Wes Morgan

What did we learn in the Premier League? (video)

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Seven games took place in the Premier League on Saturday, as the games returned after the two-week international break.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays

With seven games to go for most teams, the business end of the campaign has now arrived and the spring sunshine in England saw both Manchester clubs win, Huddersfield go down and plenty of teams jostling for Europe.

Here’s a look at what we learned from another intriguing day of action as we enter the home stretch of the season.


Problems for Ole to sort out
Manchester United are in the top four and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer celebrated getting the job on a permanent basis with a win. But he is far from happy. The Norwegian coach has seen his United side labor in recent weeks, and that was the case once again in their 2-1 win against Watford at Old Trafford. United were outplayed for large periods and the Hornets didn’t take their chances.

“Watford started off really well and we struggled to get to grips with their tempo,” Solskjaer told Sky Sports afterwards. “We defended great, and after about 20 minutes, I felt we were more comfortable. It was more a draw, performance wise. We’ll take the three points. Some of the players who went away maybe played too much.”

Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial scored in either half to paper over the cracks, but there are issues for Solskjaer to sort out. A lot of his players were coming off injuries and a long international break, but there is certainly a growing trend of teams sitting deeper against them and nullifying the threat of their devastating counter attacks. So United have to develop a Plan B under Solskjaer. Also, if you can get at United’s midfield trio of Herrera, Matic and Pogba, like Watford did very well, then you can stop their counter attacks at the source. Solskjaer has already said United will do business and spend money well this summer. His top priority should be shoring up his defense and bringing in a new holding midfielder to help not only plug the gaps in front of the back four, but dictate the tempo of games. At the same time Solskjaer knows he has to sort a few things out, he also knows he has that classic Sir Alex Ferguson knack of winning games when his team doesn’t play at  its best. That is priceless.


City put the pressure on Liverpool
The way Manchester City played in the first 30 minutes at Craven Cottage, you just felt like you were watching the best team in Europe, if not the world. Sure, they were playing 19th-placed Fulham, but the Cottagers were petrified of giving the ball away and did so twice early on. Bernardo Silva and Sergio Aguero (his minor injury was the only negative for City) punished them on both occasions and that was that. City should have won by four or five, but it was a case of job done ahead of a busy few months which could see them win an unprecedented quadruple. They have now go back to the top of the table and all eyes will be on Liverpool who play against Tottenham at Anfield on Sunday, then travel to in-form Southampton on Friday. Over to you, Jurgen Klopp and Co.


Leicester in fine fettle under Rodgers
With four wins from five games since Claude Puel was fired, Leicester have certainly got that ‘new manager bump’ those in charge crave when making the switch. But aside from a sudden jolt up the table this Leicester team are showing real progress in less than two months of working with Brendan Rodgers. This is exactly why he left Celtic. Leicester demolished Bournemouth on Saturday to make it three wins in four under Rodgers, with Jamie Vardy scoring his fifth goal in five games and Wes Morgan popping up to score in back-to-back PL games. The old guard is still there, but Rodgers’ young talents are the reason why Leicester’s fans can be so optimistic about the future. Maddison, Chilwell, Gray and Tielemans all impressed, and all are 22 years of age or younger. It will be intriguing to watch Rodgers nurture this young side into one that can become ‘the best of the rest’ in the PL. With Arsenal, Man City and Chelsea to play in their final three games of the season, Leicester may struggle to finish seventh and qualify for the Europa League this season. But the future is looking very bright as Rodgers has found a nice mixture of counter-attacking play coupled with composed possession.


Relegation picture getting clearer
Huddersfield’s fairytale is over, as the Terriers were relegated from the Premier League on Saturday. It was the second earliest relegation in PL history, and it has been expected since January when David Wagner left. Huddersfield staying up last season, after their unexpected promotion to the top-flight, defied the odds but they simply ran out of steam. Their decision to not spend beyond their means on their playing squad was what ultimately cost them. Huddersfield are a well-run club with loyal fans and a clear playing philosophy. They will be pushing hard in the second-tier next season. With one team gone and Fulham about to go, all eyes are now on Cardiff City. Neil Warnock‘s men are now five points from safety and although they have two games in hand on Burnley who sit one place above them in the table, they have to play Chelsea, Man City, Man United and Liverpool in their final eight games. With wins for Southampton, Crystal Palace and Burnley on Saturday, it appears that the relegation picture has just become a lot clearer. Unless, of course, Cardiff can upset Chelsea on Sunday…

