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Match Report: Leicester City 2 - 1 Wolverhampton Wanderers

Our long, regional, ok “extremely niche” nightmare is over as the Foxes bag three points against Wolves.

Leicester City v Wolverhampton Wanderers - Premier League
Anyone who says these players don’t care can eff right off.
Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images

Leicester City came from behind to defeat Wolverhampton Wanderers by a score of 2-1 on Saturday at the King Power. Matheus Cunha opened the scoring for the visitors in the first half. A Kelechi Iheanacho penalty levelled the score at the break. Timothy Castagne’s first goal since August provided the Foxes with a late winner, breaking a streak of ten matches without a win in all competitions.

Oh yeah. “out of the relegation zone.” I probably should have mentioned that.

Manager Dean Smith had to get creative in naming the lineup for his first home match in charge of Leicester City. Neither James Maddison nor Harvey Barnes were available for selection, but that didn’t deter the gaffer from naming an incredibly aggressive starting XI: Daniel Iversen, Timothy Castagne, Çağlar Söyüncü, Wout Faes, Victor Kristiansen, Youri Tielemans (C), Boubakary Soumare, Tete, Kelechi Iheanacho, Patson Daka, and Jamie Vardy.

The Foxes nearly got off to a flying start inside the first five minutes. Wolves turned the ball over in midfield and Iheanacho was off to the races. He found Vardy in the area with a glorious through ball. One-on-one with keeper Jose Sa, Vardy chose to square it for Tete instead of shooting, but the defence got back to block the Brazillian’s first-time effort.

Disaster struck on 12’. Tielemans got caught napping in midfield and saw his pocket picked by Nelson Semedo. He tapped the ball to Matheus Cunha, who lined up his shot from outside the area, evaded Faes, and blasted the ball past Iversen to give the visitors an early lead.

To say Leicester’s confidence dropped would be an understatement. The entire XI appeared to be on a different page and the ball was given away needlessly in dangerous areas time and again. Faes and Cags were in rearguard actions time and time again but they were able to keep the visitors at bay and get to the half-hour mark without conceding a second.

City got an equaliser out of almost nothing on 35’. This time it was Wolves’ turn to make the mistake as they turned the ball over in midfield. Iheanacho found Vardy’s clever run into the box and the striker looked to be going around Sa. The keeper slipped and clattered into Vardy’s ankle for an obvious penalty. With the regular penalty taker off the pitch for treatment, the Seniorman stepped up and sent the keeper the wrong way to level the score.

Leicester City v Wolverhampton Wanderers - Premier League
The sun always shines on the Seniorman
Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images

Leicester were inches from taking the lead in injury time. Tete found Iheanacho on the right and everyone in the stadium knew what was coming. Seniorman cut inside and tried to curl a shot into the far corner. Sa parried it, but only into the path of the onrushing Daka. The Zambia man got a touch to it, but the keeper was able to push his effort away. The whistle went with the Foxes on top. Would they be able to keep up the pressure in the second half?

Dean Smith made one change at the half, withdrawing Vardy and introducing Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall. City retained the 4-2-3-1, with Seniorman moving up top and KDH slotting in as the #10 although the positioning was fluid. What is a “position” anyway? Total football comes to Leicester courtesy of one Dean Smith? Stranger things have happened, although not many. Ed: Did someone spike Jake’s coffee this morning?

Anyway, I digress. The Foxes should have had the lead right before the hour mark. Iheanacho found Daka’s run with a marvellous diagonal ball. The former RB Salzburg man should have beaten Sa, but the keeper made a fine save. The ball fell into the path of Dewsbury-Hall, but he somehow skied his effort over with the goalmouth gaping.

Leicester had another golden opportunity from a rare corner. Cags was the first to pounce on the loose ball in the area and fired a first-time effort that looked as if it was going to find the back of the net. Sa saw it late, but made a brilliant reaction save to keep the score level. Smith took the opportunity to haul off the fading Tielemans and send on Wilfred Ndidi for the last quarter of the match.

The Foxes finally made the pressure tell on the 75’ mark. Soumare found Kristiansen’s rampaging run down the left. The Dane had ages to pick out his low cross, which found the late run of Castagne at the penalty spot. The former Atalanta man kept his cool and sidefooted the ball past the stranded keeper to give Leicester a lead they just about deserved and desperately needed.

I’ve seen so many Kristiansen runs go unnoticed. This is what happens when you get him the ball.

Smith brought on Dennis Praet for Tete and, with Wolves starting to pile on the pressure, Nampalys Mendy for the Seniorman shortly afterwards. It was squeaky bum time for the Foxes now with five minutes of regular time to play. Daka brought down Kilman on the edge of the area, just the sort of opportunity Ruben Neves relishes. The shot was bound for the far corner, but Iversen got a big hand to it to preserve the lead.

Five minutes were added on, five minutes which had the potential to be the longest five minutes of the season. City nearly added a precious third when KDH’s lofted pass found Daka behind the defence, but the Zambia striker wasn’t able to make good contact and his effort was tame.

Wolves weren’t able to muster another effort and, to put an exclamation point on it, Ndidi cleared a ball into the stratosphere to ensure there would be no last-second surprises. It wasn’t pretty, and it wasn’t easy, but the Foxes had the three points in the bag.


Welcome to the madness of a relegation scrap: The highs and the lows and watching every result and refreshing the “as it stands” table every few minutes. This is football. Yes, even more than “winning the league.” Promotion battles are more fun, but relegation fights are more intense. If you’ve never seen Leicester in this position before, hold on to your hats as this is what it’s all about.

Of course, if you’re a long-time City supporter, this is not your first rodeo. You’ll be happy to see the fight in the squad, and to hear the crowd in full voice. If it’s 2014/15 all over again, then we can live with that.

As for today’s match, this was exactly the sort of match we find a way to lose a month ago. Going behind early from a mistake by the captain is tough, but we fought back and ground out a result when it looked as though it might be One Of Those Days. Iheanacho was his intermittently brilliant self, Soumare had one of his best matches, Iversen came up with a huge save, and Cags was, for me, the man of the match. That’s not to take anything away from either fullback. Castagne and Kristiansen never stopped working and it was fitting that they combined for the winner.

“I come to bury Caesar not to praise him.”

The victory gives the Foxes 28 points from 32 matches, and that gets us up to 17th on the table on goal differential. There’s no rest for the wicked as we square off against 16th-placed Leeds United at Elland Road on Tuesday.