Luke Thomas

City Edged On Final Day By Manchester United

Leicester City’s 2-0 loss to Manchester United at King Power Stadium on Sunday saw them finish fifth in the table, while Jamie Vardy won the Premier League’s illustrious Golden Boot award.
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Brendan Rodgers made three changes to the side that were beaten last time out at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, as the Northern Irishman welcomed back Marc Albrighton following his injury, while Kelechi Iheanacho and Hamza Choudhury – making his 50th appearance in all competitions for the Club – also returned to the starting XI.

The Foxes, wearing their 2020/21 home kit in support of the Thailand Smiles With You campaign, shaped up in a 3-4-1-2 formation at King Power Stadium, with Wes Morgan skippering the side on the final day of the 2019/20 campaign.

An early booking for former Fox Harry Maguire was followed up by an effort from Mason Greenwood, who flicked his header over the bar, before Wilfred Ndidi slammed a powerful strike off target at the other end after Nemanja Matić gave the ball away.

The returning Albrighton then collected a pass from Academy graduate Luke Thomas – named Development Squad Player of the Season on Saturday – before arrowing a strike just wide of the mark from inside the box.

A breakaway from the Foxes followed midway through the first period, after Albrighton put in a fine tackle, before Iheanacho raced up the other end, but the Nigeria international couldn’t beat David De Gea from 20 yards out.

On 32 minutes, the Red Devils had the ball in the back of the net, but Bruno Fernandes was flagged offside after collecting Paul Pogba’s pass over the top of City’s defence, while Youri Tielemans’ side-footed inches wide as both outfits traded blows.

A superb cross from Thomas then created another opening for the hosts with five minutes of the first half to go, this time for Premier League Golden Boot hopeful Vardy, who couldn’t get the desired connection while being challenged by Maguire in the six-yard box.

A minute later, Marcus Rashford curled wide while under pressure from full-back James Justin, before an important interception from Morgan prevented Rashford from latching onto a pass from Fernandes.

City had to remain alert in the closing stages of the first half. Justin put in a fine block initially to halt an Anthony Martial strike before the resulting corner saw Rashford force Kasper Schmeichel into an excellent stop at the near post.

The impressive Justin got there again after the interval, dispossessing Martial in the box before the Frenchman was able to pull the trigger, while Albrighton threatened down the right as City looked to command proceedings in Leicester.

On 58 minutes, Rodgers introduced Ayoze Pérez in place of Iheanacho, and one of the Spaniard’s first actions was to win a free-kick that very nearly led to the opener, as Vardy flicked Tielemans’ delivery onto the top of De Gea’s bar.

The Belgium international had an effort of his own blocked just moments later, but the Red Devils, after sustaining pressure from City, took the lead with 20 minutes to play after Fernandes converted a penalty won by Martial and confirmed by VAR.

That prompted a triple change as Demarai Gray, Harvey Barnes and Dennis Praet come on, and it was Barnes who had an instant opportunity to level matters, but the winger couldn’t generate enough power to beat De Gea from close range.

Substitutes Praet and Gray then combined, with the latter seeing his low, left-footed strike deflect wide of the mark, before the No.7 hit the Manchester United wall from a free-kick with six minutes remaining.

City continued to fight but were unable to breach the visiting side’s defence, and in injury time, Jonny Evans was dismissed for a late challenge on Scott McTominay while Jesse Lingard made it 2-0 after dispossessing Schmeichel with seconds remaining.                 

While Vardy was unable to find the net, his 23 goals in 2019/20 saw him become the first player in the Football Club’s history to win the Premier League Golden Boot award.

Major moment

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Demarai Gray
Demarai Gray

The winger came off the bench and went close to finding the net.

A tense opening 45 minutes finished goalless and when Jamie Vardy hit the crossbar with a header on the hour mark, City looked a threat but were dealt a blow when Jonny Evans was deemed to have fouled Anthony Martial in the area.

It was Bruno Fernandes who stepped up to convert the penalty, helping the Red Devils on their way to three Premier League points before Jesse Lingard pounced in injury time to put the result beyond doubt. 

Where do we stand?

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Brendan Rodgers
Brendan Rodgers

City finished fifth in the Premier League during Brendan Rodgers' first full season as manager.

City’s final day defeat by the Red Devils sees them finish fifth in the Premier League – their second-best finish in the competition.

They end the season on 62 points from 38 games, having won 18 matches during that time.

Coming up…

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Marc Albrighton
Marc Albrighton

Marc Albrighton is challenged by Marcus Rashford and Brandon Williams.

After Leicester City’s 2019/20 Premier League campaign reached its conclusion, the Foxes will be back in action in September for the start of the 2020/21 season.

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