Leicester City 2:0 Everton
An attack-minded Claude Puel won his first game in charge of City on Sunday, a fairly comfortable 2-0 win against Everton in the King Power’s Remembrance Day fixture…
Puel made two changes to Michael Appleton’s last selection, with Gray and Chilwell in for Albrighton and Okazaki. Chilwell was used as a winger, with Mahrez given more of a roaming brief in support of Vardy.
After an impressive poppy display around the stadium, the game commenced, City pressed forward in the early stages and had three decent chances in the first ten minutes.
Gray fired a low 30 yarder just wide of the left hand post, Morgan had a shot at the far post blocked by Williams from a corner, and Chilwell stabbed an effort over the bar from a Gray cross.
A clash of heads between Gueye and Mahrez then left the City man requiring treatment.
The 16th minute saw a rousing round of applause for Shay Bryan, a 16 year old City fan who recently lost his battle against cancer.
Two minutes later City went ahead with a suberb breakway move.
Gray gained possession of the ball on the edge of City’s area and embarked on an 80 yard run, skipping past two challenges before sending Mahrez into space on the right. He delivered a perfect low cross for Vardy to meet with a well timed run and he beat Pickford from six yards.
Two minutes later City threatened to break again but Davies took one for the team, pulling Vardy by the sleeve and earning a yellow card.
In the 22nd minute Vardy charged down the left and delivered a cross for Mahrez which Williams intercepted. Mahrez regained possession, but his shot on the turn didn’t test Pickford.
Everton, who had turned in a woeful opening 25 minutes, began to get a foothold in the game, winning the physical battle in midfield.
Rooney delivered a defence-splitting pass that sent Lennon in down the right, but his cross went just behind Calvert-Lewin.
But City doubled their lead in the 29th minute, with a slice of fortune.
Gray’s cross from the left saw a miscued clearance from Kenny, who merely skimmed the ball, helping it on its way into the net. Although poor Kenny was subjected to three replays on the big screens, Gray was credited with the goal.
City had a let off in the 31st minute when Fuchs brought Lennon down, without making any contact with the ball. Despite the Rooney-led protestations, referee Andre Marriner didn’t want to know.
Everton were on top leading up to the break and Schmeichel had to be alert to push a long-range Mirallas effort round the post, but the visitors were lacking a cutting edge and City took their two goal lead in at half time.
The Toffee’s stand in manager David Unsworth made two changes for the second half, with Mirallas and Lennon replaced by Baningime and Niasse.
And City’s chances were now few and far between. Vardy attempted an overhead kick from an Iborra cross, but succeeded only in hurting himself.
Everton delivered a series of balls into City’s area, but a combination of solid defending and poor finishing meant that Schmeichel’s goal was never really threatened.
The 73rd minute saw Sigurdsson replacing Rooney, and he waved his arms about in protest as he made his way to the bench.
Claude Puel made his first change in the 75th minute, bringing Okazaki on for Mahrez.
As City continued to frustrate the visitors, Albrighton then replaced Chilwell in the 82nd minute.
City should have had a third with four minutes remaining, when a Vardy cross found Iborra ten yards out, but his first touch was poor and he ended up directing it well wide.
With a minute to go Baines sent a dipping shot narrowly over the bar for their final chance and Claude Puel had got his City career off to a winning start.
The new City boss commented: “It was impressive because they played very well. It was very good first half with good combination and relationships between the players for a fantastic first goal. It was a little more difficult in the second half because they are a very good team and they tried to get back in the game. But we had a good attitude, good structure and a lot of solidarity.
It’s a very good result and I wanted to say thanks to our fantastic fans and their warm welcome. It was a fantastic atmosphere and I’m happy for my players.”
A second succesive Premier League win saw City leap up the table to 11th.
Leicester: Schmeichel, Simpson, Morgan, Maguire, Fuchs, Gray, Ndidi, Iborra, Chilwell (Albrighton 83), Mahrez (Okazaki 75), Vardy (Iheanacho 90).Substitutes: King, Hamer, Dragovic, Slimani.
Everton: Pickford, Kenny, Jagielka, Williams, Baines, Lennon (Baningime 45), Davies, Gueye, Mirallas (Niasse 45), Rooney (Sigurdsson 74), Calvert-Lewin. Substitutes: Schneiderlin, Holgate, Lookman, Robles.
Referee: A Marriner. Attendance: 31,891.
ALL PHOTOS: Simon Kimber
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