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Leicester back on track with a 4-1 win against West Ham

Leicester City 4:1 West Ham United

1920 west ham home

Despite losing Vardy and Mendy to injury in the first half, City produced a fine display to thrash West Ham at the KPS on Wednesday evening…

Brendan Rodgers made two changes to his side with Chilwell and Tielemans in for Fuchs and Praet and they immediately looked better than in recent showings with West Ham barely able to get over the halfway line in the first ten minutes.
City had an early chance when Barnes and Vardy combined well in the area but Vardy had to dig his chance out from under his feet and sent his shot straight at Randolph.
West Ham, on 16% possession, had their first chance in the 15th minute when Schmeichel flapped at a corner but Cresswell sent his header over the bar.
City’s managed to make their dominance pay in the 24th minute. Barnes played Ricardo in on the right and his low cross-cum-shot was diverted home by Barnes from a yard out. There were subdued celebrations with the players looking at the linesman but, after a wait, VAR gave us permission to jump up and down. But the moment was gone.
In the 33rd minute Mendy went down with a knee injury and Rodgers had to bring Ndidi into action a little earlier than planned. Just two weeks after knee surgery he was roared onto the field.
West Ham still seemed reluctant to go forward and City passed around them without creating any chances.
Rodgers then had to make a second change two minutes before the break. After a vigorous clearance Vardy went down clutching the back of his thigh and a hush descended on the ground. After trying to carry on he had to admit defeat and was replaced by Iheanacho.
Any concerns where City’s goals would come from now were answered in the third minute of injury time. Barnes cut in from the left and threaded a perfect ball through a crowded area for Ricardo to blast home from 15 yards.

With Antonio and Fornals on for the second half, West Ham looked more like it, and Antonio muscled his way through the defence but sliced a shot wide seconds after the restart.
Then they were given a way back into the game with a penalty in the 47th minute, Ndidi needlessly making contact with Haller as he was making his way out of the area. Schmeichel was booked for protesting and was then beaten from the spot by Noble.
West Ham were back in the game now and a goalmouth scramble saw a back-heel from Antonio blocked by Schmeichel.
A couple of corners then led to Ogbonna heading over from a good position.
But City regained control of the game after a good spell for the visitors. Ricardo set up Pérez for a shot that was beaten away by Randolph. Then Maddison sent a dipping 25-yarder towards the top right hand corner but Randolph denied him with a fine save.
Although West Ham were threatening on the break, City went further ahead in the 81st minute. The lively Iheanacho burst into the area and Ogbonna brought him down as he bore down on goal. Pérez emphatically crashed the spot kick home in a manner that suggested he should get the job full time.
West Ham looked beaten now and Chilwell connected beautifully with a shot forcing another good block from Randolph.
But the West Ham keeper could do nothing about City fourth goal two minutes from time. Pérez played a one-two with Iheanacho in the area before sending a precise shot into the far corner.

Although West Ham had been poor for an hour of this game it felt like Leicester were back and Rodgers was delighted: “I think that the tempo in the team tonight was very, very good. Against Burnley we started to come back a bit but tonight we were outstanding. Dynamic. We were fast in our game, the passing was quick, we looked to dominate the ball and play with that authority. That’s how we’ve been for most of the season, with that personality.”

The news regarding Jamie Vardy was also good, with his injury not thought to be a hamstring issue.
City’s Premier League position was looking good, now for the cups…

Leicester: Schmeichel, Ricardo, Evans, Söyüncü, Chilwell, Mendy (Ndidi 34), Pérez, Tielemans, Maddison, Barnes (Morgan 83), Vardy (Iheanacho 43).
Substitutes: Justin, Gray, Albrighton, Ward.
West Ham: Randolph, Zabaleta, Diop, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Masuaku (Antonio 45), Snodgrass (Fornals 45), Rice, Noble, Lanzini, Haller.
Substitutes: Reid, Balbuena, Sánchez, Martin, Ajeti.

Referee: David Coote. Attendance: 31,968.