Dominant Leicester ease by Bournemouth (video)

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  • 4 wins from last 5 for Leicester
  • Vardy has 5 goals in 5
  • 1 win in 8 for Bournemouth

Leicester City totally dominated Bournemouth at the King Power Stadium on Saturday, as Brendan Rodgers‘ men continue their charge up the Premier League table.

The Foxes took the lead through Wes Morgan early on, and Jamie Vardy sealed the victory in the second half.

With the win Leicester are now level with seventh-place Wolves on 44 points, and qualifying for the Europa League is a real possibility.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Leicester almost took the lead as a cross to the back post was cleared by Charlie Daniels. Seconds later they went ahead from the resulting corner. The ball dropped to Chilwell who drilled a shot across goal which Morgan deflected in. 1-0.

At the other end Kasper Schmeichel saved from Callum Wilson after Ryan Fraser‘s superb cross, as Bournemouth should have been level.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

James Maddison curled a low shot just wide for Leicester, then Vardy scuffed a shot wide after a wonderful run and pass from Ricardo Perreira.

Bournemouth’s Josh King sliced an effort wide as the Cherries worked their way back into the game, but Vardy was denied by a wonderful block by Nathan Ake.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

Youri Tielemans flashed a shot wide, then Vardy had a shot blocked as the Foxes piled on the pressure in the second half.

Vardy then sealed the victory, as he jumped ahead of Asmir Begovic and glanced Tielemans’ cross off the crossbar and in. 2-0.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Rodgers’ revolution at Leicester is gathering momentum, with three wins in his first four games in charge.

10-man Leicester snatch late win at Burnley (video)

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  • Morgan scores stoppage time winner
  • Maguire sent off in 4th minute
  • Burnley lost fourth-straight game

Leicester City secured a battling victory at Burnley on Saturday, as Brendan Rodgers‘ side scored a stoppage-time winner after being reduced to 10-men in the fourth minute of the game.

Harry Maguire was sent off with less than four minutes on the clock, but James Maddison put Leicester ahead with a free kick.

Dwight McNeil scored a superb goal to equalize for Burnley but Wes Morgan popped up with a goal in second half stoppage time as Sean Dyche‘s were stunned.

The win for Rodgers’ side moves them into 10th place on 41 points, while Burnley remain just one place and two points above the relegation zone.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

It was the worst possible start for Leicester as Maguire, who was last man, clipped the heels of Gudmundsson, who was clean through on goal and was shown a straight-red card. Morgan was brought on as a sub as Demarai Gray was sacrificed to keep Leicester to four at the back.

Leicester’s backs were against the wall, as Gudmundsson’s effort from the resulting free kick deflected off the wall and hit the bar.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

Despite having an extra man, Burnley sat back and tried to hit Leicester on the counter. Wilfred Ndidi made a superb last-ditch tackle to keep Burnley out on one such attack.

The Foxes dug deep and caused problems as Harvey Barnes drilled wide and they were a real threat from set-piece situations. And that is how they went ahead. Maddison won a free kick on the edge of the box and he then stepped up and curled home a superb effort into the top corner. 1-0.

Vardy stung the palms of Tom Heaton before half time as Leicester were in the ascendancy, but then Burnley hit them on the break as teenager McNeil swept home from the edge of the box to make it 1-1.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

In the second half Vardy was lively, as always, on the counter, but Burnley went so close to going ahead for the first time. Jack Cork was found in the box but his curler went just wide as the Clarets cranked through the gears.

Chris Wood then somehow sidefooted over from close range after a superb cross from McNeil and Burnley felt they should have had a couple of penalty kicks late on.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Charlie Taylor went down in the box under a challenge from Ndidi but Michael Oliver waved played on and then handball calls against Wes Morgan were waved away as Peter Crouch made a nuisance of himself in the box.

