Chelsea have got their Champions League bid back on track, leaving 10-man Leeds deeper in the relegation swamp with a comfortable 3-0 win at Elland Road.
ason Mount’s early goal and second-half goals from Christian Pulisic and Romelu Lukaku ended Chelsea’s three-game winless streak and moved them four points clear of London rivals Arsenal in third place.
It was a timely win for Thomas Tuchel’s side, who had dropped 10 points in their last five games ahead of Saturday’s FA Cup final against Liverpool.
It was another night to forget for Leeds. They collapsed to a third straight defeat to remain in the last three and a man was sent off for the second straight season.
Jesse Marsch’s side played 66 minutes with 10 men after Dan James was sent straight off for his rash lunge against Mateo Kovacic.
James’ sacking followed a similar bloodlust by team-mate Luke Ayling in Sunday’s defeat by Arsenal and Leeds never threatened to add to their points tally afterwards.
Mount followed his pass down the right flank in the fourth minute and when Reece James played the ball inside again, the England midfielder slammed home the opening goal.
Leeds, who gave teenage midfielder Lewis Bate his first league start and started with Raphinha at right-back, looked at odds with another new formation as Chelsea comfortably moved the ball.
Chelsea were a hair’s breadth from adding a second when Mount’s cross went past Lukaku, but Leeds lifted their fans with several thrusts before Diego Llorente went wide.
However, any optimism was short-lived as they were reduced to 10 men in the 24th minute when James was shown the red card for his tackle on Kovacic.
Leeds fans were furious but referee Anthony Taylor had no choice. James’ tackle was high and ruthless and just like they had at Arsenal, Marsch’s relegation fighters had shot themselves in the foot.
Lukaku thought he had given Chelsea a 2-0 lead but his attempt was ruled out for offside and the Belgium striker headed James’ cross just inches wide.
Such was Chelsea’s dominance that a second goal seemed inevitable for the visitors while Leeds’ years of injury woes continued when Jack Harrison limped off and was replaced by Junior Firpo.
The game was briefly stopped in the 37th minute after the touch line stewards waved for medical attention for someone at the away end, before Leeds set an unwanted Premier League record before the break.
Kalvin Phillips brought down Pulisic to become the 100th Leeds player to be shown a yellow card this season.
Lukaku headed wide another chance before Chelsea added his second in the 55th minute.
Pulisic fired a low finish into Leeds goalkeeper Illan Meslier’s right post after Mount’s skillful flick all but ended the contest.
Lukaku was tantalizingly close to making it 3-0 in the 66th minute but the third goal came due as Leeds were punished after giving away the ball again in their own half.
The Chelsea forward rushed into the box on substitute Hakim Ziyech’s pass and, after dodging several tackles, scored his eighth goal of the season in the league.
Leicester 3 Norwich 0
Jamie Vardy’s double helped put Leicester past relegated Norwich.
The striker’s brace in the second half and James Maddison’s goal propelled the Foxes to 10th place in the Premier League with a 3-0 win.
The win against bottom Canary Islands ended a seven-game winless streak, but the hosts rarely had to come out of second gear.
Angus Gunn made several saves for Norwich and Teemu Pukki hit the post but the Canaries failed to do so after the break.
Dean Smith’s side slipped to a 12th loss in 14 games and is just playing time before returning to the Championship.
Gunn, who filled in for the dropped Tim Krul, last played in Southampton’s 9-0 defeat by the Foxes against Leicester in 2019 and had to exorcise some demons.
Krul’s recent error-ridden performances had given the 26-year-old a chance and he answered all the early questions in the first 12 minutes.
First he saved James Maddison’s shot before an impressive stop denied Vardy’s connection. Leicester felt an opener and shortly after, Gunn turned Maddison’s effort into the off.
However, the Foxes were vulnerable at the break and were almost wiped out by Max Aarons’ ball down the right for Milot Rashica.
With Tony Springett making his full debut, the winger crossed alone in the box only for Kasper Schmeichel to parry the ball in front of his feet and then parry Pukki’s rebound.
The keeper also stopped Dimitris Giannoulis’ 20-yard shot as Norwich found space in the first 20 minutes.
Leicester had let the Canaries off the hook after a brilliant start but they were still able to create chances and Gunn stretched a leg to keep Ademola Lookman away from Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall after excellent work.
But it was the visitors who should have gone in at the next break, as the hard-working Springett pressed Maddison in first-half injury time to win the ball and send Pukki towards goal.
He turned Daniel Amartey to keep the defender on deck and was about to smash Schmeichel but slammed his shot against the near post.
It proved a costly miss for the Canaries as Leicester grabbed a quick double to take a 2-0 lead.
They found the first set nine minutes after the break when Harvey Barnes sent Vardy to the left and he cut inside with Grant Hanley for company.
The Scotland international tried to stop the striker but was helpless when Vardy’s shot caught his standing foot and rolled over the stranded Gunn.
Eight minutes later, Vardy doubled the lead when he combined again with Barnes to score his 14th goal of the season from 10 yards.
Leicester were on pace and made it 3-0 with a goal for former Canary Maddison with 20 minutes remaining.
The Foxes had plenty of time around the Norwich box and when Gunn saved Dewsbury-Hall’s cross, Maddison, who joined from Carrow Road in 2018, whipped in the loose ball.
https://www.independent.ie/sport/soccer/premier-league/premier-league-round-up-chelsea-push-leeds-towards-drop-as-everton-edge-away-from-relegation-zone-41641020.html Premier League recap: Chelsea push Leeds towards relegation while Everton move away from the relegation zone