Burnley

Burnley slideshow

Feb.22 -- Former Transportation Secretary Jim Burnley discusses transportation, foreign investment in U.S. infrastructure projects and public-private partnerships. He speaks with Bloomberg's Kevin Cirilli from the Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland.
Former Transportation Sec. Burnley Says Infrastructure Is a Safe Investment
Feb.22 -- Former Transportation Secretary Jim Burnley discusses transportation, foreign investment in U.S. infrastructure projects and public-private partnerships. He speaks with Bloomberg's Kevin Cirilli from the Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland.
Feb.22 -- Former Transportation Secretary Jim Burnley discusses transportation, foreign investment in U.S. infrastructure projects and public-private partnerships. He speaks with Bloomberg's Kevin Cirilli from the Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland.
Former Transportation Sec. Burnley Says Infrastructure Is a Safe Investment
Feb.22 -- Former Transportation Secretary Jim Burnley discusses transportation, foreign investment in U.S. infrastructure projects and public-private partnerships. He speaks with Bloomberg's Kevin Cirilli from the Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland.
Feb.22 -- Former Transportation Secretary Jim Burnley discusses transportation, foreign investment in U.S. infrastructure projects and public-private partnerships. He speaks with Bloomberg's Kevin Cirilli from the Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland.
Former Transportation Sec. Burnley Says Infrastructure Is a Safe Investment
Feb.22 -- Former Transportation Secretary Jim Burnley discusses transportation, foreign investment in U.S. infrastructure projects and public-private partnerships. He speaks with Bloomberg's Kevin Cirilli from the Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland.
Feb.22 -- Former Transportation Secretary Jim Burnley discusses transportation, foreign investment in U.S. infrastructure projects and public-private partnerships. He speaks with Bloomberg's Kevin Cirilli from the Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland.
Former Transportation Sec. Burnley Says Infrastructure Is a Safe Investment
Feb.22 -- Former Transportation Secretary Jim Burnley discusses transportation, foreign investment in U.S. infrastructure projects and public-private partnerships. He speaks with Bloomberg's Kevin Cirilli from the Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland.
FILE PHOTO - Soccer Football - Premier League - Burnley vs Crystal Palace - Burnley, Britain - September 10, 2017 Burnley's Tom Heaton REUTERS/Andrew Yates
Premier League - Burnley vs Crystal Palace
FILE PHOTO - Soccer Football - Premier League - Burnley vs Crystal Palace - Burnley, Britain - September 10, 2017 Burnley's Tom Heaton REUTERS/Andrew Yates
The English Football League is on the brink of following the Premier League’s lead by shutting its transfer window early. England’s 72 lower league clubs were expected to vote to stop themselves making permanent signings from the Thursday after the start of their season. That would see their transfer window harmonised with that of the Premier League, the members of which in September imposed an early closure on their own buying window from this summer. Like their top-flight counterparts, EFL clubs would still be able to sell players to foreign teams whose own windows close at a later date, but they would also be able to continue to make loan signings up to the end of August. EFL clubs meet at Villa Park tomorrow for a vote which requires the support of more than half of all teams and half of those in the Championship. 10 most significant deals of the transfer window That follows a proposal put forward by the league’s executive in September for the introduction of an early closure, something it said its clubs “overwhelmingly” supported ahead of a period of consultation over two proposed dates for that closure. The first was harmonisation with the Premier League, the transfer window of which will now shut at 5pm on the Thursday before the start of the top-flight season, which falls on August 9 this year. The second was closing the window on the Thursday before the EFL season kicks off, usually a week earlier than the elite division. Harmonisation was the preferred option, meaning EFL clubs playing at least one league fixture before their buying window ends. An exemption on loan deals has been agreed because lower-league clubs rely heavily on short-term signings and Fifa has outlawed emergency loans outside the transfer window. To guard against potential abuse of this loophole, once the window for permanent signings closes, clubs would be prevented from converting any loan deal into a permanent one until the window reopens in January. Tomorrow’s vote is unlikely to be unanimous amid a lack of consensus about whether the benefits of an earlier closure outweigh the drawbacks. While it would give managers a more settled squad at the start of the season, it would also restrict their ability to improve it after seeing their players perform during the opening month. As revealed by Telegraph Sport, September’s Premier League vote, which required a two-thirds majority to pass, could hardly have been closer. Manchester United, Manchester City, Crystal Palace, Watford and Swansea City all opposed the change, with Burnley abstaining.
EFL will vote to adopt same transfer window dates as Premier League
The English Football League is on the brink of following the Premier League’s lead by shutting its transfer window early. England’s 72 lower league clubs were expected to vote to stop themselves making permanent signings from the Thursday after the start of their season. That would see their transfer window harmonised with that of the Premier League, the members of which in September imposed an early closure on their own buying window from this summer. Like their top-flight counterparts, EFL clubs would still be able to sell players to foreign teams whose own windows close at a later date, but they would also be able to continue to make loan signings up to the end of August. EFL clubs meet at Villa Park tomorrow for a vote which requires the support of more than half of all teams and half of those in the Championship. 10 most significant deals of the transfer window That follows a proposal put forward by the league’s executive in September for the introduction of an early closure, something it said its clubs “overwhelmingly” supported ahead of a period of consultation over two proposed dates for that closure. The first was harmonisation with the Premier League, the transfer window of which will now shut at 5pm on the Thursday before the start of the top-flight season, which falls on August 9 this year. The second was closing the window on the Thursday before the EFL season kicks off, usually a week earlier than the elite division. Harmonisation was the preferred option, meaning EFL clubs playing at least one league fixture before their buying window ends. An exemption on loan deals has been agreed because lower-league clubs rely heavily on short-term signings and Fifa has outlawed emergency loans outside the transfer window. To guard against potential abuse of this loophole, once the window for permanent signings closes, clubs would be prevented from converting any loan deal into a permanent one until the window reopens in January. Tomorrow’s vote is unlikely to be unanimous amid a lack of consensus about whether the benefits of an earlier closure outweigh the drawbacks. While it would give managers a more settled squad at the start of the season, it would also restrict their ability to improve it after seeing their players perform during the opening month. As revealed by Telegraph Sport, September’s Premier League vote, which required a two-thirds majority to pass, could hardly have been closer. Manchester United, Manchester City, Crystal Palace, Watford and Swansea City all opposed the change, with Burnley abstaining.
Antonio Conte has admitted he and the Chelsea board need to settle their differences if he is to see out his contract at the club. He has also suggested that there are already potential jobs for him to take if he leaves Chelsea in the summer. Conte gave a reminder of his coaching ability by guiding Chelsea to a Champions League last-16 first-leg draw against Barcelona, which they almost won. The Italian was back at his energetic best during the game and once again had his name sung by the Stamford Bridge crowd. But the draw was not enough to kill the belief that Conte will not be at Chelsea past this season, following the last two transfer windows in which his relationship with the board has been strained. Asked about his future by Italian media, the 48 year-old said: “In 14 years, Chelsea have changed coach 10 times, so they do have a tendency to chop and change here. Chelsea vs Barcelona player ratings “The media also plays on this habit the moment there are negative results. They were already writing headlines about my dismissal after the opening game against Burnley. “It’s no problem for me, in fact I really like pressure. I just hope it doesn’t affect the players. “I said very clearly, I have a contract to 2019. I want to respect it but anything can happen in football. I’m happy here but to move forward with the marriage everyone needs to be in agreement. My intention is to continue. Antonio Conte urges his players on from the sidelines Credit: AP “In our line of work, we always have a bag packed. My intention is to remain here, but if something were to change, there would be several different scenarios opening up.” Conte has already been linked with Paris Saint-Germain, both Milan clubs and a return to coach the Italian national team. Chelsea’s performance against Barcelona may have added to that list of admirers. Willian scored Chelsea’s goal against Barcelona and the Brazilian believes the team’s Champions League group stage victory over Atletico Madrid proves they can get the required result in the Nou Camp on March 14. Chelsea won 2-1 in Madrid in September and Willian said: “We can go there (to the Nou Camp) and do a great job again. It will be a completely different game, to play there is different. But if we go with the same mentality as we did against Atletico, we can go there with great spirit and win the game. “Of course, the result against Atletico gives us confidence. To play these games is totally different, but we want to play big games like this one. It's really important. We tried to win here and now we must go to the Camp Nou. It will be totally different, we must play with the same mentality, prepare well. If we do well, we can win the game there.” With Chelsea now facing back-to-back Premier League games against Manchester United and Manchester City, Conte has challenged Willian to maintain the level he achieved on Tuesday night. “These are difficult games,” said Willian. “It is totally different to play in the Premier League to Champions League. I think we can stay at this level and we can go to Old Trafford on Sunday and play another great game. We have to play in a similar way.” Jose Mourinho was interested in trying to take Willian to United last summer, but the 29 year-old is now aiming to net a hat-trick against his former manager. Willian scored twice against Hull City in the FA Cup and hit both posts as well as scoring against Barcelona. Asked if he is now ready to complete a treble against United, Willian replied: “It's coming, it's coming (a hat-trick). I'm always ready to score goals. I think the hat-trick is coming soon. I just have to continue to do my job on the pitch. “He (Mourinho) is my friend. I had a great time with him, but I am at Chelsea and he is now at Manchester United.”
Antonio Conte: Chelsea 'marriage' can only work if we settle our differences
Antonio Conte has admitted he and the Chelsea board need to settle their differences if he is to see out his contract at the club. He has also suggested that there are already potential jobs for him to take if he leaves Chelsea in the summer. Conte gave a reminder of his coaching ability by guiding Chelsea to a Champions League last-16 first-leg draw against Barcelona, which they almost won. The Italian was back at his energetic best during the game and once again had his name sung by the Stamford Bridge crowd. But the draw was not enough to kill the belief that Conte will not be at Chelsea past this season, following the last two transfer windows in which his relationship with the board has been strained. Asked about his future by Italian media, the 48 year-old said: “In 14 years, Chelsea have changed coach 10 times, so they do have a tendency to chop and change here. Chelsea vs Barcelona player ratings “The media also plays on this habit the moment there are negative results. They were already writing headlines about my dismissal after the opening game against Burnley. “It’s no problem for me, in fact I really like pressure. I just hope it doesn’t affect the players. “I said very clearly, I have a contract to 2019. I want to respect it but anything can happen in football. I’m happy here but to move forward with the marriage everyone needs to be in agreement. My intention is to continue. Antonio Conte urges his players on from the sidelines Credit: AP “In our line of work, we always have a bag packed. My intention is to remain here, but if something were to change, there would be several different scenarios opening up.” Conte has already been linked with Paris Saint-Germain, both Milan clubs and a return to coach the Italian national team. Chelsea’s performance against Barcelona may have added to that list of admirers. Willian scored Chelsea’s goal against Barcelona and the Brazilian believes the team’s Champions League group stage victory over Atletico Madrid proves they can get the required result in the Nou Camp on March 14. Chelsea won 2-1 in Madrid in September and Willian said: “We can go there (to the Nou Camp) and do a great job again. It will be a completely different game, to play there is different. But if we go with the same mentality as we did against Atletico, we can go there with great spirit and win the game. “Of course, the result against Atletico gives us confidence. To play these games is totally different, but we want to play big games like this one. It's really important. We tried to win here and now we must go to the Camp Nou. It will be totally different, we must play with the same mentality, prepare well. If we do well, we can win the game there.” With Chelsea now facing back-to-back Premier League games against Manchester United and Manchester City, Conte has challenged Willian to maintain the level he achieved on Tuesday night. “These are difficult games,” said Willian. “It is totally different to play in the Premier League to Champions League. I think we can stay at this level and we can go to Old Trafford on Sunday and play another great game. We have to play in a similar way.” Jose Mourinho was interested in trying to take Willian to United last summer, but the 29 year-old is now aiming to net a hat-trick against his former manager. Willian scored twice against Hull City in the FA Cup and hit both posts as well as scoring against Barcelona. Asked if he is now ready to complete a treble against United, Willian replied: “It's coming, it's coming (a hat-trick). I'm always ready to score goals. I think the hat-trick is coming soon. I just have to continue to do my job on the pitch. “He (Mourinho) is my friend. I had a great time with him, but I am at Chelsea and he is now at Manchester United.”
Antonio Conte has admitted he and the Chelsea board need to settle their differences if he is to see out his contract at the club. He has also suggested that there are already potential jobs for him to take if he leaves Chelsea in the summer. Conte gave a reminder of his coaching ability by guiding Chelsea to a Champions League last-16 first-leg draw against Barcelona, which they almost won. The Italian was back at his energetic best during the game and once again had his name sung by the Stamford Bridge crowd. But the draw was not enough to kill the belief that Conte will not be at Chelsea past this season, following the last two transfer windows in which his relationship with the board has been strained. Asked about his future by Italian media, the 48 year-old said: “In 14 years, Chelsea have changed coach 10 times, so they do have a tendency to chop and change here. Chelsea vs Barcelona player ratings “The media also plays on this habit the moment there are negative results. They were already writing headlines about my dismissal after the opening game against Burnley. “It’s no problem for me, in fact I really like pressure. I just hope it doesn’t affect the players. “I said very clearly, I have a contract to 2019. I want to respect it but anything can happen in football. I’m happy here but to move forward with the marriage everyone needs to be in agreement. My intention is to continue. Antonio Conte urges his players on from the sidelines Credit: AP “In our line of work, we always have a bag packed. My intention is to remain here, but if something were to change, there would be several different scenarios opening up.” Conte has already been linked with Paris Saint-Germain, both Milan clubs and a return to coach the Italian national team. Chelsea’s performance against Barcelona may have added to that list of admirers. Willian scored Chelsea’s goal against Barcelona and the Brazilian believes the team’s Champions League group stage victory over Atletico Madrid proves they can get the required result in the Nou Camp on March 14. Chelsea won 2-1 in Madrid in September and Willian said: “We can go there (to the Nou Camp) and do a great job again. It will be a completely different game, to play there is different. But if we go with the same mentality as we did against Atletico, we can go there with great spirit and win the game. “Of course, the result against Atletico gives us confidence. To play these games is totally different, but we want to play big games like this one. It's really important. We tried to win here and now we must go to the Camp Nou. It will be totally different, we must play with the same mentality, prepare well. If we do well, we can win the game there.” With Chelsea now facing back-to-back Premier League games against Manchester United and Manchester City, Conte has challenged Willian to maintain the level he achieved on Tuesday night. “These are difficult games,” said Willian. “It is totally different to play in the Premier League to Champions League. I think we can stay at this level and we can go to Old Trafford on Sunday and play another great game. We have to play in a similar way.” Jose Mourinho was interested in trying to take Willian to United last summer, but the 29 year-old is now aiming to net a hat-trick against his former manager. Willian scored twice against Hull City in the FA Cup and hit both posts as well as scoring against Barcelona. Asked if he is now ready to complete a treble against United, Willian replied: “It's coming, it's coming (a hat-trick). I'm always ready to score goals. I think the hat-trick is coming soon. I just have to continue to do my job on the pitch. “He (Mourinho) is my friend. I had a great time with him, but I am at Chelsea and he is now at Manchester United.”
Antonio Conte: Chelsea 'marriage' can only work if we settle our differences
Antonio Conte has admitted he and the Chelsea board need to settle their differences if he is to see out his contract at the club. He has also suggested that there are already potential jobs for him to take if he leaves Chelsea in the summer. Conte gave a reminder of his coaching ability by guiding Chelsea to a Champions League last-16 first-leg draw against Barcelona, which they almost won. The Italian was back at his energetic best during the game and once again had his name sung by the Stamford Bridge crowd. But the draw was not enough to kill the belief that Conte will not be at Chelsea past this season, following the last two transfer windows in which his relationship with the board has been strained. Asked about his future by Italian media, the 48 year-old said: “In 14 years, Chelsea have changed coach 10 times, so they do have a tendency to chop and change here. Chelsea vs Barcelona player ratings “The media also plays on this habit the moment there are negative results. They were already writing headlines about my dismissal after the opening game against Burnley. “It’s no problem for me, in fact I really like pressure. I just hope it doesn’t affect the players. “I said very clearly, I have a contract to 2019. I want to respect it but anything can happen in football. I’m happy here but to move forward with the marriage everyone needs to be in agreement. My intention is to continue. Antonio Conte urges his players on from the sidelines Credit: AP “In our line of work, we always have a bag packed. My intention is to remain here, but if something were to change, there would be several different scenarios opening up.” Conte has already been linked with Paris Saint-Germain, both Milan clubs and a return to coach the Italian national team. Chelsea’s performance against Barcelona may have added to that list of admirers. Willian scored Chelsea’s goal against Barcelona and the Brazilian believes the team’s Champions League group stage victory over Atletico Madrid proves they can get the required result in the Nou Camp on March 14. Chelsea won 2-1 in Madrid in September and Willian said: “We can go there (to the Nou Camp) and do a great job again. It will be a completely different game, to play there is different. But if we go with the same mentality as we did against Atletico, we can go there with great spirit and win the game. “Of course, the result against Atletico gives us confidence. To play these games is totally different, but we want to play big games like this one. It's really important. We tried to win here and now we must go to the Camp Nou. It will be totally different, we must play with the same mentality, prepare well. If we do well, we can win the game there.” With Chelsea now facing back-to-back Premier League games against Manchester United and Manchester City, Conte has challenged Willian to maintain the level he achieved on Tuesday night. “These are difficult games,” said Willian. “It is totally different to play in the Premier League to Champions League. I think we can stay at this level and we can go to Old Trafford on Sunday and play another great game. We have to play in a similar way.” Jose Mourinho was interested in trying to take Willian to United last summer, but the 29 year-old is now aiming to net a hat-trick against his former manager. Willian scored twice against Hull City in the FA Cup and hit both posts as well as scoring against Barcelona. Asked if he is now ready to complete a treble against United, Willian replied: “It's coming, it's coming (a hat-trick). I'm always ready to score goals. I think the hat-trick is coming soon. I just have to continue to do my job on the pitch. “He (Mourinho) is my friend. I had a great time with him, but I am at Chelsea and he is now at Manchester United.”
Just answer the question below to be in with a chance of attending the game between Sean Dyche's side and the Saints
Win tickets to watch Burnley v Southampton courtesy of EA Sports
Just answer the question below to be in with a chance of attending the game between Sean Dyche's side and the Saints
Just answer the question below to be in with a chance of attending the game between Sean Dyche's side and the Saints
Win tickets to watch Burnley v Southampton courtesy of EA Sports
Just answer the question below to be in with a chance of attending the game between Sean Dyche's side and the Saints
Just answer the question below to be in with a chance of attending the game between Sean Dyche's side and the Saints
Win tickets to watch Burnley v Southampton courtesy of EA Sports
Just answer the question below to be in with a chance of attending the game between Sean Dyche's side and the Saints
Just answer the question below to be in with a chance of attending the game between Sean Dyche's side and the Saints
Win tickets to watch Burnley v Southampton courtesy of EA Sports
Just answer the question below to be in with a chance of attending the game between Sean Dyche's side and the Saints
Just answer the question below to be in with a chance of attending the game between Sean Dyche's side and the Saints
Win tickets to watch Burnley v Southampton courtesy of EA Sports
Just answer the question below to be in with a chance of attending the game between Sean Dyche's side and the Saints
Asda toasted a fourth consecutive quarter of sales growth today but revealed its profits had slipped in the run up to Christmas as it cut prices amid fierce competition in the grocery market. The supermarket chain, owned by US giant Walmart, didn’t disclose its precise profit and revenue figures but said its gross profit margin and operating income declined due to “on-going price investments”. The price cuts helped it grow sales by 2pc in the three months to December, or 0.5pc on a like-for-like basis, which excludes stores that have been open less than one year. That compares with steep falls of 0.6pc and 2.9pc in the same quarter last year. Asda customers Roger Burnley, who took over as Asda’s chief executive last month, said it attracted 348,000 new customers to its stores in December and was the only one of the big four supermarket chains - Asda, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s and Tesco, to maintain its market share in the period. The four giants have been under siege from discount chains Aldi and Lidl, upmarket grocers including Waitrose and Marks & Spencer and convenience stores including the Co-operative Group in recent years. But they bounced back in 2017 and all managed to grow sales over Christmas, in contrast to high street non-food retailers, many of whom have been hit by lower footfall owing to a boom in online shopping. Clive Black, an analyst at Shore Capital, said given the UK’s 3pc inflation rate, Asda’s growth figures implied it was selling fewer products despite generating more revenues. We know we have more work to do in the UK, however we are encouraged by recent results in key areas of our business.Walmart chief executive Doug McMillon Mr Black said the grocer was back on track after “several years going in demonstrably the right direction” but that it was “still having to work hard” to generate sales growth. Walmart’s chief executive Doug McMillon said: “We know we have more work to do in the UK, however we are encouraged by recent results in key areas of our business.” The US giant reported group sales of $136bn (£97bn), up 4pc on the prior year, but a 10.2pc drop in operating income to $4.5bn.
Asda profits slip as price cuts help boost sales
Asda toasted a fourth consecutive quarter of sales growth today but revealed its profits had slipped in the run up to Christmas as it cut prices amid fierce competition in the grocery market. The supermarket chain, owned by US giant Walmart, didn’t disclose its precise profit and revenue figures but said its gross profit margin and operating income declined due to “on-going price investments”. The price cuts helped it grow sales by 2pc in the three months to December, or 0.5pc on a like-for-like basis, which excludes stores that have been open less than one year. That compares with steep falls of 0.6pc and 2.9pc in the same quarter last year. Asda customers Roger Burnley, who took over as Asda’s chief executive last month, said it attracted 348,000 new customers to its stores in December and was the only one of the big four supermarket chains - Asda, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s and Tesco, to maintain its market share in the period. The four giants have been under siege from discount chains Aldi and Lidl, upmarket grocers including Waitrose and Marks & Spencer and convenience stores including the Co-operative Group in recent years. But they bounced back in 2017 and all managed to grow sales over Christmas, in contrast to high street non-food retailers, many of whom have been hit by lower footfall owing to a boom in online shopping. Clive Black, an analyst at Shore Capital, said given the UK’s 3pc inflation rate, Asda’s growth figures implied it was selling fewer products despite generating more revenues. We know we have more work to do in the UK, however we are encouraged by recent results in key areas of our business.Walmart chief executive Doug McMillon Mr Black said the grocer was back on track after “several years going in demonstrably the right direction” but that it was “still having to work hard” to generate sales growth. Walmart’s chief executive Doug McMillon said: “We know we have more work to do in the UK, however we are encouraged by recent results in key areas of our business.” The US giant reported group sales of $136bn (£97bn), up 4pc on the prior year, but a 10.2pc drop in operating income to $4.5bn.
Manchester United secured an FA Cup quarter-final tie with Brighton & Hove Albion in a manner that can only be ­described as straightforward. Despite the build-up and aftermath being dominated by ­questions over Paul Pogba – a man who may or may not have recovered from ­illness in time for Wednesday’s trip to Seville – they never looked in danger for a moment against a ­determined, gutsy but ultimately limited, Huddersfield Town team. They scored twice from ­lightning quick breakaways and might well have had a third were it not for the latest video assistant referee ­controversy. In many ways, this was the default Jose Mourinho performance: contained, controlled, efficient. And about as exciting as reading a washing machine instruction manual. Still, Mourinho expressed a ­significant degree of satisfaction with what was achieved. Not least because, due to a sudden flurry of injuries – with Pogba succumbing to a bug on the morning of the match – apart from David De Gea, he was unable to give any of his players the weekend off ahead of the critical Champions League tie in Spain against Sevilla. “Look, I didn’t rest one single player so we had every player ­available. I didn’t rest anyone, I brought two kids that played yesterday [Friday] 90 minutes because I don’t have another player,” ­Mourinho ­explained, in what may well have been a dig at Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola, who recently named only six substitutes against Burnley, insisting he couldn’t call up youth players ­because they had played the day ­before. "Can we recover some of them for Wednesday? I believe so. I think [Marcus] Rashford, [Ander] Herrera and [Antonio] Valencia have a chance. Paul [Pogba] I don’t know. Marcos Rojo, Phil Jones, ­Marouane, [Fellaini], Zlatan [Ibrahimovic] – I don’t think they have any chance, so we arrive at this crucial moment with some problem.” Gutted I won’t be at Huddersfield but I need to get better. Come on United ���� @ManUtd— Paul Pogba (@paulpogba) February 17, 2018 Mourinho was, understandably, frustrated by Pogba’s late withdrawl. Not least because he had planned to use him in apparently his favourite position – on the left of a midfield three – in a bid to help him recover some form and ­confidence as the business end of the season approaches. Instead, the United manager was obliged to call on the services of the veteran Michael Carrick who, at 36, may be many things – calm, ­accurate, disciplined – but one for future he isn’t. Still, the United manager will have noted one thing about the way his side brushed aside David ­Wagner’s team: Alexis Sanchez’s eye for a killer pass has not been dulled by his move from Arsenal. The Chilean had spent much of the first half looking increasingly dispirited as his team-mates drifted ever deeper in their attempt to smother Huddersfield’s busy ­midfield probing. He could be seen constantly waving colleagues ­forward, when Mourinho might have hoped he had joined them in defensive duties. But just after half time, he took matters into his own hands and supplied the game’s one standout moment: a laser-guided return ball into the path of Romelu Lukaku, who barrelled forward and scored. Sanchez drifted in and out of the game Credit: Getty images The Belgian’s finish – as it had been when he latched on to an ­almost equally telling ball from Juan Mata after just three minutes for the opener – was not as true as he might have hoped. Oddly, that worked to his ­advantage, as Jonas Lossl in the Huddersfield goal seemed to ­misread his shot, perhaps anticipating a clean strike. Throughout his career, Lukaku has tended to score goals in patches. And if, with Sanchez providing a new supply of ammunition, he has rediscovered a scoring touch ­temporarily mislaid after his ­blistering start in a United shirt, his timing could not be better. Certainly his midfield colleague Nemanja Matic, who spent much of the game scurrying and scrapping but seldom dominating possession, seemed relieved that the Lukaku mojo has resurfaced. “He is important for us,” Matic suggested. “It’s very important for his confidence that he is scoring goals and he is a great striker, very strong and he is still young, I am sure he will be important for us ­until the end of the season.” As for Pogba, Mourinho said he had no clue if the Frenchman would be available for the European tie. He could only express hope that his midfield lynchpin enjoys a swift ­recovery. While wildcat rumours circulated after their defeat at ­Newcastle United of a dressing-room bust-up were fanciful, there is no denying that the Frenchman has looked out of sorts of late. While there is relief in the fact his main striker has rediscovered the route to goal, the manager knows that, without a fully committed, fully engaged Pogba, his chances of further advance in Europe are limited indeed.
Paul Pogba could go straight back in to Man Utd team for Sevilla game
Manchester United secured an FA Cup quarter-final tie with Brighton & Hove Albion in a manner that can only be ­described as straightforward. Despite the build-up and aftermath being dominated by ­questions over Paul Pogba – a man who may or may not have recovered from ­illness in time for Wednesday’s trip to Seville – they never looked in danger for a moment against a ­determined, gutsy but ultimately limited, Huddersfield Town team. They scored twice from ­lightning quick breakaways and might well have had a third were it not for the latest video assistant referee ­controversy. In many ways, this was the default Jose Mourinho performance: contained, controlled, efficient. And about as exciting as reading a washing machine instruction manual. Still, Mourinho expressed a ­significant degree of satisfaction with what was achieved. Not least because, due to a sudden flurry of injuries – with Pogba succumbing to a bug on the morning of the match – apart from David De Gea, he was unable to give any of his players the weekend off ahead of the critical Champions League tie in Spain against Sevilla. “Look, I didn’t rest one single player so we had every player ­available. I didn’t rest anyone, I brought two kids that played yesterday [Friday] 90 minutes because I don’t have another player,” ­Mourinho ­explained, in what may well have been a dig at Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola, who recently named only six substitutes against Burnley, insisting he couldn’t call up youth players ­because they had played the day ­before. "Can we recover some of them for Wednesday? I believe so. I think [Marcus] Rashford, [Ander] Herrera and [Antonio] Valencia have a chance. Paul [Pogba] I don’t know. Marcos Rojo, Phil Jones, ­Marouane, [Fellaini], Zlatan [Ibrahimovic] – I don’t think they have any chance, so we arrive at this crucial moment with some problem.” Gutted I won’t be at Huddersfield but I need to get better. Come on United ���� @ManUtd— Paul Pogba (@paulpogba) February 17, 2018 Mourinho was, understandably, frustrated by Pogba’s late withdrawl. Not least because he had planned to use him in apparently his favourite position – on the left of a midfield three – in a bid to help him recover some form and ­confidence as the business end of the season approaches. Instead, the United manager was obliged to call on the services of the veteran Michael Carrick who, at 36, may be many things – calm, ­accurate, disciplined – but one for future he isn’t. Still, the United manager will have noted one thing about the way his side brushed aside David ­Wagner’s team: Alexis Sanchez’s eye for a killer pass has not been dulled by his move from Arsenal. The Chilean had spent much of the first half looking increasingly dispirited as his team-mates drifted ever deeper in their attempt to smother Huddersfield’s busy ­midfield probing. He could be seen constantly waving colleagues ­forward, when Mourinho might have hoped he had joined them in defensive duties. But just after half time, he took matters into his own hands and supplied the game’s one standout moment: a laser-guided return ball into the path of Romelu Lukaku, who barrelled forward and scored. Sanchez drifted in and out of the game Credit: Getty images The Belgian’s finish – as it had been when he latched on to an ­almost equally telling ball from Juan Mata after just three minutes for the opener – was not as true as he might have hoped. Oddly, that worked to his ­advantage, as Jonas Lossl in the Huddersfield goal seemed to ­misread his shot, perhaps anticipating a clean strike. Throughout his career, Lukaku has tended to score goals in patches. And if, with Sanchez providing a new supply of ammunition, he has rediscovered a scoring touch ­temporarily mislaid after his ­blistering start in a United shirt, his timing could not be better. Certainly his midfield colleague Nemanja Matic, who spent much of the game scurrying and scrapping but seldom dominating possession, seemed relieved that the Lukaku mojo has resurfaced. “He is important for us,” Matic suggested. “It’s very important for his confidence that he is scoring goals and he is a great striker, very strong and he is still young, I am sure he will be important for us ­until the end of the season.” As for Pogba, Mourinho said he had no clue if the Frenchman would be available for the European tie. He could only express hope that his midfield lynchpin enjoys a swift ­recovery. While wildcat rumours circulated after their defeat at ­Newcastle United of a dressing-room bust-up were fanciful, there is no denying that the Frenchman has looked out of sorts of late. While there is relief in the fact his main striker has rediscovered the route to goal, the manager knows that, without a fully committed, fully engaged Pogba, his chances of further advance in Europe are limited indeed.
Manchester United secured an FA Cup quarter-final tie with Brighton & Hove Albion in a manner that can only be ­described as straightforward. Despite the build-up and aftermath being dominated by ­questions over Paul Pogba – a man who may or may not have recovered from ­illness in time for Wednesday’s trip to Seville – they never looked in danger for a moment against a ­determined, gutsy but ultimately limited, Huddersfield Town team. They scored twice from ­lightning quick breakaways and might well have had a third were it not for the latest video assistant referee ­controversy. In many ways, this was the default Jose Mourinho performance: contained, controlled, efficient. And about as exciting as reading a washing machine instruction manual. Still, Mourinho expressed a ­significant degree of satisfaction with what was achieved. Not least because, due to a sudden flurry of injuries – with Pogba succumbing to a bug on the morning of the match – apart from David De Gea, he was unable to give any of his players the weekend off ahead of the critical Champions League tie in Spain against Sevilla. “Look, I didn’t rest one single player so we had every player ­available. I didn’t rest anyone, I brought two kids that played yesterday [Friday] 90 minutes because I don’t have another player,” ­Mourinho ­explained, in what may well have been a dig at Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola, who recently named only six substitutes against Burnley, insisting he couldn’t call up youth players ­because they had played the day ­before. "Can we recover some of them for Wednesday? I believe so. I think [Marcus] Rashford, [Ander] Herrera and [Antonio] Valencia have a chance. Paul [Pogba] I don’t know. Marcos Rojo, Phil Jones, ­Marouane, [Fellaini], Zlatan [Ibrahimovic] – I don’t think they have any chance, so we arrive at this crucial moment with some problem.” Gutted I won’t be at Huddersfield but I need to get better. Come on United ���� @ManUtd— Paul Pogba (@paulpogba) February 17, 2018 Mourinho was, understandably, frustrated by Pogba’s late withdrawl. Not least because he had planned to use him in apparently his favourite position – on the left of a midfield three – in a bid to help him recover some form and ­confidence as the business end of the season approaches. Instead, the United manager was obliged to call on the services of the veteran Michael Carrick who, at 36, may be many things – calm, ­accurate, disciplined – but one for future he isn’t. Still, the United manager will have noted one thing about the way his side brushed aside David ­Wagner’s team: Alexis Sanchez’s eye for a killer pass has not been dulled by his move from Arsenal. The Chilean had spent much of the first half looking increasingly dispirited as his team-mates drifted ever deeper in their attempt to smother Huddersfield’s busy ­midfield probing. He could be seen constantly waving colleagues ­forward, when Mourinho might have hoped he had joined them in defensive duties. But just after half time, he took matters into his own hands and supplied the game’s one standout moment: a laser-guided return ball into the path of Romelu Lukaku, who barrelled forward and scored. Sanchez drifted in and out of the game Credit: Getty images The Belgian’s finish – as it had been when he latched on to an ­almost equally telling ball from Juan Mata after just three minutes for the opener – was not as true as he might have hoped. Oddly, that worked to his ­advantage, as Jonas Lossl in the Huddersfield goal seemed to ­misread his shot, perhaps anticipating a clean strike. Throughout his career, Lukaku has tended to score goals in patches. And if, with Sanchez providing a new supply of ammunition, he has rediscovered a scoring touch ­temporarily mislaid after his ­blistering start in a United shirt, his timing could not be better. Certainly his midfield colleague Nemanja Matic, who spent much of the game scurrying and scrapping but seldom dominating possession, seemed relieved that the Lukaku mojo has resurfaced. “He is important for us,” Matic suggested. “It’s very important for his confidence that he is scoring goals and he is a great striker, very strong and he is still young, I am sure he will be important for us ­until the end of the season.” As for Pogba, Mourinho said he had no clue if the Frenchman would be available for the European tie. He could only express hope that his midfield lynchpin enjoys a swift ­recovery. While wildcat rumours circulated after their defeat at ­Newcastle United of a dressing-room bust-up were fanciful, there is no denying that the Frenchman has looked out of sorts of late. While there is relief in the fact his main striker has rediscovered the route to goal, the manager knows that, without a fully committed, fully engaged Pogba, his chances of further advance in Europe are limited indeed.
