Kepa Arrizabalaga says he will head into discussions with Thomas Tuchel over his Chelsea future with the "clear message that I want to play more".

Chelsea splashed a world-record fee for a goalkeeper when they signed Kepa from Athletic Bilbao for £71.6m on a seven-year contract in 2018 as a replacement for the outbound Thibaut Courtois.

Edouard Mendy arrived at Stamford Bridge two years later, joining on a five-year deal from Rennes to provide competition to Kepa, who played more than 30 Premier League games in each of his first two seasons.

Mendy then emerged as Tuchel's first-choice goalkeeper, with Kepa limited to just seven Premier League appearances in the 2020-21 season and only four the following league campaign.

The Spain international was utilised in cup competitions by Chelsea, missing a penalty in the EFL Cup final loss to Liverpool after being brought on in extra time for the shoot-out.

Kepa does not want to settle for being a backup option, though, and told Marca he will hold conversations with Tuchel over his future.

"I'm excited, ambitious, eager to start, to enjoy myself and, above all, to play more. I want to be on the pitch more," the 27-year-old said.

"The conversation with him [Tuchel] is easy; on a day-to-day basis, he is totally accessible to the players. Personally, I notice the affection and confidence he has in me.

"Obviously, I want to play more. It's true that he's giving another teammate [Mendy] a lift, and that's what I'm trying to change in my day-to-day life; I want to play, and that's what I'm training and preparing for.

"Right now, I'm a Chelsea player, but what I know is that I want to play more because, after a year or two where, when I have played, I have had a great return.

"I'm not desperate. At the end of the day, I'm at a very big club… I'll talk to the coach, and we'll decide, but with a clear message that I want to play more."

Edouard Mendy was affected by missing out on a Ballon d'Or nomination, although his outstanding trophy haul goes some way to making up for it.

Goalkeeper Mendy helped Senegal to win their first Africa Cup of Nations title in February, having helped Chelsea win the FIFA Club World Cup that same month.

But 2021 represented a stellar year for Mendy as he enjoyed success in his first season in England following a switch from Rennes. 

He played a key role as Chelsea clinched their second Champions League title, boasting a higher save percentage (91.18) than any goalkeeper to make more than one appearance in the competition and keeping nine clean sheets in 12 outings. 

Despite that, Mendy failed to make a 30-man shortlist for football's biggest individual prize, and lost out on the Yashin Trophy – awarded to the best goalkeeper – to Italy's Euro 2020 hero Gianluigi Donnarumma.

"There have been some incredible moments and there have been some moments that have been more difficult," Mendy told Chelsea's club media.

"After the Ballon d'Or, I think that even if you try to rise above it, unconsciously you are still affected by it. But also it was something new for me.

"You learn from every challenge and I've learned how to deal with it. These are things that I've experienced that have made me a better person, even if at the time it [did] affect me.

"I've also experienced some absolutely joyous moments with AFCON and the Champions League, the [2021 UEFA] Super Cup, winning trophies. When you win them, it becomes an addiction, when you live your life in competition you want to be in the final to win.

"I've been lucky enough to experience that at club level and with my national team who won for the first time in our history. So it's a mix of a lot of emotions but enormously positive ones that bring huge amounts of pride to my family. My reality is what every footballer dreams of."

While the Ballon d'Or has so far evaded Mendy, he hailed the influence Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel – and the club's sporting director, former goalkeeper Petr Cech – have had on his time in west London.

"We have a really good relationship with the coach, he's always been clear with me, he's always clear with all the players," he said of Tuchel.

"He's always explaining things, trying to make sure the messages are understood. He's always looking to explain his decisions so there's a lot of transparency in what he does. That's important for the team and of course for myself too.

"We can talk about everything and nothing, but when we're talking about what happens on the pitch it's always a good exchange of ideas."

Cech also made the switch from Rennes to Chelsea, and went on to become the Premier League's all-time leader for clean sheets kept as a goalkeeper (202).

"Of course, he means a lot," Mendy added of Cech. "He was a big factor in the fact I came to Chelsea. 

"You have to always make them proud, last year I had the chance to train with Petr and that year [2020-21], he hung his boots! But I had the chance to train with him and see what a great player he was.

"Talent never dies. I was lucky enough to see him evolve and get advice from him every day. What he says is very important to me, especially from a goalkeeper who won a lot at Chelsea and is a legend of goalkeeping."

