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VAR makes its mark on Leicester Wolves stalemate

Leicester City 0:0 Wolverhampton Wanderers

1920 wolves home a

A poor opening day spectacle at the King Power saw a VAR decision ruling out a Wolves goal to produce a 0-0 scoreline…

Brendan Rodgers handed Pérez his debut, Söyüncü took Maguire’s place in the back line and both Ndidi and Choudhury were employed in midfield.
Before the game a Union FS tifo celebrated 100 years since the club was restructured after World War One and renamed ‘City’.

Leicester City v Wolverhampton Wanderers - Premier League

A first half of few incidents unfolded, with Wolves set up to defend and attack on the break.
The first chance came in the 2nd minute but Dendoncker shot from the edge of the area flew high and wide.
City pressed forward but were met by a wall of old gold and Choudhury and Tielemans both had shots blocked.

Leicester City v Wolverhampton Wanderers - Premier League

City were confined to trying their luck from the edge of the area and Chilwell, Ricardo and Ndidi all failed to hit the target.
In the 35th minute Doherty delivered a free-kick into the goalmouth and the ball fell for Bennett in front of goal, but Evans managed to prod the ball away before he could react.
City’s best moment of the half came in the 37th minute when they passed their way around the Wolves area, before Tielemans delivered a hard and low cross but Vardy’s attempted flick from two yards out was too elaborate when any touch would have seen a goal.
Wolves then broke upfield and Jota was in a great position when he fell over, presenting the ball to Söyüncü.
The half time whistle drew a veil over a forgettable half.

After the break Wolves came racing out of the traps and enjoyed a spell of pressure.
Jiménez bore down on goal and forced a save from Schmeichel, and then Bennett sent a header wide from a corner.
This spell of pressure appeared to have ended with a goal in the 51st minute.  Dendoncker got his head to a corner and it brushed Boly’s arm. Dendoncker fired the loose ball home and the away corner erupted.
But this is 2019-20, and 98 seconds later it was the home fans celebrating as the scoreboard flashed up ‘NO GOAL’ and referee Andre Marriner signalled a free kick.
A combination of the poor new handball law and VAR’s all-seeing eye had left Wolves feeling robbed.

Leicester City v Wolverhampton Wanderers - Premier League

Jota had a chance to put Wolves ahead a couple of minutes later when he went clear down the right, but he pulled his shot 10 yards wide of the left hand post.
Maddison then had a shot blocked as City continued to struggle to get past Wolves well drilled defence.
Rodgers made his first change in the 61st minute, bringing on Barnes for Choudhury.
City upped the pressure and won a series of six corners, but Maddison failed to deliver a decent one and Wolves easily soaked up the pressure.
Albrighton replaced Pérez in the 76th minute, but still City couldn’t find a way through.
Tielemans picked out Barnes for a swerving 30 yarder, but Patrício gathered it just inside the post.
Barnes then charged into the area and exchanged passes with Vardy before delivering a low cross which Boly did well to block.
Maddison sent a shot wide and Evans’ attempted overhead kick from close in didn’t work out. Albrighton had a shot blocked late on, but this game had long looked like a 0-0 draw.

Leicester City v Wolverhampton Wanderers - Premier League

It was an underwhelming performance from City in the face of high expectation, but Wolves are a very good side and their Europa League games appeared to have put them more in their stride than City.
Maddison, Tielemans and Vardy all looked a little rusty, though the fine performance of Söyüncü made the decision not to spend large on a Maguire replacement look like a wise one. Brendan Rodger revealed that he earned a round of applause from his team mates.
Inevitably the main talking point was the VAR decision, which may have left some Wolves fans thinking they might never celebrate a goal quite as enthusiastically again. Which would be a great loss to the game.

Leicester: Schmeichel, Ricardo Pereira, Evans, Söyüncü, Chilwell, Ndidi, Pérez (Albrighton 76), Tielemans, Choudhury (Barnes 61), Maddison, Vardy.
Substitutes: Justin, Morgan, Ward, Iheanacho, Praet.
Wolves: Rui Patrício, Bennett, Coady, Boly, Doherty, Dendoncker, Neves (Saïss 81), João Moutinho, Castro Otto, Jiménez, Jota (Cutrone 76).
Substitutes: Lomba Neto, Gibbs-White, Ruddy, Vinagre, Traoré.