Paul Pogba could go straight back in to Man Utd team for Sevilla game
Manchester United secured an FA Cup quarter-final tie with Brighton & Hove Albion in a manner that can only be ­described as straightforward. Despite the build-up and aftermath being dominated by ­questions over Paul Pogba – a man who may or may not have recovered from ­illness in time for Wednesday’s trip to Seville – they never looked in danger for a moment against a ­determined, gutsy but ultimately limited, Huddersfield Town team. They scored twice from ­lightning quick breakaways and might well have had a third were it not for the latest video assistant referee ­controversy. In many ways, this was the default Jose Mourinho performance: contained, controlled, efficient. And about as exciting as reading a washing machine instruction manual. Still, Mourinho expressed a ­significant degree of satisfaction with what was achieved. Not least because, due to a sudden flurry of injuries – with Pogba succumbing to a bug on the morning of the match – apart from David De Gea, he was unable to give any of his players the weekend off ahead of the critical Champions League tie in Spain against Sevilla. “Look, I didn’t rest one single player so we had every player ­available. I didn’t rest anyone, I brought two kids that played yesterday [Friday] 90 minutes because I don’t have another player,” ­Mourinho ­explained, in what may well have been a dig at Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola, who recently named only six substitutes against Burnley, insisting he couldn’t call up youth players ­because they had played the day ­before. "Can we recover some of them for Wednesday? I believe so. I think [Marcus] Rashford, [Ander] Herrera and [Antonio] Valencia have a chance. Paul [Pogba] I don’t know. Marcos Rojo, Phil Jones, ­Marouane, [Fellaini], Zlatan [Ibrahimovic] – I don’t think they have any chance, so we arrive at this crucial moment with some problem.” Gutted I won’t be at Huddersfield but I need to get better. Come on United ���� @ManUtd— Paul Pogba (@paulpogba) February 17, 2018 Mourinho was, understandably, frustrated by Pogba’s late withdrawl. Not least because he had planned to use him in apparently his favourite position – on the left of a midfield three – in a bid to help him recover some form and ­confidence as the business end of the season approaches. Instead, the United manager was obliged to call on the services of the veteran Michael Carrick who, at 36, may be many things – calm, ­accurate, disciplined – but one for future he isn’t. Still, the United manager will have noted one thing about the way his side brushed aside David ­Wagner’s team: Alexis Sanchez’s eye for a killer pass has not been dulled by his move from Arsenal. The Chilean had spent much of the first half looking increasingly dispirited as his team-mates drifted ever deeper in their attempt to smother Huddersfield’s busy ­midfield probing. He could be seen constantly waving colleagues ­forward, when Mourinho might have hoped he had joined them in defensive duties. But just after half time, he took matters into his own hands and supplied the game’s one standout moment: a laser-guided return ball into the path of Romelu Lukaku, who barrelled forward and scored. Sanchez drifted in and out of the game Credit: Getty images The Belgian’s finish – as it had been when he latched on to an ­almost equally telling ball from Juan Mata after just three minutes for the opener – was not as true as he might have hoped. Oddly, that worked to his ­advantage, as Jonas Lossl in the Huddersfield goal seemed to ­misread his shot, perhaps anticipating a clean strike. Throughout his career, Lukaku has tended to score goals in patches. And if, with Sanchez providing a new supply of ammunition, he has rediscovered a scoring touch ­temporarily mislaid after his ­blistering start in a United shirt, his timing could not be better. Certainly his midfield colleague Nemanja Matic, who spent much of the game scurrying and scrapping but seldom dominating possession, seemed relieved that the Lukaku mojo has resurfaced. “He is important for us,” Matic suggested. “It’s very important for his confidence that he is scoring goals and he is a great striker, very strong and he is still young, I am sure he will be important for us ­until the end of the season.” As for Pogba, Mourinho said he had no clue if the Frenchman would be available for the European tie. He could only express hope that his midfield lynchpin enjoys a swift ­recovery. While wildcat rumours circulated after their defeat at ­Newcastle United of a dressing-room bust-up were fanciful, there is no denying that the Frenchman has looked out of sorts of late. While there is relief in the fact his main striker has rediscovered the route to goal, the manager knows that, without a fully committed, fully engaged Pogba, his chances of further advance in Europe are limited indeed.
uoan ​Las Palmas midfielder Jonathan Viera looks set to be the latest player to make the switch to the Chinese Super League, as ​Marca report a €25m fee has been agreed with Beijing Guoan. 2i-year-old Viera, who was linked with Swansea City, Newcastle United and Burnley and has one senior cap for the Spanish national team, looks set to agree a contract worth around €6m a year, after previously stating that he "can not say no to the offer they are giving me." The talented midfielder originally...
Former Premier League Target & Spain International Jonathan Viera Set to Join Beijing Guoan
uoan ​Las Palmas midfielder Jonathan Viera looks set to be the latest player to make the switch to the Chinese Super League, as ​Marca report a €25m fee has been agreed with Beijing Guoan. 2i-year-old Viera, who was linked with Swansea City, Newcastle United and Burnley and has one senior cap for the Spanish national team, looks set to agree a contract worth around €6m a year, after previously stating that he "can not say no to the offer they are giving me." The talented midfielder originally...
uoan ​Las Palmas midfielder Jonathan Viera looks set to be the latest player to make the switch to the Chinese Super League, as ​Marca report a €25m fee has been agreed with Beijing Guoan. 2i-year-old Viera, who was linked with Swansea City, Newcastle United and Burnley and has one senior cap for the Spanish national team, looks set to agree a contract worth around €6m a year, after previously stating that he "can not say no to the offer they are giving me." The talented midfielder originally...
Former Premier League Target & Spain International Jonathan Viera Set to Join Beijing Guoan
uoan ​Las Palmas midfielder Jonathan Viera looks set to be the latest player to make the switch to the Chinese Super League, as ​Marca report a €25m fee has been agreed with Beijing Guoan. 2i-year-old Viera, who was linked with Swansea City, Newcastle United and Burnley and has one senior cap for the Spanish national team, looks set to agree a contract worth around €6m a year, after previously stating that he "can not say no to the offer they are giving me." The talented midfielder originally...
uoan ​Las Palmas midfielder Jonathan Viera looks set to be the latest player to make the switch to the Chinese Super League, as ​Marca report a €25m fee has been agreed with Beijing Guoan. 2i-year-old Viera, who was linked with Swansea City, Newcastle United and Burnley and has one senior cap for the Spanish national team, looks set to agree a contract worth around €6m a year, after previously stating that he "can not say no to the offer they are giving me." The talented midfielder originally...
Former Premier League Target & Spain International Jonathan Viera Set to Join Beijing Guoan
uoan ​Las Palmas midfielder Jonathan Viera looks set to be the latest player to make the switch to the Chinese Super League, as ​Marca report a €25m fee has been agreed with Beijing Guoan. 2i-year-old Viera, who was linked with Swansea City, Newcastle United and Burnley and has one senior cap for the Spanish national team, looks set to agree a contract worth around €6m a year, after previously stating that he "can not say no to the offer they are giving me." The talented midfielder originally...
uoan ​Las Palmas midfielder Jonathan Viera looks set to be the latest player to make the switch to the Chinese Super League, as ​Marca report a €25m fee has been agreed with Beijing Guoan. 2i-year-old Viera, who was linked with Swansea City, Newcastle United and Burnley and has one senior cap for the Spanish national team, looks set to agree a contract worth around €6m a year, after previously stating that he "can not say no to the offer they are giving me." The talented midfielder originally...
Former Premier League Target & Spain International Jonathan Viera Set to Join Beijing Guoan
uoan ​Las Palmas midfielder Jonathan Viera looks set to be the latest player to make the switch to the Chinese Super League, as ​Marca report a €25m fee has been agreed with Beijing Guoan. 2i-year-old Viera, who was linked with Swansea City, Newcastle United and Burnley and has one senior cap for the Spanish national team, looks set to agree a contract worth around €6m a year, after previously stating that he "can not say no to the offer they are giving me." The talented midfielder originally...
FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Premier League - Huddersfield Town vs Burnley - John SmithÕs Stadium, Huddersfield, Britain - December 30, 2017 Huddersfield Town's Scott Malone in action REUTERS/Peter Powell
Premier League - Huddersfield Town vs Burnley
FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Premier League - Huddersfield Town vs Burnley - John SmithÕs Stadium, Huddersfield, Britain - December 30, 2017 Huddersfield Town's Scott Malone in action REUTERS/Peter Powell
Pep Guardiola has revealed Leroy Sane is returning to boost Manchester City’s Champions League mission, just over two weeks since suffering ankle ligament damage. Sane has flown out with City’s squad to Basel for the round of 16 tie and could even start at St. Jakob-Park as City return to European competition. It was initially feared that the Germany international could be sidelined until late March after he was the victim of a dreadful challenge from Cardiff defender Joe Bennett in the FA Cup tie between the two clubs last month. The tackle infuriated Guardiola and sparked off an angry tirade from the City manager over the standard of refereeing and absence of protection for his players. But Sane has only missed Premier League games against West Bromwich Albion, Burnley and Leicester and has made himself available as Guardiola pursues the quadruple. David Silva is also back from injury Credit: Action Images David Silva and Fabian Delph are also in City’s squad, after returning from injuries, but it is the swift return of Sane that has stunned Guardiola. If the winger does appear against FC Basel, it will ensure he has returned five weeks ahead of schedule. Guardiola said: "I'm surprised but he has worked a lot. I couldn’t expect it with a young guy, to be so professional. “He's not in perfect condition but he has run a lot and he wants to help us. He is with us and that's good news. They have done a good job, both the physio’s and himself.” When asked if Sane could start, Guardiola smiled and replied simply: “He’s young”. Sitting next to Guardiola was Vincent Kompany and there was a wonderful moment when the City captain remarked on Sane’s swift return by admitting “a bit longer than I usually take”, in reference to his persistent injury problems. Kompany is likely to be involved against the Swiss champions and has admitted it is now City’s time to finally issue a statement of intent in this competition. The Belgium international knows from painful experience how City have struggled during previous European excursions: his career with the club began in 2008 when City competed in the Uefa League. Last season they were knocked out of the Champions League at the last 16 stage on away goals by Monaco but Kompany believes this year could be different. “We've been caught out in Europe on occasions we shouldn't have but things have changed. If there is a year, a moment when the club is ready to feel at home, then it is now,” he said. “Some clubs never win it, but if every year we can go with this kind of confidence then if not this year or next year, eventually we'll get there. I'm sure of it. “We are trying to break into a well-established order - Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, - any team who has tried it has failed. First it's Basel and then getting to the stage where we can measure ourselves against these teams and feel like we can beat them." City will face an Basel team who embarrassed Manchester United in the group stages, while they also recorded an impressive 5-0 home victory over Benfica. The Swiss team have been league winners eight times in a row but manager Raphael Wicky is acutely aware that his side face a daunting task. “I think the team has no weaknesses, they show that every three days in all competitions,” he said. “They are a very flexible team and are able to react very well to the opposition. We don't have to talk about the quality of the opponents or the coach. “If we fight in such competitions, we need a perfect night, with a lot of courage, emotion, and the fans have to be there, for us to stage a surprise. “We have the belief that we can do it, but there is no great tactical plan behind it.”
Leroy Sane returns to Man City squad for Champions League trip to Basel
Pep Guardiola has revealed Leroy Sane is returning to boost Manchester City’s Champions League mission, just over two weeks since suffering ankle ligament damage. Sane has flown out with City’s squad to Basel for the round of 16 tie and could even start at St. Jakob-Park as City return to European competition. It was initially feared that the Germany international could be sidelined until late March after he was the victim of a dreadful challenge from Cardiff defender Joe Bennett in the FA Cup tie between the two clubs last month. The tackle infuriated Guardiola and sparked off an angry tirade from the City manager over the standard of refereeing and absence of protection for his players. But Sane has only missed Premier League games against West Bromwich Albion, Burnley and Leicester and has made himself available as Guardiola pursues the quadruple. David Silva is also back from injury Credit: Action Images David Silva and Fabian Delph are also in City’s squad, after returning from injuries, but it is the swift return of Sane that has stunned Guardiola. If the winger does appear against FC Basel, it will ensure he has returned five weeks ahead of schedule. Guardiola said: "I'm surprised but he has worked a lot. I couldn’t expect it with a young guy, to be so professional. “He's not in perfect condition but he has run a lot and he wants to help us. He is with us and that's good news. They have done a good job, both the physio’s and himself.” When asked if Sane could start, Guardiola smiled and replied simply: “He’s young”. Sitting next to Guardiola was Vincent Kompany and there was a wonderful moment when the City captain remarked on Sane’s swift return by admitting “a bit longer than I usually take”, in reference to his persistent injury problems. Kompany is likely to be involved against the Swiss champions and has admitted it is now City’s time to finally issue a statement of intent in this competition. The Belgium international knows from painful experience how City have struggled during previous European excursions: his career with the club began in 2008 when City competed in the Uefa League. Last season they were knocked out of the Champions League at the last 16 stage on away goals by Monaco but Kompany believes this year could be different. “We've been caught out in Europe on occasions we shouldn't have but things have changed. If there is a year, a moment when the club is ready to feel at home, then it is now,” he said. “Some clubs never win it, but if every year we can go with this kind of confidence then if not this year or next year, eventually we'll get there. I'm sure of it. “We are trying to break into a well-established order - Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, - any team who has tried it has failed. First it's Basel and then getting to the stage where we can measure ourselves against these teams and feel like we can beat them." City will face an Basel team who embarrassed Manchester United in the group stages, while they also recorded an impressive 5-0 home victory over Benfica. The Swiss team have been league winners eight times in a row but manager Raphael Wicky is acutely aware that his side face a daunting task. “I think the team has no weaknesses, they show that every three days in all competitions,” he said. “They are a very flexible team and are able to react very well to the opposition. We don't have to talk about the quality of the opponents or the coach. “If we fight in such competitions, we need a perfect night, with a lot of courage, emotion, and the fans have to be there, for us to stage a surprise. “We have the belief that we can do it, but there is no great tactical plan behind it.”
Pep Guardiola has revealed Leroy Sane is returning to boost Manchester City’s Champions League mission, just over two weeks since suffering ankle ligament damage. Sane has flown out with City’s squad to Basel for the round of 16 tie and could even start at St. Jakob-Park as City return to European competition. It was initially feared that the Germany international could be sidelined until late March after he was the victim of a dreadful challenge from Cardiff defender Joe Bennett in the FA Cup tie between the two clubs last month. The tackle infuriated Guardiola and sparked off an angry tirade from the City manager over the standard of refereeing and absence of protection for his players. But Sane has only missed Premier League games against West Bromwich Albion, Burnley and Leicester and has made himself available as Guardiola pursues the quadruple. David Silva is also back from injury Credit: Action Images David Silva and Fabian Delph are also in City’s squad, after returning from injuries, but it is the swift return of Sane that has stunned Guardiola. If the winger does appear against FC Basel, it will ensure he has returned five weeks ahead of schedule. Guardiola said: "I'm surprised but he has worked a lot. I couldn’t expect it with a young guy, to be so professional. “He's not in perfect condition but he has run a lot and he wants to help us. He is with us and that's good news. They have done a good job, both the physio’s and himself.” When asked if Sane could start, Guardiola smiled and replied simply: “He’s young”. Sitting next to Guardiola was Vincent Kompany and there was a wonderful moment when the City captain remarked on Sane’s swift return by admitting “a bit longer than I usually take”, in reference to his persistent injury problems. Kompany is likely to be involved against the Swiss champions and has admitted it is now City’s time to finally issue a statement of intent in this competition. The Belgium international knows from painful experience how City have struggled during previous European excursions: his career with the club began in 2008 when City competed in the Uefa League. Last season they were knocked out of the Champions League at the last 16 stage on away goals by Monaco but Kompany believes this year could be different. “We've been caught out in Europe on occasions we shouldn't have but things have changed. If there is a year, a moment when the club is ready to feel at home, then it is now,” he said. “Some clubs never win it, but if every year we can go with this kind of confidence then if not this year or next year, eventually we'll get there. I'm sure of it. “We are trying to break into a well-established order - Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, - any team who has tried it has failed. First it's Basel and then getting to the stage where we can measure ourselves against these teams and feel like we can beat them." City will face an Basel team who embarrassed Manchester United in the group stages, while they also recorded an impressive 5-0 home victory over Benfica. The Swiss team have been league winners eight times in a row but manager Raphael Wicky is acutely aware that his side face a daunting task. “I think the team has no weaknesses, they show that every three days in all competitions,” he said. “They are a very flexible team and are able to react very well to the opposition. We don't have to talk about the quality of the opponents or the coach. “If we fight in such competitions, we need a perfect night, with a lot of courage, emotion, and the fans have to be there, for us to stage a surprise. “We have the belief that we can do it, but there is no great tactical plan behind it.”
Leroy Sane returns to Man City squad for Champions League trip to Basel
Pep Guardiola has revealed Leroy Sane is returning to boost Manchester City’s Champions League mission, just over two weeks since suffering ankle ligament damage. Sane has flown out with City’s squad to Basel for the round of 16 tie and could even start at St. Jakob-Park as City return to European competition. It was initially feared that the Germany international could be sidelined until late March after he was the victim of a dreadful challenge from Cardiff defender Joe Bennett in the FA Cup tie between the two clubs last month. The tackle infuriated Guardiola and sparked off an angry tirade from the City manager over the standard of refereeing and absence of protection for his players. But Sane has only missed Premier League games against West Bromwich Albion, Burnley and Leicester and has made himself available as Guardiola pursues the quadruple. David Silva is also back from injury Credit: Action Images David Silva and Fabian Delph are also in City’s squad, after returning from injuries, but it is the swift return of Sane that has stunned Guardiola. If the winger does appear against FC Basel, it will ensure he has returned five weeks ahead of schedule. Guardiola said: "I'm surprised but he has worked a lot. I couldn’t expect it with a young guy, to be so professional. “He's not in perfect condition but he has run a lot and he wants to help us. He is with us and that's good news. They have done a good job, both the physio’s and himself.” When asked if Sane could start, Guardiola smiled and replied simply: “He’s young”. Sitting next to Guardiola was Vincent Kompany and there was a wonderful moment when the City captain remarked on Sane’s swift return by admitting “a bit longer than I usually take”, in reference to his persistent injury problems. Kompany is likely to be involved against the Swiss champions and has admitted it is now City’s time to finally issue a statement of intent in this competition. The Belgium international knows from painful experience how City have struggled during previous European excursions: his career with the club began in 2008 when City competed in the Uefa League. Last season they were knocked out of the Champions League at the last 16 stage on away goals by Monaco but Kompany believes this year could be different. “We've been caught out in Europe on occasions we shouldn't have but things have changed. If there is a year, a moment when the club is ready to feel at home, then it is now,” he said. “Some clubs never win it, but if every year we can go with this kind of confidence then if not this year or next year, eventually we'll get there. I'm sure of it. “We are trying to break into a well-established order - Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, - any team who has tried it has failed. First it's Basel and then getting to the stage where we can measure ourselves against these teams and feel like we can beat them." City will face an Basel team who embarrassed Manchester United in the group stages, while they also recorded an impressive 5-0 home victory over Benfica. The Swiss team have been league winners eight times in a row but manager Raphael Wicky is acutely aware that his side face a daunting task. “I think the team has no weaknesses, they show that every three days in all competitions,” he said. “They are a very flexible team and are able to react very well to the opposition. We don't have to talk about the quality of the opponents or the coach. “If we fight in such competitions, we need a perfect night, with a lot of courage, emotion, and the fans have to be there, for us to stage a surprise. “We have the belief that we can do it, but there is no great tactical plan behind it.”
With the 22nd goal of an already extraordinary first season at Liverpool, Mohamed Salah jumped to the top of an elite list of goal-scorers. It was his 19th strike with his left foot, making his first season back in England the joint-most prolific the Premier League has ever seen when it comes to left-footed goals. Only fellow Red Robbie Fowler has scored as many in a single season, and he did so when the top flight had 22 teams and so each side played four extra matches. Salah, though, has equalled the Premier League record with 11 matches to spare in a shorter, 38-game season. His 19 left-footed goals is only one fewer than Swansea City's overall total in the 'Goals For' column, and only two behind seventh-placed Burnley. Goals scored | Premier League 2017/18 This is only the 16th time in Premier League history that a player has made it past 10 left-footed goals in a season, and only the sixth time someone has made it to 15. It has been an astonishing campaign by anyone's standards, let alone for a player only just being given their first proper run at English football having previously been disregarded. But if there was one criticism - though even calling it a criticism seems just a tad harsh - of Salah, it might be that it has been slightly too left-footed. Of the 73 instances of a player scoring 20 or more goals in a Premier League season, Salah's debut campaign at Liverpool is the most left-foot 'heavy'. That is, 86.4 per cent of his goals have come from his left boot - the highest proportion of any 20-goal Premier League season, by some distance. Highest proportion of goals scored with left foot | Premier League seasons Gareth Bale in 2012/13 and Robbie Fowler's 1994/95 come closest to challenging Salah in this regard, but beyond that, the other great left-footed forwards of the Premier League era - Robin van Persie, Daniel Sturridge, Romelu Lukaku and Louis Saha - are all remarkably two-footed. In Van Persie's most prolific season - his final year at Arsenal - he scored 30 goals, but just 17 were with his rocket of a left foot. Meanwhile, he scored 12 with his right; more than right-footers Mario Balotelli, Frank Lampard, Jermaine Defoe, Theo Walcott and Edin Dzeko to name a handful. The presence of Harry Kane in that list is quite something. The current campaign has seen Kane race to 23 league goals, with nine coming via each foot: take away his two penalties and he has had a more effective season with his left than his right. 39.1 per cent of Kane's goals this season have been left-footed Credit: Getty images Kane, a right-footed player who has worked tremendously hard on honing other skills to make him a more complete player, has had the 10th-most left foot-heavy 20-goal season in Premier League history. Right-footers, on the other hand are markedly more one-footed. Of the 73 times a player has scored 20 or more Premier League goals in a season, the most right-footed was Sergio Aguero in 2011/12, when 91.3 per cent of his goals came via his right boot. Even the 10th-most right-footed season saw Andrew Johnson net 81 per cent of his goals with his right. Perhaps left-footed players grow up being 'shown onto to their weaker foot' more often, and so become more accustomed to finding other routes to goal. A player with a decent shot is usually pretty easy to spot, so defenders do all they can to make sure that opponent cannot get a clear sight of goal on their strong foot. pic.twitter.com/hUFiD4YR2T— Mohamed Salah (@22mosalah) February 11, 2018 Teams have obviously tried to get Kane onto his left foot more, but as he becomes more two-footed, he just adapts and scores more with his left. For Salah, meanwhile, the pace at which he can move means defenders have even less chance to get him onto his significantly weaker right. He can burst into half a yard of space with such ease that he gets as many shooting opportunities on his left as he needs. It may have been a one-footed season so far for Salah, but it is frightfully effective, and six months in, nobody has found a way to stop him on his favoured side.
Mohamed Salah is having the most left-footed Premier League season ever
With the 22nd goal of an already extraordinary first season at Liverpool, Mohamed Salah jumped to the top of an elite list of goal-scorers. It was his 19th strike with his left foot, making his first season back in England the joint-most prolific the Premier League has ever seen when it comes to left-footed goals. Only fellow Red Robbie Fowler has scored as many in a single season, and he did so when the top flight had 22 teams and so each side played four extra matches. Salah, though, has equalled the Premier League record with 11 matches to spare in a shorter, 38-game season. His 19 left-footed goals is only one fewer than Swansea City's overall total in the 'Goals For' column, and only two behind seventh-placed Burnley. Goals scored | Premier League 2017/18 This is only the 16th time in Premier League history that a player has made it past 10 left-footed goals in a season, and only the sixth time someone has made it to 15. It has been an astonishing campaign by anyone's standards, let alone for a player only just being given their first proper run at English football having previously been disregarded. But if there was one criticism - though even calling it a criticism seems just a tad harsh - of Salah, it might be that it has been slightly too left-footed. Of the 73 instances of a player scoring 20 or more goals in a Premier League season, Salah's debut campaign at Liverpool is the most left-foot 'heavy'. That is, 86.4 per cent of his goals have come from his left boot - the highest proportion of any 20-goal Premier League season, by some distance. Highest proportion of goals scored with left foot | Premier League seasons Gareth Bale in 2012/13 and Robbie Fowler's 1994/95 come closest to challenging Salah in this regard, but beyond that, the other great left-footed forwards of the Premier League era - Robin van Persie, Daniel Sturridge, Romelu Lukaku and Louis Saha - are all remarkably two-footed. In Van Persie's most prolific season - his final year at Arsenal - he scored 30 goals, but just 17 were with his rocket of a left foot. Meanwhile, he scored 12 with his right; more than right-footers Mario Balotelli, Frank Lampard, Jermaine Defoe, Theo Walcott and Edin Dzeko to name a handful. The presence of Harry Kane in that list is quite something. The current campaign has seen Kane race to 23 league goals, with nine coming via each foot: take away his two penalties and he has had a more effective season with his left than his right. 39.1 per cent of Kane's goals this season have been left-footed Credit: Getty images Kane, a right-footed player who has worked tremendously hard on honing other skills to make him a more complete player, has had the 10th-most left foot-heavy 20-goal season in Premier League history. Right-footers, on the other hand are markedly more one-footed. Of the 73 times a player has scored 20 or more Premier League goals in a season, the most right-footed was Sergio Aguero in 2011/12, when 91.3 per cent of his goals came via his right boot. Even the 10th-most right-footed season saw Andrew Johnson net 81 per cent of his goals with his right. Perhaps left-footed players grow up being 'shown onto to their weaker foot' more often, and so become more accustomed to finding other routes to goal. A player with a decent shot is usually pretty easy to spot, so defenders do all they can to make sure that opponent cannot get a clear sight of goal on their strong foot. pic.twitter.com/hUFiD4YR2T— Mohamed Salah (@22mosalah) February 11, 2018 Teams have obviously tried to get Kane onto his left foot more, but as he becomes more two-footed, he just adapts and scores more with his left. For Salah, meanwhile, the pace at which he can move means defenders have even less chance to get him onto his significantly weaker right. He can burst into half a yard of space with such ease that he gets as many shooting opportunities on his left as he needs. It may have been a one-footed season so far for Salah, but it is frightfully effective, and six months in, nobody has found a way to stop him on his favoured side.
With the 22nd goal of an already extraordinary first season at Liverpool, Mohamed Salah jumped to the top of an elite list of goal-scorers. It was his 19th strike with his left foot, making his first season back in England the joint-most prolific the Premier League has ever seen when it comes to left-footed goals. Only fellow Red Robbie Fowler has scored as many in a single season, and he did so when the top flight had 22 teams and so each side played four extra matches. Salah, though, has equalled the Premier League record with 11 matches to spare in a shorter, 38-game season. His 19 left-footed goals is only one fewer than Swansea City's overall total in the 'Goals For' column, and only two behind seventh-placed Burnley. Goals scored | Premier League 2017/18 This is only the 16th time in Premier League history that a player has made it past 10 left-footed goals in a season, and only the sixth time someone has made it to 15. It has been an astonishing campaign by anyone's standards, let alone for a player only just being given their first proper run at English football having previously been disregarded. But if there was one criticism - though even calling it a criticism seems just a tad harsh - of Salah, it might be that it has been slightly too left-footed. Of the 73 instances of a player scoring 20 or more goals in a Premier League season, Salah's debut campaign at Liverpool is the most left-foot 'heavy'. That is, 86.4 per cent of his goals have come from his left boot - the highest proportion of any 20-goal Premier League season, by some distance. Highest proportion of goals scored with left foot | Premier League seasons Gareth Bale in 2012/13 and Robbie Fowler's 1994/95 come closest to challenging Salah in this regard, but beyond that, the other great left-footed forwards of the Premier League era - Robin van Persie, Daniel Sturridge, Romelu Lukaku and Louis Saha - are all remarkably two-footed. In Van Persie's most prolific season - his final year at Arsenal - he scored 30 goals, but just 17 were with his rocket of a left foot. Meanwhile, he scored 12 with his right; more than right-footers Mario Balotelli, Frank Lampard, Jermaine Defoe, Theo Walcott and Edin Dzeko to name a handful. The presence of Harry Kane in that list is quite something. The current campaign has seen Kane race to 23 league goals, with nine coming via each foot: take away his two penalties and he has had a more effective season with his left than his right. 39.1 per cent of Kane's goals this season have been left-footed Credit: Getty images Kane, a right-footed player who has worked tremendously hard on honing other skills to make him a more complete player, has had the 10th-most left foot-heavy 20-goal season in Premier League history. Right-footers, on the other hand are markedly more one-footed. Of the 73 times a player has scored 20 or more Premier League goals in a season, the most right-footed was Sergio Aguero in 2011/12, when 91.3 per cent of his goals came via his right boot. Even the 10th-most right-footed season saw Andrew Johnson net 81 per cent of his goals with his right. Perhaps left-footed players grow up being 'shown onto to their weaker foot' more often, and so become more accustomed to finding other routes to goal. A player with a decent shot is usually pretty easy to spot, so defenders do all they can to make sure that opponent cannot get a clear sight of goal on their strong foot. pic.twitter.com/hUFiD4YR2T— Mohamed Salah (@22mosalah) February 11, 2018 Teams have obviously tried to get Kane onto his left foot more, but as he becomes more two-footed, he just adapts and scores more with his left. For Salah, meanwhile, the pace at which he can move means defenders have even less chance to get him onto his significantly weaker right. He can burst into half a yard of space with such ease that he gets as many shooting opportunities on his left as he needs. It may have been a one-footed season so far for Salah, but it is frightfully effective, and six months in, nobody has found a way to stop him on his favoured side.
Mohamed Salah is having the most left-footed Premier League season ever
With the 22nd goal of an already extraordinary first season at Liverpool, Mohamed Salah jumped to the top of an elite list of goal-scorers. It was his 19th strike with his left foot, making his first season back in England the joint-most prolific the Premier League has ever seen when it comes to left-footed goals. Only fellow Red Robbie Fowler has scored as many in a single season, and he did so when the top flight had 22 teams and so each side played four extra matches. Salah, though, has equalled the Premier League record with 11 matches to spare in a shorter, 38-game season. His 19 left-footed goals is only one fewer than Swansea City's overall total in the 'Goals For' column, and only two behind seventh-placed Burnley. Goals scored | Premier League 2017/18 This is only the 16th time in Premier League history that a player has made it past 10 left-footed goals in a season, and only the sixth time someone has made it to 15. It has been an astonishing campaign by anyone's standards, let alone for a player only just being given their first proper run at English football having previously been disregarded. But if there was one criticism - though even calling it a criticism seems just a tad harsh - of Salah, it might be that it has been slightly too left-footed. Of the 73 instances of a player scoring 20 or more goals in a Premier League season, Salah's debut campaign at Liverpool is the most left-foot 'heavy'. That is, 86.4 per cent of his goals have come from his left boot - the highest proportion of any 20-goal Premier League season, by some distance. Highest proportion of goals scored with left foot | Premier League seasons Gareth Bale in 2012/13 and Robbie Fowler's 1994/95 come closest to challenging Salah in this regard, but beyond that, the other great left-footed forwards of the Premier League era - Robin van Persie, Daniel Sturridge, Romelu Lukaku and Louis Saha - are all remarkably two-footed. In Van Persie's most prolific season - his final year at Arsenal - he scored 30 goals, but just 17 were with his rocket of a left foot. Meanwhile, he scored 12 with his right; more than right-footers Mario Balotelli, Frank Lampard, Jermaine Defoe, Theo Walcott and Edin Dzeko to name a handful. The presence of Harry Kane in that list is quite something. The current campaign has seen Kane race to 23 league goals, with nine coming via each foot: take away his two penalties and he has had a more effective season with his left than his right. 39.1 per cent of Kane's goals this season have been left-footed Credit: Getty images Kane, a right-footed player who has worked tremendously hard on honing other skills to make him a more complete player, has had the 10th-most left foot-heavy 20-goal season in Premier League history. Right-footers, on the other hand are markedly more one-footed. Of the 73 times a player has scored 20 or more Premier League goals in a season, the most right-footed was Sergio Aguero in 2011/12, when 91.3 per cent of his goals came via his right boot. Even the 10th-most right-footed season saw Andrew Johnson net 81 per cent of his goals with his right. Perhaps left-footed players grow up being 'shown onto to their weaker foot' more often, and so become more accustomed to finding other routes to goal. A player with a decent shot is usually pretty easy to spot, so defenders do all they can to make sure that opponent cannot get a clear sight of goal on their strong foot. pic.twitter.com/hUFiD4YR2T— Mohamed Salah (@22mosalah) February 11, 2018 Teams have obviously tried to get Kane onto his left foot more, but as he becomes more two-footed, he just adapts and scores more with his left. For Salah, meanwhile, the pace at which he can move means defenders have even less chance to get him onto his significantly weaker right. He can burst into half a yard of space with such ease that he gets as many shooting opportunities on his left as he needs. It may have been a one-footed season so far for Salah, but it is frightfully effective, and six months in, nobody has found a way to stop him on his favoured side.