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Saints march past below-par Leicester

Leicester City 1:2 Southampton

Leicester City v Southampton FC - Premier League

A Southampton side, unrecognisable from the one that City beat 9-0 eleven weeks ago, earned a 2-1 victory at the KPS on Saturday…

Brendan Rodgers made one change to his side with Choudhury in for the the out-of-form Tielemans.
The Saints looked up for it right from the kick-off pressing hard and forcing City into errors. Their first chance came in the 6th minute when a wayward ball from Barnes set Ings up to beat Söyüncü, for a one-on-one with Schmeichel. The City keeper blocked Ings shot with his legs, and then saved again when Ings collected the rebound and had another go.
Southampton’s intense press almost caught Schmeichel out when Ings charged down a clearance, but the ball rebounded out for a goal kick.
But it was City who took a 15th minute lead. Pérez was fouled in midfield and jumped back to his feet and delivered an instant free-kick down the left. Vardy hared down the wing and delivered a low cross for Praet to tuck away at the far post for his first goal for the club.

Leicester City v Southampton FC - Premier League

But this lead only lasted four minutes. Long played a ball across the 18 yard line and Armstrong stepped inside Chilwell before firing in a shot that took a big deflection off Maddison’s arm, giving Schmeichel no chance.
Schmeichel was in action again in the 28th minute palming away a dipping long range effort from Hojbjerg.
City had the ball in the net on the half hour, but Vardy who was sent in on goal after Ricardo blocked a clearance was clearly offside. We still had to suffer a delay while VAR stuck its oar in.
Southampton were well on top at this stage, with City’s passing game in tatters, and Ings struck the crossbar twice in a minute just before the break. The first when he connected with a low cross at the near post and the second with a curling shot from the edge of the area.
City, who had given the ball away 60 times in the half, with Chilwell accounting for a third of that figure, made it to half time on level terms.

City didn’t look to have improved early in the second half when Bertrand swung in a free-kick from the touchline, and Schmeichel and Chilwell got in each others way allowing Stephens a tap in at the far post. But he didn’t connect properly and Söyüncü hooked it off the goal line.
City began to get into their stride for a spell and Evans got his head to a Maddison  corner, but McCarthy reacted well to parry the effort.
Brendan Rodgers made his first change in the 58th minute replacing Barnes with Iheanacho.
The visitors corner were celebrating in the 62nd minute when they thought they had a penalty. A misdirected header from Choudhury saw the Saints break upfield and  Söyüncü pushed Long in the back as he shaped to shoot. Lee Mason pointed to the spot and presented Söyüncü with a yellow card. But something was stirring in Stockley Park and, after a long delay, reality was rewound and offside was given.
Five minutes later City had the ball in the net, but after more deliberation it was decided that Iheanacho had been offside when he backheeled the ball home following a free-kick. The linesman had given it and there had been no need for the purple screen of doom.

Leicester City v Southampton FC - Premier League

Gray came on for Pérez and then Tielemans replaced Praet as City went in search of a winner. But it was Southampton who took an 81st minute lead.
A neat passing move through City’s midfield saw a through ball for Ings who poked the ball through Schmeichel’s legs for what proved to be the winner.

Leicester City v Southampton FC - Premier League

Two minutes later Southampton broke upfield again, Redmond squared for Ings whose fierce shot was superbly saved by Schmeichel.
With four minutes remaining Tielemans sent Iheanacho in on the right but his shot was blocked by McCarthy.
For a brief moment it looked as though City had rescued a point in the 89th minute, Evans getting a firm header to a Maddison free-kick. But the celebrations from both players and fans were muted and VAR ruled it out for offside.
VAR may have been right, but there was a rising tide of anger at its constant and lengthy interference. Both sets of fans sang “It’s not football anymore”, and after the game Hamza Choudhury said:“I don’t think many players like it. It takes away the emotions. You see Jonny score an equaliser in the 89th minute and he’s scared to celebrate!”

VAR apart, this may have been City’s worst performance under Brendan Rodgers with Southampton working hard to shut down City’s possession game. Rodgers commented: “It’s a sore one today but we’ll go away, they can recover a little bit now, physically and emotionally, and like we’ve always done whenever we’ve had a defeat, we’ll analyse it, look at the details and we’ll look to improve. The clear week will help us.”

