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Chelsea have moved up to fifth in the Premier League table after coasting past the struggling champions Leicester City 3-0 at Stamford Bridge.
Having been outplayed by Liverpool in their last fixture on home soil and having only won one of their last four league matches, the Blues needed a victory to get their Champions League qualification push back on track and they did so in some style.
Against a Foxes side struggling to put together an acceptable defence of the title they won in such exciting and surprising fashion in May, Antonio Conte's side took control of the game early on and never looked in danger of failing to secure the three points.
After being forced to deny rumours during the week that he was on the verge of being relieved of his duties after only a handful of games in charge, Conte's selection of three centre-backs complemented by a pair of wing-backs seemed to give the side the defensive platform which has been so obviously missing in recent weeks.
The system has provided extra support tot he badly out-of-form Gary Cahill while David Luiz is afforded the time and space to use his undoubted passing ability to good effect without destabilising the backline.
The new formation also allowed Eden Hazard to play in the more central position which he is playing for his national team and he was excellent in patches against a weak Leicester.
The hosts flew out of the traps and were ahead when Diego Costa took advantage of more poor marking from Claudio Ranieri's side - Wes Morgan this time the guilty party - to sweep home from 10 yards after just seven minutes.
With N'Golo Kante producing an impressive display against his former employers, the Foxes struggled in midfield and Chelsea's dominance of possession allowed Hazard to pick holes in the visitors' defence and on 33 minutes he rounded Kasper Schmeichel before finishing into the empty net.
Luiz almost made it three when his dipping, swerving free-kick smashed off the post with Schmeichel at full stretch.
Leicester briefly threatened to get back into the game an they almost did when Luiz diverted a teasing cross onto his own post with Jamie Vardy waiting to tap in behind him, but the danger was cleared.
With 10 minutes remaining Victor Moses, enjoying a fine run of form of late, played a one-two with Nathaniel Chalobah, with the latter's brilliant flick falling into his path and Moses finished past Schmeichel with aplomb.
Leicester have now lost their last three league games away from home and sit in 13th place in the table. Following on from heavy defeats to Liverpool and Manchester United, this underlines the struggles they are having adapting to the pressure of being champions and the distraction of their Champions League campaign.
The Foxes know that a victory against FC Copenhagen on Tuesday will all-but secure their progress to the knockout stages in European football's premier competition and their performances in the league of late - along with the fact Islam Slimani and Riyad Mahrez were only introduced as substitutes at Chelsea - suggest that's where their priorities lie.
For Chelsea with no European football this campaign, the display and the three points has put them back in contention for a swift return to Europe next season.
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