No wonder Riyad Mahrez was desperate to join this lot. Another win, another avalanche of goals, their lead at the top of the Premier League stretched to a scarcely believable 16 points and another show stopping turn from that serial slaughterer of defenders. When Sergio Aguero received the ball from Phil Foden just outside the penalty area as the clock hit 90 minutes, the young Manchester City midfielder was screaming for it back. Aguero, though, had only one thing in mind at that point and crashed a thunderous strike in off the underside of the crossbar for his fourth goal of an arresting afternoon. The Argentina striker is now just three goals short of a double century for Manchester City and just six shy of bettering his season best goals tally for the club of 33. It is only early February and Aguero already has 28 goals in 32 appearances, half of which have come in his last seven games at the Etihad. Do not let anyone tell you this man is past his best. “When one guy is able to score four goals, he deserves all the credit,” Pep Guardiola, the Manchester City manager, said. Guardiola’s side now have 72 points and are unbeaten at the Etihad since December 2016. Seven more wins will guarantee the title. The Premier League is widely as the most competitive in Europe but Guardiola is in danger of turning it into a one horse show like Scotland and could become the first to smash the 100 point barrier. When it was put to Guardiola he was making it look easy, he replied: “So far, yeah. I would like to take that question after 38 games. So far we have 72 points in February so it is a lot. We’ve enjoyed the last six or seven months but to be admired and loved we have to win the title.” Man City 1 - 0 Leicester (Raheem Sterling, 3 min) Leicester City had barely gained a foothold in the game before they equalised against the run of play. Guardiola will have been disappointed that the goal originated from a misplaced pass from Nicolas Otamendi, who had actually done well to dispossess Fousseni Diabate but he will have admired the subsequent brilliance of Jamie Vardy. Collecting Otamendi’s stray pass, Vardy rode challenges from Oleksandr Zinchenko and Ilkay Gundogan, both of whom had slid in to try to win the ball back, before careering towards the penalty area. With Aymeric Laporte backing off, Vardy fired expertly into the far bottom corner. It was a terrific piece of centre-forward play. Man City 1 - 1 Leicester (Jamie Vardy, 24 min) “He perhaps made a mistake but it’s important to have our best players with us,” Claude Puel, the Leicester City manager, said of Mahrez. “The most important thing is that he came back to the training session, to the game. Now it’s important to look forward and put this behind us.” If Aguero stole the headlines, Kevin De Bruyne ran him close for the man-of-the-match award. It was De Bruyne who fashioned the first three goals with characteristically sublime passes. The match was only three minutes old when Raheem Sterling gave the hosts the lead. Bernardo Silva pulled the ball back to De Bruyne on the right and the Belgian swung in a wonderful cross that eluded Leicester City’s defence, the ball flying across the six yard box to the far post where Sterling nipped ahead of Marc Albrighton to steer home. Guardiola – who named three academy graduates among his substitutes a week after being criticised by Gary Neville for denying a youth team player a chance by only naming six substitutes against Burnley - had substituted Sterling immediately after the England forward missed a golden chance at Turf Moor but there was no mistake here. Man City 2 - 1 Leicester (Sergio Agüero, 48 min) Leicester City had barely gained a foothold in the game before they equalised thanks to a terrific piece of centre-forward play from Jamie Vardy, who capitalised on a stray pass from Nicolas Otamendi before riding challenges from Oleksandr Zinchenko and Ilkay Gundogan as he strode forward and fired expertly into the bottom corner. Yet any hope of causing an upset evaporated within the space of five minutes early in the second half when Puel’s move to a back four was undone by two moments of ingenuity from De Bruyne. Exchanging a quick one-two with Sterling, De Bruyne’s pass to give Aguero a simple tap in was sublime, a clipped swipe of the side-foot that swerved past Danny Simpson and beyond Harry Maguire. Riyad Mahrez was a substitute for Leicester Credit: GETTY IMAGES Two became three soon after. Credit must go to Kyle Walker for chasing down Maguire, who played an angled pass to Kasper Schmeichel that the goalkeeper hurriedly tried to clear. Fernandinho intercepted, passed to De Bruyne who, in turn, played through Aguero to shoot in off Schmeichel. It would get a whole lot worse for Schmeichel. When Maguire played a simple back pass to Schmeichel, the Dane had time and options but elected to play a rushed pass intended for Aleksandar Dragovic that Aguero intercepted before dinking a lovely lobbed finish over the embarrassed Leicester City goalkeeper. Then came that fabulous fourth. 7:32PM Kevin De Bruyne tries to steal the match ball KDB tries to wind up Aguero at the final whistle by claiming the match ball for his three assists. Aguero makes sure he gets it and tells Sky Sports his favourite of his four goals was the fourth because it's been a while since he scored from outside the box. 7:24PM Average positions Average touch positions (0 min) 7:20PM FULL TIME It turns out a few days rest does wonders for this team! They looked a little lethargic in the first half, as though they couldn't quite build up the steam needed to punish Leicester's mistakes but in the second half have obliterated them. Clinical, powerful, fast, decisive. A great performance - Aguero and De Bruyne have been exceptional. 7:19PM GOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLL! Aguero 4th He's just completely binned Schmeichel there. The power on that shot is ridiculous. Aguero's dipping, bending shot from 20 yards... how has he done that?! It's unsaveable but hit straight down the middle. Insane. Man City 5 - 1 Leicester (Sergio Agüero, 90 min) 7:17PM 89 mins De Bruyne takes a sore one as Maguire clumsily kicks him trying to take the ball away. De Bruyne knows he's coming but still takes the hit. 7:14PM 87 mins Leicester have a free-kick, Mahrez plays it short and his pass is dreadful. James can't do anything with it and suddenly they're in trouble. Ederson launches a long ball towards Aguero but it's just slightly too heavy and Schmeichel is able to gather. This time he decides not to pass to Aguero. A wise choice, if I may say so. 7:12PM 85 mins De Bruyne attempts a first-time shot from 30 yards but puts it miles into the air. He can be forgiven. This time. 7:10PM 83 mins Vardy is having an argument with Laporte and the referee books them both. Vardy has a sly kick at the defender while trying to win the ball and Laporte tells him to wise up, Vardy doesn't like it and gets in his face. Gentlemen, please, won't you think of the example you'll set? 7:07PM 81 mins Phil Foden is on for Fernandinho. That should mean Gundogan drops into the holding midfield role. Otamendi is replaced by John Stones - two left-footed ball-playing defenders side by side. 7:06PM GOOOOAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLL! Aguero fourth Schmeichel. What. On. Earth. Was. That. He passes the ball straight to Aguero on the edge of his own penalty area and though Aguero's finish is superb, a controlled chip high over the goalkeeper, it is entirely Schmeichel's fault for trying to be Ederson. You aren't Ederson, Kasper. Man City 4 - 1 Leicester (Sergio Agüero, 77 min) 7:04PM 77 mins Aguero wins a corner with a deflected shot. De Bruyne walks over to take it, goes short, then hits it low into the area. Gundogan chips to the back post for Otamendi, who controls on the chest and hits a volley straight at Schmeichel. Leicester try to counter-attack but Ederson times his save perfectly and takes the ball away from Vardy before he can go round and win a penalty. 7:01PM 75 mins Laporte goes down under a challenge, slips and holds his leg. Mahrez attacks, Gundogan brings him down and complains that it should have been a foul on Laporte. Mahrez can shoot from here. Albrighton chips it into the box instead, meaning Leicester have still only had one shot on goal. Although, technically, Maguire's sneaky attempt to tuck a cross/shot inside the near post should probably count as one. 6:58PM 72 mins Bernardo Silva cuts inside from the right, Fuchs doesn't predict - somehow - that he will do so and Bernardo shoots form 20 yards, bending his effort wide of the top corner. Ndidi is booked for a frustrated challenge on Gundogan. This is quite funny: Man City vs Leicester shots on goal Man City vs Leicester shots on goal 6:56PM 69 mins Mahrez hasn't scored any goals yet nor tried putting it in his own net in protest. There's still time. Which way will he swing? At the moment, Leicester are in damage control mode and Man City being allowed to patiently pass around their half. 6:53PM 66 mins Zinchenko is replaced by Danilo. Possession: Man City vs Leicester 6:50PM 63 mins THE NARRATIVE! Riyad Mahrez is about to come on! Credit: GETTY IMAGES He replaces Diabate, who I thought had a pretty decent game but was unlucky with some passes and dribbing attempts. Chilwell is replaced by Iheanacho. That might mean a 4-4-2 for Leicester now. The Man City fans cheer Mahrez's substitution. 6:47PM 61 mins Credit: REUTERS 6:45PM 59 mins Manchester City are the helmet of bees, Leicester City are Nicolas Cage, begging for mercy— James Tyler (@JamesTylerESPN) February 10, 2018 Sterling is dragging defenders around at the back and is so quick that they barely have time to react to what he's doing. Gundogan arrives to try and finish off a cut-back at the edge of the area but it's deflected over for a corner. Otamendi attacks the corner AND IT'S JUST WIDE! Schmeichel doesn't even dive but got his angles right. 6:43PM 57 mins I'm pretty sure Leicester are out of this one now. That half time change hasn't worked - City are all over them. 6:41PM GOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLLLL!!!!! Aguero goal 2 OOOOCHA! Aguero fires that in with pure power. De Bruyne gets the assist (a hat-trick?) but Schmeichel can do absolutely nothing to stop the ball landing in the back of the net despite getting in the way of it. Man City 3 - 1 Leicester (Sergio Agüero, 53 min) 6:38PM 52 mins Leicester are in a back four now with Chilwell playing ahead of Fuchs. Adrien Silva is off for Danny Simpson to make it happen. That happened at half time but City scored too quickly for me to tell you. Selfish. 6:37PM GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLL! Aguero goal City are back in front! Aguero scores but this is all about Kevin De Bruyne's pass. It is unbelievable. As in I struggle to believe he is that good at passing. How does he do it? He's fed a ball inches away from the defender's boots to hand Aguero a tap-in. Ridiculous. Man City 2 - 1 Leicester (Sergio Agüero, 48 min) 6:32PM KICK-OFF 2 We're back! What will we see in this half? 6:21PM Average positions Average touch positions (half time) De Bruyne and Gundogan have spent most of their time on the left of the attack, making this shape look a little imbalanced. Guardiola will likely try to get one of them closer to Bernardo Silva in the second, if anything, to make him a little more effective. Leicester have an easy read on his movement and it means City lack bite down that wing. 6:18PM The stats that matter Man City vs Leicester shots on goal There's another goal in this game but it could genuinely go to either team. City don't quite have the momentum they need. Possession: Man City vs Leicester 6:16PM HALF TIME And that's that. Leicester have one shot on goal, get it on target and it's 1-1. Man City need to do a bit more to win the three points here. 6:13PM 44 mins I'm not sure if Bernardo Silva realises he's allowed to use his right foot but if he ever does, he'll be some player. At the moment he's too easy to read and the constant cut backs onto his left to pass backwards are slowing down moves on that right wing. Walker wins a free-kick wide right, De Bruyne comes across to take it. Leicester head away. 6:11PM 42 mins Chilwell has been impressive on the Leicester left - he's another young English player with huge potential. His attempt to win a corner doesn't work as Otamendi refuses to buy the dummy and Man City attack. Sterling is in! He goes around Schmeichel but has a tight angle to shoot from... and Maguire slides into block! Corner. City end up passing all the way back to Ederson. 6:09PM 40 mins Leicester have done well to get back into this one. They've grown in confidence and City are wary of the counter-attack now. Bernardo Silva overhits a pass to Aguero during another swift Man City attack. The final ball hasn't been quite good enough from Sterling and Bernardo today. Possession: Man City vs Leicester 6:06PM 38 mins Sterling is so frustrating to watch at times - he's so nearly a great player. He pulls away into a brilliant position out wide, takes the ball down with a superb first touch and then runs at goal before passing inside to absolutely nobody. He does win a free-kick in the end and De Bruyne powers the cross into the box but nobody can get a touch to turn it at goal. "No player in world football is better at crossing the ball than Kevin De Bruyne", says Jamie Carragher. 6:04PM 35 mins De Bruyne comes inside onto his right foot and absolutely thunders a shot towards the near post. Schmeichel does really well to get behind that and parry it away! Attempt Saved: Man City 1 - 1 Leicester (Kevin De Bruyne, 33 min) 6:02PM 33 mins Credit: REUTERS De Bruyne finds Sterling, who runs into the box and then goes down. That looks like a foul... which would mean it's a penalty... but the referee doesn't care. I suspect that might have been a free-kick anywhere else on the pitch. 6:01PM 31 mins City piling on the pressure now. Fernandinho tries a shot but Schmeichel saves, Bernardo skips past Fuchs in the penalty area and shoots from near the touchline and Schmeichel saves. Zinchenko is in the right position to cut out a pass to Diabte on the right of Leicester's attack. If he hadn't... it would have been bad. 5:58PM 28 mins Man City go on the attack immediately and Gundogan shoots from range... saved! Attempt Saved: Man City 1 - 1 Leicester (Ilkay Gündogan, 25 min) Will that goal give Leicester the confidence they need to attack Man City a bit here? They look capable of scoring on the counter-attack and are getting wide players forward quickly. 5:56PM GOOOOOOOAAAAAAAALLLLLL! vardy goal But that's what happens when you don't pay attention! City break quickly, De Bruyne and Sterling lead the charge but the pass from Sterling is poor and Aguero loses out. Wrong decision from Sterling. Leicester move forward, three separate players see the opportunity to slide into stop Vardy as Otamendi passes the ball straight to him, but he skips each one, gets to the area and finishes superbly into the bottom corner. Brilliant from Vardy! Man City 1 - 1 Leicester (Jamie Vardy, 24 min) 5:52PM 23 mins Ohhhhh it's so good. One touch pass and move football and City have taken advantage of a turnover in possession near the centre-circle and almost created a scoring chance within seconds. Aguero can't quite keep the ball inside the box and Leicester survive. Look at this average positions graphic: Average touch positions (10 min) Leicester are being forced so deep. But they've managed to get into the City half now and a promising move results in a corner as Fernandinho clears up the danger. 5:49PM 20 mins Maguire wins the tackle, knocks it forward, City win possession back. Possession: Man City vs Leicester The most difficult thing about this match for Man City will be staying alert and driven. It already seems pretty easy. 5:47PM 18 mins Sterling is so quick, it's ridiculous. It looks like the ball is out of play but Sterling roadrunners it and touches inside, then aims a low ball into the middle. Schmeichel parries. Credit: AFP 5:46PM 16 mins Man City home games are pretty strange. They're so completely in control of the match that the crowd quietens down as though watching theatre, the opposition sit back and patiently wait to either try and capitalise on a mistake or await their inevitable demise. When stuff actually happens they get loud, of course, but most matches are like attack vs defence and the supporters have to watch a training match. 5:44PM 13 mins City stroking the ball around, Leicester are terrified of them and keep dropping further backwards to defend. Zinchenko accidentally hits a pass straight out for a throw-in but Man City win it aback immediately and Aguero finds Sterling to his left on the edge of the box. Some tidy feet and Sterling almost creates a chance to shoot for himself by putting the ball around the side of a defender and sprinting to win it. The goalkeeper wins. 5:40PM 10 mins De Bruyne is running the show early on, moving all around the pitch. Leicester have a chance to get forward, hit it into the channel for Vardy to chase and Ederson comes 30 yards off his line, controls on the chest, settles it down and chips a ball across the pitch right onto Walker's foot. 5:37PM 7 mins Albrighton is down with a problem, catching Gundogan on the knee (I think) while going for the ball. It's just a wee clash, nothing serious, but enough to make him take a time out. Leicester are trying to pass out from the back but City's press is forcing them into errors everywhere. Man City look so good here. 5:33PM GOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLL! Sterling goal Leicester haven't started well at all. They're playing a three man defence and don't seem certain of it - and Man City are in the mood. Bernardo plays it to De Bruyne who has far too much time and picks out Sterling at the back post with an unbelievable pass. It's all about De Bruyne's vision and Sterling's running at the back post. Man City 1 - 0 Leicester (Raheem Sterling, 3 min) 5:32PM 3 mins Leicester are a little clumsy with the ball in their own defensive third and City steal it back. Bernardo Silva cuts onto his left... City could be in here! 5:31PM 1 mins Straight away Leicester win the ball deep and look to hit it forward over the top for Jamie Vardy to chase. Aymeric Laporte has to be alert to deal with the early threat. 5:30PM KICK-OFF And they're off! City get us started. 5:30PM Here come the players Sky Sports have had technical difficulties apparently and so we have been denied pre-match analysis and Graeme Souness' frightening demeanour. It's been quite nice. 5:18PM A million photos of Mahrez Credit: AFP The picture database I have access to is full of photos of Mahrez warming up. Meanwhile, Sky Sports are running a montage VT of Leicester's title winning season. That was a fun time, wasn't it? 4:56PM No David Silva again Guardiola has named all seven of his allowed substitutes today, putting young striker Lukas Nmecha next to Phil Foden on the bench. One very important man who will miss out is Silva, who has been one of the best players in the league this season. I wrote this on him a while ago: What makes David Silva Manchester City's most important player? 4:51PM Mahrez on the bench! And so, here we are. Riyad Mahrez has made the bench after all that noise during the week. Could he be the protagonist of this game for all the right reasons? Will I try many more cliche narrative lines throughout this liveblog? Nobody knows! 4:34PM Starting lineups Man City How we line-up against the Foxes! #cityvlcfc City XI | Ederson, Walker, Laporte, Otamendi, Zinchenko, Fernandinho (C), Gündogan, De Bruyne, Sterling, Bernardo, Agüero Subs | Bravo, Danilo, Kompany, Stones, Nmecha, Foden, Diaz Presented by @HaysWorldwide#mancitypic.twitter.com/tlBLjj5nsX— Manchester City (@ManCity) February 10, 2018 Ederson, Walker, Laporte, Otamendi, Zinchenko, Fernandinho, Gundogan, De Bruyne, Sterling, Bernardo, Aguero Leicester Today's starting XI: Schmeichel (c), Dragović, Maguire, Fuchs, Albrighton, Silva, Ndidi, James, Chilwell, Diabaté, Vardy. Subs: Jakupović, Simpson, Benalouane, Iborra, Gray, Mahrez, Iheanacho. #MciLeipic.twitter.com/qoxMH6cx1p— Leicester City (@LCFC) February 10, 2018 Schmeichel, Dragovic, Maguire, Fuchs, Albrighton, Silva, Ndidi, James, Chilwell, Diabate, Vardy
Man City 5 Leicester 1: Sergio Aguero scores four as show-stopping City stretch their Premier League lead
No wonder Riyad Mahrez was desperate to join this lot. Another win, another avalanche of goals, their lead at the top of the Premier League stretched to a scarcely believable 16 points and another show stopping turn from that serial slaughterer of defenders. When Sergio Aguero received the ball from Phil Foden just outside the penalty area as the clock hit 90 minutes, the young Manchester City midfielder was screaming for it back. Aguero, though, had only one thing in mind at that point and crashed a thunderous strike in off the underside of the crossbar for his fourth goal of an arresting afternoon. The Argentina striker is now just three goals short of a double century for Manchester City and just six shy of bettering his season best goals tally for the club of 33. It is only early February and Aguero already has 28 goals in 32 appearances, half of which have come in his last seven games at the Etihad. Do not let anyone tell you this man is past his best. “When one guy is able to score four goals, he deserves all the credit,” Pep Guardiola, the Manchester City manager, said. Guardiola’s side now have 72 points and are unbeaten at the Etihad since December 2016. Seven more wins will guarantee the title. The Premier League is widely as the most competitive in Europe but Guardiola is in danger of turning it into a one horse show like Scotland and could become the first to smash the 100 point barrier. When it was put to Guardiola he was making it look easy, he replied: “So far, yeah. I would like to take that question after 38 games. So far we have 72 points in February so it is a lot. We’ve enjoyed the last six or seven months but to be admired and loved we have to win the title.” Man City 1 - 0 Leicester (Raheem Sterling, 3 min) Leicester City had barely gained a foothold in the game before they equalised against the run of play. Guardiola will have been disappointed that the goal originated from a misplaced pass from Nicolas Otamendi, who had actually done well to dispossess Fousseni Diabate but he will have admired the subsequent brilliance of Jamie Vardy. Collecting Otamendi’s stray pass, Vardy rode challenges from Oleksandr Zinchenko and Ilkay Gundogan, both of whom had slid in to try to win the ball back, before careering towards the penalty area. With Aymeric Laporte backing off, Vardy fired expertly into the far bottom corner. It was a terrific piece of centre-forward play. Man City 1 - 1 Leicester (Jamie Vardy, 24 min) “He perhaps made a mistake but it’s important to have our best players with us,” Claude Puel, the Leicester City manager, said of Mahrez. “The most important thing is that he came back to the training session, to the game. Now it’s important to look forward and put this behind us.” If Aguero stole the headlines, Kevin De Bruyne ran him close for the man-of-the-match award. It was De Bruyne who fashioned the first three goals with characteristically sublime passes. The match was only three minutes old when Raheem Sterling gave the hosts the lead. Bernardo Silva pulled the ball back to De Bruyne on the right and the Belgian swung in a wonderful cross that eluded Leicester City’s defence, the ball flying across the six yard box to the far post where Sterling nipped ahead of Marc Albrighton to steer home. Guardiola – who named three academy graduates among his substitutes a week after being criticised by Gary Neville for denying a youth team player a chance by only naming six substitutes against Burnley - had substituted Sterling immediately after the England forward missed a golden chance at Turf Moor but there was no mistake here. Man City 2 - 1 Leicester (Sergio Agüero, 48 min) Leicester City had barely gained a foothold in the game before they equalised thanks to a terrific piece of centre-forward play from Jamie Vardy, who capitalised on a stray pass from Nicolas Otamendi before riding challenges from Oleksandr Zinchenko and Ilkay Gundogan as he strode forward and fired expertly into the bottom corner. Yet any hope of causing an upset evaporated within the space of five minutes early in the second half when Puel’s move to a back four was undone by two moments of ingenuity from De Bruyne. Exchanging a quick one-two with Sterling, De Bruyne’s pass to give Aguero a simple tap in was sublime, a clipped swipe of the side-foot that swerved past Danny Simpson and beyond Harry Maguire. Riyad Mahrez was a substitute for Leicester Credit: GETTY IMAGES Two became three soon after. Credit must go to Kyle Walker for chasing down Maguire, who played an angled pass to Kasper Schmeichel that the goalkeeper hurriedly tried to clear. Fernandinho intercepted, passed to De Bruyne who, in turn, played through Aguero to shoot in off Schmeichel. It would get a whole lot worse for Schmeichel. When Maguire played a simple back pass to Schmeichel, the Dane had time and options but elected to play a rushed pass intended for Aleksandar Dragovic that Aguero intercepted before dinking a lovely lobbed finish over the embarrassed Leicester City goalkeeper. Then came that fabulous fourth. 7:32PM Kevin De Bruyne tries to steal the match ball KDB tries to wind up Aguero at the final whistle by claiming the match ball for his three assists. Aguero makes sure he gets it and tells Sky Sports his favourite of his four goals was the fourth because it's been a while since he scored from outside the box. 7:24PM Average positions Average touch positions (0 min) 7:20PM FULL TIME It turns out a few days rest does wonders for this team! They looked a little lethargic in the first half, as though they couldn't quite build up the steam needed to punish Leicester's mistakes but in the second half have obliterated them. Clinical, powerful, fast, decisive. A great performance - Aguero and De Bruyne have been exceptional. 7:19PM GOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLL! Aguero 4th He's just completely binned Schmeichel there. The power on that shot is ridiculous. Aguero's dipping, bending shot from 20 yards... how has he done that?! It's unsaveable but hit straight down the middle. Insane. Man City 5 - 1 Leicester (Sergio Agüero, 90 min) 7:17PM 89 mins De Bruyne takes a sore one as Maguire clumsily kicks him trying to take the ball away. De Bruyne knows he's coming but still takes the hit. 7:14PM 87 mins Leicester have a free-kick, Mahrez plays it short and his pass is dreadful. James can't do anything with it and suddenly they're in trouble. Ederson launches a long ball towards Aguero but it's just slightly too heavy and Schmeichel is able to gather. This time he decides not to pass to Aguero. A wise choice, if I may say so. 7:12PM 85 mins De Bruyne attempts a first-time shot from 30 yards but puts it miles into the air. He can be forgiven. This time. 7:10PM 83 mins Vardy is having an argument with Laporte and the referee books them both. Vardy has a sly kick at the defender while trying to win the ball and Laporte tells him to wise up, Vardy doesn't like it and gets in his face. Gentlemen, please, won't you think of the example you'll set? 7:07PM 81 mins Phil Foden is on for Fernandinho. That should mean Gundogan drops into the holding midfield role. Otamendi is replaced by John Stones - two left-footed ball-playing defenders side by side. 7:06PM GOOOOAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLL! Aguero fourth Schmeichel. What. On. Earth. Was. That. He passes the ball straight to Aguero on the edge of his own penalty area and though Aguero's finish is superb, a controlled chip high over the goalkeeper, it is entirely Schmeichel's fault for trying to be Ederson. You aren't Ederson, Kasper. Man City 4 - 1 Leicester (Sergio Agüero, 77 min) 7:04PM 77 mins Aguero wins a corner with a deflected shot. De Bruyne walks over to take it, goes short, then hits it low into the area. Gundogan chips to the back post for Otamendi, who controls on the chest and hits a volley straight at Schmeichel. Leicester try to counter-attack but Ederson times his save perfectly and takes the ball away from Vardy before he can go round and win a penalty. 7:01PM 75 mins Laporte goes down under a challenge, slips and holds his leg. Mahrez attacks, Gundogan brings him down and complains that it should have been a foul on Laporte. Mahrez can shoot from here. Albrighton chips it into the box instead, meaning Leicester have still only had one shot on goal. Although, technically, Maguire's sneaky attempt to tuck a cross/shot inside the near post should probably count as one. 6:58PM 72 mins Bernardo Silva cuts inside from the right, Fuchs doesn't predict - somehow - that he will do so and Bernardo shoots form 20 yards, bending his effort wide of the top corner. Ndidi is booked for a frustrated challenge on Gundogan. This is quite funny: Man City vs Leicester shots on goal Man City vs Leicester shots on goal 6:56PM 69 mins Mahrez hasn't scored any goals yet nor tried putting it in his own net in protest. There's still time. Which way will he swing? At the moment, Leicester are in damage control mode and Man City being allowed to patiently pass around their half. 6:53PM 66 mins Zinchenko is replaced by Danilo. Possession: Man City vs Leicester 6:50PM 63 mins THE NARRATIVE! Riyad Mahrez is about to come on! Credit: GETTY IMAGES He replaces Diabate, who I thought had a pretty decent game but was unlucky with some passes and dribbing attempts. Chilwell is replaced by Iheanacho. That might mean a 4-4-2 for Leicester now. The Man City fans cheer Mahrez's substitution. 6:47PM 61 mins Credit: REUTERS 6:45PM 59 mins Manchester City are the helmet of bees, Leicester City are Nicolas Cage, begging for mercy— James Tyler (@JamesTylerESPN) February 10, 2018 Sterling is dragging defenders around at the back and is so quick that they barely have time to react to what he's doing. Gundogan arrives to try and finish off a cut-back at the edge of the area but it's deflected over for a corner. Otamendi attacks the corner AND IT'S JUST WIDE! Schmeichel doesn't even dive but got his angles right. 6:43PM 57 mins I'm pretty sure Leicester are out of this one now. That half time change hasn't worked - City are all over them. 6:41PM GOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLLLL!!!!! Aguero goal 2 OOOOCHA! Aguero fires that in with pure power. De Bruyne gets the assist (a hat-trick?) but Schmeichel can do absolutely nothing to stop the ball landing in the back of the net despite getting in the way of it. Man City 3 - 1 Leicester (Sergio Agüero, 53 min) 6:38PM 52 mins Leicester are in a back four now with Chilwell playing ahead of Fuchs. Adrien Silva is off for Danny Simpson to make it happen. That happened at half time but City scored too quickly for me to tell you. Selfish. 6:37PM GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLL! Aguero goal City are back in front! Aguero scores but this is all about Kevin De Bruyne's pass. It is unbelievable. As in I struggle to believe he is that good at passing. How does he do it? He's fed a ball inches away from the defender's boots to hand Aguero a tap-in. Ridiculous. Man City 2 - 1 Leicester (Sergio Agüero, 48 min) 6:32PM KICK-OFF 2 We're back! What will we see in this half? 6:21PM Average positions Average touch positions (half time) De Bruyne and Gundogan have spent most of their time on the left of the attack, making this shape look a little imbalanced. Guardiola will likely try to get one of them closer to Bernardo Silva in the second, if anything, to make him a little more effective. Leicester have an easy read on his movement and it means City lack bite down that wing. 6:18PM The stats that matter Man City vs Leicester shots on goal There's another goal in this game but it could genuinely go to either team. City don't quite have the momentum they need. Possession: Man City vs Leicester 6:16PM HALF TIME And that's that. Leicester have one shot on goal, get it on target and it's 1-1. Man City need to do a bit more to win the three points here. 6:13PM 44 mins I'm not sure if Bernardo Silva realises he's allowed to use his right foot but if he ever does, he'll be some player. At the moment he's too easy to read and the constant cut backs onto his left to pass backwards are slowing down moves on that right wing. Walker wins a free-kick wide right, De Bruyne comes across to take it. Leicester head away. 6:11PM 42 mins Chilwell has been impressive on the Leicester left - he's another young English player with huge potential. His attempt to win a corner doesn't work as Otamendi refuses to buy the dummy and Man City attack. Sterling is in! He goes around Schmeichel but has a tight angle to shoot from... and Maguire slides into block! Corner. City end up passing all the way back to Ederson. 6:09PM 40 mins Leicester have done well to get back into this one. They've grown in confidence and City are wary of the counter-attack now. Bernardo Silva overhits a pass to Aguero during another swift Man City attack. The final ball hasn't been quite good enough from Sterling and Bernardo today. Possession: Man City vs Leicester 6:06PM 38 mins Sterling is so frustrating to watch at times - he's so nearly a great player. He pulls away into a brilliant position out wide, takes the ball down with a superb first touch and then runs at goal before passing inside to absolutely nobody. He does win a free-kick in the end and De Bruyne powers the cross into the box but nobody can get a touch to turn it at goal. "No player in world football is better at crossing the ball than Kevin De Bruyne", says Jamie Carragher. 6:04PM 35 mins De Bruyne comes inside onto his right foot and absolutely thunders a shot towards the near post. Schmeichel does really well to get behind that and parry it away! Attempt Saved: Man City 1 - 1 Leicester (Kevin De Bruyne, 33 min) 6:02PM 33 mins Credit: REUTERS De Bruyne finds Sterling, who runs into the box and then goes down. That looks like a foul... which would mean it's a penalty... but the referee doesn't care. I suspect that might have been a free-kick anywhere else on the pitch. 6:01PM 31 mins City piling on the pressure now. Fernandinho tries a shot but Schmeichel saves, Bernardo skips past Fuchs in the penalty area and shoots from near the touchline and Schmeichel saves. Zinchenko is in the right position to cut out a pass to Diabte on the right of Leicester's attack. If he hadn't... it would have been bad. 5:58PM 28 mins Man City go on the attack immediately and Gundogan shoots from range... saved! Attempt Saved: Man City 1 - 1 Leicester (Ilkay Gündogan, 25 min) Will that goal give Leicester the confidence they need to attack Man City a bit here? They look capable of scoring on the counter-attack and are getting wide players forward quickly. 5:56PM GOOOOOOOAAAAAAAALLLLLL! vardy goal But that's what happens when you don't pay attention! City break quickly, De Bruyne and Sterling lead the charge but the pass from Sterling is poor and Aguero loses out. Wrong decision from Sterling. Leicester move forward, three separate players see the opportunity to slide into stop Vardy as Otamendi passes the ball straight to him, but he skips each one, gets to the area and finishes superbly into the bottom corner. Brilliant from Vardy! Man City 1 - 1 Leicester (Jamie Vardy, 24 min) 5:52PM 23 mins Ohhhhh it's so good. One touch pass and move football and City have taken advantage of a turnover in possession near the centre-circle and almost created a scoring chance within seconds. Aguero can't quite keep the ball inside the box and Leicester survive. Look at this average positions graphic: Average touch positions (10 min) Leicester are being forced so deep. But they've managed to get into the City half now and a promising move results in a corner as Fernandinho clears up the danger. 5:49PM 20 mins Maguire wins the tackle, knocks it forward, City win possession back. Possession: Man City vs Leicester The most difficult thing about this match for Man City will be staying alert and driven. It already seems pretty easy. 5:47PM 18 mins Sterling is so quick, it's ridiculous. It looks like the ball is out of play but Sterling roadrunners it and touches inside, then aims a low ball into the middle. Schmeichel parries. Credit: AFP 5:46PM 16 mins Man City home games are pretty strange. They're so completely in control of the match that the crowd quietens down as though watching theatre, the opposition sit back and patiently wait to either try and capitalise on a mistake or await their inevitable demise. When stuff actually happens they get loud, of course, but most matches are like attack vs defence and the supporters have to watch a training match. 5:44PM 13 mins City stroking the ball around, Leicester are terrified of them and keep dropping further backwards to defend. Zinchenko accidentally hits a pass straight out for a throw-in but Man City win it aback immediately and Aguero finds Sterling to his left on the edge of the box. Some tidy feet and Sterling almost creates a chance to shoot for himself by putting the ball around the side of a defender and sprinting to win it. The goalkeeper wins. 5:40PM 10 mins De Bruyne is running the show early on, moving all around the pitch. Leicester have a chance to get forward, hit it into the channel for Vardy to chase and Ederson comes 30 yards off his line, controls on the chest, settles it down and chips a ball across the pitch right onto Walker's foot. 5:37PM 7 mins Albrighton is down with a problem, catching Gundogan on the knee (I think) while going for the ball. It's just a wee clash, nothing serious, but enough to make him take a time out. Leicester are trying to pass out from the back but City's press is forcing them into errors everywhere. Man City look so good here. 5:33PM GOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLL! Sterling goal Leicester haven't started well at all. They're playing a three man defence and don't seem certain of it - and Man City are in the mood. Bernardo plays it to De Bruyne who has far too much time and picks out Sterling at the back post with an unbelievable pass. It's all about De Bruyne's vision and Sterling's running at the back post. Man City 1 - 0 Leicester (Raheem Sterling, 3 min) 5:32PM 3 mins Leicester are a little clumsy with the ball in their own defensive third and City steal it back. Bernardo Silva cuts onto his left... City could be in here! 5:31PM 1 mins Straight away Leicester win the ball deep and look to hit it forward over the top for Jamie Vardy to chase. Aymeric Laporte has to be alert to deal with the early threat. 5:30PM KICK-OFF And they're off! City get us started. 5:30PM Here come the players Sky Sports have had technical difficulties apparently and so we have been denied pre-match analysis and Graeme Souness' frightening demeanour. It's been quite nice. 5:18PM A million photos of Mahrez Credit: AFP The picture database I have access to is full of photos of Mahrez warming up. Meanwhile, Sky Sports are running a montage VT of Leicester's title winning season. That was a fun time, wasn't it? 4:56PM No David Silva again Guardiola has named all seven of his allowed substitutes today, putting young striker Lukas Nmecha next to Phil Foden on the bench. One very important man who will miss out is Silva, who has been one of the best players in the league this season. I wrote this on him a while ago: What makes David Silva Manchester City's most important player? 4:51PM Mahrez on the bench! And so, here we are. Riyad Mahrez has made the bench after all that noise during the week. Could he be the protagonist of this game for all the right reasons? Will I try many more cliche narrative lines throughout this liveblog? Nobody knows! 4:34PM Starting lineups Man City How we line-up against the Foxes! #cityvlcfc City XI | Ederson, Walker, Laporte, Otamendi, Zinchenko, Fernandinho (C), Gündogan, De Bruyne, Sterling, Bernardo, Agüero Subs | Bravo, Danilo, Kompany, Stones, Nmecha, Foden, Diaz Presented by @HaysWorldwide#mancitypic.twitter.com/tlBLjj5nsX— Manchester City (@ManCity) February 10, 2018 Ederson, Walker, Laporte, Otamendi, Zinchenko, Fernandinho, Gundogan, De Bruyne, Sterling, Bernardo, Aguero Leicester Today's starting XI: Schmeichel (c), Dragović, Maguire, Fuchs, Albrighton, Silva, Ndidi, James, Chilwell, Diabaté, Vardy. Subs: Jakupović, Simpson, Benalouane, Iborra, Gray, Mahrez, Iheanacho. #MciLeipic.twitter.com/qoxMH6cx1p— Leicester City (@LCFC) February 10, 2018 Schmeichel, Dragovic, Maguire, Fuchs, Albrighton, Silva, Ndidi, James, Chilwell, Diabate, Vardy