Chelsea face eye-catching early tests in the new Premier League season as Frank Lampard and Antonio Conte await them on the first two weekends.

The first game comes away to Blues record scorer Lampard's Everton side, who narrowly avoided relegation in the 2021-22 campaign, helped by a May 1 win over Chelsea at Goodison Park.

After that August 6 clash, former Chelsea boss Conte will bring his Tottenham side to Stamford Bridge on the second weekend of the new term.

Head coach Thomas Tuchel will pit his wits against Liverpool's Jurgen Klopp on September 17, with Chelsea having home advantage for that game. Klopp's Reds beat Chelsea on penalties in both domestic cup finals last season.

Chelsea face Manchester United at home on October 22, while their first league meeting of the season with Manchester City is pencilled in for January 2 at Stamford Bridge.

Should Chelsea mount a title challenge, then their clash with City at the Etihad Stadium on the penultimate weekend could be pivotal to their hopes, while Tuchel's team round off their campaign on May 28 against Newcastle United.

Chelsea's 2022-23 Premier League fixtures in full:

06/08/2022 – Everton (a)
13/08/2022 – Tottenham (h)
20/08/2022 – Leeds United (a)
27/08/2022 – Leicester City (h)
31/08/2022 – Southampton (a)
03/09/2022 – West Ham (h)
10/09/2022 – Fulham (a)
17/09/2022 – Liverpool (h)
01/10/2022 – Crystal Palace (a)
08/10/2022 – Wolves (h)
15/10/2022 – Aston Villa (a)
18/10/2022 – Brentford (a)
22/10/2022 – Manchester United (h)
29/10/2022 – Brighton (a)
05/11/2022 – Arsenal (h)
12/11/2022 – Newcastle United (a)
26/12/2022 – Bournemouth (h)
31/12/2022 – Nottingham Forest (a)
02/01/2023 – Manchester City (h)
14/01/2023 – Crystal Palace (h)
21/01/2023 – Liverpool (a)
04/02/2023 – Fulham (h)
11/02/2023 – West Ham (a)
18/02/2023 – Southampton (h)
25/02/2023 – Tottenham (a)
04/03/2023 – Leeds United (h)
11/03/2023 – Leicester City (a)
18/03/2023 – Everton (h)
01/04/2023 – Aston Villa (h)
08/04/2023 – Wolves (a)
15/04/2023 – Brighton (h)
22/04/2023 – Manchester United (a)
26/04/2023 – Brentford (h)
29/04/2023 – Arsenal (a)
06/05/2023 – Bournemouth (a)
13/05/2023 – Nottingham Forest (h)
20/05/2023 – Manchester City (a)
28/05/2023 – Newcastle United (h)

Chelsea's technical and performance advisor Petr Cech believes the club did an "amazing job" at navigating the change of ownership last season.

The London club were thrown into uncertain waters when previous owner Roman Abramovich was sanctioned by the United Kingdom government in relation to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

A consortium led by Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital eventually won the battle to take charge of the club in late May, with Chelsea working under a special licence from the government to operate until then.

Despite the ongoing distractions, Thomas Tuchel led Chelsea to third place in the Premier League and to the EFL and FA Cup finals, where they lost on penalties to Liverpool on both occasions.

Speaking to Stats Perform at a media day ahead of his participation in Sunday's Soccer Aid charity match, former Chelsea goalkeeper Cech said: "Of course, [the ownership situation] is something you are not prepared for but you need to find your way to go through it.

"I think everybody at the football club did an amazing job to be competitive and achieving what we achieved last season.

"So, now we know where we are and obviously, we're preparing for the next season and we hope to be as strong as we can."

Cech also had words of encouragement for Blues fans about next season, with the new owners reportedly willing to provide Tuchel with money to spend on improving the squad.

"We plan to prepare and we will see where what we can do over the summer, but obviously we have our plans for what we want to do and hopefully we'll be successful."

Another area of uncertainty at Stamford Bridge is the future of striker Romelu Lukaku, who is being linked with a move back to Inter after a disappointing campaign.

Lukaku signed for Chelsea from Inter last year for a reported fee of £97.5million (€113.58m), but only managed 15 goals in 44 appearances (29 starts).

"I think he started very strongly and unfortunately had a long-term injury and then COVID, which obviously stopped the momentum for him," Cech said about the Belgium striker. 

