Kelechi Iheanacho

Leicester City - Crystal Palace recap
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Leicester City snaps out of funk to pound Palace

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Leicester City is in the win column for the first time since the Premier League came back from the coronavirus pause.

The Foxes beat Crystal Palace 3-0 on Saturday at the King Power Stadium, the club and its star striker getting out of respective and collective ruts.

LEICESTER CITY – CRYSTAL PALACE FULL MATCH REPLAY

Jamie Vardy had a rough day for 76 minutes but, as good strikers do, made the most of two late chances off Harvey Barnes passes after Kelechi Iheanacho broke the deadlock just after halftime.

Leicester keeps hold of third place in moving onto 58 points, while Palace’s 42 points and three-goal loss sends it behind 12th place Newcastle on goal differential.

Leicester visits Arsenal on Tuesday before running for the finish line versus Bournemouth, Sheffield United, Tottenham Hotspur, and Manchester United.


Three things we learned

1. Brendan Rodgers needed that: Leicester still may fall out of the top four but they have it all in front of them to defend the house. Part of that battle is beating the two lowest challengers on the schedule — Bournemouth and Palace — and they did that well on Saturday despite the absence of James Maddison. The other part of the equation is four top seven challengers. Can they get enough points to return to the UCL?

2. Vardy’s sleepy party still a success: Jamie Vardy did not have a great game despite getting into a number of glorious positions. He did, however, retake sole possession of first place the Golden Boot race when he scored his 20th and 21st goals of the season late at the KP (Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has 19 and plays later Saturday).

Vardy reaches the 20-goal mark for the third time in his Premier League career, the marker his 100th in the competition. Can the 33-year-old find enough magic to hold off all comers?

3. Palace prepared for vacation: Safe and deprived of European hopes by their big loss to Liverpool, Roy Hodgson’s Eagles just didn’t have much fire on Saturday. Perhaps it’s unfair to say they didn’t have the desperation of Leicester, but that’s how it looked on the pitch in Leicester.

Man of the Match

Youri Tielemans — Barnes was very good with two assists but Tielemans deserved better than his lone assist for another tidy and occasionally spectacular day in the heart of the action. He was credited with two key passes, four tackles, and the drawing of three fouls (SofaScore).


Leicester City – Crystal Palace recap

Kelechi Iheanacho couldn’t quite get on the end of an eighth-minute cross as the Foxes looked better than the visitors at the outset.

Leicester City’s James Justin saw a deflected shot pound the crossbar and fired wide with a second chance moments later.

Jamie Vardy was played into the box by Youri Tielemans’ fine pass in the 17th minute, but the Premier League Golden Boot race leader’s pass back into the mix was blocked by Mamadou Sakho.

Ayoze Perez nearly had it 1-0 when Christian Benteke did a poor job clearing a corner kick, but Sakho made a terrific block near the penalty spot.

Luka Milivojevic spun a free kick just wide of the upper 90 in the 32nd minute, Palace edging into the match.

Vardy’s difficult run of form continued with a poor first touch while turning into the box, a chance he often turns into a goal.

[ MORE: Premier League stats ]

Leicester went ahead through Iheanacho. Tielemans got a rightful assist when Iheanacho took advantage of a sleeping Vicente Guaita to poke the ball home in the 49th minute.

Vardy missed a glorious chance to make it 2-0 but then got the job done moments later when Sakho slipped and allowed Harvey Barnes to feed the 20-goal man on the doorstep.

Wilfried Zaha blew a chance to make it interesting late when he popped a terrific Andros Townsend cross over the frame.

Barnes slipped a delightful pass to Vardy for a trademark cutting run and finish for 3-0.

Man City grabs late winner at Leicester City

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Gabriel Jesus‘ 80th-minute goal gave Manchester City a 1-0 victory over Leicester City at the King Power Stadium on Saturday.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

The three points give Man City 57 on the season, seven more than third-place Leicester City. Liverpool leads the league with 76 points and a match-in-hand.


Three things we learned

1. Ederson flashpoint: James Maddison swept a cross over the Man City back line and Iheanacho raced into the 18 to head it on goal. Iheanacho didn’t get much of it and Ederson did before his parry landed flush with Iheanacho’s chin. Social media was a buzz with cries for a red card, but it’s difficult to see what Ederson could’ve done other than allow Iheanacho to head home.

2. Moral victory for Leicester in loss: Brendan Rodgers‘ men were absolutely clobbered in three previous matches with their perceived top three rivals, but Leicester was good money for a point on Saturday. The Foxes should be encouraged despite the death of their top two hopes. Still holding a 10-point lead on fifth and sixth, Leicester may well focus a bit more on the FA Cup.

