Leicester City – Sheffield United was a one-sided encounter as the Foxes got back on track and won 2-0 at the King Power Stadium to boost their top four hopes.
The win means Leicester have at least sealed a Europa League spot for next season, as Brendan Rodgers has delivered European qualification in his first full season in charge of the Foxes.
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Goals in each half from Ayoze Perez and Demarai Gray did the damage as Jamie Vardy dazzled and Rodgers’ reacted superbly to their shock defeat at Bournemouth at the weekend and without several regulars due to injury.
The win keeps Leicester in fourth on 62 points, three points ahead of fifth-placed Man United with two games to go. Leicester host Man United on the final day and the Champions League push is likely to go down to the wire.
As for Sheffield United, this was their first defeat in five games but they remain in eighth on 54 points and well in the hunt for sixth and the Europa League.
Three things we learned
1. Leicester back on track: From start to finish this was the type of reaction Brendan Rodgers wanted to see. They imploded at Bournemouth but they look sharp in attack, solid at the back and set the tone throughout. This was some response without Maddison, Chilwell, Soyuncu and Pereira, and the Foxes have their destiny in their own hands. Win their final two Premier League games of the season, at Tottenham and at home to Man United, and they’re in the Champions League. They could also beat Spurs and draw at home to Man United and get the job done as they have the edge over United on goal difference.
2. European dreams still alive for blunt Blades: They are two points off sixth place with two games to go and just one point off seventh. Even though they lost at Leicester without ever threatening, Chris Wilder’s side still have a chance to qualify for Europe for the first time in club history. The newly-promoted side looked jaded after wins against Spurs, Wolves and Chelsea in the last week and if it wasn’t for Dean Henderson in goal, they would have lost by four or five. They now play Everton and Southampton and could easily win both games.
3. Vardy the creator: He didn’t score but he had a hand in Gray’s clincher, hit the post and set up Harvey Barnes twice in the second half. Vardy led the frontline superbly and was always a threat and his experience helped steady Leicester after a rough few weeks. Vardy’s goals will seal a top four push for the Foxes but he does so much more than just score.
Man of the Match
Dean Henderson – Vardy was the main man for Leicester with his cutting edge but without Henderson, Sheffield United would have been hammered. He made four great stops and the Blades have to sign him on loan ASAP for next season.
Sheffield United looked dangerous from set pieces as John Egan nodded over early on but Leicester grew into the game. Dean Henderson saved from Jamie Vardy, then Perez headed over before Harvey Barnes had a shot deflected off target.
Perez had a powerful shot at the back post which was well-saved by Dean Henderson before Youri Tielemans’ rebound was blocked, then Leicester took the lead. Youngster Luke Thomas picked out Perez on the edge of the box and he fired home into the bottom corner to make it 1-0.
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At half time Sheffield United made a triple sub to try and kick themselves back into gear with Lys Mousset, John Fleck and John Lundstram all coming on.
Leicester almost doubled their lead early in the second half as Tielemans found Vardy on the left side of the box but his shot hit the outside of the post. Moments later Vardy set up the onrushing Barnes but Dean Henderson saved again with his feet to keep Sheffield United in the game.
Vardy set up Barnes again soon after but Henderson, again, save with his feet to deny Leicester. Sheffield United finally had another chance as Egan’s header bounced off Billy Sharp and Kasper Schmeichel did well to claw it away.
Vardy continued to wreck havoc and on the break he cut inside to set up Gray who made it 2-0 to seal a comfortable win for the Foxes.