"When you go through a long-term injury and then COVID, it takes some time before you go back. So you could see how strong he was at the end of the season when he was back fit.

"I think if he remains with this whole pre-season, then I believe he will have a strong season."

Another player who had an underwhelming campaign for Chelsea was Spanish midfielder Saul Niguez, who said goodbye to the club at the end of his loan spell from Atletico Madrid on Wednesday.

"He's still a great player and he has a great personality and it's been great to have him, but at the same time, he had quite a difficult start before he adapted to English football and in a team where there's so much competition for places that he didn't play as much as he would like to," Cech said of Saul. 

"But we've been really happy to have him because, as I said, he's a great personality and a great player. 

"We obviously wish him well now wherever his next steps will go. But I think English football and the Premier League is a particular competition.

"Sometimes you need a bit of time to adapt. Some people adapt faster, some slower but as I said, he had a slower start and then the competition for places was tough so he didn't play as much as we'd like, but it still doesn't take away the qualities he has."

Chelsea have confirmed that defender Andreas Christensen will leave the club at the end of his contract later this month.

The Denmark international has been linked with a move to Barcelona, and the writing appeared to be on the wall when he recently ruled himself out of Chelsea's FA Cup final defeat to Liverpool for "private" reasons.

The Premier League side have also confirmed the imminent departures of Danny Drinkwater, Charly Musonda and Jake Clarke-Salter, in addition to Antonio Rudiger who had already been announced to be signing for Real Madrid at the start of next month.

Christensen joined Chelsea as a youth player from Brondby in 2012, before spending two seasons on loan at Borussia Monchengladbach between 2015 and 2017.

He made 161 appearances for the Blues, winning the Europa League, Champions League, UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup in his time at Stamford Bridge.

Drinkwater also leaves Chelsea after an underwhelming five years at the club, having signed for a reported £35million in 2017 from Leicester City.

The midfielder made just 23 appearances in all, while also being sent on loan moves to Burnley, Aston Villa, Kasimpasa and Reading.

New Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has reportedly spent his first few days identifying transfer targets with football director John Murtough, technical director Darren Fletcher and recruitment consultant Ralf Rangnick.

United's maneuverability in the transfer market will likely depend on the players they can first offload, in what is an already bloated and disjointed squad.

The Dutch manager joined United in the off-season after leading Ajax to the Dutch Eredivisie title.

TOP STORY – TEN HAG PRIORITISES NUNEZ, TIMBER DEALS    

Erik ten Hag has told Manchester United to make the signings of Benfica's Darwin Nunez and Ajax's Jurrien Timber as the first order of business this off-season, according to the Mirror.

Ten Hag wants to make six signings, with the Benfica striker and Ajax defender at the top of his priorities, with respective £80million and £35m price tags.

The two players would effectively be the first dominoes in the row, given the cumulative hit to their transfer budget. 

ROUND-UP

– Ten Hag and United are also considering a bid for Chelsea midfielder N'Golo Kante, according The Guardian.

– Meanwhile, Blues boss Thomas Tuchel will hold talks with Conor Gallagher over his future after his loan spell at Crystal Palace, per Fabrizio Romano.

– Romano is also reporting Ivan Perisic is set to sign this week for Tottenham on a free transfer from Inter.

– Roma boss Jose Mourinho is hoping to beat his former clubs in United and Spurs in the race to sign Paulo Dybala from Juventus, TyC Sports is reporting.

New Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has reportedly spent his first few days identifying transfer targets with football director John Murtough, technical director Darren Fletcher and recruitment consultant Ralf Rangnick.

United's maneuverability in the transfer market will likely depend on the players they can first offload, in what is an already bloated and disjointed squad.

The Dutch manager joined United in the off-season after leading Ajax to the Dutch Eredivisie title.

TOP STORY – TEN HAG PRIORITISES NUNEZ, TIMBER DEALS    

Erik ten Hag has told Manchester United to make the signings of Benfica's Darwin Nunez and Ajax's Jurrien Timber as the first order of business this off-season, according to the Mirror.

Ten Hag wants to make six signings, with the Benfica striker and Ajax defender at the top of his priorities, with respective £80million and £35m price tags.

The two players would effectively be the first dominoes in the row, given the cumulative hit to their transfer budget. 

ROUND-UP

– Ten Hag and United are also considering a bid for Chelsea midfielder N'Golo Kante, according The Guardian.

