West Bromwich Albion 0:1 Leicester City
Any lingering fears that City had about relegation were dispelled as City beat West Brom at the Hawthorns on Saturday afternoon, thanks to a Jamie Vardy strike just before half time…
Craig Shakespeare made one change for this trip to his former club, bringing in Okazaki for Ulloa, in a fixture that had seen a City victory in three of the last four encounters.
Any thoughts that Mark Clattengburg might have an easy time of it in his last Premier League game were soon dismissed as the early stages turned into a physical battle.
Benalouane hit Rondon from behind, but Brunt sent the 25 yard free-kick sailing over the bar.
Tackles were flying in, and Drinkwater was perhaps lucky to see only a yellow card after a ball-winning challenge with a foot in the air that sent Chadli flying.
Albion’s best chance of the half came in the 18th minute when Evans long cross to the far post was met by the head of Brunt, but Schmeichel pulled off a spectacular save to tip it over the bar.
The cuts and bruises mounted up as Benalouane and McAuley clashed heads and the Albion man had to have treatment for a cut and reemerged with a Basil Fawlty bandage.
Yacob was then lucky that Clattenburg was in last day mode, seeing yellow after planting an elbow into Okazaki’s jaw.
Brunt then sent Chadli in down the right, but his shot didn’t trouble Schmeichel at the near post.
Neither side were playing with much fluency and a scrappy encounter looked like it was going to be scoreless at the break, until City were gifted a 43rd minute lead.
Rondon had come deep to break up a City move, but sent a wayward pass into the path of Okazaki, who slid a perfect ball in for Vardy to produce a cool finish past Foster.
In first half injury time Rondon got his head to a Chadli corner but sent it narrowly off target and City took a precious lead in with them at the break.
City created the first chance of the second half when Vardy fired in a low cross from the left, but it was a yard ahead of Okazaki’s reach in the middle.
Albion began to apply some pressure, but they hadn’t found the net in the previous four games. Rondon fired in a shot that was too close to Schmeichel, Yacob sent another shot well over, and Dawson headed wide from a free-kick. Dawson’s next header, from a corner, was on target, but deflected over the bar off Brunt.
City broke forward and Drinkwater sent Mahrez in on the right. He sidestepped Nyom and fired in a low shot that brushed the outside of the right hand post.
Drinkwater fouled on Morrison on the edge of the area, but Chadli’s free-kick flew a yard over the bar.
Craig Shakespeare made his first change in the 67th minute, bringing Ulloa on for Okazaki, as West Brom began to press hard in search of an equaliser.
City’s defence dealt with everything that was thrown at them and Albion’s goalless streak stretched to a record fifth game.
Mahrez had a chance to extend City’s lead but couldn’t get the intended curl on his shot, which went well wide.
Rondon wasted a good chance, and then Chadli almost nipped in when Huth left a ball for Schmeichel, but City saw out the game for their second away win of the season.
It took them to 40 points, and while not quite mathematically safe, the players went over to the away fans at the end to celebrate another virtually guaranteed year of Premier League football.
Craig Shakespeare was waiting for the rubber stamp when asked about safety: “No, I’m not going to say so. Of course, it takes another giant step towards it. We knew it would be a difficult game today but what I will say about it was that it was a real gutsy performance.”
Albion: Foster, Dawson, McAuley, Evans, Nyom (McClean 60), Livermore, Yacob (Fletcher 69), Brunt, Morrison (Leko 79), Chadli, Rondon. Subs Not Used: Wilson, Myhill, Harper, Field.
Leicester: Schmeichel, Simpson, Benalouane, Huth, Fuchs, Mahrez (King 81), Drinkwater, Ndidi, Albrighton, Okazaki (Ulloa 67), Vardy. Subs Not Used: Chilwell, Amartey, Slimani, Zieler, Gray.
Referee: M Clattenburg. Attendance: 24,611.
PHOTOS: Simon Kimber.
We are simple folk here at Fox Towers, we have previously only offered a season subscription to the fanzine. But now we have decided to offer a further option of a year long subscription so you can hop on at any time, starting with the current issue and renewing a year later.
For just £16.95 you will receive every issue of The FOX for twelve months, including the Summer Special, posted out to you on publication day.
If you subscribe now, FOX 202 will be posted to you straight away, and you will also receive a free set of City postcards.
You can pay online via Paypal HERE (UK price)
Or send a cheque to:
22 Cosby Road,
Annual subscription to EUROPE is £26.00: HERE
Annual subscription to REST OF WORLD is £32.00: HERE