Man City allowed three goals for the first time since Week 37 of last season but twice led by three-plus goals in a 6-3 defeat of Leicester City at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday.
Raheem Sterling scored twice, Riyad Mahrez had a goal and an assists, and Ilkay Gundogan, Kevin De Bruyne, and Aymeric Laporte also scored as City led 4-0 but saw its lead slip to 4-3 in the second half before snapping to life.
Kelechi Iheanacho had a goal and 2 assists in 10 second-half minutes, driving Leicester back into the thick of the match before Laporte and Sterling put the game (back) out of reach.
Man City again kept Phil Foden and Jack Grealish out of the Starting XI, inserting Foden in the 71st minute of the win. The leaders take a six-point lead on second-place Liverpool, who will not play this Matchday after a COVID outbreak at Leeds.
Leicester’s 22 points are ninth on the table, six points back of sixth place.
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Man City vs Leicester final score, stats
Manchester City 6-3 Leicester City
Scorers: De Bruyne 5′, Mahrez 14′ (pen), Gundogan 21′, Sterling 25′ (pen) 87′, Maddison 55′, Lookman 59′, Iheanacho 65′, Laporte 69′
Shot attempts: Man City 17-14 Leicester
Shots on goal: Man City 9-8 Leicester
Possession: Man City 72-28 Leicester
Three things from Man City vs Leicester
1. Man City gives gifts to everyone: Everyone includes the visitors, who were in a gift-giving mood themselves through a pair of Youri Tielemans-conceded penalties. City buzzed out of the gates and cut through Leicester with abandon before abandoning defense for a 10-minute stretch that saw the Foxes take the match from 4-0 at the break to 4-3. But Raheem Sterling was at his very best, staying red hot as Man City gave its faithful a six-spot on Boxing Day.
2. Iheanacho inspires Foxes comeback, keeps pushing Rodgers: A goal and two assists from Jamie Vardy’s understudy makes the Nigerian a good headache for Brendan Rodgers (most of the time). On occasion Iheanacho’s a headache because he’s not at the races but on other days he’s worthy of keeping Vardy on the bench. Today, he didn’t push the Foxes to a comeback point but he allowed his veteran teammate a proper rest.
3. Foxes really, really bad at the back… including Schmeichel: Kasper Schmeichel is a fantastic goalkeeper and he made a brilliant stop to keep the match from going to 5-0, but he otherwise did not bail out an ailing Foxes back line that had Luke Thomas, Jannik Vestergaard, Daniel Amartey, and Marc Albrighton. Only Amartey had a passable game and Rodgers will have to hope that resting Boubakary Soumare and Wilfred Ndidi for a Tuesday visit from Liverpool was worth the Boxing Day headache in their box.
Man of the Match: Raheem Sterling — Make it seven goals on the Premier League season for the 27-year-old Englishman, who has scored five times in his last four starts (Watford, Wolves, Newcastle, and Leicester) and now has a goal or an assist in six of his last seven PL appearances.
Rodgers’ interesting idea stung by Tielemans takedowns
Brendan Rodgers’ plan to handle having essentially all of his best defenders out of the lineup was to fight fire with fire. Going down 4-0 says that it was a bad idea, but the Foxes and Citizens were close in shots and shots on goal.
Perhaps using either Boubakary Soumare or Wilfred Ndidi instead of resting them for Liverpool could’ve helped turn the idea into a brilliant one, and we’re not just saying that because Youri Tielemans gave away two penalties to the champs.