Harry Maguire

Leicester 2-2 Man United: Foxes rob Red Devils late

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  • Mahrez-to-Vardy flashbacks to 2015-16
  • Mata brings United level before HT
  • Mata’s free kick makes it 2-1
  • Maguire steals a point in 94′

Manchester United fell a goal behind early, came back to within seconds beat Leicester City courtesy of two goals scored by Juan Mata, but were punished for not putting the game beyond reach and ultimately dropped two points on Saturday at the King Power Stadium.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

The result sees Jose Mourinho’s second-place side fall to 13 points off the pace of runaway league leaders Manchester City, who won in convincing fashion (again) on Saturday.

The game’s opening goal, scored by the Foxes in the 27th minutes, was as on-brand as any goal in PL history. Demarai Gray sent Riyad Mahrez through into acres of open field with a long diagonal ball over the top. Mahrez ran onto it, raced to the top of the 18-yard box, held up play very briefly and slotted the perfect through ball for Jamie Vardy to slide past David De Gea first-time.

Thus, Vardy’s 50th PL goal adds to his sublime scoring record against the league’s top-six sides.

Leicester’s lead wouldn’t quite survive until halftime, though, as Juan Mata drew the Red Devils level in the 40th minute. He needed a bit of good fortune — and perhaps the slightest of deflections — to squeeze his left-footed effort between two Leicester defenders and tuck it just inside Kasper Schmeichel‘s left-hand post, and he got it.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

The second half’s opening 10 minutes began in frantic fashion, as each side failed to convert a golden opportunity on opposite ends of the field within 30 seconds of one another.

Christian Fuchs had a nearly open-net chance before Victor Lindelof scrambled across the face of goal to get in the way and make the block. United immediately raced down the other end of the field, where Romelu Lukaku picked out Anthony Martial with a perfectly-placed ball toward the penalty spot, but the Frenchman blazed his shot over the crossbar, and both sides came up empty.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

United wouldn’t wait long for another scoring chance, though the degree of difficulty would be far greater than Martial’s miss moments earlier. Mata delicately lifted his free kick over the leaping wall from the edge of the box. Schmeichel didn’t react until three-quarters of the way through the ball’s flight, at which point he had no chance of making the save.

Lukaku turned playmaker once again int he 72nd minute, when he slotted another through ball into a dangerous area, this time for Jesse Lingard. The hard part had been done already — Lingard rounded Schmeichel with ease — but the post denied what appeared a surefire goal to hand United a two-goal lead.

Daniel Amartey earned himself a pair of yellow cards just 17 minutes apart after coming on just before the hour mark, reducing Leicester to 10 men. Marcus Rashford let another open-net chance get away from United, as he stumbled over his own feet and hit the ground after rounding Schmeichel himself, and United were made to pay for not putting the game to bed.

Marc Albrighton lofted a hopeful ball into a dangerous spot inside the six-yard box, and Harry Maguire slid in at the back post to poke it past De Gea in the 94th minute, with what appeared to be fewer than 20 seconds of stoppage time remaining.

Premier League Preview: Leicester City vs. Crystal Palace

Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images
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  • Leicester leads all-time 26W-18D-23L
  • Foxes 3W-1D vs. Eagles since Oct. 2015
  • Palace won at Leicester in Feb. 2015

The Claude Puel revolution at Leicester City has the Foxes surging up the Premier League table, and Saturday’s visitors from Crystal Palace are making moves of their own (Watch live Saturday at 7:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

Leicester has won four-straight matches, the latest a 4-1 beatdown of Southampton at St. Mary’s, and returns to King Power Stadium with a chance to make a dent on the five-point deficit between the Foxes and the Top Four.

 

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After beginning the season 0-7, Crystal Palace has claimed 14 of 30 points to move from 20th to 18th on the table. Roy Hodgson’s men have two wins and four draws in their last six matches.

What they’re saying

Leicester’s Harry Maguire on the task at hand:

Palace’s Ruben Loftus-Cheek on his high-flying loan spell from Chelsea: “It’s what you aspire to be when you’re younger. Right now it’s a case of trying to improve as much as I can and to keep the performances up. As long as I’m enjoying it I think I’ll do well, so I’m really happy. The experience of playing week in week out and the physical side of things, getting my body used to playing games – sometimes three in a week – has been a massive thing for me, especially when I haven’t played for two years regularly. That was one of the main reasons I wanted to get away from Chelsea, to play regular football, get my body used to it, get more robust and I think once you have that then it’s a platform to play better.”