Leicester: Schmeichel, Ricardo, Söyüncü, Evans, Chilwell, Choudhury, Pérez (Gray 67), Praet (Tielemans 77), Maddison, Barnes (Iheanacho 58), Vardy.
Substitutes: Justin, Albrighton, Ward, Benkovic.
Southampton: McCarthy, Cédric Soares, Stephens, Bednarek, Bertrand, Armstrong (Djenepo 78), Ward-Prowse, Højbjerg, Redmond (Romeu 90), Long (Adams 78), Ings.
Substitutes: Yoshida, Boufal, Obafemi, Gunn.

Referee: Lee Mason. Attendance: 32,115.

PHOTOS: Simon Kimber.

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Leicester-Villa semi-final all square after Iheanacho strike

Leicester City 1:1 Aston Villa

Leicester City v Aston Villa - Carabao Cup Semi Final 1st Leg

City struggled to break down Villa’s stubborn resistance in the Carabao Cup semi-final first leg at the King Power Stadium on Wednesday evening…

Brendan Rodgers opted for a 5-3-2 for City’s first semi-final in twenty years, Vardy returned to the starting line-up, but Ndidi was missing having suffered a knee injury in training.
The game commenced in heavy rain and City were in attack mode from the start, with Villa happy to try and absorb the pressure but the final ball was lacking. The first chance arrived in the 13th minute when a poor clearance from Luiz led to a chance for Pérez, whose shot was deflected narrowly wide of the post.
Five minutes later Evans got his head to a Maddison free-kick but sent it wide, then Vardy got his first run in on goal but Nyland blocked his shot from a narrow angle.
In the 23rd minute Pérez sent Vardy in on the left but again his shot was saved by Myland who narrowed the angle well.
But for all their dominance City found themselves a goal down in the 28th minute. El Ghazi curled in a cross from the left, and Guilbert nipped ahead of Chilwell for a far post finish.

Leicester City v Aston Villa - Carabao Cup Semi Final 1st Leg

As City pressed forward again Vardy attempted an ambitious shot that flew well over, to the delight of the vocal travelling fans.
Vardy was then given a ridiculous yellow card for trying to block a clearance from  Konsa who rolled around on the floor despite the fact that it was Vardy who got kicked.
Incredibly it was Villa who should have gone two up before the break. Grealish delivered a teasing free-kick from the left which tempted Schmeichel off his line, but Konsa got to it first, rattling a header off the crossbar from close in.
City’s final chance of the half came when Maddison curled in what looked like a goalbound shot, but Mings got his head to it.

Brendan Rodgers brought Choudhury in for the second half with City missing Ndidi’s physical presence in midfield, though the half didn’t get off to a promising start when Maddison and Pérez collided while attempting a passing move.
Villa sat very deep protecting their lead and City struggled to get through a claret wall.
A series of corners came to nought and then Tielemans, still struggling for form, blasted a shot well over the bar.
On the left Chilwell was in his unadventurous, back-passing mode, but things were more promising down the right with Ricardo performing superbly.

Leicester City v Aston Villa - Carabao Cup Semi Final 1st Leg

City managed to get in behind the Villa defence in the 63rd minute when a Choudhury ball found Maddison, who played a neat one-two with Ricardo before firing his low shot too close to Nyland, who got down smartly to save.
With Villa hardly venturing into City’s half Brendan Rodgers made his second change in the 69th minute, bringing Iheanacho on for Pérez. And it only took the super-sub five minutes to find the net.
Choudhury robbed Luiz of the ball in midfield and found Vardy who set Iheancho up on the edge of the area. He showed great composure to side-step two defenders and fire the ball beyond Nyland’s reach.

