Leicester City fell to Manchester City by a score of 1-0 on Saturday at the King Power. An exciting but goalless first half left everything to play for in the final forty-five. Bernardo Silva scored from close range for the game’s only goal, leaving the Foxes to rue missed opportunities.
The better team won. On to the next game #LCFC— Chambo (@Dchambo) September 11, 2021
Chambo: The Hemingway of Match Reports.
The international break allowed the trainers to work their magic, so Brendan Rodgers had a few more defenders at his disposal than he did for the win at Carrow Road two weeks ago. The Foxes starting XI this afternoon featured Kasper Schmeichel (C), Timothy Castagne, Jannik Vestergaard, Çağlar Söyüncü, Ryan Bertrand, Youri Tielemans, Wilfred Ndidi, Marc Albrighton, James Maddison, Harvey Barnes, and Jamie Vardy.
The first twenty minutes were played at a breathless pace, and, as you would expect against Manchester City, a lot of it was being played in and around the Leicester box. Schmeichel was called into action early and often, making fine saves from İlkay Gündoğan and Bernardo Silva. It wasn’t all one-way traffic as Barnes was tormenting Kyle Walker on the Leicester left.
The match settled into more or less the same pattern, with the Cityzens having bags of possession in the Leicester half and getting into dangerous positions, but Vestergaard and Söyüncü getting it right every time and Schmeichel catching everything that got through them. Leicester were finding willing outlets in Albrighton and Barnes, but the final ball wasn’t there.
The Foxes won a couple of late corners through wingers Albrighton and Söyüncü (don’t ask) but they came to nothing. The half ended 0-0 and Leicester were likely more pleased with the scoreline than the visitors. The Leicester defense was sorely tested but, unlikely in previous outings, looked to relish the challenge and the supporters responded with enthusiasm.
Which is to say, for nil-nil? It was a pretty good half.
The Foxes came out of the tunnel with fire in their bellies and should have taken the lead twice in the first five minutes. Vardy got loose on the left and sent a deep cross in to Barnes in the area, but the winger couldn’t get on top of it and headed just over. Moments later, Ndidi won the ball in midfield and found Vardy running behind the defense. The striker rounded Ederson and put the ball in the net, but he was inches offside.
Rodgers waited until the hour mark before making his first change, taking off the impressive Vestergaard for Jonny Evans making his return from a foot injury. It took only two minutes for the visitors to take the lead. A rasping effort from Joao Cancelo was blocked but Söyüncü, but it fell to the feet of Bernardo Silva, and he was able to tuck it in from close range.
With his charges tiring, the gaffer made a double change just after the 70’ mark. Kelechi Iheanacho and Ademola Lookman came on for Barnes and Madders. The two nearly teamed up to equalize almost immediately. The Nigeria striker got on the end of a ball over the top and used his strength to beat three defenders and spot Lookman’s run. The debutante just got to it ahead of Ederson, but the keeper was able to block the first time effort.
There was a flurry of pressure after that, but the visitors regained a grip on the match and saw off the remaining minutes without any undue pressure. Referee Paul Tierney blew his whistle and that was that.
Looking at the stats, it’s hard to argue with the result. We were outshot 24-6, and they put 7 on frame to our 1. Possession was 61/39 in favour of the Man City. It looks like it should have been a blowout, but it didn’t feel that way and grabbing a draw would have been fortunate but not wholly undeserved. The defense did terrific work, and we had more good chances than the shot count suggests. This was, to my eye, a much better performance than the one we saw at Norwich City.
Imnot even mad that we lost. Good game— Redabouchefaa (@Redabouchefaa1) September 11, 2021
Glad I’m not alone in this.
Of course, “improved performances in a losing effort” don’t help much on the table. The defeat leaves us on 6 points from 4 matches. That’s currently good enough for 9th on the table, Next up, we begin our Europa League campaign against Napoli at the King Power on Thursday evening. After that, we’re off to the south coast to face Brighton and Hove Albion next Sunday.