Demarai Gray

Leicester keeps flying with win at Crystal Palace

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Leicester City continues to surprise, collecting a 2-0 win over in-form Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on Sunday.

Caglar Soyuncu and Jamie Vardy scored for the Foxes, who go third with 23 points.

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The loss keeps Palace ninth, where they’ll stay unless Tottenham really punishes Everton late in the orning.

The Foxes are loving the Fortune, entering the day with 25 goals and 8 conceded despite an expected goals total of about 14 and 12!


Three things we learned

1. One bad moment punishes Palace: Roy Hodgson‘s well-drilled Eagles were doomed to defeat by a miscommunication on a set piece (their inability to score, obviously, also hurt). Gary Cahill and James Tomkins were out to lunch as Soyuncu into space and stooped to head a corner kick home. Maybe it was Soyuncu’s status as a true sleeper to score, but the chest high ball could’ve easily have been handled by either back had they moved with the Turkish center back.

2. Surprise scorer stoops to concur: Soyuncu entered the game with three club goals in almost 10,000 career minutes and none since scoring for Freiburg on Oct. 1, 2017 (He did score his lone Turkey goal against Tunisia in June 2018, for what it’s worth). One of five players to play all 990 minutes for the Foxes this season, he’s been a beast in defense especially in the air. Perhaps it’s a bit ironic that his winner came from his ducking to plant the ball in the goal, but you’d have to say it’s a richly-earned offensive reward from a man who does much of Leicester’s dirty work.

3. Black Swan Vardy delivers 10th goal: Clad in the black of Leicester City’s away strip, Jamie Vardy flapped his wings wildly after scoring the Foxes second goal. He is absolutely flying, turning back the clock to total 10 goals through 11 matches. It was a clever goal, too, a 1-2 with Demarai Gray hit cleanly with a left-foot. This wasn’t powerful Jamie Vardy having a party, rather a night at the opera. Good stuff.

Man of the Match: Soyuncu, with apologies to Guaita who kept it close.


Youri Tielemans led a robust rush down Palace’s left, setting up Harvey Barnes for a fifth minute shot that was collected by Vicente Guaita.

Wilfried Zaha did the same at the other end, but Jordan Ayew lashed wildly beyond the frame.

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The edge of the 19th minute saw Vardy race onto a James Maddison pass, roasting James Tomkins only to find himself denied by Guaita (and Gary Cahill’s denial of a passing avenue). Evans headed over goal on a following corner.

Ayoze Perez made a terrific steal and run deep into the Palace half, but Patrick Van Aanholt‘s terrific run closed ground and sent the danger out for a corner.

The match was cagey and hectic, Zaha winning a free kick off Ricardo before halftime.

Palace had a good run in the first few minutes of the second half, with Zaha bounding a shot wide.

Leicester found some momentum after that, with Evans heading a corner toward goal that Guaita slapped over the bar.

The Foxes scored off the ensuing corner, Soyuncu ducking to adjust for a low corner when Palace’s center backs miscommunicated on their mark.

And the insurance goal arrived when Tielemans, who was fantastic, hit an incisive pass to Vardy to begin a 1-2 with Gray that ended in the back of the net.

EFL Cup: Man City cruise past Saints; Everton, Leicester into QF

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A roundup of all of Tuesday’s action in the EFL Cup round of 16…

[ MORE: Cryptic Zlatan Ibrahimovic hints at return to Spain ]

Manchester City 3-1 Southampton

The two-time defending holders reached the quarterfinals of this season’s EFL Cup with a comfortable 3-1 home victory over Southampton, courtesy of goals scored by Nicolas Otamendi and Sergio Aguero (twice).

Otamendi got the scoring started when he headed home Bernardo Silva’s corner kick in the 20th minute. Aguero scored either side of halftime, first by applying the simple finish to Kyle Walker‘s cross in the 38th minute followed by a tap-in from Riyad Mahrez‘s pinpoint service in the 56th. Aguero bagged his brace to mark his 350th appearance for the club (all competitions).

