Leicester vs Chelsea result: Eden Hazard waves to Blues fans in possible farewell as two Foxes depart

Leicester 0-0 Chelsea: Chelsea fans got what might be their final glimpse of Eden Hazard on English soil while Leicester fans bade an emotional goodbye to two more of their Premier League title winners

Steve Madeley
King Power Stadium
Sunday 12 May 2019 17:11
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A game in which the outcome mattered little became, instead, about farewells; some confirmed, others feared; some fond, others not.

Chelsea fans got what might be their final glimpse of Eden Hazard on English soil while Leicester fans bade an emotional goodbye to two more of their Premier League title winners.

A goalless draw on the final day of the season left both sides where they started the afternoon; Mauricio Sarri’s side third and Brendan Rodgers’ charges ninth.

Chances came and went without either side battering a path to the other’s goal until, finally, the final whistle brought about the real business of the day.

For Leicester fans, another tumultuous season ended with rousing send-offs for Shinji Okazaki and Danny Simpson, two members of their legendary team of 2016, making their final Foxes appearances as second-half substitutes.

For Chelsea supporters, it was an afternoon to plead with Hazard, the man whose goal for them against Tottenham sealed Leicester’s incredible triumph three years ago, not to make the Europa League final against Arsenal in Baku his Blues swansong.

The Belgian shared a warm post-match moment with the travelling fans but his body language – hands in the air and a wave – gave little away.

Gonzalo Higuain, who sloped off in an 84th-minute substitution after another limp effort, will surely not be seen again in a Chelsea shirt. His departure would, unlike Hazard’s, prompt few tears on the King’s Road.

Whether Sarri himself is around by the start of next season remains a matter of conjecture. If not, this skirmish will not go down as a high-point of his one-season reign.

Eden Hazard salutes the Chelsea fans at full-time

Chelsea might have led as early as the fourth minute when Ross Barkley let fly with a fierce shot from six yards that was kept out by an instinctive block by goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek then headed over an excellent right-wing cross from Davide Zappacosta as Chelsea made a bright start.

But they were given a warning of Leicester’s potency when they squandered possession and the Foxes’ counter-attack ended with Hamsa Choudhury hammering a shot over the crossbar.

The, when Ben Chilwell had a shot save by goalkeeper Chelsea goalkeeper Willy Caballero after a link-up with Jamie Vardy, it signalled that Leicester had halted the early momentum of the Londoners.

By the time James Maddison had an optimistic effort deflected over the crossbar for Leicester on 25 minutes and Youri Tielemans had a long-range drive saved comfortably by Caballero from the resulting corner, the game had become disjointed.

There was hope for Leicester from a set-piece, however, as Caballero was forced to save a Vardy header from Ben Chilwell’s free-kick.

Leicester should, then, have opened the scoring in the final minute of the first half when David Luiz slipped and Vardy ran clear but, instead of shooting, attempted to pick out Tielemans with a pass that went awry.

In stoppage time an even better chance went begging for Chelsea and Marcos Alonso’s cross found Gonzalo Higuain, whose attempted flick hit his own standing foot and went wide.

A banner in the Chelsea section of the King Power Stadium

Tielemans volleyed wide early in the second half before Barkley pulled an effort wide for Chelsea after a smart set-up by Willian.

Only a timely interception from Cesar Azpilicueta from a Marc Albrighton cross denied Vardy a tap-in.

Barkley stung the hands of Kasper Schmeichel with a long-range effort but, by now, minds of fans had well and truly wondered to events elsewhere and partings of the way.

Leicester (4-1-4-1): Schmeichel; Ricardo, Evans, Maguire, Chilwell; Ndidi (Okazaki 67); Albrighton (Simpson 76), Tielemans, Choudhury, Maddison (Barnes 84); Vardy. Substitutes: Morgan, Gray, Iheanacho, Ward.

Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Caballero; Zappacosta, Azpilicueta, Luiz, Alonso; Jorginho, Loftus-Cheek; Pedro, Barkley (Kovacic 76), Willian (Hazard 69); Higuain (Giroud 84). Substitutes: Arrizabalaga, Christensen, Emerson, Guehi. Booked: Jorginho.

Referee: Anthony Taylor

Attendance: 32,140

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