Ayoze Pérez

Gorgeous goals lead Leicester City at Newcastle

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James Maddison and Hamza Choudhury scored audacious goals as Leicester City smashed injury-ravaged 10-man Newcastle 3-0 on Wednesday at St. James’ Park.

The Magpies were down to 10 men shortly after halftime due to three injury-forced substitutions by half and a Fabian Schar 46th minute leg ailment.

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Ayoze Perez also scored for Leicester City, who move onto 45 points. That total is 20 better than the 12th place Magpies.


Three things we learned

1. Magpies mistakes again put them under fire: Former Newcastle striker Perez scored 42 Premier League goals for Newcastle, and the Florian Lejeune made sure the Spaniard felt right at home. The Frenchman made a horrible mistake to gift Perez his opener, then another bad pass that set up Maddison for his remarkable goal. Speaking of which…

2. Talisman Maddison delivers: Maddison’s sixth goal of the season and first six matches was sensational. The Foxes are now 7-1-1 in league play when the 23-year-old ex-Norwich City man scores or assists.

3. Injuries hamper any comeback bid: It’s unlikely that Steve Bruce‘s preferred three subs to chase a result were two fullbacks and a tempo-keeping midfielder. Injuries to Jonjo Shelvey, Javi Manquillo, and Jetro Willems meant that the Magpies used all of their subs by the start of the second half. That’s when Fabian Schar pulled his hamstring. Scathing fixture list comments forthcoming, we’re sure.

Man of the Match: Maddison, with a nod to Wilfred Ndidi.


Leicester sounded the first alarm of the match, forcing Newcastle’s Martin Dubravka to make an in-tight save.

Dubravka made another save in the 15th on Youri Tielemans, and Federico Fernandez cleared the danger.

Joelinton ran onto a long ball and poked over Kasper Schmeichel, but the ball bounded off frame to add to the Brazilian’s near season-long frustrations.

[ MORE: Premier League stats ] 

The Foxes made another horrible defensive error to let Leicester in front. Florian Lejeune played a silly cross 18 pass that Perez picked off and put behind his former goalkeeper.

Lejeune made another huge mistake to set up Maddison with moments, though the English attacker had plenty to do in hammering the second goal past Dubravka.

Shelvey tried to help Newcastle answer with a terrific cross moments later, but Miguel Almiron’s header attempt was poor.

Kelechi Iheanacho should’ve had it 3-0, but Fabian Schar and Dubravka conspired to keep the ball out of the goal.

Youri Tielemans set up Ayoze Perez for a long break with Iheanacho, and Dubravka made superb saves on both players in succession to keep the Newcastle’s deficit at two.

Then, this. Please Hamza, don’t hurt ’em (Layers of meaning there, yeah?).

Much-changed Leicester City wins at West Ham

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Ayoze Perez set up a pair of goals as Leicester City rebounded for a 2-1 defeat of West Ham United at the London Stadium on Saturday.

Kelechi Iheanacho and Demarai Gray supplied the goals for the Foxes, who move four points clear of third place Man City.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Pablo Fornals scored for West Ham and under fire manager Manuel Pellegrini, whose side sits just one point ahead of 18th place Aston Villa.


Three things we learned

1. Rodgers rewarded for risky rotation: Brendan Rodgers changed nine men from the group embarrassed by Liverpool on Boxing Day, and the makeshift XI very much deserved the three points. Demarai Gray missed a penalty kick and a few other chances were left for dead, but overall the Foxes had every claim to the win.

2. Hammers a real relegation threat: Manuel Pellegrini’s defense has been woeful, and his star attackers couldn’t bail them out Felipe Anderson did assist on Fornals’ goal, and was lively on the left wing, but Sebastien Haller has not been able to sharpen his attacking acumen since an early season hot streak and neither Manuel Lanzini nor a trio of substitutes combined to deliver much threat.

3. Ayoze the assister takes the reins: Longtime Newcastle star Ayoze Perez is a mere component of the King Power Stadium attack. He drove the attacking bus on Saturday in the absence of Jamie Vardy and James Maddison, the latter replacing him in the 64th minute after assists on both goals. He was two for two on dribbles and drew three fouls in a very strong performance.

Man of the Match: Perez.


Lukasz Fabianski gave away a terrible penalty to Kelechi Iheanacho, but then made a save on Demarai Gray’s poor penalty to keep it 0-0.

Iheanacho put Leicester in front when Ayoze Perez made an athletic play to keep a ball in bounds for a near-post headed goal.

Gray then tore into a shot from 12 yards that was nowhere near the mark.

West Ham had a nice chance bound wide when Sebastien Haller’s header was off frame, and the equalizer came moments later through Fornals.

The Spaniard arrived on the scene for a Felipe Anderson cutback to cue the bubbles.

[ MORE: Premier League stats ] 

Gray made it 2-1 in the 56th minute, running onto a Perez through ball and curling around Fabianski.

Wes Morgan came close to making it 3-1 with a quick turn off a post-corner kick scrum, and Hamza Choudhury missed an 86th minute bid.