– Meanwhile, Blues boss Thomas Tuchel will hold talks with Conor Gallagher over his future after his loan spell at Crystal Palace, per Fabrizio Romano.

– Romano is also reporting Ivan Perisic is set to sign this week for Tottenham on a free transfer from Inter.

– Roma boss Jose Mourinho is hoping to beat his former clubs in United and Spurs in the race to sign Paulo Dybala from Juventus, TyC Sports is reporting.

Arsenal are looking to bring in two forwards this off-season after narrowly missing out on Champions League football.

With Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah's contracts expiring and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang already leaving in January, the Gunners are in need in attack.

According to reports, Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has identified the players to propel his side forward.

TOP STORY – ARSENAL IDENTIFY STRIKER TARGETS    

Arsenal are looking to bring in Victor Osimhen and Gabriel Jesus this off-season, according to Goal.

Jesus' contract at Manchester City expires following the end of the next season, but the Gunners have reportedly been in talks for weeks with his representatives, with a deal early in the window in mind.

Meanwhile, it is understood Osimhen's agent flew to London for a meeting with Arsenal technical director Edu over a possible transfer.

With Napoli having qualified for the Champions League and club president Aurelio De Laurentiis driving a traditionally hard bargain, however, the 23-year-old's transfer will not come cheap.

Although Arsenal may be looking for two forwards, it remains to be seen if they opt for two big-money signings.

ROUND-UP

– Eden Hazard has ruled out an off-season departure from Real Madrid, citing unfinished business after an injury-plagued time at the club, per HLN.

– Sevilla will not be turning Anthony Martial's loan deal from Manchester United into a permanent move, according to the Daily Mail.

– Raphinha has reportedly told Leeds United he wants to leave this off-season to play for Barcelona, Sport reports.

– Chelsea coach Thomas Tuchel is set to have a £200m influx of transfer funds as Todd Boehly's takeover nears completion, the Telegraph is reporting.

Chelsea's proposed takeover has taken a huge step towards completion after the Premier League confirmed the sale was approved on Tuesday.

The Blues agreed to terms for the sale of the club to an ownership group led by Todd Boehly, Clearlake Capital, Mark Walter and Hansjorg Wyss for £4.25billion earlier in May.

The takeover, which promises investment of £1.75billion into the club, briefly appeared to be in doubt due to suggestions Roman Abramovich was unhappy with the sale structure.

Abramovich denied that to be the case, and the deal appears to be nearing a resolution, though the sale still needs to be approved by the UK government.

The proceeds of the sale are expected to be donated to the victims of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

A Premier League statement released on Tuesday read: "The Premier League Board has today approved the proposed takeover of Chelsea Football Club by the Todd Boehly/Clearlake consortium.

"The purchase remains subject to the government issuing the required sale licence and the satisfactory completion of the final stages of the transaction.

"The Board has applied the Premier League's Owners' and Directors' Test (OADT) to all prospective directors, and undertaken the necessary due diligence.

"The members of the Consortium purchasing the club are affiliates of the Clearlake Capital Group, L.P., Todd Boehly, Hansjorg Wyss and Mark Walter.

"Chelsea FC will now work with the relevant governments to secure the necessary licences to complete the takeover."

Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel was "happy for a good final day" as Ross Barkley marked his 100th appearance with the winning goal against Watford, while Ben Chilwell made his long-awaited return from injury.

The Blues secured third place ahead of Tottenham as Barkley's stoppage-time header sealed a 2-1 win at Stamford Bridge.

Tuchel's side controlled large periods of their clash with the relegated Hornets, but looked like they would have to settle for a point when Dan Gosling cancelled out Kai Havertz's first-half strike.

But substitute Barkley celebrated his 100th appearance for the club by heading in Reece James' cross in the 91st minute to snatch only a second win in six Premier League games on home soil. 

The Blues' campaign also ended on a high as Chilwell returned to action, having not played since November after sustaining an anterior cruciate ligament injury.

It capped off what was a pleasing day all around for Tuchel, who also handed Kenedy his first Premier League appearance for Chelsea in five years.

"It looked like we almost gave it away again at the end and had another draw at home, but we came back strongly," he said.

"Reece and Ross turned it around in our favour. I'm happy for Ross to score on what was his 100th game in a Chelsea shirt.

"It was a mood changer for us today, and we are happy to end with a win. 