Leicester City v Aston Villa - Carabao Cup Semi Final 1st Leg

With Albrighton on for Tielemans City set about finding a winner, but Villa were practising the dark arts, with constant time-wasting and feigning injury to break up the play.  Söyüncü then got a talking to from the ref after a spat with Hause as tempers began to boil over.
In the 82nd minute City broke upfield through Ricardo after a Villa free-kick, but Vardy’s angled drive found the side-netting. Maddison then set up Albrighton, who recovered from a fall before shooting, but Mings blocked his effort.
Villa had a decent spell late on with City looking like they’d run out of steam.
But the final chance, deep into time-added-on fell for Söyüncü, but he headed a Fuchs throw-in straight at Nyland.
Despite City’s dominance – 70% possession, 21-3 on shots, 11-0 on corners – they hadn’t troubled a stubborn Villa defence nearly enough and the contest headed to Villa Park all square.

Brendan Rodgers held his hands up: “Our biggest problem in the first half was our pressing. We weren’t aggressive enough. That’s down to me. Wilf Ndidi got injured at the last minute. It was either a case of putting Hamza in, or, because I felt we would have a lot of the ball, maybe putting a ball-playing player at the bottom of our midfield. And Youri did fine, but we then missed that speed in our transition when we lost the ball to get it back quickly, we were just a little too passive for me in the first half. We bring Hamza into the game second half, and made a couple of changes and then we were a different team.”

Leicester: Schmeichel, Söyüncü, Evans, Fuchs, Ricardo, Praet (Choudhury 45), Tielemans (Albrighton 79), Maddison, Chilwell, Pérez (Iheanacho 69), Vardy. 
Substitutes: Justin, Ward, Barnes, Benkovic.
Aston Villa: Nyland, Konsa, Mings, Hause, Guilbert, Douglas Luiz, Nakamba (Lansbury 86), Taylor, Trézéguet (Hourihane 67), El Ghazi (Vassilev 74), Grealish.
Substitutes: Chester, Jota, El Mohamady, Kalinic.

Referee: Chris Kavanagh. Attendance: 31,280.

PHOTOS: Simon Kimber.

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Leicester ease past unlucky Wigan into the 4th round

Leicester City 2:0 Wigan Athletic

Leicester City v Wigan Athletic - FA Cup Third Round

City made it into the 4th round of the FA Cup with the aid of an own goal and a deflection against Wigan at the King Power on Saturday…

Brendan Rodgers made ten changes to his side against Championship opposition, with only Chilwell retaining his place, and no recognised striker. Benkovic made his long-awaited debut, partnering Morgan at the back
In contrast to many third round games around the country, the Leicester public were up for the cup, topping 30,000, and a new section for Union FS made for a great atmosphere.
The game had a fairly even opening spell with Wigan looking to send Windass through, but he was defeated by the offside flag, while Gray’s long-range effort didn’t test Marshall in the Wigan goal.
But City were gifted the lead in the 19th minute. Albrighton’s cross from the left was ahead of Barnes but Pearce’s awkward interception found the bottom left hand corner.
Two minutes later Choudhury and Gray produced a slick move through Wigan’s back line to set up Barnes, but Marshall blocked his shot at the near post.

Leicester City v Wigan Athletic - FA Cup Third Round

Brendan Rodgers was forced into a 25th minute change when Morgan limped off with a groin strained, replaced by Söyüncü.
City dominated possession at this stage, but couldn’t create any chances.
It was Wigan who went close five minutes before the break.  Massey crossed from the right and Ward managed to get a hand to the ball as Windass looked lined up for a certain goal. Justin then blocked Dowell’s follow-up effort.
City broke upfield though Chilwell who sent Barnes in on the right. His shot took a big deflection that took the ball round Marshall and into the far corner for his first goal at the KPS.

Leicester City v Wigan Athletic - FA Cup Third Round

A minute before the break Gray unleashed a fierce shot from the edge of the area that Marshall managed to parry.
City took a comfortable, slightly fortuitous, 2-0 lead in with them at half time.

