Jonny Evans

Rodgers: ‘Historic day’ as Leicester City extends win streak

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Of course it’s early, but it looks like Leicester City is the Premier League’s lone bright hope of challenging Liverpool for the title.

And yeah, that’s a big deal, even after the Foxes claimed the most inexplicable title in top flight history just four seasons ago.

[ RECAP: Villa 1-4 Leicester City ]

But the Foxes remain leery about embracing their title credentials, even after setting a club record by winning their eight-straight via a 4-1 victory over Aston Villa at Villa Park on Sunday.

“I thought they were amazing,” said Brendan Rodgers. “It is a historical day for the club and the performance warranted that. It really does mean something special, it puts the team in the history books of Leicester City.”

Okay, but… just a little bit about the title fight, Brendan? No?

Perhaps goal scoring defender Jonny Evans would take the bait.

“We are up there and it shows we are playing well. Our performance was good, against one of the best Villa teams I faced in years. It shows we are capable of coming away and getting results. It is nice people are talking about us, we’re enjoying it and there’s great spirit in the club.”

Leicester is eight points back of first, the only team within 10 points of Liverpool. Man City is 14 back and Chelsea 17.

The Foxes host Norwich City before its next stretch of proving ground arrives via a League Cup quarterfinal at Everton prefaces league matches versus Man City and Liverpool.

Vardy, Iheanacho power 4-star Foxes past Villa

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Kelechi Iheanacho again collected a goal and an assist and Jamie Vardy scored twice as Leicester City punished Aston Villa in an entertaining 4-1 at Villa Park on Sunday.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Jonny Evans also scored for the Foxes, who maintain their place eight points behind leaders Liverpool.

Jack Grealish scored for Aston Villa, which stays ahead of 18th place on Southampton on goal differential.

Leicester City hosts Liverpool on Boxing Day, a date to circle on the calendar.


Three things we learned

1. Iheanacho emergence a new wrinkle: Nigerian striker Kelechi Iheanacho was always lurking as a possible star during his time at Man City, but couldn’t break through and transferred to the King Power Stadium. Life hadn’t been easy at his new home, but a goal and an assist in consecutive Premier League fixtures can make a difference as Leicester hopes to challenge Liverpool. Resting Jamie Vardy on occasion without a big drop-off would be a potentially monumental development.

2. Vardy’s party a record bash: The 15th and 16th goals of Vardy’s PL run put him on pace for 38. That would be six better than Mohamed Salah‘s 38-game record and four better than the 42-game mark shared by Alan Shearer and Andy Cole. Even when he makes mistakes, he finishes.

3. Hobbled Mings a big worry: Villa star center back Tyrone Mings pulled up with an injury but attempted to fight through it. Full credit to him, as he’s been the easy star of the newly-promoted side’s start to life in the Premier League, but an absence or step back from the block and clearance machine will be a major blow to Dean Smith‘s side.

Man of the Match: It’s between Vardy and Iheanacho — James Maddison was also good — and we’ll choose Vardy because we gave it to Iheanacho at midweek.


Kelechi Iheanacho slipped Vardy through on goal, and the Foxes striker nearly blew his chance despite dribbling the keeper.

Ezri Konsa would’ve liked to challenge Vardy following the unusual mis-touch, but the defender was felled by his own sliding keeper.

[ MORE: Premier League stats ] 

After Anwar El Ghazi just missed a promising bid to equalize, Villa’s Bjorn Engels slid to break up a Vardy pass to a wide open Iheanacho.

The Nigerian got his goal in the 41st, a James Maddison cross deflected goal ward and off his leg for 2-0.

Grealish bounced a shot through traffic and inside the far post after Vardy couldn’t clear a corner kick.

Leicester needed less than four second half minutes to restore its two-goal advantage, the unmarked Evans perfectly placing a back post header across goal off a corner kick.

Clinical Palace defies Leicester City in big win (video)

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  • McArthur with two assists
  • Zaha scores twice
  • Batshuayi, Milivojevic also score
  • Evans with lone Leicester tally
  • Foxes out-attempt Palace 27-7

Crystal Palace made the most of their limited chances, a deceptive scoreline of 3-1 greeting their win over Leicester City at the King Power Stadium on Saturday.

James McArthur had two assists, while Wilfried Zaha, Michy Batshuayi, and Luka Milivojevic scored for the Eagles.