Jamie Vardy: ‘I’m playing the best that I ever have’

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If you thought you had seen the best of Jamie Vardy, you are dead wrong.

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Sure, Vardy has put up sensational numbers throughout his peculiar career. A 31-goal season with Fleetwood Town during the 2011-2012 campaign of England’s fifth-tier, which is his most productive to date. Then there’s Leicester City’s historic title-winning season in 2015-2016, one that saw Vardy make a name for himself world wide, scoring 24 goals in 36 appearances.

Interestingly enough, however, we are finally witnessing the best of Vardy, at least according to the goalscorer himself. At 32 years of age, he leads the Premier League with 11 goals after 12 matches. From the BBC:

“I’m playing probably the best that I ever have but there’s a long way to go,” Vardy said following Leicester’s 2-0 win over a struggling Arsenal. “I’m always willing to learn, there’s new tactics with the gaffer and I’m always trying to give 100% and it’s paying dividends for myself.”

In their first, full season under experienced manager Brendan Rodgers, the Foxes are currently second in the table, five points behind unbeaten Liverpool. Rodgers, too, is a believer that his frenetic, yet skilled forward is currently experiencing a season to remember. To be exact, the 46-year-old is convinced that Vardy is in the elite echelon of strikers the world has to offer.

“It’s firstly about giving him confidence,” Rodgers said following his club’s eighth win of the season. “He is up there with the very, very top strikers in European football with what he brings to a team, his pressing.”

“We’ve allowed him to do essentially what he wants to do – he’s so honest, he’d press he whole back four if he could,” he added. “How we play, being aggressive and playing quickly obviously suits him. But his finishing ability, how clinical he is, is absolutely phenomenal. That’s a big testament to his concentration – when the opportunities come he’s always ready.”

Against Arsenal on Saturday, Vardy scored and assisted the second goal of the game. Coming up to the one-third mark of the season, Leicester pride themselves on an exceedingly fluid attack, built around James Maddison, Youri Tielemans, Ayoze Pérez, Harvey Barnes and spearheaded by Vardy himself.

With 29 goals scored throughout 12 games, only Manchester City (34) has tallied more this season. The call from the dugout for the Foxes’ attacking line to press and play to pass is paying dividends.

“The creativity we’ve got in the side is going to benefit the team massively,” added Vardy. “We’ve got to take each game as they come. It’s still early on in the season – it’s a long slog.”

“There’s a lot of momentum round the club and everyone’s enjoying themselves. That enjoyment comes with winning.”

The best of Vardy is happening now, and you don’t want to miss it.

Rodgers: 9 goals is ‘incredible’

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Brendan Rodgers was criticized by some after leaving Celtic midseason for Leicester City. On Friday, he proved pretty much all the doubters that he was right for the job, and may actually be the best UK-born coach in the Premier League.

Rodgers team was prepared and confident, and Leicester City took Southampton to the sword with a 9-0 win on the road. It was the performance of the season, bigger than any Man City win or even Wolverhampton and Norwich’s wins over Man City, as the 9-0 result set Premier League records.

“[It was] a brilliant performance,” Rodgers told LCFC TV. “We obviously started the game very well, went in front, and they obviously had the man sent off, but how we worked that, in terms of how to play… we speak about that, in terms of strategy. If we ever go down to 10 men, how the game looks and how it works, and we’ve seen that away at Burnley at the end of last season and then we’ve had it twice now this season and we’ve capitalized on it very well.

“It’s a mentality to playing against 10 men, but also it’s a tactical idea and the players performed and executed that to a really, really high level. We looked a very good side, [a] very composed side tonight, and a very exciting team. To score nine goals in a Premier League game is incredible.”

Its a well deserved performance for Leicester City, a team that has been building and growing all season with a great mix of youth – like Ben Chilwell and Harvey Barnes, as well as experience – Ayoze Perez and Jamie Vardy.

Some Leicester City players reacted to the win after the game on social media.

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9-0. Ohhh what a nighttt🙌🏼💙

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At the half: Leicester scores 5 on ten-man Southampton

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Playing on the road, in rainy, windy conditions, appears to be no problem for Brendan Rodgers and Leicester City.

Through the first 20 minutes of its match against Southampton, Leicester City has absolutely mauled the hosts, scoring three times on Friday at St. Mary’s Stadium. To add insult to injury, Southampton left back Ryan Bertrand was shown a straight red card for a high boot into the shin of Leicester City’s Ayoze Perez. The tackle wasn’t noticed in the moment, but VAR caught it and referee Andre Mariner sent Bertrand for an early shower.

[WATCH LIVE: Leicester City v. Southampton]

Later in the first half, Leicester City scored again as Perez fired a strike in to add to Southampton’s misery. To add the icing on Leicester City’s cake, Jamie Vardy scored just a minute before halftime.

Heres a look at all the first half highlights, including goals from Ben Chilwell, Youri Tielemans, and Ayoze Perez, along with the red card.