Referee: Andre Marriner. Attendance: 32,015.

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Ward keeps Wolves from the door as Leicester progress in the Carabao Cup

Wolverhampton Wanderers 0:0 Leicester City (1:3 on penalties)

1819 wolves away lc

Danny Ward was City’s hero in the Carabao Cup at Molineux on Tuesday night, saving three penalties in the shoot out after a 0-0 draw…

Claude Puel made eight changes to his side for this Carabao Cup 3rd round tie, while Nuno Espírito Santo made nine changes for Wolves.
City started strongly and Iborra had two chances by the 6th minute, a long range effort going narrowly wide and then a far post header from a Ghezzal free-kick rising over the bar.
City continued to pass around Wolves and keep them in their own half and Silva had a fierce shot blocked by a busy Wolves defence.
Vardy then inflamed the home crowd with what looked like a judo throw on the considerably larger Hause as they contested a ball on the bye-line.
Wolves came more into the game after 20 minutes and some poor positioning from Ricardo allowed Vinagre in down the left, but his shot was tipped over the bar by Ward.
Iborra was having a fine game and sent a inch perfect pass to Vardy from the halfway line, but the striker fluffed his shot, to the delight of the Wolves fans behind the goal.
City went close in the 36th minute when a good passing moved ended with an Albrighton cross. It found Ghezzal at the far post but Coady cleared his effort off the line.
Just before the break Albrighton forced a good save from Ruddy with a well-struck shot from 20 yards, but City had nothing to show for their dominance at the break.

Early in the second half Ricardo intercepted a pass as Wolves attempted a break and fired in a 20-yarder that curled just wide of the right hand post.
At the other end Ricardo did well to race back and put in a challenge on Cavaleiro that was just enough to force his shot inches wide of the left hand post.
Claude Puel made a double change on the  hour, Gray and Iheanacho on for Okazaki and Vardy, who was serenaded off the field by the home crowd, much to his amusement.
In the 65th minute a Ghezzal cross from the left found Albrighton six yards out, but Ruddy showed brilliant reactions to get a glove to his shot.
Wolves then hit City on the break and there were four strikers in on Morgan and Evans, but Traoré chose the wrong pass and Ward parried Gibbs-White’s shot away.
The game tightened up in the closing stages, with Wolves perhaps fancying their chances in a shoot-out. Silva was replaced by Choudhury but City could only muster off-target shots from Iborra and Fuchs.
Deep into time-added-on Gray put in a challenge on Bennett but appeared to get his studs caught in the turf, bending his ankle alarmingly. He was strapped up, and given an oxygen mask before being stretchered away.
The final whistle blew soon after this and a concerned City side had to get their heads right for a penalty shoot-out.
It didn’t get off to a good start with Fuchs sending his kick against the bar, but then Saiss sent in a tame effort that Ward saved almost nonchalantly to his right.
Ghezzal slotted his into the top right hand corner,  before Ward guessed right again to deny Jota.
A poor effort from Choudhury was easily saved by Ruddy, allowing Ashley-Seal to make it 1-1 with an unstoppable shot into the roof of the net.
Ruddy got a hand to Iborra’s penalty but there was just enough on it, and then Ward saved brilliantly from Traoré diverting the ball onto the post.
Iheanacho strode up confidently to send Ruddy the wrong way, and City into the fourth round.

Claude Puel praised the match-winning Ward: “He is a fantastic keeper and it was a good opportunity for him to show his quality so I am happy for him. It was a tough game for the team and for him also because he didn’t have a lot to do in the game so he had to keep his concentration and his condition until the penalties, and he was very successful.”
There were positive noises being made about Gray’s injury too, so it was a very good night for City.
Wolves: Ruddy, Dendoncker, Coady, Hause, Castro Otto (Bennett 75), Saïss, Gibbs-White, Vinagre, Traoré, Bonatini (Ashley-Seal 83), Cavaleiro (Jota 57).
Substitutes: Giles, Watt, Pereira Goncalves, Norris.
Leicester: Ward, Ricardo, Morgan, Evans, Fuchs, Albrighton, Iborra, Adrien Silva (Choudhury 84), Ghezzal, Vardy (Iheanacho 61), Okazaki (Gray 61).
Substitutes: Söyüncü, Jakupovic, Amartey, Diabaté.

