Report and highlights as Leicester held on to secure 2-1 win at Aston Villa; hosts without injured Jack Grealish; Brendan Rodgers’ side raced into a 2-0 lead through James Maddison and Harvey Barnes goals; Villa hit back through Bertrand Traore; Foxes go second while Villa stay eighth
Sunday 21 February 2021 16:35, UK
Leicester moved up to second in the Premier League after securing a 2-1 victory against Aston Villa on Super Sunday.
Brendan Rodgers’ side raced into a two-goal lead thanks to strikes from James Maddison (19) and Harvey Barnes (23), further enhancing their England claims in front of Gareth Southgate.
Southgate would have been disappointed not to have been able to cast an eye over Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish, who was missing through injury.
Villa struggled in the first half without their talisman, but they were given a route back into the game immediately after the interval through Bertrand Traore’s close-range finish in the 48th minute.
It set up a big finish to the game, but Leicester, who move above Manchester United ahead of their clash with Newcastle on Sunday evening, held on for victory at Villa Park.
Defeat leaves Aston Villa, who do not expect Grealish to be sidelined for long, in eighth.
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How Leicester’s fine season continued…
Leicester were quickly out of the traps and they were first to nearly every ball as Aston Villa, without Grealish, struggled to get a foothold in the game.
Despite the visitors being on top, it was Villa who created the first real opening of the game as Anwar El Ghazi’s cross picked out Traore on the edge of the six-yard box, but the forward’s shot was brilliantly blocked by full-back Luke Thomas.
The 19-year-old’s intervention proved critical as Leicester went straight up the other end to break the deadlock. Maddison was afforded far too much time on the edge of the penalty area and he bent the ball beyond the dive of Emiliano Martinez and into the bottom corner.
It was two four minutes later as Martinez spilled Jamie Vardy’s shot and Barnes was quickest to react, firing the ball into the roof of the net to give the visitors a commanding advantage at the break.
Most @premierleague goals + assists since Boxing Day this season:
11 – Ilkay Gundogan (10⚽/1🅰️)
𝟵 – 𝗝𝗮𝗺𝗲𝘀 𝗠𝗮𝗱𝗱𝗶𝘀𝗼𝗻 (𝟱⚽/𝟰🅰️)
9 – Bruno Fernandes (5⚽/4🅰️)
𝟵 – 𝗛𝗮𝗿𝘃𝗲𝘆 𝗕𝗮𝗿𝗻𝗲𝘀 (𝟲⚽/𝟯🅰️) pic.twitter.com/V2P3sdS2dh
Villa lacked any sort of spark in the first half, but whatever Smith said to his side at the break worked a treat as Matt Targett’s cross found its way to Traore, who fired home from close range three minutes into the second half.
However, Leicester held firm and Maddison tested Martinez with a free-kick before being forced off with an ankle problem and replaced by Nampalys Mendy after 64 minutes.
Vardy dragged wide as the game ambled to a conclusion and Villa tried to find the momentum to earn a point.
Trezeguet’s weak effort rolled to Kasper Schmeichel as Leicester’s resolve held firm through five minutes of stoppage time to continue their top-four charge.
0.9 – Under Dean Smith, Aston Villa have averaged 1.5 points-per-game in league competition when Jack Grealish has featured compared to 0.9 points-per-game without him, losing all three Premier League matches without the Englishman since the start of last season. Centrepiece. pic.twitter.com/QafEdQ7IKY
What the pundits said…
Alex Scott on Super Sunday:
“The impressive thing about this Brendan Rodgers’ side is the ability to deal with injuries. It shows their squad depth.
“They also bring in youngsters and the manager shows faith in those players.
“The tempo they started at showed they were not messing around. It caught Aston Villa off guard, and they were relentless. It was wave after wave of attack in the first half.”
Man of the match – Harvey Barnes
13 – Only Jamie Vardy (14) has scored more goals for Leicester this season than Harvey Barnes (13), who has now had a direct hand in nine goals in his last 11 Premier League matches (6 goals, 3 assists). Consistent. #AVLLEI pic.twitter.com/fVFZBuaCYx
Sky Sports‘ Jamie Redknapp: “I have been so impressed with Harvey Barnes all season. He has so much power and pace. He must be a nightmare to play against.
“He’s a player who is so high on confidence with a manager who really believes in him.
“You could see before half-time that Brendan was telling him, ‘every time you get the ball, I want you to run with it’. It helped that he was up against a right-back in Ahmed Elmohamady that hasn’t played a lot of football but he’s been doing it all season.
“He’s got tremendous quality and I’m really enjoying him at the moment. He might not get into the Euros as he’s got a long list ahead of him in Rashford, Grealish, Sancho, Sterling, Saka to name but a few.”
Sky Sports‘ Andy Hinchcliffe: “Harvey Barnes has really showcased his talents in this game. His strength, his speed and he scored as well. He’s adding more goals to his game and that’s absolutely vital for his development. Surely Gareth Southgate, watching on, has to have been impressed with his performance.”
Man of the Match🍾: @LCFC's Harvey Barnes⭐
𝗠𝗼𝘀𝘁 chances created
𝗠𝗼𝘀𝘁 touches in the box
First Leicester player to record 4+ shots & 4+ chances created in open play in a @premierleague game this season
Opta stats – Leicester’s impressive away form continues
- Leicester City have won back-to-back away top-flight matches against Aston Villa for the first time since October 1960.
- They have now won 30 points away from home in the Premier League this season – accounting for three points per win all-time, the only top-flight campaign they have won more away points in was when they won the Premier League in 2015-16 (39).
- Aston Villa have won just one of their last 21 Premier League games against sides starting the day in the top three of the table (D4 L16), losing 11 of their last 12 such fixtures (W1).
- Brendan Rodgers has won all six of his away Premier League games against Aston Villa as a manager, his best such 100 per cent record versus an opponent in the competition.
- Since his Premier League debut in August 2018, Leicester’s James Maddison has scored more goals from outside the area than any other player (11) – indeed, this was his eighth goal of the season, his best scoring campaign in the top flight.
- Since Bertrand Traore’s first Premier League start for Aston Villa in November 2020, only Jack Grealish (10) has been directly involved in more goals for the club in the competition than him (8 – 5 goals, 3 assists).
Aston Villa travel to Leeds next Saturday, live on Sky Sports Premier League; kick-off 5.30pm.
Meanwhile, Leicester are back in Europa League action on Thursday when they face Slavia Prague in the second leg of their last-32 clash before facing Arsenal next Sunday; kick-off 12pm.
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