Prediction

This could be a fun one, with names like Zaha, Townsend, Loftus-Cheek, Vardy, Mahrez, and Gray ready to bless the match with pace and creativity. Goals have come in bunches when Leicester’s on the pitch, and we’ll call it 2-1 to the Foxes.

Leicester refreshes center back corps with $22M Maguire

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Perhaps the two top targets on relegated sides have now been snapped up by Premier League sides ahead of the 2017-18 season.

Jordan Pickford left Sunderland for Everton on Thursday, and Hull City defender Harry Maguire had helped to fund the Tigers promotion push by signing with Leicester City.

[ MORE: Everton adds $30m Klaassen ]

Maguire cost the Foxes nearly $22 million following a strong season at the KCOM Stadium that saw the 24-year-old center back, who can play on the right, manage three goals and three assists in 36 appearances.

Leicester needed to refresh its center back corps after Wes Morgan and Robert Huth struggled to replicate their star performances in 2016-17. This is another smart move which follows the January buy of Wilfried Ndidi, who helped save the Foxes’ season.

Transfer Rumor Wrap: Lindelof arrives at Man United for medical

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Manchester United’s latest signing has arrived in Manchester. Well, Carrington, to be exact.

Defender Victor Lindelöf, ahead of his now-confirmed transfer to Manchester United, arrived at the club’s training ground to undergo his medical. Manchester United confirmed Saturday that they had agreed a deal with Benfica over the Swedish defender, reported to include a nearly $40 million transfer fee.

Lindelöf started 40 times for Benfica at centerback in the Portuguese league and UEFA Champions League combined, scoring one goal and helping earn 23 shutouts.

The 22-year-old, who has already made 12 appearances for Sweden and started for them at Euro 2016, is expected to slot into the Man United starting lineup next season, possibly alongside Eric Bailly, with Phil Jones and Chris Smalling rumored to be leaving the club.

Here’s a look at more transfer news around the Premier League:

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Stoke City 3-1 Hull City: Shaqiri stunner highlights big win (video)

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  • Shaqiri buries long range goal
  • Crouch, Arnautovic also scored
  • Hull still two points safe

Xherdan Shaqiri‘s absolute stunner put an exclamation point on Stoke City’s 3-1 win over Hull City at the bet365 Stadium on Saturday.

Marko Arnautovic and Peter Crouch also scored for the Potters, who sit 11th with 39 points. Harry Maguire had Hull’s goal, and the Tigers finish the day two points ahead of Swansea in 17th.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Mark Hughes saw his side go up 1-0 with a bullet, as Arnautovic held off the mark of Harry Maguire to dribble across the top of the box before unleashing a vicious bar-down strike past Eldin Jakupovic.

The Austrian almost had two when Xherdan Shaqiri chipped him in on goal, but Arnautovic’s side volley was hit with too much power and flew over the frame.

Saido Berahino thought he had a Stoke goal from a Ryan Shawcross pass, but the latter’s stop-start before playing the ball had Berahino offside.

Oumar Niasse was stopped from action by Lee Grant‘s presence on a should-have-been equalizer in the 22nd minute, a cross left wanting through the six. Grant then made a two-handed stop of Lazar Markovic in the 25th.

Stoke wasn’t moved by the moments of worry, and Arnautovic had yet another chance to score only to cut his shot wide of the frame from an acute angle.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Maguire found the equalizer just after the break, after Stoke came out of the break in dodgy fashion. Positioned at the back post, Maguire ran onto a loose ball and punched it behind Grant to make it 1-1.

Jakupovic slapped away a strong diving header from Jon Walters in the 60th minute, and Peter Crouch couldn’t get over the rebound to restore Stoke’s lead.

Crouch was the man to make it 2-1 after all, the giant veteran rising to head a terrific Walters cross beyond the reach of a flying Jakupovic.

Shaqiri would finish the scoring off a feed from Arnautovic, burying a goal of the year candidate from well beyond the 18. Laser.