been linked with a move away from the Bridge in the close season, starts once again today.
TEAM NEWS - Chelsea substitutes: Begovic, Oscar, Pato, Kenedy, Loftus-Cheek, Abraham, Tomori.
TEAM NEWS - Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Courtois; Azpilicueta, Ivanovic, Cahill, Baba; Fabregas, Matic; Pedro, Willian, Hazard; Traore.
The team news is in now from Stamford Bridge so, without further ado, let’s assess the full line-ups. We’ll begin with the hosts…
In his pre-match press conference, Ranieri claimed that he believes incoming Chelsea boss Conte is the right man to get the Blues challenging for the top honours again following their year in the cold. The Leicester manager is likely to receive a warm welcome from the Stamford Bridge faithful, who have not forgotten his time at the club, but the reception shall be equally as welcoming for Hiddink, who has at least managed to salvage what should be a top-half finish from this terrible campaign.
The story could not be more different for Leicester, who have swept aside all in their path this campaign. This time last year, the Foxes were scrapping to avoid relegation in their return season to the top flight, and what Claudio Ranieri and his side have achieved is nothing short of remarkable, and their title-tilt is something that has sent shockwaves all around the globe. It is fitting that, for the veteran Italian manager, the season of all seasons - in which he has claimed his first-ever league title - should end at his former stomping ground where he spent four years as Chelsea boss between 2000 and 2004. His team capped off their last home fixture with a comfortable 3-1 victory over Everton last time out before lifting the Premier League trophy following the final whistle, and they will be looking to end the year in style with another win - which would coincidentally be Ranieri’s 100th in this competition. Three points this afternoon could see them end the season with a 13-point gap between themselves and the rest of the pack should Tottenham lose to the already-relegated Newcastle United and Arsenal fail to beat lowly Aston Villa.
It has been an extraordinary season in the English top flight, and it is rather fitting that, on the final day, it is these two sides that meet. Chelsea, who stormed to the title last season, had all-but relinquished their crown by Christmas following a dismal start to the campaign, which saw Jose Mourinho lose his job. Guus Hiddink was brought in to steady the ship, and he did just that, though defeats in the quarter-finals of the Champions League and FA Cup have meant that 2015/16 has been a year to forget for the Blues’ faithful. With Italy coach Antonio Conte set to arrive at Stamford Bridge following the Euros, the fans can at least look forward to a new era in west London, though it is one that will start without European involvement for the first time in well over a decade.
Hello and welcome, football fans, to our LIVE coverage of the final round of Premier League fixtures! We’ll be bringing you all the action as it happens from Stamford Bridge, where Chelsea - whose 2-2 draw with Tottenham in the most recent game here ensured that Leicester City claimed the league title - host the newly crowned champions.
LAST FIVE MATCHES
HEAD TO HEAD
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