Jonny Evans had the lone Leicester goal.

Palace moves into 13th place with 30 points, six clear of the drop zone, while Leicester fails in its bid to go 10th.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

A pair of near-misses greeted Leicester City’s control of the first 10 minutes, as both Jamie Vardy and James Maddison came close to putting the Foxes ahead.

Leicester was clearly the superior side, and Palace was sloppy when it found a rare spell of first half possession.

So, of course, Palace scored first, as Leicester backstop Kasper Schmeichel was wrong-footed when Batshuayi swung his leg and redirected a James McArthur rip from distance.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]  

The Foxes leveled the score deservedly when Harvey Barnes‘ pass to Jonny Evans was met with a lunging leg that swung the ball past Vicente Guaita.

But Zaha restored Palace’s lead in the 70th, as Harry Maguire and the Leicester City defense completely lost track of the electric Ivorian for a back post finish of McArthur’s cross.

And wouldn’t you know it: A penalty! Evans took down Jeff Schlupp in the 82nd minute, and Milivojevic did what he usually does from the spot to make it 3-1.

Sloppy Liverpool trips up v. Leicester City (video)

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  • Mane scores in third minute
  • Maguire levels before break
  • Reds only manage 3 shots on target

Liverpool barely took advantage of its stumbling rivals, drawing Leicester City 1-1 at Anfield on Wednesday.

Sadio Mane scored for the Reds, who have a five-point lead on Manchester City and a seven-point advantage over Spurs. Man City lost at Newcastle on Tuesday.

Harry Maguire grabbed the equalizer for Leicester City, who were fortunate not to concede a second half penalty. The Foxes are 11th with 32 points.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Andy Robertson‘s square pass bounced off Jonny Evans en route to Mane, who took a touch before slotting a third minute shot inside the far post.

But much like Newcastle versus Man City a day earlier, the Foxes didn’t shrink away. And Liverpool seemingly helped the visitors’ cause, Alisson Becker in particular.

Maguire got a deserved equalizer in first half stoppage, as a third ball into the box off a botched free kick was calmly slotted by the English World Cup hero.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

[ MORE: Premier League stats ]

Alisson stopped Liverpool from conceding an own goal with a fine reaction in the 53rd.

Liverpool were denied penalty shouts when Naby Keita was taken down in the box.

Pardew ‘furious’ after four WBA players steal taxi in Spain

Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images
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At least when you’re bottom of the Premier League table and appear headed for relegation, as West Bromwich Albion now find themselves, you can take the positive approach that “the only way to go from here is up.”

[ FA CUP: Man United advance, drawn against PL opposition in QF ]

Alternatively, four of your most senior players — Jonny Evans, Gareth Barry, Jake Livermore and Boaz Myhill, in this case — might have other ideas and elect to steal a cab during a late-season training camp in Barcelona. That’s the current state of affairs for the Baggies and manager Alan Pardew, who openly admits he was “furious” and felt “let down” — quotes from the Guardian:

“This is obviously not ideal. They broke the curfew and that’s unacceptable and I feel a bit let down by that.”

“It’s difficult for managers. Obviously, I was furious with what happened but at the same time I’ve got to stay faithful to the players and give them a chance to remedy the situation.”

The night’s timeline reads something like this: the quartet wanted to go out in the city center, but everything was closed late at night; they got a taxi to a McDonald’s by the Barcelona port; the driver left the car, at which point the players decided to drive back to the team hotel around 5:30 a.m.; the care was returned to the cab driver around 8 a.m.

Evans was stripped of his captaincy for Saturday’s FA Cup fifth-round defeat to Southampton. The players have since released the following statement through the club’s website:

“We felt it important we identify ourselves as the players involved in an incident which occurred during the training camp in Spain this week out of respect for team-mates who otherwise could be implicated by association. We freely acknowledge and apologize for the break of curfew which we accept represented a breach of the standards of professionalism required of us as representatives of West Bromwich Albion.

“The club has informed us that it will now conduct its own inquiry into the incident and we will cooperate fully. In the meantime, we would like to assure our supporters that this incident does not reflect the determination and resolve we possess to do all we can to recover a difficult season.”

With 11 games left to play, West Brom currently sit seven points adrift of safety; Pardew’s position grows more and more tenuous with each point dropped; and three of their final 11 games are against Manchester United, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur.