Leicester City and Wolverhampton Wanderers fought to a 0-0 draw on Sunday at Molineaux. Chances were at a premium and the few that there were were squandered. The match was most notable for a fine Kasper Schmeichel save and the return of Jamie Vardy to the Leicester bench.
Sky have definitely missed a trick having Wolves-Leicester on live today when they could’ve had a couple more hours previewing the Liverpool-Manchester City title decider.— Mr Geoff Peters (@mrgeoffpeters) February 7, 2021
Hindsight being 20-20 and all, this tweet looks less like snark and more like a really reasonable suggestion.
Manager Brendan Rodgers had the luxury of naming the same starting XI as he had at his disposal for the win at Fulham on Wednesday, but that was only half of the story. Kasper Schmeichel started in goal behind a back four of Ricardo Pereira, Jonny Evans, Çağlar Söyüncü, Jonny Evans, and James Justin. Youri Tielemans and Hamza Choudhury retained their roles in defensive midfield while Ayoze Perez, James Maddison, and Harvey Barnes comprised the attacking midfield trio. Kelechi Iheanacho led the line as the lone striker. Speaking of lone strikers, the other big news was the presence of Jamie Vardy on the bench.
The Foxes came out of the gate passing crisply and dominating possession in Wolves’ half, but referee Martin Atkinson brought his fancy whistle to the match and blew it for every hint of an infraction and breaking up play more effectively the hosts’ defense. At the other end of the pitch, Wolves’ managed to carve out decent opportunities from both of their forays into the City half and would have taken the lead if not for some poor finishing from Ruben Neves and a timely block from Justin.
It took Leicester until the 20th minute to put together a convincing attack. Barnes made a brilliant turn in the box and dinked the ball to find Maddison’s run. He whipped in a low cross and perfectly bisected the runs of Iheanacho and Barnes, eluding both of them. It was a stunning move that deserved a goal, but we live in a flawed world and it was not to be.
The Foxes had a golden opportunity to take the lead just after the half hour mark. Once again, Barnes was the agent of chaos, driving into the area and picking out Iheanacho in the center of the box. The Nigerian’s first touch took the ball away from him, giving the defense a chance to get behind the ball. Madders saw two shots blocked before the ball was cleared as far as Ayoze, who put it in the net, but the whistle had blown for Maddison having kicked Joao Moutinho with his third attempt.
As halftime approached, Leicester had another fractional chance through some nice hold up play by Iheanacho. With his back to the net and holding off two defenders, the former Manchester City man picked out Maddison on the edge of the area. He whipped the ball goalward, but could only pick out goalkeeper Rui Patricio.
Things got contentious in injury time. Leicester cleared following a shameful dive by Nelson Semedo and the break was on. Ruben Neves dove in on Madders, missing the ball but getting plenty of ankle. The referee played advantage until two Wolves players tackled (American football-style) Barnes on the edge of the area. The free kick came to nothing and the whistle went with Leicester having the advantage in possession, shots, and shots on target, but the scoreboard showed 0-0.
The Foxes emerged from the tunnel unchanged, meaning we were going to have to wait a little longer to see you-know-who back on the pitch. Wolves came out with a little more aggression and intent, seeing more of the ball especially on the Leicester left where Adama appeared to have awakened from his slumber. City dealt with a few moments of danger, but sometimes only just.
On the hour, Rodgers decided it was time to make a double switch, taking off Iheanacho and Ayoze in favor of Jamie Vardy and Marc Albrighton. The hosts, however, had the next big chance. A break down the Wolves’ left saw the ball pulled back for Moutinho all alone in the “D.” He took a touch and blasted over when you’d have expected him to at least hit the target.
City had a clear-cut chance just after the 70’ mark but couldn’t quite find the breakthrough. Maddison did brilliantly to spin away from his man in midfield and found Barnes on the left. He found Justin’s outside run and the former Luton Town man’s return ball was a peach. Barnes set up to pass it into the back of the net, but Max Kilman was just able to get down to deflect it wide.
The hosts’ had their best opportunity and their first shot on goal just moments later. The defense couldn’t get a corner clear and, in the confusion, the ball fall to Fabio Silva behind one-on-one with Schmeichel. The Dane made himself big and just kicked the ball wide of the post.
I’ve spent the last ten, fifteen minutes not typing anything because nothing of any interest was happening on the pitch. Neither team was able to get any going in attack and Atkinson started blowing for everything. The Foxes won a free kick on the right and played a clever ball to find Tielemans alone at the edge of the area, but he couldn’t have got it more wrong and the chance was gone.
Watching our set pieces while simultaneously watching Kostic pinging in effortless ones and pinpoint crosses for Eintracht was a little painful. He flies under the radar so much but he's superb to watch— Helen Nutter (@helsy33) February 7, 2021
We’re not just world-renowned journalists here at the Fosse Posse; we’re also ace talent scouts.
There was a late chance to grab the three points late when Albrighton recovered the ball on the right and whipped in a cross to the center of the six yard box. Vardy lost his marker and got his head to it, but he glanced it just wide. That, as they say, was that, and the Foxes had to settle for a 0-0 draw.
I said “settle” for a draw, but that was unquestionably the fair result here. Under normal circumstances, you might even say a draw at Molineaux is a good result, but today? It was just disappointed. It just never clicked for us today and I’m not looking forward to seeing the xG chart.
The draw leaves us with 43 points from 23 matches, which is good enough for 3rd on the table pending the result of the Manchester City-Liverpool match. We take on Brighton and Hove Albion on Wednesday at the King Power in the 5th round of the FA Cup and then we host Liverpool in next Saturday’s early Premier League match.