No wonder Riyad Mahrez was desperate to join this lot. Another win, another avalanche of goals, their lead at the top of the Premier League stretched to a scarcely believable 16 points and another show stopping turn from that serial slaughterer of defenders. When Sergio Aguero received the ball from Phil Foden just outside the penalty area as the clock hit 90 minutes, the young Manchester City midfielder was screaming for it back. Aguero, though, had only one thing in mind at that point and crashed a thunderous strike in off the underside of the crossbar for his fourth goal of an arresting afternoon. The Argentina striker is now just three goals short of a double century for Manchester City and just six shy of bettering his season best goals tally for the club of 33. It is only early February and Aguero already has 28 goals in 32 appearances, half of which have come in his last seven games at the Etihad. Do not let anyone tell you this man is past his best. “When one guy is able to score four goals, he deserves all the credit,” Pep Guardiola, the Manchester City manager, said. Guardiola’s side now have 72 points and are unbeaten at the Etihad since December 2016. Seven more wins will guarantee the title. The Premier League is widely as the most competitive in Europe but Guardiola is in danger of turning it into a one horse show like Scotland and could become the first to smash the 100 point barrier. When it was put to Guardiola he was making it look easy, he replied: “So far, yeah. I would like to take that question after 38 games. So far we have 72 points in February so it is a lot. We’ve enjoyed the last six or seven months but to be admired and loved we have to win the title.” Man City 1 - 0 Leicester (Raheem Sterling, 3 min) Leicester City had barely gained a foothold in the game before they equalised against the run of play. Guardiola will have been disappointed that the goal originated from a misplaced pass from Nicolas Otamendi, who had actually done well to dispossess Fousseni Diabate but he will have admired the subsequent brilliance of Jamie Vardy. Collecting Otamendi’s stray pass, Vardy rode challenges from Oleksandr Zinchenko and Ilkay Gundogan, both of whom had slid in to try to win the ball back, before careering towards the penalty area. With Aymeric Laporte backing off, Vardy fired expertly into the far bottom corner. It was a terrific piece of centre-forward play. Man City 1 - 1 Leicester (Jamie Vardy, 24 min) “He perhaps made a mistake but it’s important to have our best players with us,” Claude Puel, the Leicester City manager, said of Mahrez. “The most important thing is that he came back to the training session, to the game. Now it’s important to look forward and put this behind us.” If Aguero stole the headlines, Kevin De Bruyne ran him close for the man-of-the-match award. It was De Bruyne who fashioned the first three goals with characteristically sublime passes. The match was only three minutes old when Raheem Sterling gave the hosts the lead. Bernardo Silva pulled the ball back to De Bruyne on the right and the Belgian swung in a wonderful cross that eluded Leicester City’s defence, the ball flying across the six yard box to the far post where Sterling nipped ahead of Marc Albrighton to steer home. Guardiola – who named three academy graduates among his substitutes a week after being criticised by Gary Neville for denying a youth team player a chance by only naming six substitutes against Burnley - had substituted Sterling immediately after the England forward missed a golden chance at Turf Moor but there was no mistake here. Man City 2 - 1 Leicester (Sergio Agüero, 48 min) Leicester City had barely gained a foothold in the game before they equalised thanks to a terrific piece of centre-forward play from Jamie Vardy, who capitalised on a stray pass from Nicolas Otamendi before riding challenges from Oleksandr Zinchenko and Ilkay Gundogan as he strode forward and fired expertly into the bottom corner. Yet any hope of causing an upset evaporated within the space of five minutes early in the second half when Puel’s move to a back four was undone by two moments of ingenuity from De Bruyne. Exchanging a quick one-two with Sterling, De Bruyne’s pass to give Aguero a simple tap in was sublime, a clipped swipe of the side-foot that swerved past Danny Simpson and beyond Harry Maguire. Riyad Mahrez was a substitute for Leicester Credit: GETTY IMAGES Two became three soon after. Credit must go to Kyle Walker for chasing down Maguire, who played an angled pass to Kasper Schmeichel that the goalkeeper hurriedly tried to clear. Fernandinho intercepted, passed to De Bruyne who, in turn, played through Aguero to shoot in off Schmeichel. It would get a whole lot worse for Schmeichel. When Maguire played a simple back pass to Schmeichel, the Dane had time and options but elected to play a rushed pass intended for Aleksandar Dragovic that Aguero intercepted before dinking a lovely lobbed finish over the embarrassed Leicester City goalkeeper. Then came that fabulous fourth. 7:32PM Kevin De Bruyne tries to steal the match ball KDB tries to wind up Aguero at the final whistle by claiming the match ball for his three assists. Aguero makes sure he gets it and tells Sky Sports his favourite of his four goals was the fourth because it's been a while since he scored from outside the box. 7:24PM Average positions Average touch positions (0 min) 7:20PM FULL TIME It turns out a few days rest does wonders for this team! They looked a little lethargic in the first half, as though they couldn't quite build up the steam needed to punish Leicester's mistakes but in the second half have obliterated them. Clinical, powerful, fast, decisive. A great performance - Aguero and De Bruyne have been exceptional. 7:19PM GOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLL! Aguero 4th He's just completely binned Schmeichel there. The power on that shot is ridiculous. Aguero's dipping, bending shot from 20 yards... how has he done that?! It's unsaveable but hit straight down the middle. Insane. Man City 5 - 1 Leicester (Sergio Agüero, 90 min) 7:17PM 89 mins De Bruyne takes a sore one as Maguire clumsily kicks him trying to take the ball away. De Bruyne knows he's coming but still takes the hit. 7:14PM 87 mins Leicester have a free-kick, Mahrez plays it short and his pass is dreadful. James can't do anything with it and suddenly they're in trouble. Ederson launches a long ball towards Aguero but it's just slightly too heavy and Schmeichel is able to gather. This time he decides not to pass to Aguero. A wise choice, if I may say so. 7:12PM 85 mins De Bruyne attempts a first-time shot from 30 yards but puts it miles into the air. He can be forgiven. This time. 7:10PM 83 mins Vardy is having an argument with Laporte and the referee books them both. Vardy has a sly kick at the defender while trying to win the ball and Laporte tells him to wise up, Vardy doesn't like it and gets in his face. Gentlemen, please, won't you think of the example you'll set? 7:07PM 81 mins Phil Foden is on for Fernandinho. That should mean Gundogan drops into the holding midfield role. Otamendi is replaced by John Stones - two left-footed ball-playing defenders side by side. 7:06PM GOOOOAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLL! Aguero fourth Schmeichel. What. On. Earth. Was. That. He passes the ball straight to Aguero on the edge of his own penalty area and though Aguero's finish is superb, a controlled chip high over the goalkeeper, it is entirely Schmeichel's fault for trying to be Ederson. You aren't Ederson, Kasper. Man City 4 - 1 Leicester (Sergio Agüero, 77 min) 7:04PM 77 mins Aguero wins a corner with a deflected shot. De Bruyne walks over to take it, goes short, then hits it low into the area. Gundogan chips to the back post for Otamendi, who controls on the chest and hits a volley straight at Schmeichel. Leicester try to counter-attack but Ederson times his save perfectly and takes the ball away from Vardy before he can go round and win a penalty. 7:01PM 75 mins Laporte goes down under a challenge, slips and holds his leg. Mahrez attacks, Gundogan brings him down and complains that it should have been a foul on Laporte. Mahrez can shoot from here. Albrighton chips it into the box instead, meaning Leicester have still only had one shot on goal. Although, technically, Maguire's sneaky attempt to tuck a cross/shot inside the near post should probably count as one. 6:58PM 72 mins Bernardo Silva cuts inside from the right, Fuchs doesn't predict - somehow - that he will do so and Bernardo shoots form 20 yards, bending his effort wide of the top corner. Ndidi is booked for a frustrated challenge on Gundogan. This is quite funny: Man City vs Leicester shots on goal Man City vs Leicester shots on goal 6:56PM 69 mins Mahrez hasn't scored any goals yet nor tried putting it in his own net in protest. There's still time. Which way will he swing? At the moment, Leicester are in damage control mode and Man City being allowed to patiently pass around their half. 6:53PM 66 mins Zinchenko is replaced by Danilo. Possession: Man City vs Leicester 6:50PM 63 mins THE NARRATIVE! Riyad Mahrez is about to come on! Credit: GETTY IMAGES He replaces Diabate, who I thought had a pretty decent game but was unlucky with some passes and dribbing attempts. Chilwell is replaced by Iheanacho. That might mean a 4-4-2 for Leicester now. The Man City fans cheer Mahrez's substitution. 6:47PM 61 mins Credit: REUTERS 6:45PM 59 mins Manchester City are the helmet of bees, Leicester City are Nicolas Cage, begging for mercy— James Tyler (@JamesTylerESPN) February 10, 2018 Sterling is dragging defenders around at the back and is so quick that they barely have time to react to what he's doing. Gundogan arrives to try and finish off a cut-back at the edge of the area but it's deflected over for a corner. Otamendi attacks the corner AND IT'S JUST WIDE! Schmeichel doesn't even dive but got his angles right. 6:43PM 57 mins I'm pretty sure Leicester are out of this one now. That half time change hasn't worked - City are all over them. 6:41PM GOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLLLL!!!!! Aguero goal 2 OOOOCHA! Aguero fires that in with pure power. De Bruyne gets the assist (a hat-trick?) but Schmeichel can do absolutely nothing to stop the ball landing in the back of the net despite getting in the way of it. Man City 3 - 1 Leicester (Sergio Agüero, 53 min) 6:38PM 52 mins Leicester are in a back four now with Chilwell playing ahead of Fuchs. Adrien Silva is off for Danny Simpson to make it happen. That happened at half time but City scored too quickly for me to tell you. Selfish. 6:37PM GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLL! Aguero goal City are back in front! Aguero scores but this is all about Kevin De Bruyne's pass. It is unbelievable. As in I struggle to believe he is that good at passing. How does he do it? He's fed a ball inches away from the defender's boots to hand Aguero a tap-in. Ridiculous. Man City 2 - 1 Leicester (Sergio Agüero, 48 min) 6:32PM KICK-OFF 2 We're back! What will we see in this half? 6:21PM Average positions Average touch positions (half time) De Bruyne and Gundogan have spent most of their time on the left of the attack, making this shape look a little imbalanced. Guardiola will likely try to get one of them closer to Bernardo Silva in the second, if anything, to make him a little more effective. Leicester have an easy read on his movement and it means City lack bite down that wing. 6:18PM The stats that matter Man City vs Leicester shots on goal There's another goal in this game but it could genuinely go to either team. City don't quite have the momentum they need. Possession: Man City vs Leicester 6:16PM HALF TIME And that's that. Leicester have one shot on goal, get it on target and it's 1-1. Man City need to do a bit more to win the three points here. 6:13PM 44 mins I'm not sure if Bernardo Silva realises he's allowed to use his right foot but if he ever does, he'll be some player. At the moment he's too easy to read and the constant cut backs onto his left to pass backwards are slowing down moves on that right wing. Walker wins a free-kick wide right, De Bruyne comes across to take it. Leicester head away. 6:11PM 42 mins Chilwell has been impressive on the Leicester left - he's another young English player with huge potential. His attempt to win a corner doesn't work as Otamendi refuses to buy the dummy and Man City attack. Sterling is in! He goes around Schmeichel but has a tight angle to shoot from... and Maguire slides into block! Corner. City end up passing all the way back to Ederson. 6:09PM 40 mins Leicester have done well to get back into this one. They've grown in confidence and City are wary of the counter-attack now. Bernardo Silva overhits a pass to Aguero during another swift Man City attack. The final ball hasn't been quite good enough from Sterling and Bernardo today. Possession: Man City vs Leicester 6:06PM 38 mins Sterling is so frustrating to watch at times - he's so nearly a great player. He pulls away into a brilliant position out wide, takes the ball down with a superb first touch and then runs at goal before passing inside to absolutely nobody. He does win a free-kick in the end and De Bruyne powers the cross into the box but nobody can get a touch to turn it at goal. "No player in world football is better at crossing the ball than Kevin De Bruyne", says Jamie Carragher. 6:04PM 35 mins De Bruyne comes inside onto his right foot and absolutely thunders a shot towards the near post. Schmeichel does really well to get behind that and parry it away! Attempt Saved: Man City 1 - 1 Leicester (Kevin De Bruyne, 33 min) 6:02PM 33 mins Credit: REUTERS De Bruyne finds Sterling, who runs into the box and then goes down. That looks like a foul... which would mean it's a penalty... but the referee doesn't care. I suspect that might have been a free-kick anywhere else on the pitch. 6:01PM 31 mins City piling on the pressure now. Fernandinho tries a shot but Schmeichel saves, Bernardo skips past Fuchs in the penalty area and shoots from near the touchline and Schmeichel saves. Zinchenko is in the right position to cut out a pass to Diabte on the right of Leicester's attack. If he hadn't... it would have been bad. 5:58PM 28 mins Man City go on the attack immediately and Gundogan shoots from range... saved! Attempt Saved: Man City 1 - 1 Leicester (Ilkay Gündogan, 25 min) Will that goal give Leicester the confidence they need to attack Man City a bit here? They look capable of scoring on the counter-attack and are getting wide players forward quickly. 5:56PM GOOOOOOOAAAAAAAALLLLLL! vardy goal But that's what happens when you don't pay attention! City break quickly, De Bruyne and Sterling lead the charge but the pass from Sterling is poor and Aguero loses out. Wrong decision from Sterling. Leicester move forward, three separate players see the opportunity to slide into stop Vardy as Otamendi passes the ball straight to him, but he skips each one, gets to the area and finishes superbly into the bottom corner. Brilliant from Vardy! Man City 1 - 1 Leicester (Jamie Vardy, 24 min) 5:52PM 23 mins Ohhhhh it's so good. One touch pass and move football and City have taken advantage of a turnover in possession near the centre-circle and almost created a scoring chance within seconds. Aguero can't quite keep the ball inside the box and Leicester survive. Look at this average positions graphic: Average touch positions (10 min) Leicester are being forced so deep. But they've managed to get into the City half now and a promising move results in a corner as Fernandinho clears up the danger. 5:49PM 20 mins Maguire wins the tackle, knocks it forward, City win possession back. Possession: Man City vs Leicester The most difficult thing about this match for Man City will be staying alert and driven. It already seems pretty easy. 5:47PM 18 mins Sterling is so quick, it's ridiculous. It looks like the ball is out of play but Sterling roadrunners it and touches inside, then aims a low ball into the middle. Schmeichel parries. Credit: AFP 5:46PM 16 mins Man City home games are pretty strange. They're so completely in control of the match that the crowd quietens down as though watching theatre, the opposition sit back and patiently wait to either try and capitalise on a mistake or await their inevitable demise. When stuff actually happens they get loud, of course, but most matches are like attack vs defence and the supporters have to watch a training match. 5:44PM 13 mins City stroking the ball around, Leicester are terrified of them and keep dropping further backwards to defend. Zinchenko accidentally hits a pass straight out for a throw-in but Man City win it aback immediately and Aguero finds Sterling to his left on the edge of the box. Some tidy feet and Sterling almost creates a chance to shoot for himself by putting the ball around the side of a defender and sprinting to win it. The goalkeeper wins. 5:40PM 10 mins De Bruyne is running the show early on, moving all around the pitch. Leicester have a chance to get forward, hit it into the channel for Vardy to chase and Ederson comes 30 yards off his line, controls on the chest, settles it down and chips a ball across the pitch right onto Walker's foot. 5:37PM 7 mins Albrighton is down with a problem, catching Gundogan on the knee (I think) while going for the ball. It's just a wee clash, nothing serious, but enough to make him take a time out. Leicester are trying to pass out from the back but City's press is forcing them into errors everywhere. Man City look so good here. 5:33PM GOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLL! Sterling goal Leicester haven't started well at all. They're playing a three man defence and don't seem certain of it - and Man City are in the mood. Bernardo plays it to De Bruyne who has far too much time and picks out Sterling at the back post with an unbelievable pass. It's all about De Bruyne's vision and Sterling's running at the back post. Man City 1 - 0 Leicester (Raheem Sterling, 3 min) 5:32PM 3 mins Leicester are a little clumsy with the ball in their own defensive third and City steal it back. Bernardo Silva cuts onto his left... City could be in here! 5:31PM 1 mins Straight away Leicester win the ball deep and look to hit it forward over the top for Jamie Vardy to chase. Aymeric Laporte has to be alert to deal with the early threat. 5:30PM KICK-OFF And they're off! City get us started. 5:30PM Here come the players Sky Sports have had technical difficulties apparently and so we have been denied pre-match analysis and Graeme Souness' frightening demeanour. It's been quite nice. 5:18PM A million photos of Mahrez Credit: AFP The picture database I have access to is full of photos of Mahrez warming up. Meanwhile, Sky Sports are running a montage VT of Leicester's title winning season. That was a fun time, wasn't it? 4:56PM No David Silva again Guardiola has named all seven of his allowed substitutes today, putting young striker Lukas Nmecha next to Phil Foden on the bench. One very important man who will miss out is Silva, who has been one of the best players in the league this season. I wrote this on him a while ago: What makes David Silva Manchester City's most important player? 4:51PM Mahrez on the bench! And so, here we are. Riyad Mahrez has made the bench after all that noise during the week. Could he be the protagonist of this game for all the right reasons? Will I try many more cliche narrative lines throughout this liveblog? Nobody knows! 4:34PM Starting lineups Man City How we line-up against the Foxes! #cityvlcfc City XI | Ederson, Walker, Laporte, Otamendi, Zinchenko, Fernandinho (C), Gündogan, De Bruyne, Sterling, Bernardo, Agüero Subs | Bravo, Danilo, Kompany, Stones, Nmecha, Foden, Diaz Presented by @HaysWorldwide#mancitypic.twitter.com/tlBLjj5nsX— Manchester City (@ManCity) February 10, 2018 Ederson, Walker, Laporte, Otamendi, Zinchenko, Fernandinho, Gundogan, De Bruyne, Sterling, Bernardo, Aguero Leicester Today's starting XI: Schmeichel (c), Dragović, Maguire, Fuchs, Albrighton, Silva, Ndidi, James, Chilwell, Diabaté, Vardy. Subs: Jakupović, Simpson, Benalouane, Iborra, Gray, Mahrez, Iheanacho. #MciLeipic.twitter.com/qoxMH6cx1p— Leicester City (@LCFC) February 10, 2018 Schmeichel, Dragovic, Maguire, Fuchs, Albrighton, Silva, Ndidi, James, Chilwell, Diabate, Vardy
Man City 5 Leicester 1: Sergio Aguero scores four as show-stopping City stretch their Premier League lead
No wonder Riyad Mahrez was desperate to join this lot. Another win, another avalanche of goals, their lead at the top of the Premier League stretched to a scarcely believable 16 points and another show stopping turn from that serial slaughterer of defenders. When Sergio Aguero received the ball from Phil Foden just outside the penalty area as the clock hit 90 minutes, the young Manchester City midfielder was screaming for it back. Aguero, though, had only one thing in mind at that point and crashed a thunderous strike in off the underside of the crossbar for his fourth goal of an arresting afternoon. The Argentina striker is now just three goals short of a double century for Manchester City and just six shy of bettering his season best goals tally for the club of 33. It is only early February and Aguero already has 28 goals in 32 appearances, half of which have come in his last seven games at the Etihad. Do not let anyone tell you this man is past his best. “When one guy is able to score four goals, he deserves all the credit,” Pep Guardiola, the Manchester City manager, said. Guardiola’s side now have 72 points and are unbeaten at the Etihad since December 2016. Seven more wins will guarantee the title. The Premier League is widely as the most competitive in Europe but Guardiola is in danger of turning it into a one horse show like Scotland and could become the first to smash the 100 point barrier. When it was put to Guardiola he was making it look easy, he replied: “So far, yeah. I would like to take that question after 38 games. So far we have 72 points in February so it is a lot. We’ve enjoyed the last six or seven months but to be admired and loved we have to win the title.” Man City 1 - 0 Leicester (Raheem Sterling, 3 min) Leicester City had barely gained a foothold in the game before they equalised against the run of play. Guardiola will have been disappointed that the goal originated from a misplaced pass from Nicolas Otamendi, who had actually done well to dispossess Fousseni Diabate but he will have admired the subsequent brilliance of Jamie Vardy. Collecting Otamendi’s stray pass, Vardy rode challenges from Oleksandr Zinchenko and Ilkay Gundogan, both of whom had slid in to try to win the ball back, before careering towards the penalty area. With Aymeric Laporte backing off, Vardy fired expertly into the far bottom corner. It was a terrific piece of centre-forward play. Man City 1 - 1 Leicester (Jamie Vardy, 24 min) “He perhaps made a mistake but it’s important to have our best players with us,” Claude Puel, the Leicester City manager, said of Mahrez. “The most important thing is that he came back to the training session, to the game. Now it’s important to look forward and put this behind us.” If Aguero stole the headlines, Kevin De Bruyne ran him close for the man-of-the-match award. It was De Bruyne who fashioned the first three goals with characteristically sublime passes. The match was only three minutes old when Raheem Sterling gave the hosts the lead. Bernardo Silva pulled the ball back to De Bruyne on the right and the Belgian swung in a wonderful cross that eluded Leicester City’s defence, the ball flying across the six yard box to the far post where Sterling nipped ahead of Marc Albrighton to steer home. Guardiola – who named three academy graduates among his substitutes a week after being criticised by Gary Neville for denying a youth team player a chance by only naming six substitutes against Burnley - had substituted Sterling immediately after the England forward missed a golden chance at Turf Moor but there was no mistake here. Man City 2 - 1 Leicester (Sergio Agüero, 48 min) Leicester City had barely gained a foothold in the game before they equalised thanks to a terrific piece of centre-forward play from Jamie Vardy, who capitalised on a stray pass from Nicolas Otamendi before riding challenges from Oleksandr Zinchenko and Ilkay Gundogan as he strode forward and fired expertly into the bottom corner. Yet any hope of causing an upset evaporated within the space of five minutes early in the second half when Puel’s move to a back four was undone by two moments of ingenuity from De Bruyne. Exchanging a quick one-two with Sterling, De Bruyne’s pass to give Aguero a simple tap in was sublime, a clipped swipe of the side-foot that swerved past Danny Simpson and beyond Harry Maguire. Riyad Mahrez was a substitute for Leicester Credit: GETTY IMAGES Two became three soon after. Credit must go to Kyle Walker for chasing down Maguire, who played an angled pass to Kasper Schmeichel that the goalkeeper hurriedly tried to clear. Fernandinho intercepted, passed to De Bruyne who, in turn, played through Aguero to shoot in off Schmeichel. It would get a whole lot worse for Schmeichel. When Maguire played a simple back pass to Schmeichel, the Dane had time and options but elected to play a rushed pass intended for Aleksandar Dragovic that Aguero intercepted before dinking a lovely lobbed finish over the embarrassed Leicester City goalkeeper. Then came that fabulous fourth. 7:32PM Kevin De Bruyne tries to steal the match ball KDB tries to wind up Aguero at the final whistle by claiming the match ball for his three assists. Aguero makes sure he gets it and tells Sky Sports his favourite of his four goals was the fourth because it's been a while since he scored from outside the box. 7:24PM Average positions Average touch positions (0 min) 7:20PM FULL TIME It turns out a few days rest does wonders for this team! They looked a little lethargic in the first half, as though they couldn't quite build up the steam needed to punish Leicester's mistakes but in the second half have obliterated them. Clinical, powerful, fast, decisive. A great performance - Aguero and De Bruyne have been exceptional. 7:19PM GOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLL! Aguero 4th He's just completely binned Schmeichel there. The power on that shot is ridiculous. Aguero's dipping, bending shot from 20 yards... how has he done that?! It's unsaveable but hit straight down the middle. Insane. Man City 5 - 1 Leicester (Sergio Agüero, 90 min) 7:17PM 89 mins De Bruyne takes a sore one as Maguire clumsily kicks him trying to take the ball away. De Bruyne knows he's coming but still takes the hit. 7:14PM 87 mins Leicester have a free-kick, Mahrez plays it short and his pass is dreadful. James can't do anything with it and suddenly they're in trouble. Ederson launches a long ball towards Aguero but it's just slightly too heavy and Schmeichel is able to gather. This time he decides not to pass to Aguero. A wise choice, if I may say so. 7:12PM 85 mins De Bruyne attempts a first-time shot from 30 yards but puts it miles into the air. He can be forgiven. This time. 7:10PM 83 mins Vardy is having an argument with Laporte and the referee books them both. Vardy has a sly kick at the defender while trying to win the ball and Laporte tells him to wise up, Vardy doesn't like it and gets in his face. Gentlemen, please, won't you think of the example you'll set? 7:07PM 81 mins Phil Foden is on for Fernandinho. That should mean Gundogan drops into the holding midfield role. Otamendi is replaced by John Stones - two left-footed ball-playing defenders side by side. 7:06PM GOOOOAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLL! Aguero fourth Schmeichel. What. On. Earth. Was. That. He passes the ball straight to Aguero on the edge of his own penalty area and though Aguero's finish is superb, a controlled chip high over the goalkeeper, it is entirely Schmeichel's fault for trying to be Ederson. You aren't Ederson, Kasper. Man City 4 - 1 Leicester (Sergio Agüero, 77 min) 7:04PM 77 mins Aguero wins a corner with a deflected shot. De Bruyne walks over to take it, goes short, then hits it low into the area. Gundogan chips to the back post for Otamendi, who controls on the chest and hits a volley straight at Schmeichel. Leicester try to counter-attack but Ederson times his save perfectly and takes the ball away from Vardy before he can go round and win a penalty. 7:01PM 75 mins Laporte goes down under a challenge, slips and holds his leg. Mahrez attacks, Gundogan brings him down and complains that it should have been a foul on Laporte. Mahrez can shoot from here. Albrighton chips it into the box instead, meaning Leicester have still only had one shot on goal. Although, technically, Maguire's sneaky attempt to tuck a cross/shot inside the near post should probably count as one. 6:58PM 72 mins Bernardo Silva cuts inside from the right, Fuchs doesn't predict - somehow - that he will do so and Bernardo shoots form 20 yards, bending his effort wide of the top corner. Ndidi is booked for a frustrated challenge on Gundogan. This is quite funny: Man City vs Leicester shots on goal Man City vs Leicester shots on goal 6:56PM 69 mins Mahrez hasn't scored any goals yet nor tried putting it in his own net in protest. There's still time. Which way will he swing? At the moment, Leicester are in damage control mode and Man City being allowed to patiently pass around their half. 6:53PM 66 mins Zinchenko is replaced by Danilo. Possession: Man City vs Leicester 6:50PM 63 mins THE NARRATIVE! Riyad Mahrez is about to come on! Credit: GETTY IMAGES He replaces Diabate, who I thought had a pretty decent game but was unlucky with some passes and dribbing attempts. Chilwell is replaced by Iheanacho. That might mean a 4-4-2 for Leicester now. The Man City fans cheer Mahrez's substitution. 6:47PM 61 mins Credit: REUTERS 6:45PM 59 mins Manchester City are the helmet of bees, Leicester City are Nicolas Cage, begging for mercy— James Tyler (@JamesTylerESPN) February 10, 2018 Sterling is dragging defenders around at the back and is so quick that they barely have time to react to what he's doing. Gundogan arrives to try and finish off a cut-back at the edge of the area but it's deflected over for a corner. Otamendi attacks the corner AND IT'S JUST WIDE! Schmeichel doesn't even dive but got his angles right. 6:43PM 57 mins I'm pretty sure Leicester are out of this one now. That half time change hasn't worked - City are all over them. 6:41PM GOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLLLL!!!!! Aguero goal 2 OOOOCHA! Aguero fires that in with pure power. De Bruyne gets the assist (a hat-trick?) but Schmeichel can do absolutely nothing to stop the ball landing in the back of the net despite getting in the way of it. Man City 3 - 1 Leicester (Sergio Agüero, 53 min) 6:38PM 52 mins Leicester are in a back four now with Chilwell playing ahead of Fuchs. Adrien Silva is off for Danny Simpson to make it happen. That happened at half time but City scored too quickly for me to tell you. Selfish. 6:37PM GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLL! Aguero goal City are back in front! Aguero scores but this is all about Kevin De Bruyne's pass. It is unbelievable. As in I struggle to believe he is that good at passing. How does he do it? He's fed a ball inches away from the defender's boots to hand Aguero a tap-in. Ridiculous. Man City 2 - 1 Leicester (Sergio Agüero, 48 min) 6:32PM KICK-OFF 2 We're back! What will we see in this half? 6:21PM Average positions Average touch positions (half time) De Bruyne and Gundogan have spent most of their time on the left of the attack, making this shape look a little imbalanced. Guardiola will likely try to get one of them closer to Bernardo Silva in the second, if anything, to make him a little more effective. Leicester have an easy read on his movement and it means City lack bite down that wing. 6:18PM The stats that matter Man City vs Leicester shots on goal There's another goal in this game but it could genuinely go to either team. City don't quite have the momentum they need. Possession: Man City vs Leicester 6:16PM HALF TIME And that's that. Leicester have one shot on goal, get it on target and it's 1-1. Man City need to do a bit more to win the three points here. 6:13PM 44 mins I'm not sure if Bernardo Silva realises he's allowed to use his right foot but if he ever does, he'll be some player. At the moment he's too easy to read and the constant cut backs onto his left to pass backwards are slowing down moves on that right wing. Walker wins a free-kick wide right, De Bruyne comes across to take it. Leicester head away. 6:11PM 42 mins Chilwell has been impressive on the Leicester left - he's another young English player with huge potential. His attempt to win a corner doesn't work as Otamendi refuses to buy the dummy and Man City attack. Sterling is in! He goes around Schmeichel but has a tight angle to shoot from... and Maguire slides into block! Corner. City end up passing all the way back to Ederson. 6:09PM 40 mins Leicester have done well to get back into this one. They've grown in confidence and City are wary of the counter-attack now. Bernardo Silva overhits a pass to Aguero during another swift Man City attack. The final ball hasn't been quite good enough from Sterling and Bernardo today. Possession: Man City vs Leicester 6:06PM 38 mins Sterling is so frustrating to watch at times - he's so nearly a great player. He pulls away into a brilliant position out wide, takes the ball down with a superb first touch and then runs at goal before passing inside to absolutely nobody. He does win a free-kick in the end and De Bruyne powers the cross into the box but nobody can get a touch to turn it at goal. "No player in world football is better at crossing the ball than Kevin De Bruyne", says Jamie Carragher. 6:04PM 35 mins De Bruyne comes inside onto his right foot and absolutely thunders a shot towards the near post. Schmeichel does really well to get behind that and parry it away! Attempt Saved: Man City 1 - 1 Leicester (Kevin De Bruyne, 33 min) 6:02PM 33 mins Credit: REUTERS De Bruyne finds Sterling, who runs into the box and then goes down. That looks like a foul... which would mean it's a penalty... but the referee doesn't care. I suspect that might have been a free-kick anywhere else on the pitch. 6:01PM 31 mins City piling on the pressure now. Fernandinho tries a shot but Schmeichel saves, Bernardo skips past Fuchs in the penalty area and shoots from near the touchline and Schmeichel saves. Zinchenko is in the right position to cut out a pass to Diabte on the right of Leicester's attack. If he hadn't... it would have been bad. 5:58PM 28 mins Man City go on the attack immediately and Gundogan shoots from range... saved! Attempt Saved: Man City 1 - 1 Leicester (Ilkay Gündogan, 25 min) Will that goal give Leicester the confidence they need to attack Man City a bit here? They look capable of scoring on the counter-attack and are getting wide players forward quickly. 5:56PM GOOOOOOOAAAAAAAALLLLLL! vardy goal But that's what happens when you don't pay attention! City break quickly, De Bruyne and Sterling lead the charge but the pass from Sterling is poor and Aguero loses out. Wrong decision from Sterling. Leicester move forward, three separate players see the opportunity to slide into stop Vardy as Otamendi passes the ball straight to him, but he skips each one, gets to the area and finishes superbly into the bottom corner. Brilliant from Vardy! Man City 1 - 1 Leicester (Jamie Vardy, 24 min) 5:52PM 23 mins Ohhhhh it's so good. One touch pass and move football and City have taken advantage of a turnover in possession near the centre-circle and almost created a scoring chance within seconds. Aguero can't quite keep the ball inside the box and Leicester survive. Look at this average positions graphic: Average touch positions (10 min) Leicester are being forced so deep. But they've managed to get into the City half now and a promising move results in a corner as Fernandinho clears up the danger. 5:49PM 20 mins Maguire wins the tackle, knocks it forward, City win possession back. Possession: Man City vs Leicester The most difficult thing about this match for Man City will be staying alert and driven. It already seems pretty easy. 5:47PM 18 mins Sterling is so quick, it's ridiculous. It looks like the ball is out of play but Sterling roadrunners it and touches inside, then aims a low ball into the middle. Schmeichel parries. Credit: AFP 5:46PM 16 mins Man City home games are pretty strange. They're so completely in control of the match that the crowd quietens down as though watching theatre, the opposition sit back and patiently wait to either try and capitalise on a mistake or await their inevitable demise. When stuff actually happens they get loud, of course, but most matches are like attack vs defence and the supporters have to watch a training match. 5:44PM 13 mins City stroking the ball around, Leicester are terrified of them and keep dropping further backwards to defend. Zinchenko accidentally hits a pass straight out for a throw-in but Man City win it aback immediately and Aguero finds Sterling to his left on the edge of the box. Some tidy feet and Sterling almost creates a chance to shoot for himself by putting the ball around the side of a defender and sprinting to win it. The goalkeeper wins. 5:40PM 10 mins De Bruyne is running the show early on, moving all around the pitch. Leicester have a chance to get forward, hit it into the channel for Vardy to chase and Ederson comes 30 yards off his line, controls on the chest, settles it down and chips a ball across the pitch right onto Walker's foot. 5:37PM 7 mins Albrighton is down with a problem, catching Gundogan on the knee (I think) while going for the ball. It's just a wee clash, nothing serious, but enough to make him take a time out. Leicester are trying to pass out from the back but City's press is forcing them into errors everywhere. Man City look so good here. 5:33PM GOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLL! Sterling goal Leicester haven't started well at all. They're playing a three man defence and don't seem certain of it - and Man City are in the mood. Bernardo plays it to De Bruyne who has far too much time and picks out Sterling at the back post with an unbelievable pass. It's all about De Bruyne's vision and Sterling's running at the back post. Man City 1 - 0 Leicester (Raheem Sterling, 3 min) 5:32PM 3 mins Leicester are a little clumsy with the ball in their own defensive third and City steal it back. Bernardo Silva cuts onto his left... City could be in here! 5:31PM 1 mins Straight away Leicester win the ball deep and look to hit it forward over the top for Jamie Vardy to chase. Aymeric Laporte has to be alert to deal with the early threat. 5:30PM KICK-OFF And they're off! City get us started. 5:30PM Here come the players Sky Sports have had technical difficulties apparently and so we have been denied pre-match analysis and Graeme Souness' frightening demeanour. It's been quite nice. 5:18PM A million photos of Mahrez Credit: AFP The picture database I have access to is full of photos of Mahrez warming up. Meanwhile, Sky Sports are running a montage VT of Leicester's title winning season. That was a fun time, wasn't it? 4:56PM No David Silva again Guardiola has named all seven of his allowed substitutes today, putting young striker Lukas Nmecha next to Phil Foden on the bench. One very important man who will miss out is Silva, who has been one of the best players in the league this season. I wrote this on him a while ago: What makes David Silva Manchester City's most important player? 4:51PM Mahrez on the bench! And so, here we are. Riyad Mahrez has made the bench after all that noise during the week. Could he be the protagonist of this game for all the right reasons? Will I try many more cliche narrative lines throughout this liveblog? Nobody knows! 4:34PM Starting lineups Man City How we line-up against the Foxes! #cityvlcfc City XI | Ederson, Walker, Laporte, Otamendi, Zinchenko, Fernandinho (C), Gündogan, De Bruyne, Sterling, Bernardo, Agüero Subs | Bravo, Danilo, Kompany, Stones, Nmecha, Foden, Diaz Presented by @HaysWorldwide#mancitypic.twitter.com/tlBLjj5nsX— Manchester City (@ManCity) February 10, 2018 Ederson, Walker, Laporte, Otamendi, Zinchenko, Fernandinho, Gundogan, De Bruyne, Sterling, Bernardo, Aguero Leicester Today's starting XI: Schmeichel (c), Dragović, Maguire, Fuchs, Albrighton, Silva, Ndidi, James, Chilwell, Diabaté, Vardy. Subs: Jakupović, Simpson, Benalouane, Iborra, Gray, Mahrez, Iheanacho. #MciLeipic.twitter.com/qoxMH6cx1p— Leicester City (@LCFC) February 10, 2018 Schmeichel, Dragovic, Maguire, Fuchs, Albrighton, Silva, Ndidi, James, Chilwell, Diabate, Vardy