Referee: Paul Tierney. Attendance: 21,562.

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Leicester ride their luck to beat Wolves

Leicester City 2:0 Wolverhampton Wanderers

Leicester City v Wolverhampton Wanderers - Premier League

Although Wolves peppered the woodwork at the KPS on Saturday afternoon, an own goal and a deflected shot earned City a 2-0 win…

Claude Puel made four changes to his line up at Old Trafford, with Morgan, Amartey, Silva and Iheanacho making way for Evans, Vardy, Albrighton and surprise inclusion, Mendy.
Nuno Espirito Santo’s Wolves side are keen to prove their Premier League credentials and gave City a torrid time in the opening spell. In the 2nd minute Moutinho sent a shot from 20 yards crashing against the bar as City’s defence appeared to move in slow motion.
A minute later Evans presented the ball to Jimenez, whose low cross found Doherty, but Chilwell blocked his shot on the goal-line.
After a string of Wolves corners, City finally managed to get upfield in the 8th minute, but Coady slid in with a fine tackle as Gray almost went clear on goal.
Wolves then hit the woodwork again, with a Jimenez shot from the edge of the area thumping the left hand post.
But in the 29th minute Wolves learned that the Premier League can be cruel.
As City had their first spell of pressure, shots from Albrighton and Nididi were blocked. Then Albrighton swung over a cross from the right which Doherty nodded firmly past Patrício and into the net.

Leicester City v Wolverhampton Wanderers - Premier League

If this was a metaphorical slap in the face for Wolves then they soon received an actual one, with Neves receiving lengthy treatment after Maddison accidentally caught him with a swinging arm.
City were now running the game, with the forgotten man Mendy seemingly all over the field and reminding us just a little of Kante.
Ricardo capped a good move with a low cross, which Patricio managed to grab before it reached Maddison.
But Maddison would get his chance as the first half moved into time-added-on.
Ricardo cut in from the right and set up Maddison whose shot from 18 yards took a deflection that helped the ball past Patricio.

Leicester City v Wolverhampton Wanderers - Premier League

Wolves brought record signing Traore on for the second half, and he soon set up a chance for Jimenez who had his shot blocked by Chilwell.
At the other end Mendy fed a ball to Gray who turned Neves before sending a shot wide of the left hand post.
Another shaky moment in defence followed this when Chilwell tapped the ball past Schmeichel, who had coming rushing out to claim. Fortunately for City there were no Wolves players on hand to take advantage.
Schmeichel was soon in action again when Moutinho played Jimenez in on goal but the City keeper blocked the shot with his legs.
Claude Puel made his first change on the hour, bringing Amartey on for Albrighton and going with a back five, but five minutes later he was having to reorganise again as City were reduced to ten men.
Vardy won a couple of challenges in midfield, before launching himself into a third with too much aggression. Although he won the ball his follow through cleaned up Doherty at knee height. Mike Dean brandished the red and Doherty had to go off after a lengthy spell of treatment.

Leicester City v Wolverhampton Wanderers - Premier League

Traore beat Chilwell and Evans and pulled a ball back for Bonatini, but he blazed his chance over the bar. He then headed another effort over the bar before Castro sliced a shot against the left hand post.
The 82nd minute saw two more changes for City with  Silva and Iheanacho on
for Gray and Maddison, and this line-up dealt comfortably with Wolves for the remainder of the game.
Although Neves caught a half-volley beautifully from 25 yards it went straight at Schmeichel, who punched it away. That was the end of Wolves threat and City had their first points in the bag, thanks to more than their fair share of luck.
This was something that Claude Puel acknowledged: “Of course, we have a lot of things to correct, different details because we conceded too much chances. We were lucky in the beginning of the game, but after we kept our calm to come back in the game and we scored twice.”
It was an odd afternoon, City looked shaky at the back too often, but the performances of Ricardo, Maddison and, at last, Mendy were very promising. The loss of Vardy for three games is a blow, but will give Iheanacho the opportunity to get into his stride.