City’s first chance of the second half came in the 56th minute when Albrighton crossed from the right, his final ball had been erratic all night but this one found the head of Praet but he couldn’t direct it on target.
Brendan Rodgers then lost another centre-half in the 67th minute when Benkovic limped off, replaced by Fuchs.
The game appeared to be drifting towards its inevitable conclusion until the 73rd minute. Wigan attacked down the left, Pearce delivered a cross to the near post and Lowe volleyed it home from six yards. Unfortunately for the travelling fans VAR intervened and Pearce’s kneecap was a good inch offside.
Ndidi came on for Mendy in the 77th minute with his contribution over the last couple weeks being appreciated after such a long time out of the team.
The introduction of Ndidi livened matters up. He bossed the midfield with ease and City pressed forward with more intent. Another well-struck Gray effort was tipped away by Marshall.
Ndidi then won the ball in midfield and charged forward before being shoved in the back on the edge of the penalty area. VAR concluded no foul. He then had a free header from a corner but sent it way over the bar.

Leicester City v Wigan Athletic - FA Cup Third Round

Barnes then charged down the left beating the Wigan defence for pace but his near post shot was blocked by Marshall.
The final minute saw a bizarre interlude when a pitch invader went on a mazy run the length of the field, and vaulted the barrier before face-planting and being marched off by the stewards. The Magic of the Cup.

It hadn’t been a great performance by a City starting XI missing ten first team regulars, but it had been enough to progress, and Rodgers’ squad management had to be applauded again. The only negative point was the loss of two central defenders which must now surely be addressed in this transfer window.

Rodgers concluded: “The players gave everything and I couldn’t fault the mentality of the team – as always it was top class – but we demand more quality. It has been a tough schedule and I’ve tried to manage them. Now we look to the next game. Our ambition is to be competitive whether it’s the league or it’s in the cup competitions.”

Leicester: Ward, Justin, Morgan (Söyüncü 25), Benkovic (Fuchs 67), Chilwell, Albrighton, Mendy (Ndidi 77), Praet, Choudhury, Gray, Barnes.
Substitutes: Maddison, Iheanacho, Pérez, Jakupovic.
Wigan: Marshall, Sterling (Lowe 45), Dunkley, Kipre, Pearce (Robinson 81), Evans, Morsy, Williams, Dowell, Massey, Windass (Gelhardt 64).
Substitutes: MacLeod, Garner, Roberts, Jones.

Referee: Simon Hooper. Attendance: 30,330.

PHOTOS: Simon Kimber.

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Leicester swept aside by Liverpool

Leicester City 0:4 Liverpool

Leicester City v Liverpool - Premier League

Liverpool looked every inch the champions-in-waiting in this 1st v 2nd place Boxing Day clash, with City struggling to perform to the standards of their recent winning run…

Brendan Rodgers made one change to his side as City attempted to rein in Liverpool’s ten point lead, with Praet in for Pérez.
But from very early on Liverpool looked the better side, as City’s usual defensive composure appeared to be absent. In the first minute Alexander-Arnold was given too much room to fire in a shot that Schmeichel got down to smartly. A minute later Salah crossed from the right, and Mané ghosted in behind the defence but couldn’t get a decent touch at the near post.
City attempted to get forward but the Reds’ defence snuffed out any attempt to get the ball to Vardy. They then won a corner but Liverpool rapidly broke upfield. Keita played a through ball to Salah, who was forced wide by Schmeichel and then sent his shot from an acute angle into the side-netting.
After a quarter of an hour Henderson’s well-struck shot was blocked by Ndidi, and the ball span towards the top corner, but went narrowly wide.
City then counter-attacked from a Liverpool corner, but Barnes’ charge forward was halted by the advancing Alisson.
City were eventually breached just after the half hour mark. Alexander-Arnold whipped a wicked diagonal ball towards the far post, where Firmino rose to nod it home.

Leicester City v Liverpool - Premier League

Three minutes later the visitors should have doubled their lead. Evans and Söyüncü got into an uncharacteristic tangle trying to shepherd the ball to safety and presented Mané with a golden chance from ten yards out. But his shot was too close to Schmeichel who spread himself well to block.
City managed to make it to the break just a goal behind, despite looking shaky at the back and with too many players having an off day.

There were no changes at half time, and City won a corner early on when a Tielemans shot was deflected wide by Gomez. But Maddison’s evening was summed up when he couldn’t get his corner kick beyond the first man.
At the other end City were having to deal with some threatening deliveries from Alexander-Arnold. Chilwell blocked one, Ricardo leapt to clear another and a third fell for Salah, who blasted over.

