Hasselbaink gets Chelsea back on track

 

Leicester City 0 Chelsea 4

Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink eased the pressure on manager Claudio Ranieri with a brace to rekindle

The visitors had been in danger of being cast completely adrift of Manchester United and Arsenal at the top after collecting only seven points from the previous six games.

Anything less than a win at the Walkers Stadium would have led to more question marks being raised about Ranieri's future.

But Hasselbaink took advantage of being restored to the starting line-up to earn

It was almost embarrassingly easy in the first half for the Blues who constantly troubled Leicester with their pace, one-touch football and movement. Leicester to their credit did not throw in the towel and may have shaded the second-half proceedings before Mutu and Babayaro rubbed salt in their wounds.

But Micky Adams' side have now gone seven games without a win stretching back to November and are three points adrift of safety with little money to spend.

Chelsea

He was driven out wide by Ian Walker but maintained his composure only for the City keeper to stand up and block his resulting shot.

Hasselbaink was then given another run at goal by Gudjohnsen's first-time pass but Leicester defender Steve Howey stuck to his task and snuffed out the opportunity.

Mario Melchiot played the telling ball into the path of Joe Cole and his low cross took a deflection off Howey and was turned in deftly at the near post by Hasselbaink who got in front of newcomer Nikos Dabizas.

Leicester, clearly missing injured playmaker Muzzy Izzet, threatened for the first time when Marcus Bent got on the end of an inswinging corner from the recalled Lilian Nalis and was only just too high with his header after climbing above Melchiot.

Then two minutes before the interval

Dickov needed treatment after taking a knock to his face in an off-the-ball incident with Desailly early in the second half.

Foxes boss Micky Adams responded by bringing off Bent and the ineffective Nalis and replacing them with Les Ferdinand and Paul Brooker.

It needed a superb fingertip save from Cudicini to tip a swerving effort from Davidson over the bar and Leicester were certainly not going down without a fight.

Terry cleared a Scowcroft header off the line and Dickov stabbed the ball wide of the post but with three minutes left Mutu wrapped up the game for

He collected the ball from Celestine Babayaro and curled a shot past the dive of Walker into the corner of the net.

In injury-time it was the turn of Babayaro to get on the score-sheet after a mistake by Brooker.