Defending champs Chelsea continue to stutter, failing to beat 10-man Leicester

Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte have been rowing publicly for over a week

Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte have been rowing publicly for over a week

The two Premier League bosses have traded barbs since the New Year after Mourinho's suggestion that he did not feel the need to behave like "a clown" during games touched a nerve with Conte.

Tired Chelsea are feeling the strain from a busy schedule - but there's no let up coming for Antonio Conte's men, writes Peter Smith.

Chelsea did little to take the spotlight away from manager Antonio Conte, linked with a post-season move to French giants Paris Saint-Germain this week, in a goalless draw with Leicester City on Saturday.

While they will be hoping to cause havoc in the final third, Gary Cahill has been drafted back in to a defensive unit seeking to keep the Foxes out.

Speaking to the press, Conte said: "We played with nearly the same players as we did against Arsenal on Wednesday night, and my plan was to play a rotated side in the FA Cup this week".

But Chelsea soon showed signs of getting to grips with the game, Alvaro Morata pulling a save from Schmeichel after charging in along the byline, while the Dane did well to tip a fierce Fabregas drive over three minutes before half-time.

Chelsea then left Wilfred Ndidi completely unmarked at a corner, but the midfielder's header was well saved by goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois. This, however, was one of his good games.


With Andreas Christensen rested, Luiz would normally have been the replacement playing in the centre of Chelsea's back three.

Just two goals in eight Premier League games, Morata's poor form continued against Leicester.

Chelsea looked leggy and short of ideas.

Chelsea were still in disarray after the interval and Riyad Mahrez's deflected effort nearly crept in, prompting Conte to send on Willian and Pedro for Hazard and Fabregas. Few players in Europe can score, assist and dribble as impressively as Mahrez; perhaps no one else in that bracket would be eligible to play in the latter stages of European competition, either.

Antonio Conte had been wary of the Foxes and his concern proved well founded as the movement and energy of Riyad Mahrez, Jamie Vardy and Shinji Okazaki troubled Chelsea.

The first came in the 63rd minute for bringing down Willian on the right-hand side of the pitch and just five minutes later as he caught Victor Moses high after lunging in to try and win the ball.

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