Raheem Sterling hits first Chelsea goals as 10 men Blues see off Leicester

At times this would have made for very uncomfortable viewing for the banned Thomas Tuchel, watching from his seat in the stands, not least after Chelsea were reduced to 10 men following Conor Gallagher’s early dismissal and then when Leicester halved the hosts’ lead to set up a tense finish.

The sight of him rocking back and forth in his seat nervously, hands over his mouth, shaking his head at one stage as Leicester pushed for an equaliser, underlined that.

But the final outcome would have been a more than pleasant sight for the Chelsea boss, serving his suspension for his part in the touchline row with Tottenham manager Antonio Conte.

Raheem Sterling scores his first goals for Chelsea as 10 man Blues beat Leicester City at 2-1 at Stamford Bridge on Saturday

Raheem Sterling scores his first goals for Chelsea as 10 man Blues beat Leicester City at 2-1 at Stamford Bridge on Saturday 

Conor Gallagher is shown a red card following his second bookable offence in Chelsea's 2-1 win over Leicester City

Conor Gallagher is shown a red card following his second bookable offence in Chelsea’s 2-1 win over Leicester City 

MATCH FACTS AND RATINGS 

 CHELSEA (4-2-2-2): Mendy 7.5; James 8, Chalobah 6, Silva 7.5, Cucurella 7.5 (Chilwell 90); Gallagher 7.5, Jorginho 6.5 (Pulisic ; Loftus-Cheek 8, Mount 6 (Azpilicueta 46, 6); Havertz 6, Sterling 8.5 (Kovacic .

Scorer: Sterling 47, 63

Booked: Gallagher, Havertz

Sent off: Gallagher

Manager: Thomas Tuchel 7

LEICESTER (4-1-4-1): Ward 6; Castagne 6.5, Evans 7, Amartey 6.5, Justin 7; Soumare 6.5 (Iheanacho 5.5, 55); Praet 5 (Perez 55, 6.5) , Tielemans 8 (Ndidi 89), Dewsbury-Hall 6.5, Barnes 7.5; Vardy 5.

Scorer: Barnes 66

Booked: Dewsbury-Hall, Praet

Manager: Brendan Rodgers 6

Referee: Paul Tierney 5

 

A dogged response to the 3-0 defeat against Leeds, the first two Chelsea goals for one of his big summer signings, Raheem Sterling, and three very welcome points.

It wasn’t pretty but it would have been unrealistic to expect it to be once they lost Gallagher just before the half-hour.

This was not the sort of afternoon where those who remained on the pitch in Chelsea blue would have enjoyed having to run further to make up for their numerical disadvantage.

That their efforts were eventually rewarded was largely thanks to Sterling.

Tuchel said: ‘We needed him to step up. He did and he did what he always does and he will score. He will create chances and the goals were absolutely crucial because they gave us belief.’

Having played with an extra man for over an hour, had a goal harshly ruled out and created a string of other clear chances, defeat would have only added to Leicester’s current frustrations.

The Wesley Fofana saga, now on the verge of being resolved with his £75m move to Chelsea imminent, has overshadowed much of their start to the season and their search for a first win goes on.

Foxes manager Brendan Rodgers said: ‘No doubt we should have at least taken a point. Frustrating by the end.’

Chelsea started with purpose and notably the energetic Gallagher. In the early stages it was put to good use, though he eventually overstepped the mark. First, though, he helped create a chance for Ruben Loftus-Cheek which was saved by Danny Ward.

Chelsea then thought they had a penalty when Youri Tielemans was penalised for bringing down Loftus-Cheek as they came together in the box.

The award looked generous and referee Paul Tierney was ultimately spared having to potentially overturn his decision due to an offside earlier in the move.

N’Golo Kante’s injury absence has opened the door for Gallagher to get his first real chance in the Chelsea team. They are huge shoes to fill and despite his early efforts — some very effective and morale-boosting after a difficult full debut at Leeds — few can break up play so consistently and cleanly as the Frenchman.

Indeed, two bookings in six minutes for Gallagher following fouls on Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall and then Harvey Barnes brought a premature end to the young midfielder’s afternoon.

Harvey Barnes goal got Leicester back into the game but it wasn't enough to prevent a third straight defeat for the Foxes

Harvey Barnes goal got Leicester back into the game but it wasn’t enough to prevent a third straight defeat for the Foxes 

Brendan Rodgers remains under pressure at Leicester and has failed to bring in any new players during the summer window

Brendan Rodgers remains under pressure at Leicester and has failed to bring in any new players during the summer window 

On Chelsea’s books since he was eight, this was a big day for Gallagher and he looked despondent it was over so soon, with substitute keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga among those who went to console him as he went down the tunnel.

Leicester, missing the injured James Maddison, had the numerical advantage and though the impressive Reece James cracked an effort against the post, Leicester finished the half the more threatening team.

Daniel Amartey had a goal harshly ruled out due to an earlier Barnes foul on Edouard Mendy, Jamie Vardy fired wide after being put through on goal and Timothy Castagne was bravely denied by the Chelsea keeper.

Having adjusted after the red card, Tuchel made another switch at the break, introducing Cesar Azpilicueta for the ineffective Mason Mount. Chelsea then took the lead when Sterling’s effort took a nick off Amartey and looped over Ward.

Sterling was inches away from a second soon after when Marc Cucurella’s pass across the box somehow found its way to him on the far side, but he hit the post.

But he made no mistake when next in front of goal, slamming James’s fine cross into the net.

Yet Chelsea’s two-goal lead lasted only three minutes as Barnes pounced after Havertz mis-controlled, played a one-two with Vardy and fired past Mendy.

Barnes, Vardy twice and Ayoze Perez all might have scored, though an equaliser eluded them.

Tuchel added: ‘I’m happy we showed the mentality that was needed to have at least the chance to win it. We were lucky in the end not to concede the equaliser but the mentality was very good.’

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