Manchester City sealed a 1-0 win over Leicester City at the King Power Stadium to move to the top of the Premier League table.
Pep Guardiola’s side were dealt a blow before kick-off as Erling Haaland had to be left out of the matchday squad due to a combination of both illness and injury.
It was a familiar sight for the majority of the first half, as City dominated possession whilst the Foxes sat back in their compact shape to try and frustrate. It looked to be working for Brendan Rodgers’ side, as both teams went into the break without troubling the score.
City, however, had other ideas at the beginning of the second period as they came out with intent. Three minutes after the restart, they had the lead courtesy of a moment of brilliance from Kevin De Bruyne.
The Belgian struck a free-kick from 25-yards out past Danny Ward and into the back of the net, with the ball taking a touch off the post on its way in.
Leicester almost responded four minutes later with their best chance of the game, but Youri Tielemans’ dipping volley from the edge of the area was helped onto the crossbar by the fingertips of Ederson, who made an outstanding save.
City saw out the remainder of the match to go one point clear of Arsenal at the summit ahead of the Gunners’ match against Nottingham Forest on Sunday.
TALKING POINT – CITY GET PAST A WELL-DRILLED LEICESTER SIDE
This City squad would’ve known before the match that they could lay down a marker for Arsenal ahead of the Gunners’ match tomorrow at home against Nottingham Forest, and from the outset, Guardiola’s side dominated proceedings but struggled to break down Leicester’s low block.
At times during the first-half, the Foxes had all 11 men behind the ball as they looked to cut off the spaces and passing lanes that make City operate. The game eventually began to open up towards the end of the first period, and the hosts looked dangerous down the left-hand side on the break with Harvey Barnes.
In the end, De Bruyne’s moment of quality saw the visitors across the line, but it could’ve been a different story as Leicester’s change in shape midway through the second half brought some nervy moments to the City back-line. Despite that, they got the job done and now sit at the top of the Premier League table.
PLAYER OF THE MATCH – KEVIN DE BRUYNE
The 31-year-old provided the moment of quality that this match needed and it proved to be enough for his side to get a narrow win away from home. His free-kick just after the restart was difference between the two teams, and it shows that one moment of magic from a special player can often be the difference in these matches.
De Bruyne tried to make things happen for his side during the game, and that is reflected by the fact that he registered a total of three key passes during the 90 minutes. He also had five attempts on goal, which was the most of any player on the pitch.
Leicester City: Ward 7, Amartey 6, Faes 6, Soyuncu 6, Castagne 6, Dewsbury-Hall 6, Tielemans 7, Justin 6, Maddison 6, Barnes 6, Vardy 5. Subs: Daka 6, Mendy 6, Iheanacho 6.
Manchester City: Ederson 8, Stones 6, Akanji 6, Laporte 7, Cancelo 7, Gundogan 6, Rodri 7, De Bruyne 8, Grealish 7, Silva 6, Alvarez 6. Subs: Foden 6, Dias 6.
12’ – SAVE! – A well-worked corner from City! Grealish plays it short to De Bruyne at the edge of the area, and he turns his man completely after cutting inside onto his left foot. The Belgian then clips in a delivery into the danger area, and Rodri gets his head onto it first-time, and his effort forces Ward to tip the ball over the crossbar!
24’ – GOOD STOP! – That is Leicester’s first foray forward! They move it up the pitch quickly from the indirect free-kick and Vardy is played in with a through ball. He tees up Barnes to his left, who does well to cut inside and beat Stones for pace. He then hits a low shot across goal from an angle, but Ederson does well to get a strong hand on it to beat it out for a corner.
48’ – GOAL! (Kevin De Bruyne) – What a free-kick! The Manchester City man whips a fantastic effort into the back of the net with the help of the inside of the post! He curls it high over the wall and Ward cannot get near it, as it bounces off the inside of the upright and settles into the net! 1-0 City!
53’ – WHAT A SAVE! – Leicester have a brilliant chance! Maddison’s free-kick is floated to the edge of the box for Tielemans to hit, and the Belgian smacks it on the volley towards goal. It is dipping and looks to be going in, but Ederson reacts to get a fingertip on it to divert it onto the crossbar before it goes out of play. What a goal that would’ve been!
90+2’ – ALMOST AN OWN GOAL! – Tielemans’ deep whipped cross towards the back post sees Stones try to head it clear, but the ball instead bounces off Dias beside him and floats narrowly wide of the post! Corner to Leicester.