No wonder Riyad Mahrez was desperate to join this lot. Another win, another avalanche of goals, their lead at the top of the Premier League stretched to a scarcely believable 16 points and another show stopping turn from that serial slaughterer of defenders. When Sergio Aguero received the ball from Phil Foden just outside the penalty area as the clock hit 90 minutes, the young Manchester City midfielder was screaming for it back. Aguero, though, had only one thing in mind at that point and crashed a thunderous strike in off the underside of the crossbar for his fourth goal of an arresting afternoon. The Argentina striker is now just three goals short of a double century for Manchester City and just six shy of bettering his season best goals tally for the club of 33. It is only early February and Aguero already has 28 goals in 32 appearances, half of which have come in his last seven games at the Etihad. Do not let anyone tell you this man is past his best. “When one guy is able to score four goals, he deserves all the credit,” Pep Guardiola, the Manchester City manager, said. Guardiola’s side now have 72 points and are unbeaten at the Etihad since December 2016. Seven more wins will guarantee the title. The Premier League is widely as the most competitive in Europe but Guardiola is in danger of turning it into a one horse show like Scotland and could become the first to smash the 100 point barrier. When it was put to Guardiola he was making it look easy, he replied: “So far, yeah. I would like to take that question after 38 games. So far we have 72 points in February so it is a lot. We’ve enjoyed the last six or seven months but to be admired and loved we have to win the title.” Man City 1 - 0 Leicester (Raheem Sterling, 3 min) Leicester City had barely gained a foothold in the game before they equalised against the run of play. Guardiola will have been disappointed that the goal originated from a misplaced pass from Nicolas Otamendi, who had actually done well to dispossess Fousseni Diabate but he will have admired the subsequent brilliance of Jamie Vardy. Collecting Otamendi’s stray pass, Vardy rode challenges from Oleksandr Zinchenko and Ilkay Gundogan, both of whom had slid in to try to win the ball back, before careering towards the penalty area. With Aymeric Laporte backing off, Vardy fired expertly into the far bottom corner. It was a terrific piece of centre-forward play. Man City 1 - 1 Leicester (Jamie Vardy, 24 min) “He perhaps made a mistake but it’s important to have our best players with us,” Claude Puel, the Leicester City manager, said of Mahrez. “The most important thing is that he came back to the training session, to the game. Now it’s important to look forward and put this behind us.” If Aguero stole the headlines, Kevin De Bruyne ran him close for the man-of-the-match award. It was De Bruyne who fashioned the first three goals with characteristically sublime passes. The match was only three minutes old when Raheem Sterling gave the hosts the lead. Bernardo Silva pulled the ball back to De Bruyne on the right and the Belgian swung in a wonderful cross that eluded Leicester City’s defence, the ball flying across the six yard box to the far post where Sterling nipped ahead of Marc Albrighton to steer home. Guardiola – who named three academy graduates among his substitutes a week after being criticised by Gary Neville for denying a youth team player a chance by only naming six substitutes against Burnley - had substituted Sterling immediately after the England forward missed a golden chance at Turf Moor but there was no mistake here. Man City 2 - 1 Leicester (Sergio Agüero, 48 min) Leicester City had barely gained a foothold in the game before they equalised thanks to a terrific piece of centre-forward play from Jamie Vardy, who capitalised on a stray pass from Nicolas Otamendi before riding challenges from Oleksandr Zinchenko and Ilkay Gundogan as he strode forward and fired expertly into the bottom corner. Yet any hope of causing an upset evaporated within the space of five minutes early in the second half when Puel’s move to a back four was undone by two moments of ingenuity from De Bruyne. Exchanging a quick one-two with Sterling, De Bruyne’s pass to give Aguero a simple tap in was sublime, a clipped swipe of the side-foot that swerved past Danny Simpson and beyond Harry Maguire. Riyad Mahrez was a substitute for Leicester Credit: GETTY IMAGES Two became three soon after. Credit must go to Kyle Walker for chasing down Maguire, who played an angled pass to Kasper Schmeichel that the goalkeeper hurriedly tried to clear. Fernandinho intercepted, passed to De Bruyne who, in turn, played through Aguero to shoot in off Schmeichel. It would get a whole lot worse for Schmeichel. When Maguire played a simple back pass to Schmeichel, the Dane had time and options but elected to play a rushed pass intended for Aleksandar Dragovic that Aguero intercepted before dinking a lovely lobbed finish over the embarrassed Leicester City goalkeeper. Then came that fabulous fourth. 7:32PM Kevin De Bruyne tries to steal the match ball KDB tries to wind up Aguero at the final whistle by claiming the match ball for his three assists. Aguero makes sure he gets it and tells Sky Sports his favourite of his four goals was the fourth because it's been a while since he scored from outside the box. 7:24PM Average positions Average touch positions (0 min) 7:20PM FULL TIME It turns out a few days rest does wonders for this team! They looked a little lethargic in the first half, as though they couldn't quite build up the steam needed to punish Leicester's mistakes but in the second half have obliterated them. Clinical, powerful, fast, decisive. A great performance - Aguero and De Bruyne have been exceptional. 7:19PM GOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLL! Aguero 4th He's just completely binned Schmeichel there. The power on that shot is ridiculous. Aguero's dipping, bending shot from 20 yards... how has he done that?! It's unsaveable but hit straight down the middle. Insane. Man City 5 - 1 Leicester (Sergio Agüero, 90 min) 7:17PM 89 mins De Bruyne takes a sore one as Maguire clumsily kicks him trying to take the ball away. De Bruyne knows he's coming but still takes the hit. 7:14PM 87 mins Leicester have a free-kick, Mahrez plays it short and his pass is dreadful. James can't do anything with it and suddenly they're in trouble. Ederson launches a long ball towards Aguero but it's just slightly too heavy and Schmeichel is able to gather. This time he decides not to pass to Aguero. A wise choice, if I may say so. 7:12PM 85 mins De Bruyne attempts a first-time shot from 30 yards but puts it miles into the air. He can be forgiven. This time. 7:10PM 83 mins Vardy is having an argument with Laporte and the referee books them both. Vardy has a sly kick at the defender while trying to win the ball and Laporte tells him to wise up, Vardy doesn't like it and gets in his face. Gentlemen, please, won't you think of the example you'll set? 7:07PM 81 mins Phil Foden is on for Fernandinho. That should mean Gundogan drops into the holding midfield role. Otamendi is replaced by John Stones - two left-footed ball-playing defenders side by side. 7:06PM GOOOOAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLL! Aguero fourth Schmeichel. What. On. Earth. Was. That. He passes the ball straight to Aguero on the edge of his own penalty area and though Aguero's finish is superb, a controlled chip high over the goalkeeper, it is entirely Schmeichel's fault for trying to be Ederson. You aren't Ederson, Kasper. Man City 4 - 1 Leicester (Sergio Agüero, 77 min) 7:04PM 77 mins Aguero wins a corner with a deflected shot. De Bruyne walks over to take it, goes short, then hits it low into the area. Gundogan chips to the back post for Otamendi, who controls on the chest and hits a volley straight at Schmeichel. Leicester try to counter-attack but Ederson times his save perfectly and takes the ball away from Vardy before he can go round and win a penalty. 7:01PM 75 mins Laporte goes down under a challenge, slips and holds his leg. Mahrez attacks, Gundogan brings him down and complains that it should have been a foul on Laporte. Mahrez can shoot from here. Albrighton chips it into the box instead, meaning Leicester have still only had one shot on goal. Although, technically, Maguire's sneaky attempt to tuck a cross/shot inside the near post should probably count as one. 6:58PM 72 mins Bernardo Silva cuts inside from the right, Fuchs doesn't predict - somehow - that he will do so and Bernardo shoots form 20 yards, bending his effort wide of the top corner. Ndidi is booked for a frustrated challenge on Gundogan. This is quite funny: Man City vs Leicester shots on goal Man City vs Leicester shots on goal 6:56PM 69 mins Mahrez hasn't scored any goals yet nor tried putting it in his own net in protest. There's still time. Which way will he swing? At the moment, Leicester are in damage control mode and Man City being allowed to patiently pass around their half. 6:53PM 66 mins Zinchenko is replaced by Danilo. Possession: Man City vs Leicester 6:50PM 63 mins THE NARRATIVE! Riyad Mahrez is about to come on! Credit: GETTY IMAGES He replaces Diabate, who I thought had a pretty decent game but was unlucky with some passes and dribbing attempts. Chilwell is replaced by Iheanacho. That might mean a 4-4-2 for Leicester now. The Man City fans cheer Mahrez's substitution. 6:47PM 61 mins Credit: REUTERS 6:45PM 59 mins Manchester City are the helmet of bees, Leicester City are Nicolas Cage, begging for mercy— James Tyler (@JamesTylerESPN) February 10, 2018 Sterling is dragging defenders around at the back and is so quick that they barely have time to react to what he's doing. Gundogan arrives to try and finish off a cut-back at the edge of the area but it's deflected over for a corner. Otamendi attacks the corner AND IT'S JUST WIDE! Schmeichel doesn't even dive but got his angles right. 6:43PM 57 mins I'm pretty sure Leicester are out of this one now. That half time change hasn't worked - City are all over them. 6:41PM GOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLLLL!!!!! Aguero goal 2 OOOOCHA! Aguero fires that in with pure power. De Bruyne gets the assist (a hat-trick?) but Schmeichel can do absolutely nothing to stop the ball landing in the back of the net despite getting in the way of it. Man City 3 - 1 Leicester (Sergio Agüero, 53 min) 6:38PM 52 mins Leicester are in a back four now with Chilwell playing ahead of Fuchs. Adrien Silva is off for Danny Simpson to make it happen. That happened at half time but City scored too quickly for me to tell you. Selfish. 6:37PM GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLL! Aguero goal City are back in front! Aguero scores but this is all about Kevin De Bruyne's pass. It is unbelievable. As in I struggle to believe he is that good at passing. How does he do it? He's fed a ball inches away from the defender's boots to hand Aguero a tap-in. Ridiculous. Man City 2 - 1 Leicester (Sergio Agüero, 48 min) 6:32PM KICK-OFF 2 We're back! What will we see in this half? 6:21PM Average positions Average touch positions (half time) De Bruyne and Gundogan have spent most of their time on the left of the attack, making this shape look a little imbalanced. Guardiola will likely try to get one of them closer to Bernardo Silva in the second, if anything, to make him a little more effective. Leicester have an easy read on his movement and it means City lack bite down that wing. 6:18PM The stats that matter Man City vs Leicester shots on goal There's another goal in this game but it could genuinely go to either team. City don't quite have the momentum they need. Possession: Man City vs Leicester 6:16PM HALF TIME And that's that. Leicester have one shot on goal, get it on target and it's 1-1. Man City need to do a bit more to win the three points here. 6:13PM 44 mins I'm not sure if Bernardo Silva realises he's allowed to use his right foot but if he ever does, he'll be some player. At the moment he's too easy to read and the constant cut backs onto his left to pass backwards are slowing down moves on that right wing. Walker wins a free-kick wide right, De Bruyne comes across to take it. Leicester head away. 6:11PM 42 mins Chilwell has been impressive on the Leicester left - he's another young English player with huge potential. His attempt to win a corner doesn't work as Otamendi refuses to buy the dummy and Man City attack. Sterling is in! He goes around Schmeichel but has a tight angle to shoot from... and Maguire slides into block! Corner. City end up passing all the way back to Ederson. 6:09PM 40 mins Leicester have done well to get back into this one. They've grown in confidence and City are wary of the counter-attack now. Bernardo Silva overhits a pass to Aguero during another swift Man City attack. The final ball hasn't been quite good enough from Sterling and Bernardo today. Possession: Man City vs Leicester 6:06PM 38 mins Sterling is so frustrating to watch at times - he's so nearly a great player. He pulls away into a brilliant position out wide, takes the ball down with a superb first touch and then runs at goal before passing inside to absolutely nobody. He does win a free-kick in the end and De Bruyne powers the cross into the box but nobody can get a touch to turn it at goal. "No player in world football is better at crossing the ball than Kevin De Bruyne", says Jamie Carragher. 6:04PM 35 mins De Bruyne comes inside onto his right foot and absolutely thunders a shot towards the near post. Schmeichel does really well to get behind that and parry it away! Attempt Saved: Man City 1 - 1 Leicester (Kevin De Bruyne, 33 min) 6:02PM 33 mins Credit: REUTERS De Bruyne finds Sterling, who runs into the box and then goes down. That looks like a foul... which would mean it's a penalty... but the referee doesn't care. I suspect that might have been a free-kick anywhere else on the pitch. 6:01PM 31 mins City piling on the pressure now. Fernandinho tries a shot but Schmeichel saves, Bernardo skips past Fuchs in the penalty area and shoots from near the touchline and Schmeichel saves. Zinchenko is in the right position to cut out a pass to Diabte on the right of Leicester's attack. If he hadn't... it would have been bad. 5:58PM 28 mins Man City go on the attack immediately and Gundogan shoots from range... saved! Attempt Saved: Man City 1 - 1 Leicester (Ilkay Gündogan, 25 min) Will that goal give Leicester the confidence they need to attack Man City a bit here? They look capable of scoring on the counter-attack and are getting wide players forward quickly. 5:56PM GOOOOOOOAAAAAAAALLLLLL! vardy goal But that's what happens when you don't pay attention! City break quickly, De Bruyne and Sterling lead the charge but the pass from Sterling is poor and Aguero loses out. Wrong decision from Sterling. Leicester move forward, three separate players see the opportunity to slide into stop Vardy as Otamendi passes the ball straight to him, but he skips each one, gets to the area and finishes superbly into the bottom corner. Brilliant from Vardy! Man City 1 - 1 Leicester (Jamie Vardy, 24 min) 5:52PM 23 mins Ohhhhh it's so good. One touch pass and move football and City have taken advantage of a turnover in possession near the centre-circle and almost created a scoring chance within seconds. Aguero can't quite keep the ball inside the box and Leicester survive. Look at this average positions graphic: Average touch positions (10 min) Leicester are being forced so deep. But they've managed to get into the City half now and a promising move results in a corner as Fernandinho clears up the danger. 5:49PM 20 mins Maguire wins the tackle, knocks it forward, City win possession back. Possession: Man City vs Leicester The most difficult thing about this match for Man City will be staying alert and driven. It already seems pretty easy. 5:47PM 18 mins Sterling is so quick, it's ridiculous. It looks like the ball is out of play but Sterling roadrunners it and touches inside, then aims a low ball into the middle. Schmeichel parries. Credit: AFP 5:46PM 16 mins Man City home games are pretty strange. They're so completely in control of the match that the crowd quietens down as though watching theatre, the opposition sit back and patiently wait to either try and capitalise on a mistake or await their inevitable demise. When stuff actually happens they get loud, of course, but most matches are like attack vs defence and the supporters have to watch a training match. 5:44PM 13 mins City stroking the ball around, Leicester are terrified of them and keep dropping further backwards to defend. Zinchenko accidentally hits a pass straight out for a throw-in but Man City win it aback immediately and Aguero finds Sterling to his left on the edge of the box. Some tidy feet and Sterling almost creates a chance to shoot for himself by putting the ball around the side of a defender and sprinting to win it. The goalkeeper wins. 5:40PM 10 mins De Bruyne is running the show early on, moving all around the pitch. Leicester have a chance to get forward, hit it into the channel for Vardy to chase and Ederson comes 30 yards off his line, controls on the chest, settles it down and chips a ball across the pitch right onto Walker's foot. 5:37PM 7 mins Albrighton is down with a problem, catching Gundogan on the knee (I think) while going for the ball. It's just a wee clash, nothing serious, but enough to make him take a time out. Leicester are trying to pass out from the back but City's press is forcing them into errors everywhere. Man City look so good here. 5:33PM GOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLL! Sterling goal Leicester haven't started well at all. They're playing a three man defence and don't seem certain of it - and Man City are in the mood. Bernardo plays it to De Bruyne who has far too much time and picks out Sterling at the back post with an unbelievable pass. It's all about De Bruyne's vision and Sterling's running at the back post. Man City 1 - 0 Leicester (Raheem Sterling, 3 min) 5:32PM 3 mins Leicester are a little clumsy with the ball in their own defensive third and City steal it back. Bernardo Silva cuts onto his left... City could be in here! 5:31PM 1 mins Straight away Leicester win the ball deep and look to hit it forward over the top for Jamie Vardy to chase. Aymeric Laporte has to be alert to deal with the early threat. 5:30PM KICK-OFF And they're off! City get us started. 5:30PM Here come the players Sky Sports have had technical difficulties apparently and so we have been denied pre-match analysis and Graeme Souness' frightening demeanour. It's been quite nice. 5:18PM A million photos of Mahrez Credit: AFP The picture database I have access to is full of photos of Mahrez warming up. Meanwhile, Sky Sports are running a montage VT of Leicester's title winning season. That was a fun time, wasn't it? 4:56PM No David Silva again Guardiola has named all seven of his allowed substitutes today, putting young striker Lukas Nmecha next to Phil Foden on the bench. One very important man who will miss out is Silva, who has been one of the best players in the league this season. I wrote this on him a while ago: What makes David Silva Manchester City's most important player? 4:51PM Mahrez on the bench! And so, here we are. Riyad Mahrez has made the bench after all that noise during the week. Could he be the protagonist of this game for all the right reasons? Will I try many more cliche narrative lines throughout this liveblog? Nobody knows! 4:34PM Starting lineups Man City How we line-up against the Foxes! #cityvlcfc City XI | Ederson, Walker, Laporte, Otamendi, Zinchenko, Fernandinho (C), Gündogan, De Bruyne, Sterling, Bernardo, Agüero Subs | Bravo, Danilo, Kompany, Stones, Nmecha, Foden, Diaz Presented by @HaysWorldwide#mancitypic.twitter.com/tlBLjj5nsX— Manchester City (@ManCity) February 10, 2018 Ederson, Walker, Laporte, Otamendi, Zinchenko, Fernandinho, Gundogan, De Bruyne, Sterling, Bernardo, Aguero Leicester Today's starting XI: Schmeichel (c), Dragović, Maguire, Fuchs, Albrighton, Silva, Ndidi, James, Chilwell, Diabaté, Vardy. Subs: Jakupović, Simpson, Benalouane, Iborra, Gray, Mahrez, Iheanacho. #MciLeipic.twitter.com/qoxMH6cx1p— Leicester City (@LCFC) February 10, 2018 Schmeichel, Dragovic, Maguire, Fuchs, Albrighton, Silva, Ndidi, James, Chilwell, Diabate, Vardy
Man City 5 Leicester 1: Sergio Aguero scores four as show-stopping City stretch their Premier League lead
No wonder Riyad Mahrez was desperate to join this lot. Another win, another avalanche of goals, their lead at the top of the Premier League stretched to a scarcely believable 16 points and another show stopping turn from that serial slaughterer of defenders. When Sergio Aguero received the ball from Phil Foden just outside the penalty area as the clock hit 90 minutes, the young Manchester City midfielder was screaming for it back. Aguero, though, had only one thing in mind at that point and crashed a thunderous strike in off the underside of the crossbar for his fourth goal of an arresting afternoon. The Argentina striker is now just three goals short of a double century for Manchester City and just six shy of bettering his season best goals tally for the club of 33. It is only early February and Aguero already has 28 goals in 32 appearances, half of which have come in his last seven games at the Etihad. Do not let anyone tell you this man is past his best. “When one guy is able to score four goals, he deserves all the credit,” Pep Guardiola, the Manchester City manager, said. Guardiola’s side now have 72 points and are unbeaten at the Etihad since December 2016. Seven more wins will guarantee the title. The Premier League is widely as the most competitive in Europe but Guardiola is in danger of turning it into a one horse show like Scotland and could become the first to smash the 100 point barrier. When it was put to Guardiola he was making it look easy, he replied: “So far, yeah. I would like to take that question after 38 games. So far we have 72 points in February so it is a lot. We’ve enjoyed the last six or seven months but to be admired and loved we have to win the title.” Man City 1 - 0 Leicester (Raheem Sterling, 3 min) Leicester City had barely gained a foothold in the game before they equalised against the run of play. Guardiola will have been disappointed that the goal originated from a misplaced pass from Nicolas Otamendi, who had actually done well to dispossess Fousseni Diabate but he will have admired the subsequent brilliance of Jamie Vardy. Collecting Otamendi’s stray pass, Vardy rode challenges from Oleksandr Zinchenko and Ilkay Gundogan, both of whom had slid in to try to win the ball back, before careering towards the penalty area. With Aymeric Laporte backing off, Vardy fired expertly into the far bottom corner. It was a terrific piece of centre-forward play. Man City 1 - 1 Leicester (Jamie Vardy, 24 min) “He perhaps made a mistake but it’s important to have our best players with us,” Claude Puel, the Leicester City manager, said of Mahrez. “The most important thing is that he came back to the training session, to the game. Now it’s important to look forward and put this behind us.” If Aguero stole the headlines, Kevin De Bruyne ran him close for the man-of-the-match award. It was De Bruyne who fashioned the first three goals with characteristically sublime passes. The match was only three minutes old when Raheem Sterling gave the hosts the lead. Bernardo Silva pulled the ball back to De Bruyne on the right and the Belgian swung in a wonderful cross that eluded Leicester City’s defence, the ball flying across the six yard box to the far post where Sterling nipped ahead of Marc Albrighton to steer home. Guardiola – who named three academy graduates among his substitutes a week after being criticised by Gary Neville for denying a youth team player a chance by only naming six substitutes against Burnley - had substituted Sterling immediately after the England forward missed a golden chance at Turf Moor but there was no mistake here. Man City 2 - 1 Leicester (Sergio Agüero, 48 min) Leicester City had barely gained a foothold in the game before they equalised thanks to a terrific piece of centre-forward play from Jamie Vardy, who capitalised on a stray pass from Nicolas Otamendi before riding challenges from Oleksandr Zinchenko and Ilkay Gundogan as he strode forward and fired expertly into the bottom corner. Yet any hope of causing an upset evaporated within the space of five minutes early in the second half when Puel’s move to a back four was undone by two moments of ingenuity from De Bruyne. Exchanging a quick one-two with Sterling, De Bruyne’s pass to give Aguero a simple tap in was sublime, a clipped swipe of the side-foot that swerved past Danny Simpson and beyond Harry Maguire. Riyad Mahrez was a substitute for Leicester Credit: GETTY IMAGES Two became three soon after. Credit must go to Kyle Walker for chasing down Maguire, who played an angled pass to Kasper Schmeichel that the goalkeeper hurriedly tried to clear. Fernandinho intercepted, passed to De Bruyne who, in turn, played through Aguero to shoot in off Schmeichel. It would get a whole lot worse for Schmeichel. When Maguire played a simple back pass to Schmeichel, the Dane had time and options but elected to play a rushed pass intended for Aleksandar Dragovic that Aguero intercepted before dinking a lovely lobbed finish over the embarrassed Leicester City goalkeeper. Then came that fabulous fourth. 7:32PM Kevin De Bruyne tries to steal the match ball KDB tries to wind up Aguero at the final whistle by claiming the match ball for his three assists. Aguero makes sure he gets it and tells Sky Sports his favourite of his four goals was the fourth because it's been a while since he scored from outside the box. 7:24PM Average positions Average touch positions (0 min) 7:20PM FULL TIME It turns out a few days rest does wonders for this team! They looked a little lethargic in the first half, as though they couldn't quite build up the steam needed to punish Leicester's mistakes but in the second half have obliterated them. Clinical, powerful, fast, decisive. A great performance - Aguero and De Bruyne have been exceptional. 7:19PM GOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLL! Aguero 4th He's just completely binned Schmeichel there. The power on that shot is ridiculous. Aguero's dipping, bending shot from 20 yards... how has he done that?! It's unsaveable but hit straight down the middle. Insane. Man City 5 - 1 Leicester (Sergio Agüero, 90 min) 7:17PM 89 mins De Bruyne takes a sore one as Maguire clumsily kicks him trying to take the ball away. De Bruyne knows he's coming but still takes the hit. 7:14PM 87 mins Leicester have a free-kick, Mahrez plays it short and his pass is dreadful. James can't do anything with it and suddenly they're in trouble. Ederson launches a long ball towards Aguero but it's just slightly too heavy and Schmeichel is able to gather. This time he decides not to pass to Aguero. A wise choice, if I may say so. 7:12PM 85 mins De Bruyne attempts a first-time shot from 30 yards but puts it miles into the air. He can be forgiven. This time. 7:10PM 83 mins Vardy is having an argument with Laporte and the referee books them both. Vardy has a sly kick at the defender while trying to win the ball and Laporte tells him to wise up, Vardy doesn't like it and gets in his face. Gentlemen, please, won't you think of the example you'll set? 7:07PM 81 mins Phil Foden is on for Fernandinho. That should mean Gundogan drops into the holding midfield role. Otamendi is replaced by John Stones - two left-footed ball-playing defenders side by side. 7:06PM GOOOOAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLL! Aguero fourth Schmeichel. What. On. Earth. Was. That. He passes the ball straight to Aguero on the edge of his own penalty area and though Aguero's finish is superb, a controlled chip high over the goalkeeper, it is entirely Schmeichel's fault for trying to be Ederson. You aren't Ederson, Kasper. Man City 4 - 1 Leicester (Sergio Agüero, 77 min) 7:04PM 77 mins Aguero wins a corner with a deflected shot. De Bruyne walks over to take it, goes short, then hits it low into the area. Gundogan chips to the back post for Otamendi, who controls on the chest and hits a volley straight at Schmeichel. Leicester try to counter-attack but Ederson times his save perfectly and takes the ball away from Vardy before he can go round and win a penalty. 7:01PM 75 mins Laporte goes down under a challenge, slips and holds his leg. Mahrez attacks, Gundogan brings him down and complains that it should have been a foul on Laporte. Mahrez can shoot from here. Albrighton chips it into the box instead, meaning Leicester have still only had one shot on goal. Although, technically, Maguire's sneaky attempt to tuck a cross/shot inside the near post should probably count as one. 6:58PM 72 mins Bernardo Silva cuts inside from the right, Fuchs doesn't predict - somehow - that he will do so and Bernardo shoots form 20 yards, bending his effort wide of the top corner. Ndidi is booked for a frustrated challenge on Gundogan. This is quite funny: Man City vs Leicester shots on goal Man City vs Leicester shots on goal 6:56PM 69 mins Mahrez hasn't scored any goals yet nor tried putting it in his own net in protest. There's still time. Which way will he swing? At the moment, Leicester are in damage control mode and Man City being allowed to patiently pass around their half. 6:53PM 66 mins Zinchenko is replaced by Danilo. Possession: Man City vs Leicester 6:50PM 63 mins THE NARRATIVE! Riyad Mahrez is about to come on! Credit: GETTY IMAGES He replaces Diabate, who I thought had a pretty decent game but was unlucky with some passes and dribbing attempts. Chilwell is replaced by Iheanacho. That might mean a 4-4-2 for Leicester now. The Man City fans cheer Mahrez's substitution. 6:47PM 61 mins Credit: REUTERS 6:45PM 59 mins Manchester City are the helmet of bees, Leicester City are Nicolas Cage, begging for mercy— James Tyler (@JamesTylerESPN) February 10, 2018 Sterling is dragging defenders around at the back and is so quick that they barely have time to react to what he's doing. Gundogan arrives to try and finish off a cut-back at the edge of the area but it's deflected over for a corner. Otamendi attacks the corner AND IT'S JUST WIDE! Schmeichel doesn't even dive but got his angles right. 6:43PM 57 mins I'm pretty sure Leicester are out of this one now. That half time change hasn't worked - City are all over them. 6:41PM GOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLLLL!!!!! Aguero goal 2 OOOOCHA! Aguero fires that in with pure power. De Bruyne gets the assist (a hat-trick?) but Schmeichel can do absolutely nothing to stop the ball landing in the back of the net despite getting in the way of it. Man City 3 - 1 Leicester (Sergio Agüero, 53 min) 6:38PM 52 mins Leicester are in a back four now with Chilwell playing ahead of Fuchs. Adrien Silva is off for Danny Simpson to make it happen. That happened at half time but City scored too quickly for me to tell you. Selfish. 6:37PM GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLL! Aguero goal City are back in front! Aguero scores but this is all about Kevin De Bruyne's pass. It is unbelievable. As in I struggle to believe he is that good at passing. How does he do it? He's fed a ball inches away from the defender's boots to hand Aguero a tap-in. Ridiculous. Man City 2 - 1 Leicester (Sergio Agüero, 48 min) 6:32PM KICK-OFF 2 We're back! What will we see in this half? 6:21PM Average positions Average touch positions (half time) De Bruyne and Gundogan have spent most of their time on the left of the attack, making this shape look a little imbalanced. Guardiola will likely try to get one of them closer to Bernardo Silva in the second, if anything, to make him a little more effective. Leicester have an easy read on his movement and it means City lack bite down that wing. 6:18PM The stats that matter Man City vs Leicester shots on goal There's another goal in this game but it could genuinely go to either team. City don't quite have the momentum they need. Possession: Man City vs Leicester 6:16PM HALF TIME And that's that. Leicester have one shot on goal, get it on target and it's 1-1. Man City need to do a bit more to win the three points here. 6:13PM 44 mins I'm not sure if Bernardo Silva realises he's allowed to use his right foot but if he ever does, he'll be some player. At the moment he's too easy to read and the constant cut backs onto his left to pass backwards are slowing down moves on that right wing. Walker wins a free-kick wide right, De Bruyne comes across to take it. Leicester head away. 6:11PM 42 mins Chilwell has been impressive on the Leicester left - he's another young English player with huge potential. His attempt to win a corner doesn't work as Otamendi refuses to buy the dummy and Man City attack. Sterling is in! He goes around Schmeichel but has a tight angle to shoot from... and Maguire slides into block! Corner. City end up passing all the way back to Ederson. 6:09PM 40 mins Leicester have done well to get back into this one. They've grown in confidence and City are wary of the counter-attack now. Bernardo Silva overhits a pass to Aguero during another swift Man City attack. The final ball hasn't been quite good enough from Sterling and Bernardo today. Possession: Man City vs Leicester 6:06PM 38 mins Sterling is so frustrating to watch at times - he's so nearly a great player. He pulls away into a brilliant position out wide, takes the ball down with a superb first touch and then runs at goal before passing inside to absolutely nobody. He does win a free-kick in the end and De Bruyne powers the cross into the box but nobody can get a touch to turn it at goal. "No player in world football is better at crossing the ball than Kevin De Bruyne", says Jamie Carragher. 6:04PM 35 mins De Bruyne comes inside onto his right foot and absolutely thunders a shot towards the near post. Schmeichel does really well to get behind that and parry it away! Attempt Saved: Man City 1 - 1 Leicester (Kevin De Bruyne, 33 min) 6:02PM 33 mins Credit: REUTERS De Bruyne finds Sterling, who runs into the box and then goes down. That looks like a foul... which would mean it's a penalty... but the referee doesn't care. I suspect that might have been a free-kick anywhere else on the pitch. 6:01PM 31 mins City piling on the pressure now. Fernandinho tries a shot but Schmeichel saves, Bernardo skips past Fuchs in the penalty area and shoots from near the touchline and Schmeichel saves. Zinchenko is in the right position to cut out a pass to Diabte on the right of Leicester's attack. If he hadn't... it would have been bad. 5:58PM 28 mins Man City go on the attack immediately and Gundogan shoots from range... saved! Attempt Saved: Man City 1 - 1 Leicester (Ilkay Gündogan, 25 min) Will that goal give Leicester the confidence they need to attack Man City a bit here? They look capable of scoring on the counter-attack and are getting wide players forward quickly. 5:56PM GOOOOOOOAAAAAAAALLLLLL! vardy goal But that's what happens when you don't pay attention! City break quickly, De Bruyne and Sterling lead the charge but the pass from Sterling is poor and Aguero loses out. Wrong decision from Sterling. Leicester move forward, three separate players see the opportunity to slide into stop Vardy as Otamendi passes the ball straight to him, but he skips each one, gets to the area and finishes superbly into the bottom corner. Brilliant from Vardy! Man City 1 - 1 Leicester (Jamie Vardy, 24 min) 5:52PM 23 mins Ohhhhh it's so good. One touch pass and move football and City have taken advantage of a turnover in possession near the centre-circle and almost created a scoring chance within seconds. Aguero can't quite keep the ball inside the box and Leicester survive. Look at this average positions graphic: Average touch positions (10 min) Leicester are being forced so deep. But they've managed to get into the City half now and a promising move results in a corner as Fernandinho clears up the danger. 5:49PM 20 mins Maguire wins the tackle, knocks it forward, City win possession back. Possession: Man City vs Leicester The most difficult thing about this match for Man City will be staying alert and driven. It already seems pretty easy. 5:47PM 18 mins Sterling is so quick, it's ridiculous. It looks like the ball is out of play but Sterling roadrunners it and touches inside, then aims a low ball into the middle. Schmeichel parries. Credit: AFP 5:46PM 16 mins Man City home games are pretty strange. They're so completely in control of the match that the crowd quietens down as though watching theatre, the opposition sit back and patiently wait to either try and capitalise on a mistake or await their inevitable demise. When stuff actually happens they get loud, of course, but most matches are like attack vs defence and the supporters have to watch a training match. 5:44PM 13 mins City stroking the ball around, Leicester are terrified of them and keep dropping further backwards to defend. Zinchenko accidentally hits a pass straight out for a throw-in but Man City win it aback immediately and Aguero finds Sterling to his left on the edge of the box. Some tidy feet and Sterling almost creates a chance to shoot for himself by putting the ball around the side of a defender and sprinting to win it. The goalkeeper wins. 5:40PM 10 mins De Bruyne is running the show early on, moving all around the pitch. Leicester have a chance to get forward, hit it into the channel for Vardy to chase and Ederson comes 30 yards off his line, controls on the chest, settles it down and chips a ball across the pitch right onto Walker's foot. 5:37PM 7 mins Albrighton is down with a problem, catching Gundogan on the knee (I think) while going for the ball. It's just a wee clash, nothing serious, but enough to make him take a time out. Leicester are trying to pass out from the back but City's press is forcing them into errors everywhere. Man City look so good here. 5:33PM GOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLL! Sterling goal Leicester haven't started well at all. They're playing a three man defence and don't seem certain of it - and Man City are in the mood. Bernardo plays it to De Bruyne who has far too much time and picks out Sterling at the back post with an unbelievable pass. It's all about De Bruyne's vision and Sterling's running at the back post. Man City 1 - 0 Leicester (Raheem Sterling, 3 min) 5:32PM 3 mins Leicester are a little clumsy with the ball in their own defensive third and City steal it back. Bernardo Silva cuts onto his left... City could be in here! 5:31PM 1 mins Straight away Leicester win the ball deep and look to hit it forward over the top for Jamie Vardy to chase. Aymeric Laporte has to be alert to deal with the early threat. 5:30PM KICK-OFF And they're off! City get us started. 5:30PM Here come the players Sky Sports have had technical difficulties apparently and so we have been denied pre-match analysis and Graeme Souness' frightening demeanour. It's been quite nice. 5:18PM A million photos of Mahrez Credit: AFP The picture database I have access to is full of photos of Mahrez warming up. Meanwhile, Sky Sports are running a montage VT of Leicester's title winning season. That was a fun time, wasn't it? 4:56PM No David Silva again Guardiola has named all seven of his allowed substitutes today, putting young striker Lukas Nmecha next to Phil Foden on the bench. One very important man who will miss out is Silva, who has been one of the best players in the league this season. I wrote this on him a while ago: What makes David Silva Manchester City's most important player? 4:51PM Mahrez on the bench! And so, here we are. Riyad Mahrez has made the bench after all that noise during the week. Could he be the protagonist of this game for all the right reasons? Will I try many more cliche narrative lines throughout this liveblog? Nobody knows! 4:34PM Starting lineups Man City How we line-up against the Foxes! #cityvlcfc City XI | Ederson, Walker, Laporte, Otamendi, Zinchenko, Fernandinho (C), Gündogan, De Bruyne, Sterling, Bernardo, Agüero Subs | Bravo, Danilo, Kompany, Stones, Nmecha, Foden, Diaz Presented by @HaysWorldwide#mancitypic.twitter.com/tlBLjj5nsX— Manchester City (@ManCity) February 10, 2018 Ederson, Walker, Laporte, Otamendi, Zinchenko, Fernandinho, Gundogan, De Bruyne, Sterling, Bernardo, Aguero Leicester Today's starting XI: Schmeichel (c), Dragović, Maguire, Fuchs, Albrighton, Silva, Ndidi, James, Chilwell, Diabaté, Vardy. Subs: Jakupović, Simpson, Benalouane, Iborra, Gray, Mahrez, Iheanacho. #MciLeipic.twitter.com/qoxMH6cx1p— Leicester City (@LCFC) February 10, 2018 Schmeichel, Dragovic, Maguire, Fuchs, Albrighton, Silva, Ndidi, James, Chilwell, Diabate, Vardy