Leicester City v Liverpool - Premier League

Robertson then whipped a ball in from the left, but Firmino near post flick sent it wide of the far post.
City were under siege at times. Robertson’s cross from the left was nodded goalwards by Firmino. Schmeichel beat it away for Salah whose shot was blocked by the City keeper’s leg onto the post, before the drama was halted by the linesman offside flag.
Brendan Rodgers made his first change in the 58th minute, bringing Albrighton on for Barnes. And City’s best spell of the game followed.
Vardy at last was sent through on goal, but Gomez brought him down. Maddison took the free-kick and went for goal, despite the tight angle, the ball curling beyond the far post.
Ricardo then surged into the area, beating two defenders before cutting the ball back for Vardy, but van Dijk intercepted.
But City’s brief revival came to nought, as Liverpool doubled their lead in the 71st minute. A corner from the left struck Söyüncü on the arm and Michael Oliver pointed to the spot. It looked harsh as he was trying to get his arm out of the way. Milner, just on as sub, sent Schmeichel the wrong way with his first touch of the game.

Leicester City v Liverpool - Premier League

Perez made way for Praet shortly after the goal, but City were still struggling to make any kind of impression, and the evening got worse in the 74th minute. Alexander-Arnold blasted in a low cross from the right and Firmino had to time to take a touch and pick his spot from 12 yards out.
Choudhury then replaced the completely subdued Maddison in an attempt to shore things up, but Liverpool struck again in the 78th minute. Mané fed Alexander-Arnold in on the right and he crowned a superb performance with a goal, firing a fierce low drive across Schmeichel.
The rest of the game was played out at practice pace, as the crowd headed for the exits, to complete City’s chastening Christmas programme.
Liverpool are undoubtedly a great side, who are heading for their first League title in 30 years, but City’s performance was way below the standard they have set themselves this season.

Brendan Rodgers summed up: “We just didn’t have long enough periods with the ball. When you don’t against a top team – world champions – it becomes difficult for you. We are at the halfway point now. We are 19 games in. It is the bigger picture with these guys. We have come a long way in this period. The players have been brilliant and this is another learning game for them, they see the physicality you need to compete. People were trying to put us in a race with Liverpool but we know where we are.”

Leicester: Schmeichel, Ricardo, Evans, Söyüncü, Chilwell, Ndidi, Barnes (Albrighton 58), Praet (Pérez 72), Tielemans, Maddison (Choudhury 76), Vardy.
Substitutes: Justin, Morgan, Gray, Ward.
Liverpool: Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, van Dijk, Robertson, Keita (Milner 70), Henderson (Lallana 82), Wijnaldum, Salah (Origi 70), Firmino, Mané.
Substitutes: Adrián, Shaqiri, Jones, Williams.

Referee: Michael Oliver. Attendance: 32,211.

PHOTOS: Simon Kimber. 

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Leicester’s winning run ended by chirpy Canaries

Leicester City 1:1 Norwich City

Leicester City v Norwich City - Premier League

City couldn’t extend their winning run to nine games at the KPS on Saturday, having to be content with a 1-1 draw against an impressive Norwich side…

Brendan Rodgers stuck with the line-up and formation he employed for the win at Villa, also naming an unchanged bench.
The game got off to a slow start in a subdued atmosphere, though Iheanacho carved out a chance for himself in the 5th minute, spinning round his marker and sending a 20 yard shot straight at Krul.
At the other end a Norwich corner found Tettey in space 15 yards out, but his fierce shot was blocked by Chilwell.
Ths visitors had a slice of fortune in the 14th minute when Tieleman’s low drive from 22 yards was fumbled onto the post by Krul. It then rebounded into the keeper’s arms before Vardy could pounce on the chance.
A minute later the Canaries were inches away from taking the lead when Aarons swung in a cross from the right that went in behind the defence but Pukki, sliding in at the far post, couldn’t get enough of a touch to divert it home.
This was a warning shot for City who had been unable to get their usual passing game together. Norwich were pressing hard and passing well and playing a much better game than their league position suggested.
It was no real surprise when they took a 26th minute lead, with something that looked like a typical Leicester goal. Buendia, in the centre circle, played a fine ball into the path of Pukki who outpaced Söyüncü and clipped a precise finish past Schmeichel and just inside the left hand post.
As City pressed forward in search of an equaliser tempers frayed in the 32nd minute.
Following a 50-50 challenge between Pukki and Ricardo both players were injured and Norwich kicked the ball out. However, from the restart Iheanacho opted to go on the attack rather than returning the ball and he was felled on the edge of the area.
As the grounded striker was surrounded by furious Norwich players Cantwell then grabbed him round the throat for good measure. VAR checked for a red card, but bottled it as usual.

