Chelsea made light work of a limp Leicester City with a 3-0 win in the Premier League at the King Power Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
The formidable Blues were in no mood to muck about after the international break, with the league leaders completely throttling and stifling the lacklustre hosts - so much so that the home side's first shot didn't come until the 57th minute.
Ben Chilwell rattled the bar in the early going before Antonio Rüdiger guided a smart header home in the 14th minute, courtesy of a pinpoint corner delivery from the former Foxes' man. Speaking of former Foxes' man, it was another - N'Golo Kanté - who stretched the deficit to two 14 minutes later, with a wonderful driving run and long-range finish.
So far was so good at the interval for Thomas Tuchel and his men, with the only real downside being that the cushion on the scoreline could, and perhaps should, have been more.
A rejig in shape and personnel by Brendan Rodgers at half-time threatened to bear fruit, with the hosts markedly improved - albeit, not a particularly difficult task. A strong spell culminated with the heroics of Edouard Mendy and the profligacy of Jamie Vardy maintaining the deficit, before substitutes Hakim Ziyech and Christian Pulisic combined to put proceedings to bed in minute 71.
The offside flag prevented it getting any uglier, with efforts from Pulisic, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Reece James chalked off. Lack of gloss aside, the day was a superb showing of intent and pedigree from the Champions of Europe. Up next for Chelsea is a huge de-facto group decider in the defence of that crown, as they welcome Juventus to Stamford Bridge. In the interim, here are five things we learned today...
1) Former friends turned foes feast on Foxes as Ben Chilwell and N'Golo Kanté run amok over previous colleagues
The past came back to haunt Leicester as two of their former sons put them to the sword. Chilwell enjoyed a measure of revenge with his assist, after his FA Cup final equaliser was chalked off and he was booed mercilessly by the home fans after smashing against the woodwork early on here - booed no more so than usual, of course, after leaving for the Bridge in rather acrimonious circumstances. The always smiling Kante - one of the heroes of Leicester's fairytale 2015-16 league title success - may have departed with well wishes in comparison, but he left a bitter taste in Foxes' fans mouths with not only a tremendous goal, but with his immaculate industry and defensive awareness too. Leicester were very literally chasing ghosts.
2) On the pitch performances not swayed by uncertain events off it for Antonio Rüdiger
For all the 'will he, won't he' noise surrounding a potential departure and difficult contract negotiations, there's no doubting the German is a consummate professional who is just getting on with things from whistle to whistle. A vital - and simply world class - clearance from a dangerous Jamie Vardy cross within the first ten minutes was swiftly followed by a genuinely impressive header. It was typical of his afternoon, as he was a constant menace in the opposition box and equally as commanding outside of it. Rüdiger seems content with focusing on the here and now - perhaps Blues fans would do well to take a leaf out of his book.
3) The long ball is an effective outlet for the Blues, with Thiago Silva and Jorginho the forerunners in that department
Dare say the touch of Brazilian flair was on display in this regard. The latter - a Brazilian by birth but an Italian maestro by trade - set the pace in the first half, picking out his teammate's runs at will from deep with some sumptuous and delicate probes. It was an assured performance from the UEFA Men's Player of the Year after a difficult few weeks with Italy. The former very much picked up the mantle in the second 45. His distribution and range is arguably the best of any in the Chelsea backline - that's nothing new - but it was on full display this afternoon coupled with an aptly monstrous defensive performance from the man nicknamed 'O Monstro'.
4) The hangover of the early kick-off after international duty is a hurdle champions have to deal with accordingly
It's a familiar tale. The favourites, full of star turns for international sides, only get one day together - if that - in training after the break in club football. The plucky underdogs, refreshed and well-drilled in comparison, turn up in the morning ready to get after it and cause an upset. Chelsea more than many have appeared vulnerable at falling into that trap, but such an occurrence never looked likely today as the Pensioners were on the front foot from the off. If anything, it was the home side who looked leggy and hungover as the visitors put together a formidable body of work with plenty of vim and vigour.
5) The yellow away kit exists!
It would be remiss not to point out the appearance of the lesser-spotted 2021/22 Chelsea away kit...finally. The last 'debut' of a Chelsea kit ended in defeat to Leicester City in the aforementioned FA Cup final last season, so those of a superstitious disposition had an uneasy stomach coupling that with the early Saturday kick off. As it happens, there was nothing to fear, as the men adorning it on the pitch added to the Pensioners' rich history and tradition of the yellow strip.