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Published: 10:42 | 21/12/15

Foxes outsmart Blues


Leicester returned to the top of the Barclays Premier League table after goals from Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez helped them to a 2-1 victory over Chelsea at the King Power Stadium.

Vardy notched his 15th goal of the season with the opener on 34 minutes, before a superb Mahrez effort, his 11th of the campaign, doubled the advantage three minutes after the restart.

Substitute Loic Remy pulled one back for the visitors 13 minutes from time with a firm header, but they couldn't find an equaliser in a frantic finish as Leicester's dream season continues unabated, while the reigning champions hover precariously just a point above the drop zone.

Both teams were unchanged from their previous outings, a 2-0 Champions League win over Porto for the visitors and a 3-0 thumping of Swansea in the league last weekend for Cladio Ranieri's high flyers.

The home side had the better of a bright opening, with Chelsea sitting deep to counter the pace of Leicester front two Vardy and Leonardo Ulloa.

Mahrez failed to make the best of two early opportunities, shooting straight at Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois on both occasions.

Both teams were forced into early substitutions due to injury, with Danny Drinkwater limping off for the home side on 16 minutes to be replaced by Andy King, before Pedro came on for Eden Hazard after the Belgian international fell awkwardly.

Leicester were ahead on 34 minutes courtesy of the in-formVardy, with the striker ghosting in between John Terry and Kurt Zouma to meet a Mahrez cross with a superb volley for his 15th goal of the season.

Chelsea were almost level moments later when Nemanja Matic got on the end of a floated Pedro cross, but his header glanced off the top of the crossbar and out for a goal-kick.

Marc Albrighton tested Courtois from distance late on, but there were no further goals before the break.

Chelsea's hopes of getting something from the game were dealt a massive blow three minutes after the restart as Mahrez twisted and turned Johan Cruyff-like in the penalty area before firing beyond Courtois to make it 2-0.

Blues boss Jose Mourinho brought on Cesc Fabregas for Terry immediately afterwards in an attempt to get back into the contest, with the former England captain cutting a forlorn figure as he made his way towards the bench.

Remy replaced Oscar shortly afterwards and, now playing with three up front, Chelsea began to cause big problems for the Leicester defence.

Pedro had an effort blocked and Foxes goalkeeper Kaspar Schmeichel produced a fine save to deny Diego Costa, with Branislav Ivanovic then failing to make decent contact after the resulting corner found him a yard out at the far post.

They were deservedly back in the game 13 minutes from time when Remy got on the end of Pedro's cross to head past Schmeichel.

Chelsea piled forward in search of an equaliser, but were almost caught out when Albrighton sent a low shot inches wide of the post from the edge of the penalty area.

Mourinho's men continued to threaten but, despite five minutes of injury time, the home defence held firm as Ranieri exacted the sweetest of revenge over the club that fired him by inflicting Chelsea's ninth defeat of a miserable campaign.

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