clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Match Report: Leicester City 0 - 1 Manchester City

A Tale of Two Cities: It Was Neither The Best Nor The Worst Of Times

Leicester City v Manchester City - Premier League Photo by James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images

A moment of magic doomed Leicester City to a 1-0 defeat against Manchester City at the King Power on Saturday. After a goalless first half, Kevin De Bruyne scored from a perfectly taken free kick. The Foxes’ late flurry made for an exciting finish, but they couldn’t find a way through the Citizens’ defence.

“How do you do, fellow kids?”

Remember Çağlar Söyüncü? Pepperidge Farms does, and apparently, so does manager Brendan Rodgers. The gaffer handed the Turkish defender his first start, and first Premier League appearance, of the season, as the Foxes set up with a back five: Danny Ward, Timothy Castagne, Daniel Amartey, Wout Faes, Söyüncü, James Justin, Youri Tieleamans (C), Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall, James Maddison, Harvey Barnes, Jamie Vardy.

If the appearance of three centre-backs in the lineup led you to believe that Leicester would set up deep and allow Manchester City the lion’s share of the possession, feel free to pat yourself on the back for your keen grasp of the obvious. Defensively, the Foxes set up in two lines, one of five and the other of four, with Vardy attempting to Harry the visitors’ back line by himself.

How tame was the Leicester attack in the other going? Successful passes forward were met with cheers and applause even when they occurred in the Foxes’ own half. The first attack didn’t occur until the match was one-quarter complete. Madders found Vardy with a long through ball. The striker slid the ball to Barnes in space on the left. The winger’s shot was easily covered by Ederson at the near post, but it was a legitimate chance.

It looks like an easier save than it was. Not much, though.
Photo by GEOFF CADDICK/AFP via Getty Images

There wasn’t a great deal of action to report for the rest of the half, so let’s look at the statistics: The visitors had 66% of the possession, out-shot Leicester 10-2, and had 9 corners to the Foxes’ 1. Neither side managed to carve out a top chance, so the half ended 0-0 and, honestly, it was just about deserved.

Surprisingly, it was Rodgers who made a chance at the half. Nampalys Mendy came on for KDH at the break. Unfortunately, his first action was to foul Jack Grealish a few yards outside the penalty area in a central position. Kevin De Bruyne took it and he couldn’t have placed it better. The shot caromed in off the inside of the spot where the upright meets the crossbar at the near post.

Leicester were deeply unfortunate not to equalise almost immediately. Vardy won a corner with a clever run behind the defence. Madders took it, lobbing the ball towards the edge of the area. Youri hit it on the volley and he somehow struck it perfectly. Ederson got a fingertip to the shot, tipping it onto the crossbar and seeing it come back off the bar when it could have just as easily dropped into the goal.

The next fifteen minutes followed the first-half script of Man City having all of the possession and Leicester comfortably absorbing the pressure. That would have been great had the score been 0-0, but down a goal, it wasn’t really doing much to get us back into the match. Rodgers belatedly recognized this and changed things by introducing Kelechi Iheanacho and Patson Daka for Vardy and Söyüncü.

Leicester City v Manchester City - Premier League
Literally every match photo of “Söyüncü” in the CMS is a photo of Faes. Sorry about that.
Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

It looked as though the plan was for Leicester to save their energy for the final quarter-hour and then just go all-out. The Foxes suddenly burst to life, pressing aggressively, and craving out chances. Iheanacho put his first effort horribly wide, Castagne’s header from a free kick went over the bar, and Daka’s nodded effort was easily collected by Ederson.

Three minutes of time were added on for the Foxes to find an equaliser. John Stones got a clearance horribly wrong, heading the ball off of Ruben Dias’ face and seeing the rebound cannon just wide of the goal. Leicester huffed and puffed and had Maddison on the ball on the edge of the area, but the referee blew the whistle and that was that.

There are no good defeats, but that was one of Leicester’s better performances of the season. The back five kept one of the league’s best attacks at bay and Leicester carried some threat the few times they managed to break in numbers. Even after Man City took the lead, the defence looked solid and the Foxes were clearly the more likely scorers for the remainder of the match. At the risk of over-simplifying it, their moment of magic was slightly more magical than ours.

The defeat leaves us on 11 points from 13 matches. This being the first match of the weekend, it doesn’t change our position on the table (17th), but we will likely be back in the relegation zone come Monday. Our next match sees us travel to Goodison Park to face Everton next Saturday. The following Tuesday, we host Newport County in the League Cup.

Bonus photo:

I had help writing the report again this morning. Say hello to Aymeric Leonard Bitingway Vardy.