No wonder Riyad Mahrez was desperate to join this lot. Another win, another avalanche of goals, their lead at the top of the Premier League stretched to a scarcely believable 16 points and another show stopping turn from that serial slaughterer of defenders. When Sergio Aguero received the ball from Phil Foden just outside the penalty area as the clock hit 90 minutes, the young Manchester City midfielder was screaming for it back. Aguero, though, had only one thing in mind at that point and crashed a thunderous strike in off the underside of the crossbar for his fourth goal of an arresting afternoon. The Argentina striker is now just three goals short of a double century for Manchester City and just six shy of bettering his season best goals tally for the club of 33. It is only early February and Aguero already has 28 goals in 32 appearances, half of which have come in his last seven games at the Etihad. Do not let anyone tell you this man is past his best. “When one guy is able to score four goals, he deserves all the credit,” Pep Guardiola, the Manchester City manager, said. Guardiola’s side now have 72 points and are unbeaten at the Etihad since December 2016. Seven more wins will guarantee the title. The Premier League is widely as the most competitive in Europe but Guardiola is in danger of turning it into a one horse show like Scotland and could become the first to smash the 100 point barrier. When it was put to Guardiola he was making it look easy, he replied: “So far, yeah. I would like to take that question after 38 games. So far we have 72 points in February so it is a lot. We’ve enjoyed the last six or seven months but to be admired and loved we have to win the title.” Man City 1 - 0 Leicester (Raheem Sterling, 3 min) Leicester City had barely gained a foothold in the game before they equalised against the run of play. Guardiola will have been disappointed that the goal originated from a misplaced pass from Nicolas Otamendi, who had actually done well to dispossess Fousseni Diabate but he will have admired the subsequent brilliance of Jamie Vardy. Collecting Otamendi’s stray pass, Vardy rode challenges from Oleksandr Zinchenko and Ilkay Gundogan, both of whom had slid in to try to win the ball back, before careering towards the penalty area. With Aymeric Laporte backing off, Vardy fired expertly into the far bottom corner. It was a terrific piece of centre-forward play. Man City 1 - 1 Leicester (Jamie Vardy, 24 min) “He perhaps made a mistake but it’s important to have our best players with us,” Claude Puel, the Leicester City manager, said of Mahrez. “The most important thing is that he came back to the training session, to the game. Now it’s important to look forward and put this behind us.” If Aguero stole the headlines, Kevin De Bruyne ran him close for the man-of-the-match award. It was De Bruyne who fashioned the first three goals with characteristically sublime passes. The match was only three minutes old when Raheem Sterling gave the hosts the lead. Bernardo Silva pulled the ball back to De Bruyne on the right and the Belgian swung in a wonderful cross that eluded Leicester City’s defence, the ball flying across the six yard box to the far post where Sterling nipped ahead of Marc Albrighton to steer home. Guardiola – who named three academy graduates among his substitutes a week after being criticised by Gary Neville for denying a youth team player a chance by only naming six substitutes against Burnley - had substituted Sterling immediately after the England forward missed a golden chance at Turf Moor but there was no mistake here. Man City 2 - 1 Leicester (Sergio Agüero, 48 min) Leicester City had barely gained a foothold in the game before they equalised thanks to a terrific piece of centre-forward play from Jamie Vardy, who capitalised on a stray pass from Nicolas Otamendi before riding challenges from Oleksandr Zinchenko and Ilkay Gundogan as he strode forward and fired expertly into the bottom corner. Yet any hope of causing an upset evaporated within the space of five minutes early in the second half when Puel’s move to a back four was undone by two moments of ingenuity from De Bruyne. Exchanging a quick one-two with Sterling, De Bruyne’s pass to give Aguero a simple tap in was sublime, a clipped swipe of the side-foot that swerved past Danny Simpson and beyond Harry Maguire. Riyad Mahrez was a substitute for Leicester Credit: GETTY IMAGES Two became three soon after. Credit must go to Kyle Walker for chasing down Maguire, who played an angled pass to Kasper Schmeichel that the goalkeeper hurriedly tried to clear. Fernandinho intercepted, passed to De Bruyne who, in turn, played through Aguero to shoot in off Schmeichel. It would get a whole lot worse for Schmeichel. When Maguire played a simple back pass to Schmeichel, the Dane had time and options but elected to play a rushed pass intended for Aleksandar Dragovic that Aguero intercepted before dinking a lovely lobbed finish over the embarrassed Leicester City goalkeeper. Then came that fabulous fourth. 7:32PM Kevin De Bruyne tries to steal the match ball KDB tries to wind up Aguero at the final whistle by claiming the match ball for his three assists. Aguero makes sure he gets it and tells Sky Sports his favourite of his four goals was the fourth because it's been a while since he scored from outside the box. 7:24PM Average positions Average touch positions (0 min) 7:20PM FULL TIME It turns out a few days rest does wonders for this team! They looked a little lethargic in the first half, as though they couldn't quite build up the steam needed to punish Leicester's mistakes but in the second half have obliterated them. Clinical, powerful, fast, decisive. A great performance - Aguero and De Bruyne have been exceptional. 7:19PM GOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLL! Aguero 4th He's just completely binned Schmeichel there. The power on that shot is ridiculous. Aguero's dipping, bending shot from 20 yards... how has he done that?! It's unsaveable but hit straight down the middle. Insane. Man City 5 - 1 Leicester (Sergio Agüero, 90 min) 7:17PM 89 mins De Bruyne takes a sore one as Maguire clumsily kicks him trying to take the ball away. De Bruyne knows he's coming but still takes the hit. 7:14PM 87 mins Leicester have a free-kick, Mahrez plays it short and his pass is dreadful. James can't do anything with it and suddenly they're in trouble. Ederson launches a long ball towards Aguero but it's just slightly too heavy and Schmeichel is able to gather. This time he decides not to pass to Aguero. A wise choice, if I may say so. 7:12PM 85 mins De Bruyne attempts a first-time shot from 30 yards but puts it miles into the air. He can be forgiven. This time. 7:10PM 83 mins Vardy is having an argument with Laporte and the referee books them both. Vardy has a sly kick at the defender while trying to win the ball and Laporte tells him to wise up, Vardy doesn't like it and gets in his face. Gentlemen, please, won't you think of the example you'll set? 7:07PM 81 mins Phil Foden is on for Fernandinho. That should mean Gundogan drops into the holding midfield role. Otamendi is replaced by John Stones - two left-footed ball-playing defenders side by side. 7:06PM GOOOOAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLL! Aguero fourth Schmeichel. What. On. Earth. Was. That. He passes the ball straight to Aguero on the edge of his own penalty area and though Aguero's finish is superb, a controlled chip high over the goalkeeper, it is entirely Schmeichel's fault for trying to be Ederson. You aren't Ederson, Kasper. Man City 4 - 1 Leicester (Sergio Agüero, 77 min) 7:04PM 77 mins Aguero wins a corner with a deflected shot. De Bruyne walks over to take it, goes short, then hits it low into the area. Gundogan chips to the back post for Otamendi, who controls on the chest and hits a volley straight at Schmeichel. Leicester try to counter-attack but Ederson times his save perfectly and takes the ball away from Vardy before he can go round and win a penalty. 7:01PM 75 mins Laporte goes down under a challenge, slips and holds his leg. Mahrez attacks, Gundogan brings him down and complains that it should have been a foul on Laporte. Mahrez can shoot from here. Albrighton chips it into the box instead, meaning Leicester have still only had one shot on goal. Although, technically, Maguire's sneaky attempt to tuck a cross/shot inside the near post should probably count as one. 6:58PM 72 mins Bernardo Silva cuts inside from the right, Fuchs doesn't predict - somehow - that he will do so and Bernardo shoots form 20 yards, bending his effort wide of the top corner. Ndidi is booked for a frustrated challenge on Gundogan. This is quite funny: Man City vs Leicester shots on goal Man City vs Leicester shots on goal 6:56PM 69 mins Mahrez hasn't scored any goals yet nor tried putting it in his own net in protest. There's still time. Which way will he swing? At the moment, Leicester are in damage control mode and Man City being allowed to patiently pass around their half. 6:53PM 66 mins Zinchenko is replaced by Danilo. Possession: Man City vs Leicester 6:50PM 63 mins THE NARRATIVE! Riyad Mahrez is about to come on! Credit: GETTY IMAGES He replaces Diabate, who I thought had a pretty decent game but was unlucky with some passes and dribbing attempts. Chilwell is replaced by Iheanacho. That might mean a 4-4-2 for Leicester now. The Man City fans cheer Mahrez's substitution. 6:47PM 61 mins Credit: REUTERS 6:45PM 59 mins Manchester City are the helmet of bees, Leicester City are Nicolas Cage, begging for mercy— James Tyler (@JamesTylerESPN) February 10, 2018 Sterling is dragging defenders around at the back and is so quick that they barely have time to react to what he's doing. Gundogan arrives to try and finish off a cut-back at the edge of the area but it's deflected over for a corner. Otamendi attacks the corner AND IT'S JUST WIDE! Schmeichel doesn't even dive but got his angles right. 6:43PM 57 mins I'm pretty sure Leicester are out of this one now. That half time change hasn't worked - City are all over them. 6:41PM GOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLLLL!!!!! Aguero goal 2 OOOOCHA! Aguero fires that in with pure power. De Bruyne gets the assist (a hat-trick?) but Schmeichel can do absolutely nothing to stop the ball landing in the back of the net despite getting in the way of it. Man City 3 - 1 Leicester (Sergio Agüero, 53 min) 6:38PM 52 mins Leicester are in a back four now with Chilwell playing ahead of Fuchs. Adrien Silva is off for Danny Simpson to make it happen. That happened at half time but City scored too quickly for me to tell you. Selfish. 6:37PM GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLL! Aguero goal City are back in front! Aguero scores but this is all about Kevin De Bruyne's pass. It is unbelievable. As in I struggle to believe he is that good at passing. How does he do it? He's fed a ball inches away from the defender's boots to hand Aguero a tap-in. Ridiculous. Man City 2 - 1 Leicester (Sergio Agüero, 48 min) 6:32PM KICK-OFF 2 We're back! What will we see in this half? 6:21PM Average positions Average touch positions (half time) De Bruyne and Gundogan have spent most of their time on the left of the attack, making this shape look a little imbalanced. Guardiola will likely try to get one of them closer to Bernardo Silva in the second, if anything, to make him a little more effective. Leicester have an easy read on his movement and it means City lack bite down that wing. 6:18PM The stats that matter Man City vs Leicester shots on goal There's another goal in this game but it could genuinely go to either team. City don't quite have the momentum they need. Possession: Man City vs Leicester 6:16PM HALF TIME And that's that. Leicester have one shot on goal, get it on target and it's 1-1. Man City need to do a bit more to win the three points here. 6:13PM 44 mins I'm not sure if Bernardo Silva realises he's allowed to use his right foot but if he ever does, he'll be some player. At the moment he's too easy to read and the constant cut backs onto his left to pass backwards are slowing down moves on that right wing. Walker wins a free-kick wide right, De Bruyne comes across to take it. Leicester head away. 6:11PM 42 mins Chilwell has been impressive on the Leicester left - he's another young English player with huge potential. His attempt to win a corner doesn't work as Otamendi refuses to buy the dummy and Man City attack. Sterling is in! He goes around Schmeichel but has a tight angle to shoot from... and Maguire slides into block! Corner. City end up passing all the way back to Ederson. 6:09PM 40 mins Leicester have done well to get back into this one. They've grown in confidence and City are wary of the counter-attack now. Bernardo Silva overhits a pass to Aguero during another swift Man City attack. The final ball hasn't been quite good enough from Sterling and Bernardo today. Possession: Man City vs Leicester 6:06PM 38 mins Sterling is so frustrating to watch at times - he's so nearly a great player. He pulls away into a brilliant position out wide, takes the ball down with a superb first touch and then runs at goal before passing inside to absolutely nobody. He does win a free-kick in the end and De Bruyne powers the cross into the box but nobody can get a touch to turn it at goal. "No player in world football is better at crossing the ball than Kevin De Bruyne", says Jamie Carragher. 6:04PM 35 mins De Bruyne comes inside onto his right foot and absolutely thunders a shot towards the near post. Schmeichel does really well to get behind that and parry it away! Attempt Saved: Man City 1 - 1 Leicester (Kevin De Bruyne, 33 min) 6:02PM 33 mins Credit: REUTERS De Bruyne finds Sterling, who runs into the box and then goes down. That looks like a foul... which would mean it's a penalty... but the referee doesn't care. I suspect that might have been a free-kick anywhere else on the pitch. 6:01PM 31 mins City piling on the pressure now. Fernandinho tries a shot but Schmeichel saves, Bernardo skips past Fuchs in the penalty area and shoots from near the touchline and Schmeichel saves. Zinchenko is in the right position to cut out a pass to Diabte on the right of Leicester's attack. If he hadn't... it would have been bad. 5:58PM 28 mins Man City go on the attack immediately and Gundogan shoots from range... saved! Attempt Saved: Man City 1 - 1 Leicester (Ilkay Gündogan, 25 min) Will that goal give Leicester the confidence they need to attack Man City a bit here? They look capable of scoring on the counter-attack and are getting wide players forward quickly. 5:56PM GOOOOOOOAAAAAAAALLLLLL! vardy goal But that's what happens when you don't pay attention! City break quickly, De Bruyne and Sterling lead the charge but the pass from Sterling is poor and Aguero loses out. Wrong decision from Sterling. Leicester move forward, three separate players see the opportunity to slide into stop Vardy as Otamendi passes the ball straight to him, but he skips each one, gets to the area and finishes superbly into the bottom corner. Brilliant from Vardy! Man City 1 - 1 Leicester (Jamie Vardy, 24 min) 5:52PM 23 mins Ohhhhh it's so good. One touch pass and move football and City have taken advantage of a turnover in possession near the centre-circle and almost created a scoring chance within seconds. Aguero can't quite keep the ball inside the box and Leicester survive. Look at this average positions graphic: Average touch positions (10 min) Leicester are being forced so deep. But they've managed to get into the City half now and a promising move results in a corner as Fernandinho clears up the danger. 5:49PM 20 mins Maguire wins the tackle, knocks it forward, City win possession back. Possession: Man City vs Leicester The most difficult thing about this match for Man City will be staying alert and driven. It already seems pretty easy. 5:47PM 18 mins Sterling is so quick, it's ridiculous. It looks like the ball is out of play but Sterling roadrunners it and touches inside, then aims a low ball into the middle. Schmeichel parries. Credit: AFP 5:46PM 16 mins Man City home games are pretty strange. They're so completely in control of the match that the crowd quietens down as though watching theatre, the opposition sit back and patiently wait to either try and capitalise on a mistake or await their inevitable demise. When stuff actually happens they get loud, of course, but most matches are like attack vs defence and the supporters have to watch a training match. 5:44PM 13 mins City stroking the ball around, Leicester are terrified of them and keep dropping further backwards to defend. Zinchenko accidentally hits a pass straight out for a throw-in but Man City win it aback immediately and Aguero finds Sterling to his left on the edge of the box. Some tidy feet and Sterling almost creates a chance to shoot for himself by putting the ball around the side of a defender and sprinting to win it. The goalkeeper wins. 5:40PM 10 mins De Bruyne is running the show early on, moving all around the pitch. Leicester have a chance to get forward, hit it into the channel for Vardy to chase and Ederson comes 30 yards off his line, controls on the chest, settles it down and chips a ball across the pitch right onto Walker's foot. 5:37PM 7 mins Albrighton is down with a problem, catching Gundogan on the knee (I think) while going for the ball. It's just a wee clash, nothing serious, but enough to make him take a time out. Leicester are trying to pass out from the back but City's press is forcing them into errors everywhere. Man City look so good here. 5:33PM GOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLL! Sterling goal Leicester haven't started well at all. They're playing a three man defence and don't seem certain of it - and Man City are in the mood. Bernardo plays it to De Bruyne who has far too much time and picks out Sterling at the back post with an unbelievable pass. It's all about De Bruyne's vision and Sterling's running at the back post. Man City 1 - 0 Leicester (Raheem Sterling, 3 min) 5:32PM 3 mins Leicester are a little clumsy with the ball in their own defensive third and City steal it back. Bernardo Silva cuts onto his left... City could be in here! 5:31PM 1 mins Straight away Leicester win the ball deep and look to hit it forward over the top for Jamie Vardy to chase. Aymeric Laporte has to be alert to deal with the early threat. 5:30PM KICK-OFF And they're off! City get us started. 5:30PM Here come the players Sky Sports have had technical difficulties apparently and so we have been denied pre-match analysis and Graeme Souness' frightening demeanour. It's been quite nice. 5:18PM A million photos of Mahrez Credit: AFP The picture database I have access to is full of photos of Mahrez warming up. Meanwhile, Sky Sports are running a montage VT of Leicester's title winning season. That was a fun time, wasn't it? 4:56PM No David Silva again Guardiola has named all seven of his allowed substitutes today, putting young striker Lukas Nmecha next to Phil Foden on the bench. One very important man who will miss out is Silva, who has been one of the best players in the league this season. I wrote this on him a while ago: What makes David Silva Manchester City's most important player? 4:51PM Mahrez on the bench! And so, here we are. Riyad Mahrez has made the bench after all that noise during the week. Could he be the protagonist of this game for all the right reasons? Will I try many more cliche narrative lines throughout this liveblog? Nobody knows! 4:34PM Starting lineups Man City How we line-up against the Foxes! #cityvlcfc City XI | Ederson, Walker, Laporte, Otamendi, Zinchenko, Fernandinho (C), Gündogan, De Bruyne, Sterling, Bernardo, Agüero Subs | Bravo, Danilo, Kompany, Stones, Nmecha, Foden, Diaz Presented by @HaysWorldwide#mancitypic.twitter.com/tlBLjj5nsX— Manchester City (@ManCity) February 10, 2018 Ederson, Walker, Laporte, Otamendi, Zinchenko, Fernandinho, Gundogan, De Bruyne, Sterling, Bernardo, Aguero Leicester Today's starting XI: Schmeichel (c), Dragović, Maguire, Fuchs, Albrighton, Silva, Ndidi, James, Chilwell, Diabaté, Vardy. Subs: Jakupović, Simpson, Benalouane, Iborra, Gray, Mahrez, Iheanacho. #MciLeipic.twitter.com/qoxMH6cx1p— Leicester City (@LCFC) February 10, 2018 Schmeichel, Dragovic, Maguire, Fuchs, Albrighton, Silva, Ndidi, James, Chilwell, Diabate, Vardy
Man City 5 Leicester 1: Sergio Aguero scores four as show-stopping City stretch their Premier League lead
No wonder Riyad Mahrez was desperate to join this lot. Another win, another avalanche of goals, their lead at the top of the Premier League stretched to a scarcely believable 16 points and another show stopping turn from that serial slaughterer of defenders. When Sergio Aguero received the ball from Phil Foden just outside the penalty area as the clock hit 90 minutes, the young Manchester City midfielder was screaming for it back. Aguero, though, had only one thing in mind at that point and crashed a thunderous strike in off the underside of the crossbar for his fourth goal of an arresting afternoon. The Argentina striker is now just three goals short of a double century for Manchester City and just six shy of bettering his season best goals tally for the club of 33. It is only early February and Aguero already has 28 goals in 32 appearances, half of which have come in his last seven games at the Etihad. Do not let anyone tell you this man is past his best. “When one guy is able to score four goals, he deserves all the credit,” Pep Guardiola, the Manchester City manager, said. Guardiola’s side now have 72 points and are unbeaten at the Etihad since December 2016. Seven more wins will guarantee the title. The Premier League is widely as the most competitive in Europe but Guardiola is in danger of turning it into a one horse show like Scotland and could become the first to smash the 100 point barrier. When it was put to Guardiola he was making it look easy, he replied: “So far, yeah. I would like to take that question after 38 games. So far we have 72 points in February so it is a lot. We’ve enjoyed the last six or seven months but to be admired and loved we have to win the title.” Man City 1 - 0 Leicester (Raheem Sterling, 3 min) Leicester City had barely gained a foothold in the game before they equalised against the run of play. Guardiola will have been disappointed that the goal originated from a misplaced pass from Nicolas Otamendi, who had actually done well to dispossess Fousseni Diabate but he will have admired the subsequent brilliance of Jamie Vardy. Collecting Otamendi’s stray pass, Vardy rode challenges from Oleksandr Zinchenko and Ilkay Gundogan, both of whom had slid in to try to win the ball back, before careering towards the penalty area. With Aymeric Laporte backing off, Vardy fired expertly into the far bottom corner. It was a terrific piece of centre-forward play. Man City 1 - 1 Leicester (Jamie Vardy, 24 min) “He perhaps made a mistake but it’s important to have our best players with us,” Claude Puel, the Leicester City manager, said of Mahrez. “The most important thing is that he came back to the training session, to the game. Now it’s important to look forward and put this behind us.” If Aguero stole the headlines, Kevin De Bruyne ran him close for the man-of-the-match award. It was De Bruyne who fashioned the first three goals with characteristically sublime passes. The match was only three minutes old when Raheem Sterling gave the hosts the lead. Bernardo Silva pulled the ball back to De Bruyne on the right and the Belgian swung in a wonderful cross that eluded Leicester City’s defence, the ball flying across the six yard box to the far post where Sterling nipped ahead of Marc Albrighton to steer home. Guardiola – who named three academy graduates among his substitutes a week after being criticised by Gary Neville for denying a youth team player a chance by only naming six substitutes against Burnley - had substituted Sterling immediately after the England forward missed a golden chance at Turf Moor but there was no mistake here. Man City 2 - 1 Leicester (Sergio Agüero, 48 min) Leicester City had barely gained a foothold in the game before they equalised thanks to a terrific piece of centre-forward play from Jamie Vardy, who capitalised on a stray pass from Nicolas Otamendi before riding challenges from Oleksandr Zinchenko and Ilkay Gundogan as he strode forward and fired expertly into the bottom corner. Yet any hope of causing an upset evaporated within the space of five minutes early in the second half when Puel’s move to a back four was undone by two moments of ingenuity from De Bruyne. Exchanging a quick one-two with Sterling, De Bruyne’s pass to give Aguero a simple tap in was sublime, a clipped swipe of the side-foot that swerved past Danny Simpson and beyond Harry Maguire. Riyad Mahrez was a substitute for Leicester Credit: GETTY IMAGES Two became three soon after. Credit must go to Kyle Walker for chasing down Maguire, who played an angled pass to Kasper Schmeichel that the goalkeeper hurriedly tried to clear. Fernandinho intercepted, passed to De Bruyne who, in turn, played through Aguero to shoot in off Schmeichel. It would get a whole lot worse for Schmeichel. When Maguire played a simple back pass to Schmeichel, the Dane had time and options but elected to play a rushed pass intended for Aleksandar Dragovic that Aguero intercepted before dinking a lovely lobbed finish over the embarrassed Leicester City goalkeeper. Then came that fabulous fourth. 7:32PM Kevin De Bruyne tries to steal the match ball KDB tries to wind up Aguero at the final whistle by claiming the match ball for his three assists. Aguero makes sure he gets it and tells Sky Sports his favourite of his four goals was the fourth because it's been a while since he scored from outside the box. 7:24PM Average positions Average touch positions (0 min) 7:20PM FULL TIME It turns out a few days rest does wonders for this team! They looked a little lethargic in the first half, as though they couldn't quite build up the steam needed to punish Leicester's mistakes but in the second half have obliterated them. Clinical, powerful, fast, decisive. A great performance - Aguero and De Bruyne have been exceptional. 7:19PM GOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLL! Aguero 4th He's just completely binned Schmeichel there. The power on that shot is ridiculous. Aguero's dipping, bending shot from 20 yards... how has he done that?! It's unsaveable but hit straight down the middle. Insane. Man City 5 - 1 Leicester (Sergio Agüero, 90 min) 7:17PM 89 mins De Bruyne takes a sore one as Maguire clumsily kicks him trying to take the ball away. De Bruyne knows he's coming but still takes the hit. 7:14PM 87 mins Leicester have a free-kick, Mahrez plays it short and his pass is dreadful. James can't do anything with it and suddenly they're in trouble. Ederson launches a long ball towards Aguero but it's just slightly too heavy and Schmeichel is able to gather. This time he decides not to pass to Aguero. A wise choice, if I may say so. 7:12PM 85 mins De Bruyne attempts a first-time shot from 30 yards but puts it miles into the air. He can be forgiven. This time. 7:10PM 83 mins Vardy is having an argument with Laporte and the referee books them both. Vardy has a sly kick at the defender while trying to win the ball and Laporte tells him to wise up, Vardy doesn't like it and gets in his face. Gentlemen, please, won't you think of the example you'll set? 7:07PM 81 mins Phil Foden is on for Fernandinho. That should mean Gundogan drops into the holding midfield role. Otamendi is replaced by John Stones - two left-footed ball-playing defenders side by side. 7:06PM GOOOOAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLL! Aguero fourth Schmeichel. What. On. Earth. Was. That. He passes the ball straight to Aguero on the edge of his own penalty area and though Aguero's finish is superb, a controlled chip high over the goalkeeper, it is entirely Schmeichel's fault for trying to be Ederson. You aren't Ederson, Kasper. Man City 4 - 1 Leicester (Sergio Agüero, 77 min) 7:04PM 77 mins Aguero wins a corner with a deflected shot. De Bruyne walks over to take it, goes short, then hits it low into the area. Gundogan chips to the back post for Otamendi, who controls on the chest and hits a volley straight at Schmeichel. Leicester try to counter-attack but Ederson times his save perfectly and takes the ball away from Vardy before he can go round and win a penalty. 7:01PM 75 mins Laporte goes down under a challenge, slips and holds his leg. Mahrez attacks, Gundogan brings him down and complains that it should have been a foul on Laporte. Mahrez can shoot from here. Albrighton chips it into the box instead, meaning Leicester have still only had one shot on goal. Although, technically, Maguire's sneaky attempt to tuck a cross/shot inside the near post should probably count as one. 6:58PM 72 mins Bernardo Silva cuts inside from the right, Fuchs doesn't predict - somehow - that he will do so and Bernardo shoots form 20 yards, bending his effort wide of the top corner. Ndidi is booked for a frustrated challenge on Gundogan. This is quite funny: Man City vs Leicester shots on goal Man City vs Leicester shots on goal 6:56PM 69 mins Mahrez hasn't scored any goals yet nor tried putting it in his own net in protest. There's still time. Which way will he swing? At the moment, Leicester are in damage control mode and Man City being allowed to patiently pass around their half. 6:53PM 66 mins Zinchenko is replaced by Danilo. Possession: Man City vs Leicester 6:50PM 63 mins THE NARRATIVE! Riyad Mahrez is about to come on! Credit: GETTY IMAGES He replaces Diabate, who I thought had a pretty decent game but was unlucky with some passes and dribbing attempts. Chilwell is replaced by Iheanacho. That might mean a 4-4-2 for Leicester now. The Man City fans cheer Mahrez's substitution. 6:47PM 61 mins Credit: REUTERS 6:45PM 59 mins Manchester City are the helmet of bees, Leicester City are Nicolas Cage, begging for mercy— James Tyler (@JamesTylerESPN) February 10, 2018 Sterling is dragging defenders around at the back and is so quick that they barely have time to react to what he's doing. Gundogan arrives to try and finish off a cut-back at the edge of the area but it's deflected over for a corner. Otamendi attacks the corner AND IT'S JUST WIDE! Schmeichel doesn't even dive but got his angles right. 6:43PM 57 mins I'm pretty sure Leicester are out of this one now. That half time change hasn't worked - City are all over them. 6:41PM GOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLLLL!!!!! Aguero goal 2 OOOOCHA! Aguero fires that in with pure power. De Bruyne gets the assist (a hat-trick?) but Schmeichel can do absolutely nothing to stop the ball landing in the back of the net despite getting in the way of it. Man City 3 - 1 Leicester (Sergio Agüero, 53 min) 6:38PM 52 mins Leicester are in a back four now with Chilwell playing ahead of Fuchs. Adrien Silva is off for Danny Simpson to make it happen. That happened at half time but City scored too quickly for me to tell you. Selfish. 6:37PM GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLL! Aguero goal City are back in front! Aguero scores but this is all about Kevin De Bruyne's pass. It is unbelievable. As in I struggle to believe he is that good at passing. How does he do it? He's fed a ball inches away from the defender's boots to hand Aguero a tap-in. Ridiculous. Man City 2 - 1 Leicester (Sergio Agüero, 48 min) 6:32PM KICK-OFF 2 We're back! What will we see in this half? 6:21PM Average positions Average touch positions (half time) De Bruyne and Gundogan have spent most of their time on the left of the attack, making this shape look a little imbalanced. Guardiola will likely try to get one of them closer to Bernardo Silva in the second, if anything, to make him a little more effective. Leicester have an easy read on his movement and it means City lack bite down that wing. 6:18PM The stats that matter Man City vs Leicester shots on goal There's another goal in this game but it could genuinely go to either team. City don't quite have the momentum they need. Possession: Man City vs Leicester 6:16PM HALF TIME And that's that. Leicester have one shot on goal, get it on target and it's 1-1. Man City need to do a bit more to win the three points here. 6:13PM 44 mins I'm not sure if Bernardo Silva realises he's allowed to use his right foot but if he ever does, he'll be some player. At the moment he's too easy to read and the constant cut backs onto his left to pass backwards are slowing down moves on that right wing. Walker wins a free-kick wide right, De Bruyne comes across to take it. Leicester head away. 6:11PM 42 mins Chilwell has been impressive on the Leicester left - he's another young English player with huge potential. His attempt to win a corner doesn't work as Otamendi refuses to buy the dummy and Man City attack. Sterling is in! He goes around Schmeichel but has a tight angle to shoot from... and Maguire slides into block! Corner. City end up passing all the way back to Ederson. 6:09PM 40 mins Leicester have done well to get back into this one. They've grown in confidence and City are wary of the counter-attack now. Bernardo Silva overhits a pass to Aguero during another swift Man City attack. The final ball hasn't been quite good enough from Sterling and Bernardo today. Possession: Man City vs Leicester 6:06PM 38 mins Sterling is so frustrating to watch at times - he's so nearly a great player. He pulls away into a brilliant position out wide, takes the ball down with a superb first touch and then runs at goal before passing inside to absolutely nobody. He does win a free-kick in the end and De Bruyne powers the cross into the box but nobody can get a touch to turn it at goal. "No player in world football is better at crossing the ball than Kevin De Bruyne", says Jamie Carragher. 6:04PM 35 mins De Bruyne comes inside onto his right foot and absolutely thunders a shot towards the near post. Schmeichel does really well to get behind that and parry it away! Attempt Saved: Man City 1 - 1 Leicester (Kevin De Bruyne, 33 min) 6:02PM 33 mins Credit: REUTERS De Bruyne finds Sterling, who runs into the box and then goes down. That looks like a foul... which would mean it's a penalty... but the referee doesn't care. I suspect that might have been a free-kick anywhere else on the pitch. 6:01PM 31 mins City piling on the pressure now. Fernandinho tries a shot but Schmeichel saves, Bernardo skips past Fuchs in the penalty area and shoots from near the touchline and Schmeichel saves. Zinchenko is in the right position to cut out a pass to Diabte on the right of Leicester's attack. If he hadn't... it would have been bad. 5:58PM 28 mins Man City go on the attack immediately and Gundogan shoots from range... saved! Attempt Saved: Man City 1 - 1 Leicester (Ilkay Gündogan, 25 min) Will that goal give Leicester the confidence they need to attack Man City a bit here? They look capable of scoring on the counter-attack and are getting wide players forward quickly. 5:56PM GOOOOOOOAAAAAAAALLLLLL! vardy goal But that's what happens when you don't pay attention! City break quickly, De Bruyne and Sterling lead the charge but the pass from Sterling is poor and Aguero loses out. Wrong decision from Sterling. Leicester move forward, three separate players see the opportunity to slide into stop Vardy as Otamendi passes the ball straight to him, but he skips each one, gets to the area and finishes superbly into the bottom corner. Brilliant from Vardy! Man City 1 - 1 Leicester (Jamie Vardy, 24 min) 5:52PM 23 mins Ohhhhh it's so good. One touch pass and move football and City have taken advantage of a turnover in possession near the centre-circle and almost created a scoring chance within seconds. Aguero can't quite keep the ball inside the box and Leicester survive. Look at this average positions graphic: Average touch positions (10 min) Leicester are being forced so deep. But they've managed to get into the City half now and a promising move results in a corner as Fernandinho clears up the danger. 5:49PM 20 mins Maguire wins the tackle, knocks it forward, City win possession back. Possession: Man City vs Leicester The most difficult thing about this match for Man City will be staying alert and driven. It already seems pretty easy. 5:47PM 18 mins Sterling is so quick, it's ridiculous. It looks like the ball is out of play but Sterling roadrunners it and touches inside, then aims a low ball into the middle. Schmeichel parries. Credit: AFP 5:46PM 16 mins Man City home games are pretty strange. They're so completely in control of the match that the crowd quietens down as though watching theatre, the opposition sit back and patiently wait to either try and capitalise on a mistake or await their inevitable demise. When stuff actually happens they get loud, of course, but most matches are like attack vs defence and the supporters have to watch a training match. 5:44PM 13 mins City stroking the ball around, Leicester are terrified of them and keep dropping further backwards to defend. Zinchenko accidentally hits a pass straight out for a throw-in but Man City win it aback immediately and Aguero finds Sterling to his left on the edge of the box. Some tidy feet and Sterling almost creates a chance to shoot for himself by putting the ball around the side of a defender and sprinting to win it. The goalkeeper wins. 5:40PM 10 mins De Bruyne is running the show early on, moving all around the pitch. Leicester have a chance to get forward, hit it into the channel for Vardy to chase and Ederson comes 30 yards off his line, controls on the chest, settles it down and chips a ball across the pitch right onto Walker's foot. 5:37PM 7 mins Albrighton is down with a problem, catching Gundogan on the knee (I think) while going for the ball. It's just a wee clash, nothing serious, but enough to make him take a time out. Leicester are trying to pass out from the back but City's press is forcing them into errors everywhere. Man City look so good here. 5:33PM GOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLL! Sterling goal Leicester haven't started well at all. They're playing a three man defence and don't seem certain of it - and Man City are in the mood. Bernardo plays it to De Bruyne who has far too much time and picks out Sterling at the back post with an unbelievable pass. It's all about De Bruyne's vision and Sterling's running at the back post. Man City 1 - 0 Leicester (Raheem Sterling, 3 min) 5:32PM 3 mins Leicester are a little clumsy with the ball in their own defensive third and City steal it back. Bernardo Silva cuts onto his left... City could be in here! 5:31PM 1 mins Straight away Leicester win the ball deep and look to hit it forward over the top for Jamie Vardy to chase. Aymeric Laporte has to be alert to deal with the early threat. 5:30PM KICK-OFF And they're off! City get us started. 5:30PM Here come the players Sky Sports have had technical difficulties apparently and so we have been denied pre-match analysis and Graeme Souness' frightening demeanour. It's been quite nice. 5:18PM A million photos of Mahrez Credit: AFP The picture database I have access to is full of photos of Mahrez warming up. Meanwhile, Sky Sports are running a montage VT of Leicester's title winning season. That was a fun time, wasn't it? 4:56PM No David Silva again Guardiola has named all seven of his allowed substitutes today, putting young striker Lukas Nmecha next to Phil Foden on the bench. One very important man who will miss out is Silva, who has been one of the best players in the league this season. I wrote this on him a while ago: What makes David Silva Manchester City's most important player? 4:51PM Mahrez on the bench! And so, here we are. Riyad Mahrez has made the bench after all that noise during the week. Could he be the protagonist of this game for all the right reasons? Will I try many more cliche narrative lines throughout this liveblog? Nobody knows! 4:34PM Starting lineups Man City How we line-up against the Foxes! #cityvlcfc City XI | Ederson, Walker, Laporte, Otamendi, Zinchenko, Fernandinho (C), Gündogan, De Bruyne, Sterling, Bernardo, Agüero Subs | Bravo, Danilo, Kompany, Stones, Nmecha, Foden, Diaz Presented by @HaysWorldwide#mancitypic.twitter.com/tlBLjj5nsX— Manchester City (@ManCity) February 10, 2018 Ederson, Walker, Laporte, Otamendi, Zinchenko, Fernandinho, Gundogan, De Bruyne, Sterling, Bernardo, Aguero Leicester Today's starting XI: Schmeichel (c), Dragović, Maguire, Fuchs, Albrighton, Silva, Ndidi, James, Chilwell, Diabaté, Vardy. Subs: Jakupović, Simpson, Benalouane, Iborra, Gray, Mahrez, Iheanacho. #MciLeipic.twitter.com/qoxMH6cx1p— Leicester City (@LCFC) February 10, 2018 Schmeichel, Dragovic, Maguire, Fuchs, Albrighton, Silva, Ndidi, James, Chilwell, Diabate, Vardy
