Chelsea held strong to beat former Premier League champions Leicester City 2-1 at the King Power Stadium on Saturday after a dominant display.
Craig Shakespeare named a very familiar line-up, with the wantaway Riyad Mahrez featuring in attack.
The defending champions, meanwhile, welcomed Eden Hazard back to the squad after his lengthy injury spell, but the Belgian wasn’t among the starters.
The game didn’t get off to the brightest of starts, but Chelsea looked quite comfortable and carved out a few chances for themselves, particularly Alvaro Morata, in the first half. The striker, though, constantly found himself frustrated by Wes Morgan’s clearances.
The home side were the ones who almost got themselves ahead nearing the 40-minute mark after Mahrez and Vardy found themselves one on one with a Chelsea defender after N’Golo Kante was dispossessed on the edge of the Foxes’ box.
Thibaut Courtois was forced into a save after the ball was worked to Islam Slimani who got off a shot. Yet a few seconds later, the ball was in the back of the Leicester net as Cesar Azpilicueta found Morata with quite the accurate cross for the striker to head past Kasper Schmeichel, finally getting the better of the pesky Morgan.
The first half came to an end with the Blues leading 1-0, but Antonio Conte – while happy with the lead – couldn’t have been completely satisfied, given his team’s chances.
Chelsea could have doubled their lead well-nigh straight off the bat following the start of the second half, with Morata throwing a two-on-one chance with Pedro away through an errant pass. But they did anyway, as Kante would score against his former club with a low rifled shot to give the champs a 2-0 advantage in the 50th minute.
The Foxes got themselves back in it around the 61st minute, through none other than Vardy, who won a penalty off the Chelsea keeper to beat him with the ensuing spot kick.
Davide Zappacosta was sent on for Victor Moses in the 73rd minute, with the Italian making his Premier League debut after joining the Stamford Bridge side on deadline day.
Hazard would also come on 13 minutes from time in place of Cesc Fabregas, and Kelechi Iheanacho would make his league home debut, replacing Matty James.
The Blues were denied a penalty of their own in the 82nd minute after Marcos Alonso’s cross found Morata, only for the striker’s header to be blatantly handled in the box by Harry Maguire.
The game moved past the 90-minute mark and into four minutes of extra time, but the Blues were able to hold on to their slim lead, despite Leicester’s best efforts, to win their third straight of the season.
Leicester XI: Schmeichel, Fuchs, Maguire, Morgan, Simpson, Albrighton, Ndidi, James, Mahrez, Slimani, Vardy.
Subs: Hamer, Chilwell, Amartey, King, Gray, Ulloa, Iheanacho.
Chelsea XI: Courtois, Rudiger, Luiz, Azpilicueta, Moses, Kante, Fabregas, Alonso, Bakayoko, Pedro, Morata.
Subs: Caballero, Drinkwater, Hazard, Zappacosta, Willian, Batshuayi, Christensen.