"The season was more or less finished for us, so we gave some players an opportunity to play who didn't have many minutes. 

"I was happy they could show up and take a deserved win, which is a big step-up in terms of consistency for us.

"We also managed to get [Chilwell] back on the field, which was really nice, so overall I'm happy for a good final day."

Thomas Tuchel joked Todd Boehly can watch Chelsea games from home in Los Angeles next season after the Blues once again failed to win in front of their incoming new owner.

Boehly was present at Stamford Bridge on Thursday for the Blues' disappointing 1-1 draw with Leicester City in their penultimate Premier League game of a mixed campaign.

The American billionaire, alongside Clearlake Capital, Mark Walter and Hansjorg Wyss, is reportedly close to finalising a £4.25billion takeover from Roman Abramovich.

But he has yet to see the Blues win up close, having also been in attendance for defeats to Real Madrid, Arsenal and Liverpool, as well as draws with Wolves and now Leicester.

While Chelsea have struggled to perform in front of Boehly so far, Tuchel hopes that will change once the takeover officially goes through.

"Was he here again? Well, that's a clear sign! He will watch on ESPN in Los Angeles next season – that's clear already," Tuchel said. "I mean, if it's like this, this is clear.

"But when we speak we will be very open and very honest with each other. He will he will get my my point of view if he if he wants to have it. 

"We are going to lose key players, of course, and we have struggled lately to win our home games. Plus he was also at the Liverpool game at Wembley. 

"So maybe when the deal is done, and he is our owner, maybe he is the lucky charm that we need. So we give him we give him some more credit."

Chelsea's point against Leicester, after Marcos Alonso cancelled out James Maddison's opener, effectively sealed a third-placed finish for Chelsea in the Premier League.

The Blues lost to Liverpool on penalties in both domestic cup finals this term and were eliminated from the Champions League at the quarter-final stage by Real Madrid.

With just one more game to come in 2021-22, at home to Watford on Sunday, Tuchel reflected on what has been an up-and-down campaign.

"I don't judge seasons like this because in the moment, while you're doing it as a manager, it always feels challenging and demanding," he said.

"In the moment you have to adapt to the situation and try to find a solution. It's always challenging.

"That can be from results, from the atmosphere in the dressing room, from crazy things like sanctions, which nobody could have predicted.

"So it has been challenging, it has been demanding, but it has also been a lot of fun and this is a pure pleasure to be in the middle of it and to still be a part of it."

Chelsea are set to lose a number of key players on free transfers in the coming weeks and are unable to bring in replacements until their takeover is finalised.

Tuchel has already seen leaders Manchester City strengthen with the addition of Erling Haaland, while Liverpool recruited Luis Diaz from Porto in January.

The situation at Stamford Bridge my remain unclear for now, but Tuchel wants to be active in the upcoming transfer window.

"First of all, of course I think we can do better next season. It's not a lot, just these margins," he said. "We will look into the new season.

"It is like this, but we have lacked huge quality without the injured N'Golo [Kante], Ben Chilwell, Reece James, if you see him in the last weeks.

"It is maybe a miracle we are in the top three the whole season without these key players because we missed them for weeks and weeks and weeks and it never stopped for us. 

"Maybe this just needs to change so that we have everybody available. Liverpool bought a fantastic player in the winter to make the existing squad stronger. 

"Man City signed Haaland already to make the existing squad stronger. We are losing players so at the moment my focus is to build a strong team and see what's possible."

Thomas Tuchel said Chelsea must find a solution to N'Golo Kante's fitness struggles after the Blues came from a goal down to draw 1-1 with Leicester City.

Marcos Alonso volleyed home to cancel out James Maddison's opener in front of Todd Boehly, part of a consortium looking to take ownership of the club, with the Blues all but securing a third-place finish in the Premier League despite having won just one of their last five league games (three draws, one loss).

Tuchel's men have now drawn 11 league games during a frustrating season, more than they have managed in a single campaign since recording 10 stalemates when finishing 10th in 2015-16.

World Cup winner Kante played the first 72 minutes against his former club before being replaced by Ruben Loftus-Cheek, but has been linked with a move away with his Stamford Bridge contract due to expire in 2023.

The 31-year-old has only started 20 of the Blues' 37 league games this term, featuring for a total of just 1,688 minutes in the Premier League and missing out entirely on 12 of the team's league fixtures.

