Benjamin Mendy’s 59th-minute goal gave Manchester City its breakthrough in a 15th-straight away win, this one a 2-0 defeat of Leicester City on Saturday, Kevin De Bruyne pulling all the strings at the King Power Stadium.
Both teams had a first-half goals taken off the board in the game, which gives the visitors an 18-point lead on third-place Leicester City with a match-in-hand. Man City’s advantage over second-place Manchester United is 17 points with seven matches left on the schedule, two fewer than United.
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The Foxes fail to take advantage of 10-man Chelsea’s stunning 5-2 loss to West Brom, perhaps opening the third-place door to West Ham, Tottenham, Liverpool, and Everton.
Man City has 74 points. Leicester now maxes out at 80 points. Second-place Manchester United can hit 84, West Ham and Everton 76, Chelsea and Tottenham 75.
It’s a foregone conclusion, but City’s win ends Liverpool’s defense of the Premier League title. Liverpool maxes out at 73 points.
Three things we learned from Leicester City – Man City
1. Mendy, Jesus lead City’s patient finishing: Left back Benjamin Mendy scored just his second goal as a City man but you wouldn’t have known it from his calm, cool, collected finish at the back post as he doubled his goal haul in just under 700 minutes on the season. Raheem Sterling nearly gave away a brilliant Gabriel Jesus on his second, but kept his cool to find the Brazilian at the other side of the six for another patient finish. Man City wasn’t at its best but they are still the best in the league. It’s over, and it has been for a long time. Now how many trophies can they collect?
2. Leicester City’s only obstacle is themselves: The Foxes did not have James Maddison ready to start after a long injury absence, and they’ll hang their top four hats on his return, a minimum five-point lead over the chasing pack, and an upcoming soft portion of the fixture list. After visiting top-four rivals West Ham next week and hosting Southampton in an FA Cup semifinal on April 18, Leicester will meet West Brom, Crystal Palace, Southapton, and Newcastle before their brutal run to finish the season.
Brendan Rodgers will have his men firing forward to handle their business before finishing with Man United, Chelsea, and Spurs. Any hiccup will recall last season, when the Foxes were top four from Matchweeks 3 until 36, tumbling into the Europa League via a 1W-1D-3L run to finish the season which included a 4-1 loss to Bournemouth and no goals in final week losses to Spurs and United.
3. Road warriors Man City can point to away form as title deciders: Man City has lost three of 47 matches this season, drawing only five more (one of them a meaningless 0-0 away to Porto in the Champions League group stage, which looks even more “excusable” now that the Portuguese side has eliminated Juventus from the tournaent. Man City has won its last eight away PL fixtures. Its only away loss this season is a 2-0 to Spurs on Nov. 21, a match which saw Pep Guardiola’s men take 22 shots to Tottenham’s four.
Man of the Match: Kevin De Bruyne
Ruben Dias and Gabriel Jesus were also very good but you cannot ignore the influence KDB makes on every game. Three key passes on Saturday and also cued up the Jesus goal with an incisive pass. Incredible stuff, and he was plenty good in the tackle, too.
Leicester City – Man City recap
Man City threatened early, with Fernandinho seeing a wondergoal taken off the board for offside and Kevin De Bruyne plunking the crossbar with a 23rd-minute corner kick.
Riyad Mahrez danced into the box to cut a shot that Kasper Schmeichel did very well to save, and De Bruyne missed the far post with a distance curler moments later.
Gabriel Jesus also sliced his way through the box and knuckled a shot over the bar in the 44th, as Leicester City yearned for the halftime whistle.
Vardy had the ball against the run of play when he cut around Ederson for a classy finish, but the English veteran was a yard offside.
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Man City was lively out of the break, but Youri Tielemans. sent a low warning into the arms of a lunging Ederson in the 48th.
De Bruyne slipped Mahrez through on goal for a shot that was brilliantly-saved by Schmeichel, but Mendy was patient at the back post when a half-clearance fell to the left back for a terrific finish.
De Bruyne then sent Jesus through on goal, the Brazilian deferring to Sterling but potting an easy goal after the his English partner got himself into trouble.
It might’ve finished 3-0, 4-0, or 4-1 on another day, but Kasper Schmeichel made a couple of nice saves for the hosts.