Leicester City v Norwich City - Premier League

Maddison defused the situation against his former club and rolled the free kick out of play.
As the Canaries attacked again, Cantwell attempted a shot with the outside of his boot but it didn’t trouble Schmeichel.
City then levelled in the 38th minute. Maddison delivered a corner to the near post and Vardy skimmed a header across the face of goal. In his attempt to save, Krul managed to divert it into his own net so, sadly, it was credited as an own goal rather than Vardy’s for a ninth game running.
A minute after the goal Iheanacho was replaced by Gray, with Rodgers either protecting him after the incident or making a tactical change.
After five minutes of time-added-on the sides went in level at the break.

Brendan Rodgers made another change at half time with Barnes on for Praet.
City went close just three minutes into the second half. Maddison lofted a ball forward sending Vardy down the left channel. He brought the ball down superbly and skipped round Krul, but it was an acute angle and his attempted finish hit the outside of the post.

Leicester City v Norwich City - Premier League

Five minutes later a good passing move led to Chilwell crossing from the left, but Vardy’s side-footed volley was placed too close to Krul.
Although City were now dominating possession chances were rare.
Ndidi sent a header from a Maddison free-kick wide, and a overhead hooked effort from Vardy was saved by Krul. Maddison then saw his shot through a crowded area deflected narrowly wide.
Norwich were still a threat however, despite Pukki playing on with a broken toe.
In the 79th minute a ball over the top sent the Finnish striker in down the right, but this time Söyüncü kept pace with him and made a perfect challenge.
With four minutes remaining Pukki went through again, this time on the left, but Ricardo nipped the ball away from him as he shaped to shoot.

Leicester City v Norwich City - Premier League

It had been a frustrating afternoon, with things never falling for City, who looked out of sorts and didn’t get close to the performance levels that have seen them get 24 points from the last eight games. Norwich are fighting for their Premier League place and picked up five bookings to prove it, as well as playing some very good football.

But Brendan Rodgers was philosophical: “It just looked like one of those games. It’s a point and we need to look forwards now. The players have been brilliant. When you are on that winning run you believe you are going to win every game but of course it does not work like that. We were not 100% on it. We need to hit the reset button.”

Leicester: Schmeichel, Ricardo, Evans, Söyüncü, Chilwell, Ndidi, Praet (Barnes 45), Tielemans, Maddison, Vardy, Iheanacho (Gray 39).
Substitutes: Justin, Morgan, Albrighton, Ward, Pérez.
Norwich: Krul, Aarons, Zimmermann, Godfrey, Byram, Tettey, Trybull (Stiepermann 86), Buendía (Vrancic 90), McLean, Cantwell (Hernández 85), Pukki.
Substitutes: Lewis, Fährmann, Amadou, Srbeny.

Referee:
Andy Madley. Attendance: 32,101.