Speaking in his post-match press conference, Tuchel said the midfielder was Chelsea's "key player", stressing the need to resolve his fitness issues.

Tuchel also likened Kante to the players such as Mohammed Salah, Kylian Mbappe and several other world stars, claiming he lifts the rest of the side when fit.

"I think he is our key, key, key player, but key, key, key players need to be on the pitch. He plays only 40 per cent of the games, so then it is maybe a miracle that we arrive in third place," Tuchel said.

"He is our Mo Salah, he is our [Virgil] van Dijk, he is our [Kevin] De Bruyne. He is simply that player, he is our Neymar and Kylian Mbappe.

"He is that guy who makes the difference and if you only have him for 40 per cent then it is a huge problem. Given that percentage, it is maybe a miracle that he produces results. 

"It puts everything into perspective as I saw Liverpool without Van Dijk last season and they struggled heavily. You see the difference. N'Golo is our key player and we need him on the pitch.

"It's hard to live with. It's important for him to be there and to have the rhythm. I think he played okay but he can play so much better. But when was the last game he started? It was weeks ago. So he constantly starts getting rhythm, but once he has that, there comes a little injury and he's out again.

"Last year, in the last five matches of the Champions League, he got the [man of the match] trophy. This guy who gets man of the match in every Champions League game, he is only here for 40-something per cent of the matches. This is huge for us."

Meanwhile, Chelsea were once again left to rely on their wing-backs to provide attacking impetus against the Foxes, with Reece James claiming his eighth league assist of the season by teeing up Alonso's goal.

James has now created twice as many goals this season as in his previous two Premier League campaigns combined (four assists in 56 appearances), while the Blues also racked up 20 shots to Leicester's two over the course of the contest.

Christian Pulisic was guilty of missing Chelsea's best chance to claim a second-half winner as the hosts created 1.64 expected goals (xG) to the Foxes' 0.09, and while Tuchel was content with his team's performance, he was again left to bemoan their lack of cutting edge.  

"We were the better team and deserved to win," he added. "We didn't allow any chances and got punished by a shot from outside the box. We created enough to win, didn't allow transitions and chances for Leicester. So, I am fine with the performance.

"It's a bit of a broken record, we did not take what we deserve. We needed a goal from a wing-back and an assist from a wing-back."

Chelsea will round off their Premier League campaign with another home match on Sunday, when relegated Watford travel to Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea all but secured a third-place Premier League finish with a 1-1 draw against Leicester City as Marcos Alonso coolly cancelled out James Maddison's excellent opener.

Alonso volleyed home late in the first half after Maddison found the back of the net from 20 yards, but the Blues spurned several chances to find a winner.

Although Chelsea failed to respond to Saturday's FA Cup final loss with a victory, the Blues' significant goal difference advantage over Tottenham means they all but guaranteed a third-place finish with the draw.

Thomas Tuchel's men will also be grateful for having taken another step towards the end of a challenging season as the club hopes for a resolution to the protracted takeover saga involving the Todd Boehly-led consortium.

The visitors needed just seven minutes to take the lead, with Maddison firing an excellent long-range strike beyond Edouard Mendy after latching onto a loose ball outside the area.

But that proved to be the Foxes' only shot of the first half as Chelsea began to dominate possession, with Kasper Schmeichel forced to tip Trevoh Chalobah's fierce 25-yard effort over the crossbar 10 minutes in.

Thiago Silva headed over from Reece James' corner after half an hour, but the Blues levelled just five minutes later when Alonso fired home at the near post after racing onto James' lofted pass.

Romelu Lukaku nodded Hakim Ziyech's left-wing delivery wide as Chelsea continued to dominate, but Christian Pulisic was guilty of the Blues' worst miss with the goal gaping just after the hour.

Chalobah then headed straight at Schmeichel as the Chelsea pressure continued, but Brendan Rodgers' men clung on to deny Chelsea a rare home win at the end of a difficult campaign.

What does it mean? Chelsea close in on third, but home comforts still lacking

With a three-point advantage over Tottenham and a goal difference 18 better than that of Antonio Conte's men, Chelsea are virtually assured of their first top-three Premier League finish since the 2018-19 campaign.

However, Chelsea have won on just one of their last five outings at Stamford Bridge, limping over the line as they search for an end to the off-pitch uncertainty around the club.