No wonder Riyad Mahrez was desperate to join this lot. Another win, another avalanche of goals, their lead at the top of the Premier League stretched to a scarcely believable 16 points and another show stopping turn from that serial slaughterer of defenders. When Sergio Aguero received the ball from Phil Foden just outside the penalty area as the clock hit 90 minutes, the young Manchester City midfielder was screaming for it back. Aguero, though, had only one thing in mind at that point and crashed a thunderous strike in off the underside of the crossbar for his fourth goal of an arresting afternoon. The Argentina striker is now just three goals short of a double century for Manchester City and just six shy of bettering his season best goals tally for the club of 33. It is only early February and Aguero already has 28 goals in 32 appearances, half of which have come in his last seven games at the Etihad. Do not let anyone tell you this man is past his best. “When one guy is able to score four goals, he deserves all the credit,” Pep Guardiola, the Manchester City manager, said. Guardiola’s side now have 72 points and are unbeaten at the Etihad since December 2016. Seven more wins will guarantee the title. The Premier League is widely as the most competitive in Europe but Guardiola is in danger of turning it into a one horse show like Scotland and could become the first to smash the 100 point barrier. When it was put to Guardiola he was making it look easy, he replied: “So far, yeah. I would like to take that question after 38 games. So far we have 72 points in February so it is a lot. We’ve enjoyed the last six or seven months but to be admired and loved we have to win the title.” Man City 1 - 0 Leicester (Raheem Sterling, 3 min) Leicester City had barely gained a foothold in the game before they equalised against the run of play. Guardiola will have been disappointed that the goal originated from a misplaced pass from Nicolas Otamendi, who had actually done well to dispossess Fousseni Diabate but he will have admired the subsequent brilliance of Jamie Vardy. Collecting Otamendi’s stray pass, Vardy rode challenges from Oleksandr Zinchenko and Ilkay Gundogan, both of whom had slid in to try to win the ball back, before careering towards the penalty area. With Aymeric Laporte backing off, Vardy fired expertly into the far bottom corner. It was a terrific piece of centre-forward play. Man City 1 - 1 Leicester (Jamie Vardy, 24 min) “He perhaps made a mistake but it’s important to have our best players with us,” Claude Puel, the Leicester City manager, said of Mahrez. “The most important thing is that he came back to the training session, to the game. Now it’s important to look forward and put this behind us.” If Aguero stole the headlines, Kevin De Bruyne ran him close for the man-of-the-match award. It was De Bruyne who fashioned the first three goals with characteristically sublime passes. The match was only three minutes old when Raheem Sterling gave the hosts the lead. Bernardo Silva pulled the ball back to De Bruyne on the right and the Belgian swung in a wonderful cross that eluded Leicester City’s defence, the ball flying across the six yard box to the far post where Sterling nipped ahead of Marc Albrighton to steer home. Guardiola – who named three academy graduates among his substitutes a week after being criticised by Gary Neville for denying a youth team player a chance by only naming six substitutes against Burnley - had substituted Sterling immediately after the England forward missed a golden chance at Turf Moor but there was no mistake here. Man City 2 - 1 Leicester (Sergio Agüero, 48 min) Leicester City had barely gained a foothold in the game before they equalised thanks to a terrific piece of centre-forward play from Jamie Vardy, who capitalised on a stray pass from Nicolas Otamendi before riding challenges from Oleksandr Zinchenko and Ilkay Gundogan as he strode forward and fired expertly into the bottom corner. Yet any hope of causing an upset evaporated within the space of five minutes early in the second half when Puel’s move to a back four was undone by two moments of ingenuity from De Bruyne. Exchanging a quick one-two with Sterling, De Bruyne’s pass to give Aguero a simple tap in was sublime, a clipped swipe of the side-foot that swerved past Danny Simpson and beyond Harry Maguire. Riyad Mahrez was a substitute for Leicester Credit: GETTY IMAGES Two became three soon after. Credit must go to Kyle Walker for chasing down Maguire, who played an angled pass to Kasper Schmeichel that the goalkeeper hurriedly tried to clear. Fernandinho intercepted, passed to De Bruyne who, in turn, played through Aguero to shoot in off Schmeichel. It would get a whole lot worse for Schmeichel. When Maguire played a simple back pass to Schmeichel, the Dane had time and options but elected to play a rushed pass intended for Aleksandar Dragovic that Aguero intercepted before dinking a lovely lobbed finish over the embarrassed Leicester City goalkeeper. Then came that fabulous fourth. 7:32PM Kevin De Bruyne tries to steal the match ball KDB tries to wind up Aguero at the final whistle by claiming the match ball for his three assists. Aguero makes sure he gets it and tells Sky Sports his favourite of his four goals was the fourth because it's been a while since he scored from outside the box. 7:24PM Average positions Average touch positions (0 min) 7:20PM FULL TIME It turns out a few days rest does wonders for this team! They looked a little lethargic in the first half, as though they couldn't quite build up the steam needed to punish Leicester's mistakes but in the second half have obliterated them. Clinical, powerful, fast, decisive. A great performance - Aguero and De Bruyne have been exceptional. 7:19PM GOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLL! Aguero 4th He's just completely binned Schmeichel there. The power on that shot is ridiculous. Aguero's dipping, bending shot from 20 yards... how has he done that?! It's unsaveable but hit straight down the middle. Insane. Man City 5 - 1 Leicester (Sergio Agüero, 90 min) 7:17PM 89 mins De Bruyne takes a sore one as Maguire clumsily kicks him trying to take the ball away. De Bruyne knows he's coming but still takes the hit. 7:14PM 87 mins Leicester have a free-kick, Mahrez plays it short and his pass is dreadful. James can't do anything with it and suddenly they're in trouble. Ederson launches a long ball towards Aguero but it's just slightly too heavy and Schmeichel is able to gather. This time he decides not to pass to Aguero. A wise choice, if I may say so. 7:12PM 85 mins De Bruyne attempts a first-time shot from 30 yards but puts it miles into the air. He can be forgiven. This time. 7:10PM 83 mins Vardy is having an argument with Laporte and the referee books them both. Vardy has a sly kick at the defender while trying to win the ball and Laporte tells him to wise up, Vardy doesn't like it and gets in his face. Gentlemen, please, won't you think of the example you'll set? 7:07PM 81 mins Phil Foden is on for Fernandinho. That should mean Gundogan drops into the holding midfield role. Otamendi is replaced by John Stones - two left-footed ball-playing defenders side by side. 7:06PM GOOOOAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLL! Aguero fourth Schmeichel. What. On. Earth. Was. That. He passes the ball straight to Aguero on the edge of his own penalty area and though Aguero's finish is superb, a controlled chip high over the goalkeeper, it is entirely Schmeichel's fault for trying to be Ederson. You aren't Ederson, Kasper. Man City 4 - 1 Leicester (Sergio Agüero, 77 min) 7:04PM 77 mins Aguero wins a corner with a deflected shot. De Bruyne walks over to take it, goes short, then hits it low into the area. Gundogan chips to the back post for Otamendi, who controls on the chest and hits a volley straight at Schmeichel. Leicester try to counter-attack but Ederson times his save perfectly and takes the ball away from Vardy before he can go round and win a penalty. 7:01PM 75 mins Laporte goes down under a challenge, slips and holds his leg. Mahrez attacks, Gundogan brings him down and complains that it should have been a foul on Laporte. Mahrez can shoot from here. Albrighton chips it into the box instead, meaning Leicester have still only had one shot on goal. Although, technically, Maguire's sneaky attempt to tuck a cross/shot inside the near post should probably count as one. 6:58PM 72 mins Bernardo Silva cuts inside from the right, Fuchs doesn't predict - somehow - that he will do so and Bernardo shoots form 20 yards, bending his effort wide of the top corner. Ndidi is booked for a frustrated challenge on Gundogan. This is quite funny: Man City vs Leicester shots on goal Man City vs Leicester shots on goal 6:56PM 69 mins Mahrez hasn't scored any goals yet nor tried putting it in his own net in protest. There's still time. Which way will he swing? At the moment, Leicester are in damage control mode and Man City being allowed to patiently pass around their half. 6:53PM 66 mins Zinchenko is replaced by Danilo. Possession: Man City vs Leicester 6:50PM 63 mins THE NARRATIVE! Riyad Mahrez is about to come on! Credit: GETTY IMAGES He replaces Diabate, who I thought had a pretty decent game but was unlucky with some passes and dribbing attempts. Chilwell is replaced by Iheanacho. That might mean a 4-4-2 for Leicester now. The Man City fans cheer Mahrez's substitution. 6:47PM 61 mins Credit: REUTERS 6:45PM 59 mins Manchester City are the helmet of bees, Leicester City are Nicolas Cage, begging for mercy— James Tyler (@JamesTylerESPN) February 10, 2018 Sterling is dragging defenders around at the back and is so quick that they barely have time to react to what he's doing. Gundogan arrives to try and finish off a cut-back at the edge of the area but it's deflected over for a corner. Otamendi attacks the corner AND IT'S JUST WIDE! Schmeichel doesn't even dive but got his angles right. 6:43PM 57 mins I'm pretty sure Leicester are out of this one now. That half time change hasn't worked - City are all over them. 6:41PM GOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLLLL!!!!! Aguero goal 2 OOOOCHA! Aguero fires that in with pure power. De Bruyne gets the assist (a hat-trick?) but Schmeichel can do absolutely nothing to stop the ball landing in the back of the net despite getting in the way of it. Man City 3 - 1 Leicester (Sergio Agüero, 53 min) 6:38PM 52 mins Leicester are in a back four now with Chilwell playing ahead of Fuchs. Adrien Silva is off for Danny Simpson to make it happen. That happened at half time but City scored too quickly for me to tell you. Selfish. 6:37PM GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLL! Aguero goal City are back in front! Aguero scores but this is all about Kevin De Bruyne's pass. It is unbelievable. As in I struggle to believe he is that good at passing. How does he do it? He's fed a ball inches away from the defender's boots to hand Aguero a tap-in. Ridiculous. Man City 2 - 1 Leicester (Sergio Agüero, 48 min) 6:32PM KICK-OFF 2 We're back! What will we see in this half? 6:21PM Average positions Average touch positions (half time) De Bruyne and Gundogan have spent most of their time on the left of the attack, making this shape look a little imbalanced. Guardiola will likely try to get one of them closer to Bernardo Silva in the second, if anything, to make him a little more effective. Leicester have an easy read on his movement and it means City lack bite down that wing. 6:18PM The stats that matter Man City vs Leicester shots on goal There's another goal in this game but it could genuinely go to either team. City don't quite have the momentum they need. Possession: Man City vs Leicester 6:16PM HALF TIME And that's that. Leicester have one shot on goal, get it on target and it's 1-1. Man City need to do a bit more to win the three points here. 6:13PM 44 mins I'm not sure if Bernardo Silva realises he's allowed to use his right foot but if he ever does, he'll be some player. At the moment he's too easy to read and the constant cut backs onto his left to pass backwards are slowing down moves on that right wing. Walker wins a free-kick wide right, De Bruyne comes across to take it. Leicester head away. 6:11PM 42 mins Chilwell has been impressive on the Leicester left - he's another young English player with huge potential. His attempt to win a corner doesn't work as Otamendi refuses to buy the dummy and Man City attack. Sterling is in! He goes around Schmeichel but has a tight angle to shoot from... and Maguire slides into block! Corner. City end up passing all the way back to Ederson. 6:09PM 40 mins Leicester have done well to get back into this one. They've grown in confidence and City are wary of the counter-attack now. Bernardo Silva overhits a pass to Aguero during another swift Man City attack. The final ball hasn't been quite good enough from Sterling and Bernardo today. Possession: Man City vs Leicester 6:06PM 38 mins Sterling is so frustrating to watch at times - he's so nearly a great player. He pulls away into a brilliant position out wide, takes the ball down with a superb first touch and then runs at goal before passing inside to absolutely nobody. He does win a free-kick in the end and De Bruyne powers the cross into the box but nobody can get a touch to turn it at goal. "No player in world football is better at crossing the ball than Kevin De Bruyne", says Jamie Carragher. 6:04PM 35 mins De Bruyne comes inside onto his right foot and absolutely thunders a shot towards the near post. Schmeichel does really well to get behind that and parry it away! Attempt Saved: Man City 1 - 1 Leicester (Kevin De Bruyne, 33 min) 6:02PM 33 mins Credit: REUTERS De Bruyne finds Sterling, who runs into the box and then goes down. That looks like a foul... which would mean it's a penalty... but the referee doesn't care. I suspect that might have been a free-kick anywhere else on the pitch. 6:01PM 31 mins City piling on the pressure now. Fernandinho tries a shot but Schmeichel saves, Bernardo skips past Fuchs in the penalty area and shoots from near the touchline and Schmeichel saves. Zinchenko is in the right position to cut out a pass to Diabte on the right of Leicester's attack. If he hadn't... it would have been bad. 5:58PM 28 mins Man City go on the attack immediately and Gundogan shoots from range... saved! Attempt Saved: Man City 1 - 1 Leicester (Ilkay Gündogan, 25 min) Will that goal give Leicester the confidence they need to attack Man City a bit here? They look capable of scoring on the counter-attack and are getting wide players forward quickly. 5:56PM GOOOOOOOAAAAAAAALLLLLL! vardy goal But that's what happens when you don't pay attention! City break quickly, De Bruyne and Sterling lead the charge but the pass from Sterling is poor and Aguero loses out. Wrong decision from Sterling. Leicester move forward, three separate players see the opportunity to slide into stop Vardy as Otamendi passes the ball straight to him, but he skips each one, gets to the area and finishes superbly into the bottom corner. Brilliant from Vardy! Man City 1 - 1 Leicester (Jamie Vardy, 24 min) 5:52PM 23 mins Ohhhhh it's so good. One touch pass and move football and City have taken advantage of a turnover in possession near the centre-circle and almost created a scoring chance within seconds. Aguero can't quite keep the ball inside the box and Leicester survive. Look at this average positions graphic: Average touch positions (10 min) Leicester are being forced so deep. But they've managed to get into the City half now and a promising move results in a corner as Fernandinho clears up the danger. 5:49PM 20 mins Maguire wins the tackle, knocks it forward, City win possession back. Possession: Man City vs Leicester The most difficult thing about this match for Man City will be staying alert and driven. It already seems pretty easy. 5:47PM 18 mins Sterling is so quick, it's ridiculous. It looks like the ball is out of play but Sterling roadrunners it and touches inside, then aims a low ball into the middle. Schmeichel parries. Credit: AFP 5:46PM 16 mins Man City home games are pretty strange. They're so completely in control of the match that the crowd quietens down as though watching theatre, the opposition sit back and patiently wait to either try and capitalise on a mistake or await their inevitable demise. When stuff actually happens they get loud, of course, but most matches are like attack vs defence and the supporters have to watch a training match. 5:44PM 13 mins City stroking the ball around, Leicester are terrified of them and keep dropping further backwards to defend. Zinchenko accidentally hits a pass straight out for a throw-in but Man City win it aback immediately and Aguero finds Sterling to his left on the edge of the box. Some tidy feet and Sterling almost creates a chance to shoot for himself by putting the ball around the side of a defender and sprinting to win it. The goalkeeper wins. 5:40PM 10 mins De Bruyne is running the show early on, moving all around the pitch. Leicester have a chance to get forward, hit it into the channel for Vardy to chase and Ederson comes 30 yards off his line, controls on the chest, settles it down and chips a ball across the pitch right onto Walker's foot. 5:37PM 7 mins Albrighton is down with a problem, catching Gundogan on the knee (I think) while going for the ball. It's just a wee clash, nothing serious, but enough to make him take a time out. Leicester are trying to pass out from the back but City's press is forcing them into errors everywhere. Man City look so good here. 5:33PM GOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLL! Sterling goal Leicester haven't started well at all. They're playing a three man defence and don't seem certain of it - and Man City are in the mood. Bernardo plays it to De Bruyne who has far too much time and picks out Sterling at the back post with an unbelievable pass. It's all about De Bruyne's vision and Sterling's running at the back post. Man City 1 - 0 Leicester (Raheem Sterling, 3 min) 5:32PM 3 mins Leicester are a little clumsy with the ball in their own defensive third and City steal it back. Bernardo Silva cuts onto his left... City could be in here! 5:31PM 1 mins Straight away Leicester win the ball deep and look to hit it forward over the top for Jamie Vardy to chase. Aymeric Laporte has to be alert to deal with the early threat. 5:30PM KICK-OFF And they're off! City get us started. 5:30PM Here come the players Sky Sports have had technical difficulties apparently and so we have been denied pre-match analysis and Graeme Souness' frightening demeanour. It's been quite nice. 5:18PM A million photos of Mahrez Credit: AFP The picture database I have access to is full of photos of Mahrez warming up. Meanwhile, Sky Sports are running a montage VT of Leicester's title winning season. That was a fun time, wasn't it? 4:56PM No David Silva again Guardiola has named all seven of his allowed substitutes today, putting young striker Lukas Nmecha next to Phil Foden on the bench. One very important man who will miss out is Silva, who has been one of the best players in the league this season. I wrote this on him a while ago: What makes David Silva Manchester City's most important player? 4:51PM Mahrez on the bench! And so, here we are. Riyad Mahrez has made the bench after all that noise during the week. Could he be the protagonist of this game for all the right reasons? Will I try many more cliche narrative lines throughout this liveblog? Nobody knows! 4:34PM Starting lineups Man City How we line-up against the Foxes! #cityvlcfc City XI | Ederson, Walker, Laporte, Otamendi, Zinchenko, Fernandinho (C), Gündogan, De Bruyne, Sterling, Bernardo, Agüero Subs | Bravo, Danilo, Kompany, Stones, Nmecha, Foden, Diaz Presented by @HaysWorldwide#mancitypic.twitter.com/tlBLjj5nsX— Manchester City (@ManCity) February 10, 2018 Ederson, Walker, Laporte, Otamendi, Zinchenko, Fernandinho, Gundogan, De Bruyne, Sterling, Bernardo, Aguero Leicester Today's starting XI: Schmeichel (c), Dragović, Maguire, Fuchs, Albrighton, Silva, Ndidi, James, Chilwell, Diabaté, Vardy. Subs: Jakupović, Simpson, Benalouane, Iborra, Gray, Mahrez, Iheanacho. #MciLeipic.twitter.com/qoxMH6cx1p— Leicester City (@LCFC) February 10, 2018 Schmeichel, Dragovic, Maguire, Fuchs, Albrighton, Silva, Ndidi, James, Chilwell, Diabate, Vardy
Man City 5 Leicester 1: Sergio Aguero scores four as show-stopping City stretch their Premier League lead
No wonder Riyad Mahrez was desperate to join this lot. Another win, another avalanche of goals, their lead at the top of the Premier League stretched to a scarcely believable 16 points and another show stopping turn from that serial slaughterer of defenders. When Sergio Aguero received the ball from Phil Foden just outside the penalty area as the clock hit 90 minutes, the young Manchester City midfielder was screaming for it back. Aguero, though, had only one thing in mind at that point and crashed a thunderous strike in off the underside of the crossbar for his fourth goal of an arresting afternoon. The Argentina striker is now just three goals short of a double century for Manchester City and just six shy of bettering his season best goals tally for the club of 33. It is only early February and Aguero already has 28 goals in 32 appearances, half of which have come in his last seven games at the Etihad. Do not let anyone tell you this man is past his best. “When one guy is able to score four goals, he deserves all the credit,” Pep Guardiola, the Manchester City manager, said. Guardiola’s side now have 72 points and are unbeaten at the Etihad since December 2016. Seven more wins will guarantee the title. The Premier League is widely as the most competitive in Europe but Guardiola is in danger of turning it into a one horse show like Scotland and could become the first to smash the 100 point barrier. When it was put to Guardiola he was making it look easy, he replied: “So far, yeah. I would like to take that question after 38 games. So far we have 72 points in February so it is a lot. We’ve enjoyed the last six or seven months but to be admired and loved we have to win the title.” Man City 1 - 0 Leicester (Raheem Sterling, 3 min) Leicester City had barely gained a foothold in the game before they equalised against the run of play. Guardiola will have been disappointed that the goal originated from a misplaced pass from Nicolas Otamendi, who had actually done well to dispossess Fousseni Diabate but he will have admired the subsequent brilliance of Jamie Vardy. Collecting Otamendi’s stray pass, Vardy rode challenges from Oleksandr Zinchenko and Ilkay Gundogan, both of whom had slid in to try to win the ball back, before careering towards the penalty area. With Aymeric Laporte backing off, Vardy fired expertly into the far bottom corner. It was a terrific piece of centre-forward play. Man City 1 - 1 Leicester (Jamie Vardy, 24 min) “He perhaps made a mistake but it’s important to have our best players with us,” Claude Puel, the Leicester City manager, said of Mahrez. “The most important thing is that he came back to the training session, to the game. Now it’s important to look forward and put this behind us.” If Aguero stole the headlines, Kevin De Bruyne ran him close for the man-of-the-match award. It was De Bruyne who fashioned the first three goals with characteristically sublime passes. The match was only three minutes old when Raheem Sterling gave the hosts the lead. Bernardo Silva pulled the ball back to De Bruyne on the right and the Belgian swung in a wonderful cross that eluded Leicester City’s defence, the ball flying across the six yard box to the far post where Sterling nipped ahead of Marc Albrighton to steer home. Guardiola – who named three academy graduates among his substitutes a week after being criticised by Gary Neville for denying a youth team player a chance by only naming six substitutes against Burnley - had substituted Sterling immediately after the England forward missed a golden chance at Turf Moor but there was no mistake here. Man City 2 - 1 Leicester (Sergio Agüero, 48 min) Leicester City had barely gained a foothold in the game before they equalised thanks to a terrific piece of centre-forward play from Jamie Vardy, who capitalised on a stray pass from Nicolas Otamendi before riding challenges from Oleksandr Zinchenko and Ilkay Gundogan as he strode forward and fired expertly into the bottom corner. Yet any hope of causing an upset evaporated within the space of five minutes early in the second half when Puel’s move to a back four was undone by two moments of ingenuity from De Bruyne. Exchanging a quick one-two with Sterling, De Bruyne’s pass to give Aguero a simple tap in was sublime, a clipped swipe of the side-foot that swerved past Danny Simpson and beyond Harry Maguire. Riyad Mahrez was a substitute for Leicester Credit: GETTY IMAGES Two became three soon after. Credit must go to Kyle Walker for chasing down Maguire, who played an angled pass to Kasper Schmeichel that the goalkeeper hurriedly tried to clear. Fernandinho intercepted, passed to De Bruyne who, in turn, played through Aguero to shoot in off Schmeichel. It would get a whole lot worse for Schmeichel. When Maguire played a simple back pass to Schmeichel, the Dane had time and options but elected to play a rushed pass intended for Aleksandar Dragovic that Aguero intercepted before dinking a lovely lobbed finish over the embarrassed Leicester City goalkeeper. Then came that fabulous fourth. 7:32PM Kevin De Bruyne tries to steal the match ball KDB tries to wind up Aguero at the final whistle by claiming the match ball for his three assists. Aguero makes sure he gets it and tells Sky Sports his favourite of his four goals was the fourth because it's been a while since he scored from outside the box. 7:24PM Average positions Average touch positions (0 min) 7:20PM FULL TIME It turns out a few days rest does wonders for this team! They looked a little lethargic in the first half, as though they couldn't quite build up the steam needed to punish Leicester's mistakes but in the second half have obliterated them. Clinical, powerful, fast, decisive. A great performance - Aguero and De Bruyne have been exceptional. 7:19PM GOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLL! Aguero 4th He's just completely binned Schmeichel there. The power on that shot is ridiculous. Aguero's dipping, bending shot from 20 yards... how has he done that?! It's unsaveable but hit straight down the middle. Insane. Man City 5 - 1 Leicester (Sergio Agüero, 90 min) 7:17PM 89 mins De Bruyne takes a sore one as Maguire clumsily kicks him trying to take the ball away. De Bruyne knows he's coming but still takes the hit. 7:14PM 87 mins Leicester have a free-kick, Mahrez plays it short and his pass is dreadful. James can't do anything with it and suddenly they're in trouble. Ederson launches a long ball towards Aguero but it's just slightly too heavy and Schmeichel is able to gather. This time he decides not to pass to Aguero. A wise choice, if I may say so. 7:12PM 85 mins De Bruyne attempts a first-time shot from 30 yards but puts it miles into the air. He can be forgiven. This time. 7:10PM 83 mins Vardy is having an argument with Laporte and the referee books them both. Vardy has a sly kick at the defender while trying to win the ball and Laporte tells him to wise up, Vardy doesn't like it and gets in his face. Gentlemen, please, won't you think of the example you'll set? 7:07PM 81 mins Phil Foden is on for Fernandinho. That should mean Gundogan drops into the holding midfield role. Otamendi is replaced by John Stones - two left-footed ball-playing defenders side by side. 7:06PM GOOOOAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLL! Aguero fourth Schmeichel. What. On. Earth. Was. That. He passes the ball straight to Aguero on the edge of his own penalty area and though Aguero's finish is superb, a controlled chip high over the goalkeeper, it is entirely Schmeichel's fault for trying to be Ederson. You aren't Ederson, Kasper. Man City 4 - 1 Leicester (Sergio Agüero, 77 min) 7:04PM 77 mins Aguero wins a corner with a deflected shot. De Bruyne walks over to take it, goes short, then hits it low into the area. Gundogan chips to the back post for Otamendi, who controls on the chest and hits a volley straight at Schmeichel. Leicester try to counter-attack but Ederson times his save perfectly and takes the ball away from Vardy before he can go round and win a penalty. 7:01PM 75 mins Laporte goes down under a challenge, slips and holds his leg. Mahrez attacks, Gundogan brings him down and complains that it should have been a foul on Laporte. Mahrez can shoot from here. Albrighton chips it into the box instead, meaning Leicester have still only had one shot on goal. Although, technically, Maguire's sneaky attempt to tuck a cross/shot inside the near post should probably count as one. 6:58PM 72 mins Bernardo Silva cuts inside from the right, Fuchs doesn't predict - somehow - that he will do so and Bernardo shoots form 20 yards, bending his effort wide of the top corner. Ndidi is booked for a frustrated challenge on Gundogan. This is quite funny: Man City vs Leicester shots on goal Man City vs Leicester shots on goal 6:56PM 69 mins Mahrez hasn't scored any goals yet nor tried putting it in his own net in protest. There's still time. Which way will he swing? At the moment, Leicester are in damage control mode and Man City being allowed to patiently pass around their half. 6:53PM 66 mins Zinchenko is replaced by Danilo. Possession: Man City vs Leicester 6:50PM 63 mins THE NARRATIVE! Riyad Mahrez is about to come on! Credit: GETTY IMAGES He replaces Diabate, who I thought had a pretty decent game but was unlucky with some passes and dribbing attempts. Chilwell is replaced by Iheanacho. That might mean a 4-4-2 for Leicester now. The Man City fans cheer Mahrez's substitution. 6:47PM 61 mins Credit: REUTERS 6:45PM 59 mins Manchester City are the helmet of bees, Leicester City are Nicolas Cage, begging for mercy— James Tyler (@JamesTylerESPN) February 10, 2018 Sterling is dragging defenders around at the back and is so quick that they barely have time to react to what he's doing. Gundogan arrives to try and finish off a cut-back at the edge of the area but it's deflected over for a corner. Otamendi attacks the corner AND IT'S JUST WIDE! Schmeichel doesn't even dive but got his angles right. 6:43PM 57 mins I'm pretty sure Leicester are out of this one now. That half time change hasn't worked - City are all over them. 6:41PM GOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLLLL!!!!! Aguero goal 2 OOOOCHA! Aguero fires that in with pure power. De Bruyne gets the assist (a hat-trick?) but Schmeichel can do absolutely nothing to stop the ball landing in the back of the net despite getting in the way of it. Man City 3 - 1 Leicester (Sergio Agüero, 53 min) 6:38PM 52 mins Leicester are in a back four now with Chilwell playing ahead of Fuchs. Adrien Silva is off for Danny Simpson to make it happen. That happened at half time but City scored too quickly for me to tell you. Selfish. 6:37PM GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLL! Aguero goal City are back in front! Aguero scores but this is all about Kevin De Bruyne's pass. It is unbelievable. As in I struggle to believe he is that good at passing. How does he do it? He's fed a ball inches away from the defender's boots to hand Aguero a tap-in. Ridiculous. Man City 2 - 1 Leicester (Sergio Agüero, 48 min) 6:32PM KICK-OFF 2 We're back! What will we see in this half? 6:21PM Average positions Average touch positions (half time) De Bruyne and Gundogan have spent most of their time on the left of the attack, making this shape look a little imbalanced. Guardiola will likely try to get one of them closer to Bernardo Silva in the second, if anything, to make him a little more effective. Leicester have an easy read on his movement and it means City lack bite down that wing. 6:18PM The stats that matter Man City vs Leicester shots on goal There's another goal in this game but it could genuinely go to either team. City don't quite have the momentum they need. Possession: Man City vs Leicester 6:16PM HALF TIME And that's that. Leicester have one shot on goal, get it on target and it's 1-1. Man City need to do a bit more to win the three points here. 6:13PM 44 mins I'm not sure if Bernardo Silva realises he's allowed to use his right foot but if he ever does, he'll be some player. At the moment he's too easy to read and the constant cut backs onto his left to pass backwards are slowing down moves on that right wing. Walker wins a free-kick wide right, De Bruyne comes across to take it. Leicester head away. 6:11PM 42 mins Chilwell has been impressive on the Leicester left - he's another young English player with huge potential. His attempt to win a corner doesn't work as Otamendi refuses to buy the dummy and Man City attack. Sterling is in! He goes around Schmeichel but has a tight angle to shoot from... and Maguire slides into block! Corner. City end up passing all the way back to Ederson. 6:09PM 40 mins Leicester have done well to get back into this one. They've grown in confidence and City are wary of the counter-attack now. Bernardo Silva overhits a pass to Aguero during another swift Man City attack. The final ball hasn't been quite good enough from Sterling and Bernardo today. Possession: Man City vs Leicester 6:06PM 38 mins Sterling is so frustrating to watch at times - he's so nearly a great player. He pulls away into a brilliant position out wide, takes the ball down with a superb first touch and then runs at goal before passing inside to absolutely nobody. He does win a free-kick in the end and De Bruyne powers the cross into the box but nobody can get a touch to turn it at goal. "No player in world football is better at crossing the ball than Kevin De Bruyne", says Jamie Carragher. 6:04PM 35 mins De Bruyne comes inside onto his right foot and absolutely thunders a shot towards the near post. Schmeichel does really well to get behind that and parry it away! Attempt Saved: Man City 1 - 1 Leicester (Kevin De Bruyne, 33 min) 6:02PM 33 mins Credit: REUTERS De Bruyne finds Sterling, who runs into the box and then goes down. That looks like a foul... which would mean it's a penalty... but the referee doesn't care. I suspect that might have been a free-kick anywhere else on the pitch. 6:01PM 31 mins City piling on the pressure now. Fernandinho tries a shot but Schmeichel saves, Bernardo skips past Fuchs in the penalty area and shoots from near the touchline and Schmeichel saves. Zinchenko is in the right position to cut out a pass to Diabte on the right of Leicester's attack. If he hadn't... it would have been bad. 5:58PM 28 mins Man City go on the attack immediately and Gundogan shoots from range... saved! Attempt Saved: Man City 1 - 1 Leicester (Ilkay Gündogan, 25 min) Will that goal give Leicester the confidence they need to attack Man City a bit here? They look capable of scoring on the counter-attack and are getting wide players forward quickly. 5:56PM GOOOOOOOAAAAAAAALLLLLL! vardy goal But that's what happens when you don't pay attention! City break quickly, De Bruyne and Sterling lead the charge but the pass from Sterling is poor and Aguero loses out. Wrong decision from Sterling. Leicester move forward, three separate players see the opportunity to slide into stop Vardy as Otamendi passes the ball straight to him, but he skips each one, gets to the area and finishes superbly into the bottom corner. Brilliant from Vardy! Man City 1 - 1 Leicester (Jamie Vardy, 24 min) 5:52PM 23 mins Ohhhhh it's so good. One touch pass and move football and City have taken advantage of a turnover in possession near the centre-circle and almost created a scoring chance within seconds. Aguero can't quite keep the ball inside the box and Leicester survive. Look at this average positions graphic: Average touch positions (10 min) Leicester are being forced so deep. But they've managed to get into the City half now and a promising move results in a corner as Fernandinho clears up the danger. 5:49PM 20 mins Maguire wins the tackle, knocks it forward, City win possession back. Possession: Man City vs Leicester The most difficult thing about this match for Man City will be staying alert and driven. It already seems pretty easy. 5:47PM 18 mins Sterling is so quick, it's ridiculous. It looks like the ball is out of play but Sterling roadrunners it and touches inside, then aims a low ball into the middle. Schmeichel parries. Credit: AFP 5:46PM 16 mins Man City home games are pretty strange. They're so completely in control of the match that the crowd quietens down as though watching theatre, the opposition sit back and patiently wait to either try and capitalise on a mistake or await their inevitable demise. When stuff actually happens they get loud, of course, but most matches are like attack vs defence and the supporters have to watch a training match. 5:44PM 13 mins City stroking the ball around, Leicester are terrified of them and keep dropping further backwards to defend. Zinchenko accidentally hits a pass straight out for a throw-in but Man City win it aback immediately and Aguero finds Sterling to his left on the edge of the box. Some tidy feet and Sterling almost creates a chance to shoot for himself by putting the ball around the side of a defender and sprinting to win it. The goalkeeper wins. 5:40PM 10 mins De Bruyne is running the show early on, moving all around the pitch. Leicester have a chance to get forward, hit it into the channel for Vardy to chase and Ederson comes 30 yards off his line, controls on the chest, settles it down and chips a ball across the pitch right onto Walker's foot. 5:37PM 7 mins Albrighton is down with a problem, catching Gundogan on the knee (I think) while going for the ball. It's just a wee clash, nothing serious, but enough to make him take a time out. Leicester are trying to pass out from the back but City's press is forcing them into errors everywhere. Man City look so good here. 5:33PM GOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLL! Sterling goal Leicester haven't started well at all. They're playing a three man defence and don't seem certain of it - and Man City are in the mood. Bernardo plays it to De Bruyne who has far too much time and picks out Sterling at the back post with an unbelievable pass. It's all about De Bruyne's vision and Sterling's running at the back post. Man City 1 - 0 Leicester (Raheem Sterling, 3 min) 5:32PM 3 mins Leicester are a little clumsy with the ball in their own defensive third and City steal it back. Bernardo Silva cuts onto his left... City could be in here! 5:31PM 1 mins Straight away Leicester win the ball deep and look to hit it forward over the top for Jamie Vardy to chase. Aymeric Laporte has to be alert to deal with the early threat. 5:30PM KICK-OFF And they're off! City get us started. 5:30PM Here come the players Sky Sports have had technical difficulties apparently and so we have been denied pre-match analysis and Graeme Souness' frightening demeanour. It's been quite nice. 5:18PM A million photos of Mahrez Credit: AFP The picture database I have access to is full of photos of Mahrez warming up. Meanwhile, Sky Sports are running a montage VT of Leicester's title winning season. That was a fun time, wasn't it? 4:56PM No David Silva again Guardiola has named all seven of his allowed substitutes today, putting young striker Lukas Nmecha next to Phil Foden on the bench. One very important man who will miss out is Silva, who has been one of the best players in the league this season. I wrote this on him a while ago: What makes David Silva Manchester City's most important player? 4:51PM Mahrez on the bench! And so, here we are. Riyad Mahrez has made the bench after all that noise during the week. Could he be the protagonist of this game for all the right reasons? Will I try many more cliche narrative lines throughout this liveblog? Nobody knows! 4:34PM Starting lineups Man City How we line-up against the Foxes! #cityvlcfc City XI | Ederson, Walker, Laporte, Otamendi, Zinchenko, Fernandinho (C), Gündogan, De Bruyne, Sterling, Bernardo, Agüero Subs | Bravo, Danilo, Kompany, Stones, Nmecha, Foden, Diaz Presented by @HaysWorldwide#mancitypic.twitter.com/tlBLjj5nsX— Manchester City (@ManCity) February 10, 2018 Ederson, Walker, Laporte, Otamendi, Zinchenko, Fernandinho, Gundogan, De Bruyne, Sterling, Bernardo, Aguero Leicester Today's starting XI: Schmeichel (c), Dragović, Maguire, Fuchs, Albrighton, Silva, Ndidi, James, Chilwell, Diabaté, Vardy. Subs: Jakupović, Simpson, Benalouane, Iborra, Gray, Mahrez, Iheanacho. #MciLeipic.twitter.com/qoxMH6cx1p— Leicester City (@LCFC) February 10, 2018 Schmeichel, Dragovic, Maguire, Fuchs, Albrighton, Silva, Ndidi, James, Chilwell, Diabate, Vardy