Southampton scored from a corner kick of their own, but it was too little and too late when Jack Stephens headed home James Ward-Prowse‘s ball in the 75th minute. Claudio Bravo wasn’t forced into making his first save of the game until the 65th minute.

Everton 2-0 Watford

Everton scored twice during the final 20 minutes to survive a ropey encounter with Watford at Goodison Park. Mason Holgate put the hosts ahead after 72nd minutes before Richarlison put the game out of reach with the Toffees’ second goal in the 92nd.

Everton boss Marco Silva was forced to make two subs before the second half begin. Defender Yerry Mina lasted just 41 minutes before suffering an injury, and Moise Kean was subbed off at halftime after struggling to produce in the first half.

Burton Albion 1-3 Leicester City

Leicester followed up their 9-0 drubbing of Saints by putting three past League One side Burton Albion. Kelechi Iheanacho and Youri Tielemans put the visitors 2-0 ahead after 20 minutes, but the Brewers fought their way back into the game through Liam Boyce‘s goal in the 52nd minute.

The game remained 2-1 until the final minute of normal time, when James Maddison slammed home a cross from Demarai Gray to make it 3-1 and put the Foxes at ease.

Elsewhere in the EFL Cup

Oxford United 1-1 (4-2 PKs) Sunderland
Crawley Town 1-3 Colchester United

Leicester edge past Burnley amid VAR drama

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Leicester City beat Burnley 2-1 at the King Power Stadium on Saturday, as an emotional day for the Foxes ended in victory.

Leicester’s late owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha — who tragically died in a helicopter crash on Oct. 27, 2018 — was honored by the home fans in their closes home game to mark the anniversary of his passing.

Burnley took the lead through Chris Wood but Jamie Vardy and Youri Tielemans secured the comeback win for Leicester, as Wood was denied a late equalizer via VAR drama.

With the win Leicester momentarily moved second in the table on 17 points, while Burnley have 12 points.


3 things we learned

1. Vardy delivers again: As Burnley fans taunted him with chants about his wife, Vardy nodded home to make it 1-1. His celebration was aimed at Burnley’s fans and once again he had delivered for Leicester. Vardy has scored six times in nine outings this season and even though Leicester possess more talented players technically, he is so effective.

2. Burnley right to feel aggrieved by VAR: Burnley should have drawn this game 2-2. Wood bundled the ball home but VAR said he had fouled Johnny Evans. That will go down as a mistake as the former Leicester striker was a constant thorn in the Foxes side and should have grabbed Burnley a point. Sean Dyche was right to be livid on the sidelines.

3. Leicester’s progress continues on emotional day: As scarves were waved throughout and a minute of applause in the 60th minute took center stage, Leicester’s late owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha was honored by the Foxes fans on Saturday. His tragic death came almost a year ago and since then the Foxes have kicked on and progressed to the next level under Brendan Rodgers. On and off the pitch the Foxes are moving forward as they aim to further honor Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha.

Man of the Match: Youri Tielemans – A superb overall display in midfield and capped it off with a wonderful finish to secure the win. What a player he is.


Leicester started brightly but Burnley were dangerous on the break as Chris Wood was denied by Kasper Schmeichel.

Caglar Soyuncu then headed wide from a corner as the Foxes got going. James Maddison then had a shot deflected wide after combining with Harvey Barnes but Leicester were then behind.

Dwight McNeil swung in a cross to the far post and former Leicester striker Wood powered home a header to make it 1-0.

Leicester’s Vardy then struck a shot into the side-netting and right on half time he equalized. Barnes’ cross found the veteran striker as Vardy headed home an equalizer. Game on.

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In the second half Leicester dominated as Ayoze Perez had a decent chance and Vardy then had the ball in the back of the net but Demarai Gray was correctly called offside.

Tielemans then gave Leicester the lead they deserved as Ricardo Pereira‘s cross found the Belgian midfielder who slammed home to make it 2-1.