Creative James leads the way

Although Alonso applied a fine volleyed finish to score Chelsea's equaliser, he was teed up by a sumptuous chipped ball from James, who has now recorded eight Premier League assists this season.

That is the most a Chelsea player aged 22 or under has managed in a single league campaign since Eden Hazard in 2012-13 (11), while only Mason Mount (10) has more for the Blues this term.

Maddison strikes from range again

Despite Leicester enduring an underwhelming season, Maddison has enjoyed his best goalscoring campaign for the Foxes, netting his 11th league goal of the season to open the scoring.

Since his Premier League debut in August 2018, meanwhile, the midfielder has scored 14 goals from outside the area in the competition – only James Ward-Prowse (15) has scored more in that time. 

What's next? 

Chelsea finish their Premier League season at home to Watford on Sunday, while Leicester host Southampton on the same day.

Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel has said he is hopeful the takeover of the club will go through "as quickly as possible".

The Blues agreed to terms for the sale of the club to an ownership group led by Todd Boehly, Clearlake Capital, Mark Walter and Hansjorg Wyss for £4.25billion earlier in May.

The takeover, which promises investment of £1.75billion into the club, was expected to be completed later this month, but recent reports have suggested Roman Abramovich could scupper the deal by refusing to the sale structure.

Speaking at a media conference ahead of Chelsea's game with Leicester City, Tuchel simply said he wanted things to happen sooner rather than later.

"I'm aware [of the reports] but I've no new information," he said. "I've not been informed about the character of the issues that have arrived. So let's wait.

"I'm still convinced it's in good hands, not my hands. Hopefully, it will go through as quickly as possible."

Chelsea agonisingly lost the FA Cup final on Saturday to Liverpool in a penalty shoot-out, the second time they have been beaten in such fashion by the Reds having also been denied in the EFL Cup final in February.

However, Tuchel was keen to dismiss the idea that losing two shoot-outs makes the season a failure for his team, who also fell away in the Premier League title race after a run of games between December and January that saw them win only one of seven outings (D5, L1).

Chelsea will confirm third place in the league should they beat Leicester at Stamford Bridge on Thursday.

"I refuse to judge the season by two penalty shoot-outs," Tuchel insisted. "If we won both, it would be one of the most successful seasons with four titles [after winning the UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup].

"We lost two but it doesn't make it less impressive what the team put in. But we're the first to admit that it's not the same to play a final and win a final.

"So it's a bit of an imbalance judging the season given the circumstances. We struggled with corona, long-term injuries, a war that had a big effect on our club in particular.

"There's always room for improvement, but we arrived in this [FA Cup] with key players out, Mateo [Kovacic] and N'Golo [Kante] with only half a training session, with the club sanctions, there is a lot of things that are impressive. Hopefully, we can come third and that is progression.

"We maybe compete against the best teams to play in this league. So from there we go. There is no need to lose sleep and think we should've done this and this.

"There is a lot of ambition in us that we are not satisfied."

Thomas Tuchel has no idea if Andreas Christensen will play for Chelsea again after the defender ruled himself out of the FA Cup final for "private" reasons.

Christensen's contract expires at the end of the month and Barcelona are the favourites to sign him on a free transfer.

The Denmark international started in the 3-0 Premier League win at Leeds United, but was not in the squad for a defeat to Liverpool on penalties on the FA Cup final at Wembley last Saturday.

Blues boss Tuchel on Wednesday confirmed the centre-back told him he was unavailable on the morning of the game.

Tuchel is unsure if Christensen will play in the London club's two remaining Premier League games against Leicester City on Thursday and Watford three days later, as they strive to secure third place. 

Asked if Christensen will return, the German said in a press conference: "Not sure yet if he's involved tomorrow and at the weekend.

"Andreas came on the morning of the match and told me he was not ready to play.

"He had his reasons, they stay private and confidential, but it was not the first time as you can see over the last weeks we had some of the same situations why he did not play so regularly.

"We thought that we are in a good progression and good development because he played very strong in the match before the final against Leeds but the conversation took place and we have to respect it and we of course respected it and he has our support.

"It is unlikely for the weekend, it was on very short notice before the cup final and other matches in the weeks before. So no chance I have any prediction for tomorrow and the weekend."

Timo Werner will miss the clash with Leicester due to a thigh injury, while Kai Havertz also has a thigh problem and will be monitored ahead of the game.

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