15 Dec 2015

Leicester back on top of EPL

11:52 am on 15 December 2015

Leicester City have gone back to the top of the English Premier Football League after beating Chelsea 2-1 at home.

Jamie Vardy of Leicester celebrates a goal.

Jamie Vardy of Leicester celebrates a goal. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The prolific Jamie Vardy, whose record run of 11 consecutive Premier League goals came to an end at Swansea City last weekend, beat goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois with a crisp volley from playmaker Mahrez's delightful cross after 34 minutes.

Algerian Riyad Mahrez curled in a stunning second goal from the edge of the area three minutes into the second half to put Leicester, continuing their remarkable turnaround after escaping relegation last season, on 35 points, two clear of Arsenal.

England striker Vardy (15 goals) and Mahrez (11) have scored 26 times between them this season and they again lit up the King Power stadium with their intelligent running, pace and trickery.

Substitute Loic Remy gave the visitors hope with a headed goal 13 minutes from time to set up a tense finish but the hosts held out to leave Chelsea mired in 16th place on 15 points from 16 games -- one point above the relegation zone.

"We played a great game and we deserved to win and we have to keep doing that," man of the match Mahrez told Sky Sports. "When you keep scoring and make some assists it's normal to have some confidence."

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho agreed. "They deserved to win because they were better than us during a longer period of time," he said. "We were the best team for 20-25 minutes, maybe a maximum of 30 minutes. They were the best team for an hour."

Victory was sweet for Leicester's Italian manager Claudio Ranieri who was sacked by Chelsea in 2004, a year after Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich took ownership of the London club.

Ranieri had led Chelsea to their highest league placing for 49 years and their first Champions League semi-final, which they lost to AS Monaco, but his reward was the sack.

He was replaced by Jose Mourinho whose second spell in charge of Chelsea has come increasingly under the spotlight.

They have lost nine of their opening 16 top-flight games for the first time since 1978-79, a season in which they were relegated.

Chelsea's woes were compounded by a first-half injury suffered by their Belgium forward Eden Hazard who hobbled off with an apparent hip problem after a challenge from Premier League top scorer Vardy.