PHOTOS: Simon Kimber

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Leicester make it seven in a row with win over Watford

Leicester City 2:0 Watford 

Leicester City v Watford FC - Premier League

City reclaimed second place in the the Premier League overcoming a stubborn Watford side at the KPS on Wednesday night…

Brendan Rodgers made a change to his side for the first time in seven matches – Fuchs in for Chilwell – for the club’s first ever live-streamed game with Amazon Prime setting a kick off time of 7.30.
Watford arrived at the KPS bottom of the league and with caretaker manager Hayden Mullins in charge and they were happy to sit deep and wait for a chance on the break.
City looked a little disjointed, as they had been against Everton on Sunday, not helped by a series of niggling shirt-pulls and trips from Watford. Even when Deeney planted an elbow into Söyüncü’s face during an aerial challenge referee Craig Pawson didn’t produce a yellow card.
Pérez sent a good chance sailing over the bar, but was spared his blushes by a linesman’s flag earlier in the move.
City’s patient build ups weren’t leading to chances, and it was Watford who should have taken a 23rd minute lead. From a City corner the Hornets raced upfield two against one. Femina fed the ball to Deulofeu, but Ricardo got an excellent touch in as he shaped to shoot.

Leicester City v Watford FC - Premier League

Barnes and Maddison then combined well and Barnes fired from an angle but could only find the side-netting.
The lively Barnes then went on a run across the 18 yard line, exchanging passes with Vardy and then Pérez, and skipping round defenders but his shot was blocked by Foster.
With half time approaching Pérez cut in from the right and fed a ball to Vardy who appeared to be tripped by Marriappa. Craig Pawson decided it was a dive and booked Vardy, and VAR didn’t intervene. Having watched the incident it is incredible that they both came to that conclusion – it looked like a clear penalty.
At the other end Deulofeu attempted to catch Schmeichel out with a free-kick from the right, but sent the ball narrowly wide of the far post.
Watford went close again just before the break, but Hughes’ shot was deflected wide after hitting Deeney.

Brendan Rodgers made a change for the second half, with Praet on for Pérez. City looked better than in the frustrating first half and chances began to come with Söyüncü firing one over and Barnes forcing a good save from Foster.
The breakthrough came in the 52nd minute when Maddison hoisted a cross in from the left and Masina planted a hand in the face of Evans as they lined up at the far post.
It was less of a penalty than the Vardy incident, but Pawson and VAR were happy to award it. Vardy stroked the ball past Foster, who had gambled on it going straight down the middle and didn’t dive. Vardy scoring record extended to seven games in a row.

Leicester City v Watford FC - Premier League

With Watford forced to come out of their shell, City began to create more chances.
Praet had a goalbound shot blocked by Mesina and then Söyüncü nodded narrowly over from a corner.
Tielemans then played Vardy in, and he lifted the ball over the advancing Foster, but with Barnes looking certain to score his first goal at the KPS, Mesina hooked it away brilliantly.
Rodgers made his second change in the 69th minute bringing Choudhury on for Tielemans. Ten minutes later he brought Justin on for his Premier League debut, in place of Barnes, and he immediately impressed with a couple of good runs down the left.
Watford were trying to press forward, but were lacking any kind of creativity up front and their first shot on target arrived four minutes into time-added-on, Quina sending an 18-yarder straight into Schmeichel’s arms.
Instead, it was City who found the net in the last minute of the game.
Justin nodded a ball forward into Maddison’s path and his rather scuffed shot deceived Foster, bouncing over his outstretched leg and just having enough on it to cross the line.

Leicester City v Watford FC - Premier League

It had been a poor spectacle on a cold night, but City had scrapped their way to victory and matched the ‘Ice Kings’ winning run of seven games in 1962-63.
They also reclaimed second spot from Manchester City and remained Liverpool’s closest contenders for the title.

Brendan Rodgers commented: “It was a tough game for us. Hayden Mullins had Watford very well organised. We had to be patient this evening and worked very hard for that but I thought we deserved it.”

Leicester: Schmeichel, Ricardo, Evans, Söyüncü, Fuchs, Ndidi, Pérez (Praet 45), Tielemans (Choudhury 69), Maddison, Barnes (Justin 80), Vardy.
Substitutes: Morgan, Albrighton, Ward, Iheanacho. 
Watford: Foster, Femenía, Mariappa, Cathcart, Masina, Sarr, Doucouré, Capoue, Hughes (Quina 83), Deeney (Gray 87), Deulofeu (Success 77).
Substitutes: Gomes, Chalobah, Dele-Bashiru, Foulquier.

Referee: Craig Pawson. Attendance: 31,763.

PHOTOS: Simon Kimber

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