Burnley then thought they had made it 2-2 as Wood bundled the ball home after Westwood won the ball back, but VAR was used and Wood was adjudged to have fouled Jonny Evans. No goal.

League Cup: Spurs shocked by Colchester United; Saints win derby

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A fierce derby returned after years away, and a League Two side outlasted a Champions League finalist while another fourth-tier entrant clinched a spot in the Round of 16 as well.

[ MORE: JPW at Fratton Park ]

The League Cup delivered the goods on Tuesday.

Colchester United 0-0 (4-3, penalties) Tottenham Hotspur

Lucas Moura smashed the cross bar with Spurs’ fifth penalty kick, and Paulo Gazzaniga couldn’t get to Tom Lapslie’s effort as the U’s advanced to the fourth round and supporters stormed the pitch.

Dean Gerkin stopped Christian Eriksen‘s opening penalty kick to start the extra set, but Jevani Brown’s miss leveled things in the third round.

Spurs were the better side by far despite a lineup with two regular starters in Davinson Sanchez and Dele Alli, as Spurs lined up: Gazzaniga, Walker-Peters, Sanchez, Tanganga, Davies, Dier, Wanyama, Skipp, Dele, Lucas, and Parrott.

The U’s had not attempted a shot by the hour mark, with Spurs taking a dozen. It was a departure from their defeat of Crystal Palace in the last round, when they went hit for hit with the Premier League mainstays and emerged with a win in penalties.

Courtney Senior was a bright spot for the U’s, lashing a shot wide in the 89th.

Portsmouth 0-4 Southampton

This is certainly one of Danny Ings‘ favorite memories since returning home to the South Coast, as the Winchester-born striker scored twice in the first half to give Saints a halftime lead in the first South Coast Derby match in close to a decade.

The game, like most between the heated rivals, was a busy one, as Kenny Jackett’s League One side Pompey punched above their weight and even out-attempted the visitors for some time. But Cedric Soares and Nathan Redmond scored late as Saints outlasted Pompey’s adrenaline to assert their class.

Preston North End 0-3 Manchester City

There was no doubt about this one, though the Championship side put up a better fight than Watford at the weekend.

And to be fair to Watford, City started a much weakened lineup. Seventeen-year-old Taylor Harwood-Bellis started, and mostly impressed, alongside fellow teen Eric Garcia.

Garcia assisted Raheem Sterling on the opener, with Sterling in turn setting up Gabriel Jesus for 2-0. An own goal made it 3-0 before halftime.

Elsewhere

Arsenal 5-0 Nottingham Forest – Gabriel Martinelli scored his first two Arsenal goals, while Emile Smith-Rowe was stretchered off after apparent head injury. Rob Holding, Joe Willock, and Reiss Nelson also scored as Kieran Tierney made his Gunners debut in the shutout.

Crawley Town 1-1 (5-3, penalties) Stoke City – Goals traded in first half as Potters go down to 10 men in 61st minute. Stoke goal scorer Sam Vokes cracked the side’s first penalty off the bar,

Luton Town 0-4 Leicester City – Pretty easy for the Foxes, who rested most of its main men for a Premier League date with Newcastle United. James Justin scores in return to hometown club. Demarai Gray was at the double while Youri Tielemans also scored.

Watford 2-1 Swansea City – Danny Welbeck gets first Hornets goal, but Watford needed a late goal from Roberto Pereyra to push past Swans.435

Sheffield Wednesday 0-2 Everton – Two early goals from Dominic Calvert-Lewin quickly put upset hopes to bed as Marco Silva gets some relief.

What we’ve learned, so far, from Premier League

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As we approach Matchweek 4 in the new Premier League season, snap judgements on teams continue to be shared.

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But what have we actually learned in the opening weeks of the new campaign?

Here’s a look at some of the storylines emanating from the first 270 minutes of the season.