McNeil hooked over the bar late on as Burnley poured forward in search of a crucial winner, but Leicester were the team to snatch victory.

Youri Tieleman’s deflected cross found Morgan, who nodded home in stoppage time to snatch a massive three points for the Foxes.

Watch Live: Watford v. Leicester

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Watford host Leicester City at Vicarage Road on Sunday (Watch live, 7 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) as Brendan Rodgers takes charge of his first game as Leicester boss.

WATCH LIVE ONLINE

The hosts sit in eighth place but a three-goal or more win for Javi Gracia‘s men will push them ahead of Wolves and back into seventh. Leicester sit in 11th and a win would move them just two points behind Watford in the table.

In team news Watford make one change from the team which was hammered at Liverpool, as Jose Holebas comes in at left back.

Leicester go with a 3-4-3 formation as Wes Morgan comes back into the team and Harvey Barnes and James Maddison support Jamie Vardy.


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Wolves edge Leicester, win seven-goal thriller (video)

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  • Jota, Bennett score early, Wolves led 2-0
  • Leicester fought back to make it 2-2
  • Jota made it 3-2, then Morgan equalized late on
  • Jota seals hat trick in stoppage time
  • Leicester suffer fourth-straight defeat in all competitions

Wolverhampton Wanderers beat Leicester City 4-3 in a classic Premier League encounter Saturday, as the game flowed back and forth in a thrilling encounter at Molinuex.

Diogo Jota and Ryan Bennett scored to put Wolves 2-0 up early, but Leicester fought back at the start of the second half with a Demarai Gray striker and an own goal from Conor Coady. Jota popped up to make it 3-2 in a pulsating, end-to-end clash which both teams couldn’t control. Wes Morgan popped up to head home a late equalizer for Leicester, but then Jota struck in stoppage time to seal an incredible win.

With the win Wolves move up to eighth place on 32 points and leapfrog Leicester, who remain on 31 points. Foxes boss Claude Puel is certainly under pressure as his team suffered their fourth-straight defeat in all competitions.

Nuno Espirito Santo was sent off in stoppage time for running on the pitch and celebrating with his players, but the Portuguese coach will not care as Wolves’ European dreams remain alive.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Wolves came flying out of the traps as Nampalys Mendy picked up an early booking and the Foxes couldn’t recover. First Kasper Schmeichel denied Ruben Neves with a fantastic save, then Jota gave Wolves the lead as he prodded home Joao Moutinho‘s perfect cross. 1-0.

At the other end Leicester almost hit back right away as Rui Patricio dallied on the ball and Jamie Vardy nipped in to steal it, but Wolves’ goalkeeper recovered to save and the hosts eventually cleared.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

The game failed to calm down as Wolves then scored a second from a corner. Moutinho whipped in the set piece to the back post and Bennett towered above Harry Maguire to nod home a second for Wolves and leave Puel fuming on the sidelines.

Leicester tried to battle their way back into the game as Patricio pushed away Demarai Gray’s effort, saved another from Gray and Ricardo Pereira dragged as shot wide. At the other end Jota came close to finishing off Jimenez’s superb cross but Schmeichel saved, and Jimenez was then denied as Wolves ended the first half as they started it. Well on top.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

Right at the start of the second half Leicester were back in the game as Gray dances through the Wolves defense and finished to make it 2-1, and moments later Barnes smashed an effort on goal which Patricio pushed over.

Barnes played a big hand in making it 2-2, as a mix-up in the box saw the ball drop kindly to him and the 21-year-old smashed home, via a deflection off Coady, what he thought was his first Premier League goal on his first start (the goal later went down as a Coady own goal) to spark wild celebrations among the Leicester fans. Game on.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Wolves went back ahead midway through the second half as Neves played a beautiful ball over the top and Jota drilled a low shot home to make it 3-2.

Substitute James Maddison missed a glorious chance to level things, but he then whipped in a wonderful cross for Morgan to head home an equalizer late on. But the drama wasn’t done. A mistake from Leicester allowed Jimenez to tee up Jota and he completed his hat trick to make it 4-3 and hand Wolves a dramatic late victory as Nuno Espirito Santo ran on the pitch in jubilation.

That goal capped off an instant Premier League classic rather nicely.