3. Striker swap pays off: Aguero had one goal ruled out for offside and saw his penalty saved by Ederson, and Guardiola’s decision to give Gabriel Jesus a run paid off within minutes. The soon-to-be 23-year-old Brazilian striker got his 10th goal of the PL season to go with five assists when he swept a low shot past Schmeichel. His 17 goals in all competitions have him four goals from equalling his best Man City campaign.

Man of the Match: Leicester fans won’t like it, but ex-Foxes star Riyad Mahrez was everywhere. He edges six-save Kasper Schmeichel, as well as Ricardo Pereira and Rodri.


Vardy let Man City off the hook for a giveaway that sent him 1v1 with Ederson, pushing a shot past the keeper but off the post.

Former Leicester star Riyad Mahrez forced Kasper Schmeichel into a parry at the other end.

Man City was all over the Foxes, and Rodri claimed a loose ball to set up a bounding Benjamin Mendy shot that led to a corner.

Mahrez set up De Bruyne for a shot near the top of the 18, but the Belgian struck wide of the near post.

The Foxes earned a dangerous free kick against the run of play, but James Maddison’s 29th-minute shot turned off the wall and into the hands of Ederson.

There was a 39th-minute flashpoint went Ederson went fists first into Kelechi Iheanacho‘s head in a bid to parry a Maddison cross. The Brazilian got the ball first, but Iheanacho spent a lot of time on the turf with a clear injury.

Aguero had the ball in the goal off a De Bruyne-led counter-attack but was a yard offside and the match soon met halftime.

[ MORE: Premier League stats ] 

Leicester came out of the team room with vigor, and Ederson had to stymy a 46th-minute cross from newly-introduced Harvey Barnes.

Aguero’s rough day continued when he saw his penalty saved by Schmeichel, but Jesus gave City all three points on a rough-and-tumble day in Leicester.

FA Cup: Leicester survive trip to Brentford, reach 5th round (video)

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Brendan Rodgers made nine changes, but Leicester City were simply too much for an equally rotated Brentford side in the fourth round of the FA Cup at Griffin Park on Saturday.

[ MORE: Report: Spurs, Inter close to deal for Christian Eriksen ]

Leicester took an early lead through Kelechi Iheanacho with just four minutes on the clock, and that was all the Premier League’s third-place side needed to see off the EFL Championship’s third-place side. Dennis Praet gets no official credit for the goal, but it was the Belgian midfielder’s seeing-eye through ball that carved the Bees up and found James Justin for the routine cross followed by Iheanacho’s tap-in finish.

It was far from easy or straightforward for the Foxes, though, as Brentford turned things around following the first-half whistle an so nearly pulled level just past the hour mark. Emiliano Marcondes whipped in a curling, in-swinging cross that needed the slightest of redirects to find the back of the net, but Halil Dervisoglu couldn’t get a toe on the ball and watched helplessly as it hit the inside of the post and settled on the ground a yard or two off the goal line.

Bryan Mbeumo came off the bench and put the ball into the back of Leicester’s goal with his first touch, but the Frenchman was correctly ruled offside when Rico Henry looped the ball over the Foxes’ defense.

The draw for the fifth round will be held on Monday at 2:20 p.m. ET, prior to kickoff of Bournemouth v. Arsenal.

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.

‘Call me Mr. VAR’ says Iheanacho; Vardy on title talk

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Kelechi Iheanacho has now scored the first VAR-awarded goal in England as well as the latest, a 2-1 match-winner against Everton.

Having bagged a goal via Video Assistant Referee review in the League Cup, Iheanacho nabbed a more consequential one on Sunday when his stoppage time run past the Everton back line was initially ruled offside before becoming the match-winning goal.

[ MORE: Rodgers on Arsenal links ]

“You can call me Mr. VAR,” he quipped. “I knew it was a goal. I was onside. Happy that VAR gave me it.”

Iheanacho is the name on everyone’s lips after he subbed into the match and set-up Jamie Vardy‘s equalizer before producing the aforementioned winner that sent Leicester into sole possession of second place in the Premier League.

It was his first top flight goal since Sept. 22, 2018 when he had a goal and an assist against Huddersfield Town. Vardy says the reward is just.

“We were having a few chances but they were coming from a bit further out. Kelechi caused a few more problems for the defenders, he got us into space and he got the winner which he deserves. He thoroughly deserves this.”

Vardy was asked whether Leicester can imagine itself a title contender.

“We’ve not been speaking about that, we’re taking each game as it comes,” he said. “The first thing is to get each game out the way and get the three points. We have to enjoy this and go again on Wednesday night. We have lots of attacking threat and we’re putting it all together. We’ll just carry on doing what we’re doing.”

Leicester has Watford, Aston Villa, and Norwich City before meeting Man City and Liverpool back-to-back.