Man United continue to be their own worst enemies

After losing 2-1 at home to Crystal Palace, it’s easy to write off Man United under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. But that wouldn’t tell the whole story. As Nick Mendola pointed out yesterday, it’s not time to panic just yet. Had they scored two penalty kicks via Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford, it is very likely they’d be sitting joint-top of the table with three wins from three. United have been their own worst enemies, with Pogba and Rashford fluffing their lines and David De Gea making another costly error to lose in stoppage time at home against Palace. United’s defense looks better, Rashford, Dan James and Martial are a threat and the side is settled with better balance in midfield. If this young side can cut out costly errors, they will be in the top four hunt all season long.


West Ham, Leicester well placed for top six push

The Hammers and Foxes are both looking very decent early in the season and both seem capable of pushing into the top six. Leicester are unbeaten and should have beat Chelsea, while West Ham took care of business against Watford and should have beat Brighton after an opening day mauling at the hands of Man City. Sebastian Haller looks the real deal up top for West Ham as they finally have a striker who can hold up the ball and bring their plethora of wonderful attacking midfielders into the game.

As for Leicester, they have so many youngsters who can put on a show. Harvey Barnes was the hero this week but James Maddison, Hamza Choudury and Demarai Gray are all stars for Brendan Rodgers‘ side. Caglar Soyuncu has also slotted in seamlessly to replace Harry Maguire. Leicester look set to push for a top six finish as the likes of Tottenham and Chelsea have failed to impress early this season. West Ham and Leicester are ahead of Wolves and Everton in the push for European qualification.


Liverpool a ruthless machine

Jurgen Klopp‘s men have been far from their best but they’re getting the job done and a ruthless second half blitz saw them ease past Arsenal on Saturday. After a disjointed summer where several stars didn’t even go on their preseason tour, Liverpool are clicking through the gears when they need to. Losing Alisson to injury in the season opener was far from ideal and that has led to Liverpool conceding in each of their three games so far, but Firmino, Salah and Mane have all stepped up at different times to seal three-straight wins. Not vintage stuff at all from the Reds, but they’re getting the job done in a ruthless fashion when they’re on top in games and that is title-winning material.


Chelsea’s kids are alright, but top four will be a big ask

It will be a lot of fun to watch Chelsea this season. But only if you’re a neutral. Tammy Abraham and Mason Mount have hit the ground running and going forward they look very dangerous. Defensively they are a little all over the place with Andres Christensen and Kurt Zouma their first-choice duo at center back, for now. Chelsea won 3-2 at Norwich and drew 1-1 with Leicester, but they should have lost the latter game. In midfield they are a little open and Frank Lampard‘s game-management is lacking a little. He and his young players will grow into this season, but the first few weeks have told us that finishing in the top four would be akin to win the title for Chelsea this season.


Tottenham’s poor form continues as uncertainty unsettles

Spurs’ shock defeat at home to Newcastle United highlighted a worrying trend for Mauricio Pochettino‘s side. Only two PL teams have picked up less points than them in the last 15 games, and the Argentine coach pointed to uncertainty over the future of several key players as having an impact on his squad. Aside from sorting out where Jan Vertonghen, Toby Alderweireld or Christian Eriksen will go as their contracts run down, a dip in form for Harry Kane has also hit Tottenham hard. In a season where they were supposed to push for the title after finally spending big this summer, they are already five points off leaders Liverpool. A north London derby at Arsenal on Sunday (Watch live, 11:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) gives Spurs the perfect opportunity for a boost, but if they lose that it will heap more pressure on Pochettino.


Old guard standing tall for reigning champs

Pep Guardiola‘s side sit two points behind Liverpool and their old guard have been dragging them through games in the opening weeks. Kevin de Bruyne, David Silva and Sergio Aguero were at it again at Bournemouth over the weekend and City’s slick attack has continued to run seamlessly because of them. Defensively they’ve missed another veteran badly, with Vincent Kompany not being replaced as Nicolas Otamendi and Aymeric Laporte haven’t struck up a similar partnership with the former looking far from settled. For now, City will rely on their veteran stars to led the way but others need to step up, like they did last season, if they’re going to challenge for every trophy going.