No wonder Riyad Mahrez was desperate to join this lot. Another win, another avalanche of goals, their lead at the top of the Premier League stretched to a scarcely believable 16 points and another show stopping turn from that serial slaughterer of defenders. When Sergio Aguero received the ball from Phil Foden just outside the penalty area as the clock hit 90 minutes, the young Manchester City midfielder was screaming for it back. Aguero, though, had only one thing in mind at that point and crashed a thunderous strike in off the underside of the crossbar for his fourth goal of an arresting afternoon. The Argentina striker is now just three goals short of a double century for Manchester City and just six shy of bettering his season best goals tally for the club of 33. It is only early February and Aguero already has 28 goals in 32 appearances, half of which have come in his last seven games at the Etihad. Do not let anyone tell you this man is past his best. “When one guy is able to score four goals, he deserves all the credit,” Pep Guardiola, the Manchester City manager, said. Guardiola’s side now have 72 points and are unbeaten at the Etihad since December 2016. Seven more wins will guarantee the title. The Premier League is widely as the most competitive in Europe but Guardiola is in danger of turning it into a one horse show like Scotland and could become the first to smash the 100 point barrier. When it was put to Guardiola he was making it look easy, he replied: “So far, yeah. I would like to take that question after 38 games. So far we have 72 points in February so it is a lot. We’ve enjoyed the last six or seven months but to be admired and loved we have to win the title.” Man City 1 - 0 Leicester (Raheem Sterling, 3 min) Leicester City had barely gained a foothold in the game before they equalised against the run of play. Guardiola will have been disappointed that the goal originated from a misplaced pass from Nicolas Otamendi, who had actually done well to dispossess Fousseni Diabate but he will have admired the subsequent brilliance of Jamie Vardy. Collecting Otamendi’s stray pass, Vardy rode challenges from Oleksandr Zinchenko and Ilkay Gundogan, both of whom had slid in to try to win the ball back, before careering towards the penalty area. With Aymeric Laporte backing off, Vardy fired expertly into the far bottom corner. It was a terrific piece of centre-forward play. Man City 1 - 1 Leicester (Jamie Vardy, 24 min) “He perhaps made a mistake but it’s important to have our best players with us,” Claude Puel, the Leicester City manager, said of Mahrez. “The most important thing is that he came back to the training session, to the game. Now it’s important to look forward and put this behind us.” If Aguero stole the headlines, Kevin De Bruyne ran him close for the man-of-the-match award. It was De Bruyne who fashioned the first three goals with characteristically sublime passes. The match was only three minutes old when Raheem Sterling gave the hosts the lead. Bernardo Silva pulled the ball back to De Bruyne on the right and the Belgian swung in a wonderful cross that eluded Leicester City’s defence, the ball flying across the six yard box to the far post where Sterling nipped ahead of Marc Albrighton to steer home. Guardiola – who named three academy graduates among his substitutes a week after being criticised by Gary Neville for denying a youth team player a chance by only naming six substitutes against Burnley - had substituted Sterling immediately after the England forward missed a golden chance at Turf Moor but there was no mistake here. Man City 2 - 1 Leicester (Sergio Agüero, 48 min) Leicester City had barely gained a foothold in the game before they equalised thanks to a terrific piece of centre-forward play from Jamie Vardy, who capitalised on a stray pass from Nicolas Otamendi before riding challenges from Oleksandr Zinchenko and Ilkay Gundogan as he strode forward and fired expertly into the bottom corner. Yet any hope of causing an upset evaporated within the space of five minutes early in the second half when Puel’s move to a back four was undone by two moments of ingenuity from De Bruyne. Exchanging a quick one-two with Sterling, De Bruyne’s pass to give Aguero a simple tap in was sublime, a clipped swipe of the side-foot that swerved past Danny Simpson and beyond Harry Maguire. Riyad Mahrez was a substitute for Leicester Credit: GETTY IMAGES Two became three soon after. Credit must go to Kyle Walker for chasing down Maguire, who played an angled pass to Kasper Schmeichel that the goalkeeper hurriedly tried to clear. Fernandinho intercepted, passed to De Bruyne who, in turn, played through Aguero to shoot in off Schmeichel. It would get a whole lot worse for Schmeichel. When Maguire played a simple back pass to Schmeichel, the Dane had time and options but elected to play a rushed pass intended for Aleksandar Dragovic that Aguero intercepted before dinking a lovely lobbed finish over the embarrassed Leicester City goalkeeper. Then came that fabulous fourth. 7:32PM Kevin De Bruyne tries to steal the match ball KDB tries to wind up Aguero at the final whistle by claiming the match ball for his three assists. Aguero makes sure he gets it and tells Sky Sports his favourite of his four goals was the fourth because it's been a while since he scored from outside the box. 7:24PM Average positions Average touch positions (0 min) 7:20PM FULL TIME It turns out a few days rest does wonders for this team! They looked a little lethargic in the first half, as though they couldn't quite build up the steam needed to punish Leicester's mistakes but in the second half have obliterated them. Clinical, powerful, fast, decisive. A great performance - Aguero and De Bruyne have been exceptional. 7:19PM GOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLL! Aguero 4th He's just completely binned Schmeichel there. The power on that shot is ridiculous. Aguero's dipping, bending shot from 20 yards... how has he done that?! It's unsaveable but hit straight down the middle. Insane. Man City 5 - 1 Leicester (Sergio Agüero, 90 min) 7:17PM 89 mins De Bruyne takes a sore one as Maguire clumsily kicks him trying to take the ball away. De Bruyne knows he's coming but still takes the hit. 7:14PM 87 mins Leicester have a free-kick, Mahrez plays it short and his pass is dreadful. James can't do anything with it and suddenly they're in trouble. Ederson launches a long ball towards Aguero but it's just slightly too heavy and Schmeichel is able to gather. This time he decides not to pass to Aguero. A wise choice, if I may say so. 7:12PM 85 mins De Bruyne attempts a first-time shot from 30 yards but puts it miles into the air. He can be forgiven. This time. 7:10PM 83 mins Vardy is having an argument with Laporte and the referee books them both. Vardy has a sly kick at the defender while trying to win the ball and Laporte tells him to wise up, Vardy doesn't like it and gets in his face. Gentlemen, please, won't you think of the example you'll set? 7:07PM 81 mins Phil Foden is on for Fernandinho. That should mean Gundogan drops into the holding midfield role. Otamendi is replaced by John Stones - two left-footed ball-playing defenders side by side. 7:06PM GOOOOAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLL! Aguero fourth Schmeichel. What. On. Earth. Was. That. He passes the ball straight to Aguero on the edge of his own penalty area and though Aguero's finish is superb, a controlled chip high over the goalkeeper, it is entirely Schmeichel's fault for trying to be Ederson. You aren't Ederson, Kasper. Man City 4 - 1 Leicester (Sergio Agüero, 77 min) 7:04PM 77 mins Aguero wins a corner with a deflected shot. De Bruyne walks over to take it, goes short, then hits it low into the area. Gundogan chips to the back post for Otamendi, who controls on the chest and hits a volley straight at Schmeichel. Leicester try to counter-attack but Ederson times his save perfectly and takes the ball away from Vardy before he can go round and win a penalty. 7:01PM 75 mins Laporte goes down under a challenge, slips and holds his leg. Mahrez attacks, Gundogan brings him down and complains that it should have been a foul on Laporte. Mahrez can shoot from here. Albrighton chips it into the box instead, meaning Leicester have still only had one shot on goal. Although, technically, Maguire's sneaky attempt to tuck a cross/shot inside the near post should probably count as one. 6:58PM 72 mins Bernardo Silva cuts inside from the right, Fuchs doesn't predict - somehow - that he will do so and Bernardo shoots form 20 yards, bending his effort wide of the top corner. Ndidi is booked for a frustrated challenge on Gundogan. This is quite funny: Man City vs Leicester shots on goal Man City vs Leicester shots on goal 6:56PM 69 mins Mahrez hasn't scored any goals yet nor tried putting it in his own net in protest. There's still time. Which way will he swing? At the moment, Leicester are in damage control mode and Man City being allowed to patiently pass around their half. 6:53PM 66 mins Zinchenko is replaced by Danilo. Possession: Man City vs Leicester 6:50PM 63 mins THE NARRATIVE! Riyad Mahrez is about to come on! Credit: GETTY IMAGES He replaces Diabate, who I thought had a pretty decent game but was unlucky with some passes and dribbing attempts. Chilwell is replaced by Iheanacho. That might mean a 4-4-2 for Leicester now. The Man City fans cheer Mahrez's substitution. 6:47PM 61 mins Credit: REUTERS 6:45PM 59 mins Manchester City are the helmet of bees, Leicester City are Nicolas Cage, begging for mercy— James Tyler (@JamesTylerESPN) February 10, 2018 Sterling is dragging defenders around at the back and is so quick that they barely have time to react to what he's doing. Gundogan arrives to try and finish off a cut-back at the edge of the area but it's deflected over for a corner. Otamendi attacks the corner AND IT'S JUST WIDE! Schmeichel doesn't even dive but got his angles right. 6:43PM 57 mins I'm pretty sure Leicester are out of this one now. That half time change hasn't worked - City are all over them. 6:41PM GOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLLLL!!!!! Aguero goal 2 OOOOCHA! Aguero fires that in with pure power. De Bruyne gets the assist (a hat-trick?) but Schmeichel can do absolutely nothing to stop the ball landing in the back of the net despite getting in the way of it. Man City 3 - 1 Leicester (Sergio Agüero, 53 min) 6:38PM 52 mins Leicester are in a back four now with Chilwell playing ahead of Fuchs. Adrien Silva is off for Danny Simpson to make it happen. That happened at half time but City scored too quickly for me to tell you. Selfish. 6:37PM GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLL! Aguero goal City are back in front! Aguero scores but this is all about Kevin De Bruyne's pass. It is unbelievable. As in I struggle to believe he is that good at passing. How does he do it? He's fed a ball inches away from the defender's boots to hand Aguero a tap-in. Ridiculous. Man City 2 - 1 Leicester (Sergio Agüero, 48 min) 6:32PM KICK-OFF 2 We're back! What will we see in this half? 6:21PM Average positions Average touch positions (half time) De Bruyne and Gundogan have spent most of their time on the left of the attack, making this shape look a little imbalanced. Guardiola will likely try to get one of them closer to Bernardo Silva in the second, if anything, to make him a little more effective. Leicester have an easy read on his movement and it means City lack bite down that wing. 6:18PM The stats that matter Man City vs Leicester shots on goal There's another goal in this game but it could genuinely go to either team. City don't quite have the momentum they need. Possession: Man City vs Leicester 6:16PM HALF TIME And that's that. Leicester have one shot on goal, get it on target and it's 1-1. Man City need to do a bit more to win the three points here. 6:13PM 44 mins I'm not sure if Bernardo Silva realises he's allowed to use his right foot but if he ever does, he'll be some player. At the moment he's too easy to read and the constant cut backs onto his left to pass backwards are slowing down moves on that right wing. Walker wins a free-kick wide right, De Bruyne comes across to take it. Leicester head away. 6:11PM 42 mins Chilwell has been impressive on the Leicester left - he's another young English player with huge potential. His attempt to win a corner doesn't work as Otamendi refuses to buy the dummy and Man City attack. Sterling is in! He goes around Schmeichel but has a tight angle to shoot from... and Maguire slides into block! Corner. City end up passing all the way back to Ederson. 6:09PM 40 mins Leicester have done well to get back into this one. They've grown in confidence and City are wary of the counter-attack now. Bernardo Silva overhits a pass to Aguero during another swift Man City attack. The final ball hasn't been quite good enough from Sterling and Bernardo today. Possession: Man City vs Leicester 6:06PM 38 mins Sterling is so frustrating to watch at times - he's so nearly a great player. He pulls away into a brilliant position out wide, takes the ball down with a superb first touch and then runs at goal before passing inside to absolutely nobody. He does win a free-kick in the end and De Bruyne powers the cross into the box but nobody can get a touch to turn it at goal. "No player in world football is better at crossing the ball than Kevin De Bruyne", says Jamie Carragher. 6:04PM 35 mins De Bruyne comes inside onto his right foot and absolutely thunders a shot towards the near post. Schmeichel does really well to get behind that and parry it away! Attempt Saved: Man City 1 - 1 Leicester (Kevin De Bruyne, 33 min) 6:02PM 33 mins Credit: REUTERS De Bruyne finds Sterling, who runs into the box and then goes down. That looks like a foul... which would mean it's a penalty... but the referee doesn't care. I suspect that might have been a free-kick anywhere else on the pitch. 6:01PM 31 mins City piling on the pressure now. Fernandinho tries a shot but Schmeichel saves, Bernardo skips past Fuchs in the penalty area and shoots from near the touchline and Schmeichel saves. Zinchenko is in the right position to cut out a pass to Diabte on the right of Leicester's attack. If he hadn't... it would have been bad. 5:58PM 28 mins Man City go on the attack immediately and Gundogan shoots from range... saved! Attempt Saved: Man City 1 - 1 Leicester (Ilkay Gündogan, 25 min) Will that goal give Leicester the confidence they need to attack Man City a bit here? They look capable of scoring on the counter-attack and are getting wide players forward quickly. 5:56PM GOOOOOOOAAAAAAAALLLLLL! vardy goal But that's what happens when you don't pay attention! City break quickly, De Bruyne and Sterling lead the charge but the pass from Sterling is poor and Aguero loses out. Wrong decision from Sterling. Leicester move forward, three separate players see the opportunity to slide into stop Vardy as Otamendi passes the ball straight to him, but he skips each one, gets to the area and finishes superbly into the bottom corner. Brilliant from Vardy! Man City 1 - 1 Leicester (Jamie Vardy, 24 min) 5:52PM 23 mins Ohhhhh it's so good. One touch pass and move football and City have taken advantage of a turnover in possession near the centre-circle and almost created a scoring chance within seconds. Aguero can't quite keep the ball inside the box and Leicester survive. Look at this average positions graphic: Average touch positions (10 min) Leicester are being forced so deep. But they've managed to get into the City half now and a promising move results in a corner as Fernandinho clears up the danger. 5:49PM 20 mins Maguire wins the tackle, knocks it forward, City win possession back. Possession: Man City vs Leicester The most difficult thing about this match for Man City will be staying alert and driven. It already seems pretty easy. 5:47PM 18 mins Sterling is so quick, it's ridiculous. It looks like the ball is out of play but Sterling roadrunners it and touches inside, then aims a low ball into the middle. Schmeichel parries. Credit: AFP 5:46PM 16 mins Man City home games are pretty strange. They're so completely in control of the match that the crowd quietens down as though watching theatre, the opposition sit back and patiently wait to either try and capitalise on a mistake or await their inevitable demise. When stuff actually happens they get loud, of course, but most matches are like attack vs defence and the supporters have to watch a training match. 5:44PM 13 mins City stroking the ball around, Leicester are terrified of them and keep dropping further backwards to defend. Zinchenko accidentally hits a pass straight out for a throw-in but Man City win it aback immediately and Aguero finds Sterling to his left on the edge of the box. Some tidy feet and Sterling almost creates a chance to shoot for himself by putting the ball around the side of a defender and sprinting to win it. The goalkeeper wins. 5:40PM 10 mins De Bruyne is running the show early on, moving all around the pitch. Leicester have a chance to get forward, hit it into the channel for Vardy to chase and Ederson comes 30 yards off his line, controls on the chest, settles it down and chips a ball across the pitch right onto Walker's foot. 5:37PM 7 mins Albrighton is down with a problem, catching Gundogan on the knee (I think) while going for the ball. It's just a wee clash, nothing serious, but enough to make him take a time out. Leicester are trying to pass out from the back but City's press is forcing them into errors everywhere. Man City look so good here. 5:33PM GOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLL! Sterling goal Leicester haven't started well at all. They're playing a three man defence and don't seem certain of it - and Man City are in the mood. Bernardo plays it to De Bruyne who has far too much time and picks out Sterling at the back post with an unbelievable pass. It's all about De Bruyne's vision and Sterling's running at the back post. Man City 1 - 0 Leicester (Raheem Sterling, 3 min) 5:32PM 3 mins Leicester are a little clumsy with the ball in their own defensive third and City steal it back. Bernardo Silva cuts onto his left... City could be in here! 5:31PM 1 mins Straight away Leicester win the ball deep and look to hit it forward over the top for Jamie Vardy to chase. Aymeric Laporte has to be alert to deal with the early threat. 5:30PM KICK-OFF And they're off! City get us started. 5:30PM Here come the players Sky Sports have had technical difficulties apparently and so we have been denied pre-match analysis and Graeme Souness' frightening demeanour. It's been quite nice. 5:18PM A million photos of Mahrez Credit: AFP The picture database I have access to is full of photos of Mahrez warming up. Meanwhile, Sky Sports are running a montage VT of Leicester's title winning season. That was a fun time, wasn't it? 4:56PM No David Silva again Guardiola has named all seven of his allowed substitutes today, putting young striker Lukas Nmecha next to Phil Foden on the bench. One very important man who will miss out is Silva, who has been one of the best players in the league this season. I wrote this on him a while ago: What makes David Silva Manchester City's most important player? 4:51PM Mahrez on the bench! And so, here we are. Riyad Mahrez has made the bench after all that noise during the week. Could he be the protagonist of this game for all the right reasons? Will I try many more cliche narrative lines throughout this liveblog? Nobody knows! 4:34PM Starting lineups Man City How we line-up against the Foxes! #cityvlcfc City XI | Ederson, Walker, Laporte, Otamendi, Zinchenko, Fernandinho (C), Gündogan, De Bruyne, Sterling, Bernardo, Agüero Subs | Bravo, Danilo, Kompany, Stones, Nmecha, Foden, Diaz Presented by @HaysWorldwide#mancitypic.twitter.com/tlBLjj5nsX— Manchester City (@ManCity) February 10, 2018 Ederson, Walker, Laporte, Otamendi, Zinchenko, Fernandinho, Gundogan, De Bruyne, Sterling, Bernardo, Aguero Leicester Today's starting XI: Schmeichel (c), Dragović, Maguire, Fuchs, Albrighton, Silva, Ndidi, James, Chilwell, Diabaté, Vardy. Subs: Jakupović, Simpson, Benalouane, Iborra, Gray, Mahrez, Iheanacho. #MciLeipic.twitter.com/qoxMH6cx1p— Leicester City (@LCFC) February 10, 2018 Schmeichel, Dragovic, Maguire, Fuchs, Albrighton, Silva, Ndidi, James, Chilwell, Diabate, Vardy
Man City 5 Leicester 1: Sergio Aguero scores four as show-stopping City stretch their Premier League lead
No wonder Riyad Mahrez was desperate to join this lot. Another win, another avalanche of goals, their lead at the top of the Premier League stretched to a scarcely believable 16 points and another show stopping turn from that serial slaughterer of defenders. When Sergio Aguero received the ball from Phil Foden just outside the penalty area as the clock hit 90 minutes, the young Manchester City midfielder was screaming for it back. Aguero, though, had only one thing in mind at that point and crashed a thunderous strike in off the underside of the crossbar for his fourth goal of an arresting afternoon. The Argentina striker is now just three goals short of a double century for Manchester City and just six shy of bettering his season best goals tally for the club of 33. It is only early February and Aguero already has 28 goals in 32 appearances, half of which have come in his last seven games at the Etihad. Do not let anyone tell you this man is past his best. “When one guy is able to score four goals, he deserves all the credit,” Pep Guardiola, the Manchester City manager, said. Guardiola’s side now have 72 points and are unbeaten at the Etihad since December 2016. Seven more wins will guarantee the title. The Premier League is widely as the most competitive in Europe but Guardiola is in danger of turning it into a one horse show like Scotland and could become the first to smash the 100 point barrier. When it was put to Guardiola he was making it look easy, he replied: “So far, yeah. I would like to take that question after 38 games. So far we have 72 points in February so it is a lot. We’ve enjoyed the last six or seven months but to be admired and loved we have to win the title.” Man City 1 - 0 Leicester (Raheem Sterling, 3 min) Leicester City had barely gained a foothold in the game before they equalised against the run of play. Guardiola will have been disappointed that the goal originated from a misplaced pass from Nicolas Otamendi, who had actually done well to dispossess Fousseni Diabate but he will have admired the subsequent brilliance of Jamie Vardy. Collecting Otamendi’s stray pass, Vardy rode challenges from Oleksandr Zinchenko and Ilkay Gundogan, both of whom had slid in to try to win the ball back, before careering towards the penalty area. With Aymeric Laporte backing off, Vardy fired expertly into the far bottom corner. It was a terrific piece of centre-forward play. Man City 1 - 1 Leicester (Jamie Vardy, 24 min) “He perhaps made a mistake but it’s important to have our best players with us,” Claude Puel, the Leicester City manager, said of Mahrez. “The most important thing is that he came back to the training session, to the game. Now it’s important to look forward and put this behind us.” If Aguero stole the headlines, Kevin De Bruyne ran him close for the man-of-the-match award. It was De Bruyne who fashioned the first three goals with characteristically sublime passes. The match was only three minutes old when Raheem Sterling gave the hosts the lead. Bernardo Silva pulled the ball back to De Bruyne on the right and the Belgian swung in a wonderful cross that eluded Leicester City’s defence, the ball flying across the six yard box to the far post where Sterling nipped ahead of Marc Albrighton to steer home. Guardiola – who named three academy graduates among his substitutes a week after being criticised by Gary Neville for denying a youth team player a chance by only naming six substitutes against Burnley - had substituted Sterling immediately after the England forward missed a golden chance at Turf Moor but there was no mistake here. Man City 2 - 1 Leicester (Sergio Agüero, 48 min) Leicester City had barely gained a foothold in the game before they equalised thanks to a terrific piece of centre-forward play from Jamie Vardy, who capitalised on a stray pass from Nicolas Otamendi before riding challenges from Oleksandr Zinchenko and Ilkay Gundogan as he strode forward and fired expertly into the bottom corner. Yet any hope of causing an upset evaporated within the space of five minutes early in the second half when Puel’s move to a back four was undone by two moments of ingenuity from De Bruyne. Exchanging a quick one-two with Sterling, De Bruyne’s pass to give Aguero a simple tap in was sublime, a clipped swipe of the side-foot that swerved past Danny Simpson and beyond Harry Maguire. Riyad Mahrez was a substitute for Leicester Credit: GETTY IMAGES Two became three soon after. Credit must go to Kyle Walker for chasing down Maguire, who played an angled pass to Kasper Schmeichel that the goalkeeper hurriedly tried to clear. Fernandinho intercepted, passed to De Bruyne who, in turn, played through Aguero to shoot in off Schmeichel. It would get a whole lot worse for Schmeichel. When Maguire played a simple back pass to Schmeichel, the Dane had time and options but elected to play a rushed pass intended for Aleksandar Dragovic that Aguero intercepted before dinking a lovely lobbed finish over the embarrassed Leicester City goalkeeper. Then came that fabulous fourth. 7:32PM Kevin De Bruyne tries to steal the match ball KDB tries to wind up Aguero at the final whistle by claiming the match ball for his three assists. Aguero makes sure he gets it and tells Sky Sports his favourite of his four goals was the fourth because it's been a while since he scored from outside the box. 7:24PM Average positions Average touch positions (0 min) 7:20PM FULL TIME It turns out a few days rest does wonders for this team! They looked a little lethargic in the first half, as though they couldn't quite build up the steam needed to punish Leicester's mistakes but in the second half have obliterated them. Clinical, powerful, fast, decisive. A great performance - Aguero and De Bruyne have been exceptional. 7:19PM GOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLL! Aguero 4th He's just completely binned Schmeichel there. The power on that shot is ridiculous. Aguero's dipping, bending shot from 20 yards... how has he done that?! It's unsaveable but hit straight down the middle. Insane. Man City 5 - 1 Leicester (Sergio Agüero, 90 min) 7:17PM 89 mins De Bruyne takes a sore one as Maguire clumsily kicks him trying to take the ball away. De Bruyne knows he's coming but still takes the hit. 7:14PM 87 mins Leicester have a free-kick, Mahrez plays it short and his pass is dreadful. James can't do anything with it and suddenly they're in trouble. Ederson launches a long ball towards Aguero but it's just slightly too heavy and Schmeichel is able to gather. This time he decides not to pass to Aguero. A wise choice, if I may say so. 7:12PM 85 mins De Bruyne attempts a first-time shot from 30 yards but puts it miles into the air. He can be forgiven. This time. 7:10PM 83 mins Vardy is having an argument with Laporte and the referee books them both. Vardy has a sly kick at the defender while trying to win the ball and Laporte tells him to wise up, Vardy doesn't like it and gets in his face. Gentlemen, please, won't you think of the example you'll set? 7:07PM 81 mins Phil Foden is on for Fernandinho. That should mean Gundogan drops into the holding midfield role. Otamendi is replaced by John Stones - two left-footed ball-playing defenders side by side. 7:06PM GOOOOAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLL! Aguero fourth Schmeichel. What. On. Earth. Was. That. He passes the ball straight to Aguero on the edge of his own penalty area and though Aguero's finish is superb, a controlled chip high over the goalkeeper, it is entirely Schmeichel's fault for trying to be Ederson. You aren't Ederson, Kasper. Man City 4 - 1 Leicester (Sergio Agüero, 77 min) 7:04PM 77 mins Aguero wins a corner with a deflected shot. De Bruyne walks over to take it, goes short, then hits it low into the area. Gundogan chips to the back post for Otamendi, who controls on the chest and hits a volley straight at Schmeichel. Leicester try to counter-attack but Ederson times his save perfectly and takes the ball away from Vardy before he can go round and win a penalty. 7:01PM 75 mins Laporte goes down under a challenge, slips and holds his leg. Mahrez attacks, Gundogan brings him down and complains that it should have been a foul on Laporte. Mahrez can shoot from here. Albrighton chips it into the box instead, meaning Leicester have still only had one shot on goal. Although, technically, Maguire's sneaky attempt to tuck a cross/shot inside the near post should probably count as one. 6:58PM 72 mins Bernardo Silva cuts inside from the right, Fuchs doesn't predict - somehow - that he will do so and Bernardo shoots form 20 yards, bending his effort wide of the top corner. Ndidi is booked for a frustrated challenge on Gundogan. This is quite funny: Man City vs Leicester shots on goal Man City vs Leicester shots on goal 6:56PM 69 mins Mahrez hasn't scored any goals yet nor tried putting it in his own net in protest. There's still time. Which way will he swing? At the moment, Leicester are in damage control mode and Man City being allowed to patiently pass around their half. 6:53PM 66 mins Zinchenko is replaced by Danilo. Possession: Man City vs Leicester 6:50PM 63 mins THE NARRATIVE! Riyad Mahrez is about to come on! Credit: GETTY IMAGES He replaces Diabate, who I thought had a pretty decent game but was unlucky with some passes and dribbing attempts. Chilwell is replaced by Iheanacho. That might mean a 4-4-2 for Leicester now. The Man City fans cheer Mahrez's substitution. 6:47PM 61 mins Credit: REUTERS 6:45PM 59 mins Manchester City are the helmet of bees, Leicester City are Nicolas Cage, begging for mercy— James Tyler (@JamesTylerESPN) February 10, 2018 Sterling is dragging defenders around at the back and is so quick that they barely have time to react to what he's doing. Gundogan arrives to try and finish off a cut-back at the edge of the area but it's deflected over for a corner. Otamendi attacks the corner AND IT'S JUST WIDE! Schmeichel doesn't even dive but got his angles right. 6:43PM 57 mins I'm pretty sure Leicester are out of this one now. That half time change hasn't worked - City are all over them. 6:41PM GOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLLLL!!!!! Aguero goal 2 OOOOCHA! Aguero fires that in with pure power. De Bruyne gets the assist (a hat-trick?) but Schmeichel can do absolutely nothing to stop the ball landing in the back of the net despite getting in the way of it. Man City 3 - 1 Leicester (Sergio Agüero, 53 min) 6:38PM 52 mins Leicester are in a back four now with Chilwell playing ahead of Fuchs. Adrien Silva is off for Danny Simpson to make it happen. That happened at half time but City scored too quickly for me to tell you. Selfish. 6:37PM GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLL! Aguero goal City are back in front! Aguero scores but this is all about Kevin De Bruyne's pass. It is unbelievable. As in I struggle to believe he is that good at passing. How does he do it? He's fed a ball inches away from the defender's boots to hand Aguero a tap-in. Ridiculous. Man City 2 - 1 Leicester (Sergio Agüero, 48 min) 6:32PM KICK-OFF 2 We're back! What will we see in this half? 6:21PM Average positions Average touch positions (half time) De Bruyne and Gundogan have spent most of their time on the left of the attack, making this shape look a little imbalanced. Guardiola will likely try to get one of them closer to Bernardo Silva in the second, if anything, to make him a little more effective. Leicester have an easy read on his movement and it means City lack bite down that wing. 6:18PM The stats that matter Man City vs Leicester shots on goal There's another goal in this game but it could genuinely go to either team. City don't quite have the momentum they need. Possession: Man City vs Leicester 6:16PM HALF TIME And that's that. Leicester have one shot on goal, get it on target and it's 1-1. Man City need to do a bit more to win the three points here. 6:13PM 44 mins I'm not sure if Bernardo Silva realises he's allowed to use his right foot but if he ever does, he'll be some player. At the moment he's too easy to read and the constant cut backs onto his left to pass backwards are slowing down moves on that right wing. Walker wins a free-kick wide right, De Bruyne comes across to take it. Leicester head away. 6:11PM 42 mins Chilwell has been impressive on the Leicester left - he's another young English player with huge potential. His attempt to win a corner doesn't work as Otamendi refuses to buy the dummy and Man City attack. Sterling is in! He goes around Schmeichel but has a tight angle to shoot from... and Maguire slides into block! Corner. City end up passing all the way back to Ederson. 6:09PM 40 mins Leicester have done well to get back into this one. They've grown in confidence and City are wary of the counter-attack now. Bernardo Silva overhits a pass to Aguero during another swift Man City attack. The final ball hasn't been quite good enough from Sterling and Bernardo today. Possession: Man City vs Leicester 6:06PM 38 mins Sterling is so frustrating to watch at times - he's so nearly a great player. He pulls away into a brilliant position out wide, takes the ball down with a superb first touch and then runs at goal before passing inside to absolutely nobody. He does win a free-kick in the end and De Bruyne powers the cross into the box but nobody can get a touch to turn it at goal. "No player in world football is better at crossing the ball than Kevin De Bruyne", says Jamie Carragher. 6:04PM 35 mins De Bruyne comes inside onto his right foot and absolutely thunders a shot towards the near post. Schmeichel does really well to get behind that and parry it away! Attempt Saved: Man City 1 - 1 Leicester (Kevin De Bruyne, 33 min) 6:02PM 33 mins Credit: REUTERS De Bruyne finds Sterling, who runs into the box and then goes down. That looks like a foul... which would mean it's a penalty... but the referee doesn't care. I suspect that might have been a free-kick anywhere else on the pitch. 6:01PM 31 mins City piling on the pressure now. Fernandinho tries a shot but Schmeichel saves, Bernardo skips past Fuchs in the penalty area and shoots from near the touchline and Schmeichel saves. Zinchenko is in the right position to cut out a pass to Diabte on the right of Leicester's attack. If he hadn't... it would have been bad. 5:58PM 28 mins Man City go on the attack immediately and Gundogan shoots from range... saved! Attempt Saved: Man City 1 - 1 Leicester (Ilkay Gündogan, 25 min) Will that goal give Leicester the confidence they need to attack Man City a bit here? They look capable of scoring on the counter-attack and are getting wide players forward quickly. 5:56PM GOOOOOOOAAAAAAAALLLLLL! vardy goal But that's what happens when you don't pay attention! City break quickly, De Bruyne and Sterling lead the charge but the pass from Sterling is poor and Aguero loses out. Wrong decision from Sterling. Leicester move forward, three separate players see the opportunity to slide into stop Vardy as Otamendi passes the ball straight to him, but he skips each one, gets to the area and finishes superbly into the bottom corner. Brilliant from Vardy! Man City 1 - 1 Leicester (Jamie Vardy, 24 min) 5:52PM 23 mins Ohhhhh it's so good. One touch pass and move football and City have taken advantage of a turnover in possession near the centre-circle and almost created a scoring chance within seconds. Aguero can't quite keep the ball inside the box and Leicester survive. Look at this average positions graphic: Average touch positions (10 min) Leicester are being forced so deep. But they've managed to get into the City half now and a promising move results in a corner as Fernandinho clears up the danger. 5:49PM 20 mins Maguire wins the tackle, knocks it forward, City win possession back. Possession: Man City vs Leicester The most difficult thing about this match for Man City will be staying alert and driven. It already seems pretty easy. 5:47PM 18 mins Sterling is so quick, it's ridiculous. It looks like the ball is out of play but Sterling roadrunners it and touches inside, then aims a low ball into the middle. Schmeichel parries. Credit: AFP 5:46PM 16 mins Man City home games are pretty strange. They're so completely in control of the match that the crowd quietens down as though watching theatre, the opposition sit back and patiently wait to either try and capitalise on a mistake or await their inevitable demise. When stuff actually happens they get loud, of course, but most matches are like attack vs defence and the supporters have to watch a training match. 5:44PM 13 mins City stroking the ball around, Leicester are terrified of them and keep dropping further backwards to defend. Zinchenko accidentally hits a pass straight out for a throw-in but Man City win it aback immediately and Aguero finds Sterling to his left on the edge of the box. Some tidy feet and Sterling almost creates a chance to shoot for himself by putting the ball around the side of a defender and sprinting to win it. The goalkeeper wins. 5:40PM 10 mins De Bruyne is running the show early on, moving all around the pitch. Leicester have a chance to get forward, hit it into the channel for Vardy to chase and Ederson comes 30 yards off his line, controls on the chest, settles it down and chips a ball across the pitch right onto Walker's foot. 5:37PM 7 mins Albrighton is down with a problem, catching Gundogan on the knee (I think) while going for the ball. It's just a wee clash, nothing serious, but enough to make him take a time out. Leicester are trying to pass out from the back but City's press is forcing them into errors everywhere. Man City look so good here. 5:33PM GOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLL! Sterling goal Leicester haven't started well at all. They're playing a three man defence and don't seem certain of it - and Man City are in the mood. Bernardo plays it to De Bruyne who has far too much time and picks out Sterling at the back post with an unbelievable pass. It's all about De Bruyne's vision and Sterling's running at the back post. Man City 1 - 0 Leicester (Raheem Sterling, 3 min) 5:32PM 3 mins Leicester are a little clumsy with the ball in their own defensive third and City steal it back. Bernardo Silva cuts onto his left... City could be in here! 5:31PM 1 mins Straight away Leicester win the ball deep and look to hit it forward over the top for Jamie Vardy to chase. Aymeric Laporte has to be alert to deal with the early threat. 5:30PM KICK-OFF And they're off! City get us started. 5:30PM Here come the players Sky Sports have had technical difficulties apparently and so we have been denied pre-match analysis and Graeme Souness' frightening demeanour. It's been quite nice. 5:18PM A million photos of Mahrez Credit: AFP The picture database I have access to is full of photos of Mahrez warming up. Meanwhile, Sky Sports are running a montage VT of Leicester's title winning season. That was a fun time, wasn't it? 4:56PM No David Silva again Guardiola has named all seven of his allowed substitutes today, putting young striker Lukas Nmecha next to Phil Foden on the bench. One very important man who will miss out is Silva, who has been one of the best players in the league this season. I wrote this on him a while ago: What makes David Silva Manchester City's most important player? 4:51PM Mahrez on the bench! And so, here we are. Riyad Mahrez has made the bench after all that noise during the week. Could he be the protagonist of this game for all the right reasons? Will I try many more cliche narrative lines throughout this liveblog? Nobody knows! 4:34PM Starting lineups Man City How we line-up against the Foxes! #cityvlcfc City XI | Ederson, Walker, Laporte, Otamendi, Zinchenko, Fernandinho (C), Gündogan, De Bruyne, Sterling, Bernardo, Agüero Subs | Bravo, Danilo, Kompany, Stones, Nmecha, Foden, Diaz Presented by @HaysWorldwide#mancitypic.twitter.com/tlBLjj5nsX— Manchester City (@ManCity) February 10, 2018 Ederson, Walker, Laporte, Otamendi, Zinchenko, Fernandinho, Gundogan, De Bruyne, Sterling, Bernardo, Aguero Leicester Today's starting XI: Schmeichel (c), Dragović, Maguire, Fuchs, Albrighton, Silva, Ndidi, James, Chilwell, Diabaté, Vardy. Subs: Jakupović, Simpson, Benalouane, Iborra, Gray, Mahrez, Iheanacho. #MciLeipic.twitter.com/qoxMH6cx1p— Leicester City (@LCFC) February 10, 2018 Schmeichel, Dragovic, Maguire, Fuchs, Albrighton, Silva, Ndidi, James, Chilwell, Diabate, Vardy
Burnley's injury problems have played a part in their 10-game winless run in the Premier League, says Sean Dyche.
Dyche hoping for an end to injury nightmare
Burnley's injury problems have played a part in their 10-game winless run in the Premier League, says Sean Dyche.
Carlos Carvalhal hailed Swansea City's continued revival after Saturday's win over Burnley, which lifted them to 15th in the Premier League.
Swansea breathing fresh air and swimming for safety, Carvalhal proclaims
Carlos Carvalhal hailed Swansea City's continued revival after Saturday's win over Burnley, which lifted them to 15th in the Premier League.
Soccer Football - Premier League - Swansea City vs Burnley - Liberty Stadium, Swansea, Britain - February 10, 2018 Swansea City's Ki Sung Yueng celebrates after the match Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Boyers
Premier League - Swansea City vs Burnley
Soccer Football - Premier League - Swansea City vs Burnley - Liberty Stadium, Swansea, Britain - February 10, 2018 Swansea City's Ki Sung Yueng celebrates after the match Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Boyers
Soccer Football - Premier League - Swansea City vs Burnley - Liberty Stadium, Swansea, Britain - February 10, 2018 Swansea City's Ki Sung Yueng scores their first goal Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Boyers
Premier League - Swansea City vs Burnley
Soccer Football - Premier League - Swansea City vs Burnley - Liberty Stadium, Swansea, Britain - February 10, 2018 Swansea City's Ki Sung Yueng scores their first goal Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Boyers
Ki Sung-yueng hands Swansea crucial victory over Burnley to continue revival under Carlos Carvalhal
Ki Sung-yueng hands Swansea crucial victory over Burnley to continue revival under Carlos Carvalhal
Ki Sung-yueng hands Swansea crucial victory over Burnley to continue revival under Carlos Carvalhal
Ki Sung-yueng hands Swansea crucial victory over Burnley to continue revival under Carlos Carvalhal
Ki Sung-yueng hands Swansea crucial victory over Burnley to continue revival under Carlos Carvalhal
Ki Sung-yueng hands Swansea crucial victory over Burnley to continue revival under Carlos Carvalhal
Swansea 1 Burnley 0: Carlos Carvalhal effect working as Ki Sung-Yeung strikes late to lift Swans away from relegation gloom
Swansea 1 Burnley 0: Carlos Carvalhal effect working as Ki Sung-Yeung strikes late to lift Swans away from relegation gloom
Swansea 1 Burnley 0: Carlos Carvalhal effect working as Ki Sung-Yeung strikes late to lift Swans away from relegation gloom
Ki Sung-Yeung struck late to clinch a crucial 1-0 triumph over Burnley to lift Swansea away from the relegation gloom. The South Korean midfielder dealt Burnley a hammer blow with eight minutes on the clock to send the Swans into 15th place and two points clear of the bottom three. Carlos Carvalhal has masterminded three victories in their last four matches, in stark contrast with Burnley, who remain in seventh spot despite their 10th match without a win. Their recent barren run looked like it was going to come to an end as Sean Dyche's men looked most likely to break the deadlock at a rain soaked Liberty Stadium. Johann Berg Gudmundson found space down the left flank and pulled the ball back for Jeff Hendrick to shoot straight into the torso of the onrushing Alfie Mawson. Sam Vokes’ strength was proving troublesome for the Swansea back three and he used his body weight to full effect to shield the ball from Federico Fernandez before swivelling and shooting just wide. The home fans had to wait 37 minutes for their first chance on goal when Seung-Yung found Sam Clucas in the box, but the wet conditions were a factor as he sliced his shot high and wide. Neither side managed to get a single shot on target before Andre Marriner called time on the first period. Jordan Ayew looked to add the attacking impetus when he ran at the Burnley defence and fired the ball across the face of goal but nobody was there to convert the cross. Tom Carroll lost a midfield tussle with Cork moments later, the ball broke to Barnes, who bent the ball inches wide. The first shot on target came in the 56th minute when Gudmundsson forced Fabianksi to tip over after he unleashed a snap-shot on the half volley. Tammy Abraham was thrust into the action and almost made an instant impact when his flick-on flashed in front of Ayew, but Pope stuck out a hand to thwart the in-form frontman. But the breakthrough finally came in the 82nd minute when Kyle Naughton danced into the box and fed Ki. The South Korean took a touch and fired a shot into the bottom corner to score his first goal since May 2016, and the Swans held on for another crucial victory.
Swansea 1 Burnley 0: Carlos Carvalhal effect working as Ki Sung-Yeung strikes late to lift Swans away from relegation gloom
Ki Sung-Yeung struck late to clinch a crucial 1-0 triumph over Burnley to lift Swansea away from the relegation gloom. The South Korean midfielder dealt Burnley a hammer blow with eight minutes on the clock to send the Swans into 15th place and two points clear of the bottom three. Carlos Carvalhal has masterminded three victories in their last four matches, in stark contrast with Burnley, who remain in seventh spot despite their 10th match without a win. Their recent barren run looked like it was going to come to an end as Sean Dyche's men looked most likely to break the deadlock at a rain soaked Liberty Stadium. Johann Berg Gudmundson found space down the left flank and pulled the ball back for Jeff Hendrick to shoot straight into the torso of the onrushing Alfie Mawson. Sam Vokes’ strength was proving troublesome for the Swansea back three and he used his body weight to full effect to shield the ball from Federico Fernandez before swivelling and shooting just wide. The home fans had to wait 37 minutes for their first chance on goal when Seung-Yung found Sam Clucas in the box, but the wet conditions were a factor as he sliced his shot high and wide. Neither side managed to get a single shot on target before Andre Marriner called time on the first period. Jordan Ayew looked to add the attacking impetus when he ran at the Burnley defence and fired the ball across the face of goal but nobody was there to convert the cross. Tom Carroll lost a midfield tussle with Cork moments later, the ball broke to Barnes, who bent the ball inches wide. The first shot on target came in the 56th minute when Gudmundsson forced Fabianksi to tip over after he unleashed a snap-shot on the half volley. Tammy Abraham was thrust into the action and almost made an instant impact when his flick-on flashed in front of Ayew, but Pope stuck out a hand to thwart the in-form frontman. But the breakthrough finally came in the 82nd minute when Kyle Naughton danced into the box and fed Ki. The South Korean took a touch and fired a shot into the bottom corner to score his first goal since May 2016, and the Swans held on for another crucial victory.
Swansea City's remarkable revival continued apace at the Liberty Stadium as Burnley were beaten 1-0 in the Premier League.
Swansea City 1 Burnley 0: Ki unlocks Clarets defence
Swansea City's remarkable revival continued apace at the Liberty Stadium as Burnley were beaten 1-0 in the Premier League.

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