Leicester: Schmeichel, Ricardo, Evans, Maguire, Chilwell, Mendy, Ndidi, Albrighton (Amartey 60), Maddison (Iheanacho 82), Gray (Adrien Silva 82), Vardy.
Substitutes: Morgan, Ward, Fuchs, Ghezzal.
Wolves: Rui Patrício, Bennett, Coady, Boly, Doherty (Gibbs-White 69), João Moutinho, Neves, Castro Otto, Hélder Costa (Traoré 45), Jota (Bonatini 45), Jiménez.
Substitutes: Ruddy, Saïss, Vinagre, Hause, Bonatini.

Referee: Mike Dean. Attendance: 32,043.

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Leicester keep Wolves from the door and retain second place

Leicester City 2:1 Wolverhampton Wanderers

1213 wolves home

City eventually overcame stubborn opposition and some frustrating refereeing to beat Wolves 2-1 at the KPS on Thursday night…

Despite fears that he wouldn’t be fit Knockaert made the starting line-up and was a constant thorn in Wolves’ side., often trying to weave his way through the gold shirted defence.
Wood then controlled a long ball on his chest  before sending a dipping 25 yard volley inches over the bar.  Marshall was the next to have a crack, testing Ikeme with a long-range effort that the former City keeper gathered at the second attempt.
City took a well deserved lead in the 24 minute when Schmeichel picked out Knockaert on the right and he worked his way through the defence towards goal before firing home from close in, making it look all so easy.
There were a few gaps in City’s defence however and during one sequence Sigurdarson and Ebanks-Blake both had attempts on goal.
But City should have gone in 2-0 up at the break when a Nugent dummy set Marshall up with a clear sight of goal but he fired over.

This miss looked more damaging 6 minutes into the second half when Doumbia set Sako up for a sweetly struck 20 yarder that arrowed past Scmeichel.
City almost conjured up an instant response when De Laet delivered a low cross from the right but Wood didn’t get a clean contact from 12 yards out and the ball went agonisingly wide of the far post.
Wolves enjoyed their best spell of the game after this and looked the more likely winners for a while, until City regained the lead in the 73rd minute thanks to a bit of Nugent magic. There appeared to be little danger to Wolves when Nugent collected the ball on the left, but he continued on a run across the field until the goal came within his sights and he produced a superb finish to curl the ball round Ikeme and find the net.
Wolves had one chance to equalise in the closing stages but Ebanks-Blake could only find the outside of the post with a good chance and City had a precious three points in the bank ahead of the weekend’s action.

There is, inevitably, growing talk of promotion among City fans but Nigel Pearson urged caution: “I think going into this crucial part of the season, it’s not easy, and we’ve managed to start the New Year well, but there’s a long way to go and it still remains very, very tight. I don’t think it’s prudent to make assumptions that we’ve cracked it because there’s a long way to go.”

Leicester: Schmeichel, De Laet, Morgan, Keane, Konchesky, Knockaert (Vardy 76), King, Drinkwater, Marshall (Dyer 69), Wood, Nugent (Waghorn 90) Subs Not Used: Logan, Gallagher, Wellens, Futacs.
Wolves: Ikeme, Foley, Batth, Berra, Ward, Doumbia (Davis 82), Henry (Edwards 81), O’Hara, Sako, Sigurdarson (Peszko 77), Ebanks-Blake. Subs not used: De Vries, Doyle, Margreitter, Cassidy.

Referee: Robert Madley (West Yorkshire). Attendance: 21,677. 

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Leicester Lapses Hand Wolves Three Points

Wolverhampton Wanderers 2:1 Leicester City

City have now gone three away games without a point after two defensive lapses led to Sunday’s 2-1 defeat at Molineux…

City, with De Laet in for St Ledger, enjoyed a decent start to the game with their passing game beginning to take shape.
But they found themsleves a goal down in the 13th minute when Konchesky failed to pick up Ebanks-Blake at a Sako free-kick and he had a simple nod past Schmeichel to put the home side ahead.
Six minutes later Schmeichel  did brilliantly well to tip away a  Doyle curler at full stretch after Moore had lost possession. But it was only a temporary repreive with  the resulting Sako corner finding Stearman completely unmarked eight yards out. The former City man fired home via a Schmeichel touch and the crossbar to leave Nigel Pearson despairing on the touchline.
City kept plugging away, although they lost King on the half hour, and the pink-booted Marshall forced a fine save from Ikeme; while Nugent fired a decent chance over the bar.
Nigel Pearson brought Knockeart on for Dyer for the second half as City pressed forward trying to salvage something from the wreckage.
Ikeme was fortunate to block with his feet after Vardy got his head to a Marshall cross.
City finally made a breakthrough with 20 minutes remaining – Drinkwater sending a crossfield pass to Konchesky, who took a touch before rocketing home a sensational 35 yarder.
Inspired by Knockeart, City chased an equaliser, but Nugent headed agonisingly wide and substitute Waghorn fired against the post when through on the keeper.
Another decent performance had proved pointless because of those two defensive lapses.
With his two predecessors being axed in October, Wednesday night’s game against Burnley will be a huge one for Nigel Pearson…

Wolves: Ikeme, Stearman, Johnson, Berra, Ward, Peszko (Boukari 74), Henry, Doumbia (Edwards 66), Sako, Doyle, Ebanks-Blake (Sigurdarson 76). Unused Subs: Davis, De Fries, Foley, Margreitter.
Leicester: Schmeichel, De Laet, Morgan, Moore, Konchesky, Marshall, King (James 31), Drinkwater, Dyer (Knockaert 46), Nugent, Vardy (Waghorn 72). Unused Subs: St Ledger, Logan, Beckford, Futacs.

Referee: Stuart Atwell (Warwickshire). Attendance: 20,030.

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Bull and Walsh – Foxes v Wolves

On Thursday 17th December Steve Walsh and Steve Bull will be co-hosting a Q&A night at the Walkers Stadium…


They have obviously mellowed towards each other because there was a time when Walsh and Bull was our version of Ali and Frazier, Holyfield and Tyson, Eubanks and Benn… it certainly livened up a few Leicester/Wolves encounters in the late eighties and early nineties.
The first bout came one November evening at Filbert Street in 1989. In the middle of a hum-drum 0-0 draw Walsh tackled Wolves’ legendary centre-forward. It was hard but fair, but Bull didn’t seem to think so. He leapt to his feet, swung a fist into Walsh’s face and then flung himself backwards to the ground in a bizarre attempt to frame Walsh. The ref had no choice but to send Bull packing.
A grudge was born and then carefully nurtured with Bull protesting his innocence to the press in the face of overwhelming video evidence to the contrary.
In the return game at Molineux that season Bull was in scorching form and hit hat trick in a 5-0 victory. Walsh was given the run around that night and he didn’t look best pleased about it, though actual unarmed combat was avoided on this occasion. The next meeting at Molineux brought a 2-1 win for Wolves and there was plenty of needle between the two protagonists still bubbling below the surface. The Mercury carried a photo of the two squaring up with foreheads pressed together like rutting stags, and if looks could kill there would have been two funerals that day.
Over the next season the Walsh/Bull War seemed to have cooled down. City beat Wolves 3-0 and Bull received a bad knock in the groin to the delight of the Kop. Honour was satisfied. But then the peace was shattered on an August evening at Molineux at the beginning of the 1992-93 season. The opening shots were fired early in the game. Bull received a yellow card for a dreadful high challenge on Walsh, and then beat the City centre-half to the ball to score his 200th goal for Wolves. Neither of these incidents had given Walsh much cause to whistle a happy tune and his blank gaze and set jaw-line boded ill. The Central TV cameras were firmly fixed on the two players when Walsh picked his moment. They were running together, off the ball, jockeying for position, when Bull backed a little too close to his blue-shirted Nemisis. Walsh sharply dipped his head and brought it into contact with Bull’s cropped dome. It wasn’t exactly a Glasgow Kiss from the Duncan Ferguson School, but Bull saw a window of opportunity and reacted as though he had been the victim of a sniper on the South Bank roof. The ref immediately waved a red card in Walsh’s face.
Molineux was mostly building site at this time and the City legend had to pick his lonely way across the wasteland before he could reach the sanctuary of an early bath in the Portakabins. A 3-0 defeat for City and a three match ban for Walsh was the damage. That was the climax of the feud. Walsh missed most of the 1993-94 season due to injury, then City made it to the Premiership, Wolves didn’t and Bull’s star began to fade. Of course, at the time, each incident would be greeted by much tutting and condemnation from the football authorities and TV pundits. But the fans knew that it was pure theatre and Walsh v Bull on the bill put hundreds on the gate!

For details of the Walsh and Bull Q&A e-mail: steve@legendsuk.com

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