Kelechi Iheanacho

Irresistible Foxes Hit Five Past The Blades On Filbert Way

Kelechi Iheanacho netted his maiden Leicester City hat-trick as the Foxes equalled the Club's biggest-ever Premier League home victory in a scintillating 5-0 triumph over Sheffield United on Sunday afternoon.
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Brendan Rodgers made just two changes to the starting XI which defeated Brighton & Hove Albion last weekend as Jonny Evans and Ayoze Pérez came into the side on Filbert Way, after spells on the sidelines through injury over recent weeks.

Initially deploying a 3-5-2 system, the Foxes were vibrant from the off with swift passing and expansive football defining their play during the early stages against the Blades, who were managed by Paul Heckingbottom following Chris Wilder’s exit on Saturday.

Leicester’s first opportunity of the afternoon came courtesy of neat footwork from Belgium full-back Timothy Castagne on the edge of the penalty area. Jamie Vardy, though, would only be able to watch on as his low drive drifted wide of Aaron Ramsdale’s far post.

Youri Tielemans, on the other hand, then floated an exquisite ball into the box, but Iheanacho was unable to apply a headed finish to open the scoring for City. On 12 minutes, Castagne’s cross was then nodded onto the post by Pérez as the Foxes turned the screw.

Later, Ricardo Pereira’s effort was blocked by Chris Basham, before Vardy snatched hold of possession, on the angle of the six-yard box, and forced Ramsdale into another admirable stop from close range.

Just as it looked like the Blades would continue to frustrate the hosts until the interval in the East Midlands, after Tielemans’ low drive was deflected wide by Ethan Ampadu, Leicester broke the deadlock in style.

A flowing team move, which originated centrally, came out to Vardy on the left channel, before City’s No.9 drilled in a low cross towards the far post – and there was Iheanacho to convert a simple finish for his third goal in as many top-flight appearances.

After Marc Albrighton replaced Ricardo at the break, the Foxes retained their endeavour in the second half, with City’s No.11 locating Iheanacho, who in turn laid up Vardy, but Basham was there – somehow – to head his attempt off the line.

Ramsdale thwarted Leicester’s all-time top Premier League goalscorer after Pérez’s interception came to Iheanacho and then Vardy, but the Blades ‘keeper did well to smother it after racing off his line for the visitors.

After battling valiantly for so long, ultimately City’s attacking threats proved too much for the Blades as the second half wore on, as Pérez picked up Albrighton’s pass before picking his spot into the bottom corner from outside the area to make it 2-0.

Pérez’s third goal of the season was followed by Iheanacho's second of the day five minutes later as Vardy's cross gave him the time and space to riffle an effort into Ramsdale's top corner from close range for the flying Foxes.

Chances for Pérez to double his tally came in quick succession, from two Tielemans' corners, but while the Spaniard's first effort was blocked by Oliver Norwood, the second was just off target. He would eventually be replaced by Khanya Leshabela, for the youngster's Premier League debut. 

The afternoon, though, just got better and better for Leicester as Iheanacho slammed home his third goal for the Foxes from 25 yards out - marking his first-ever hat-trick for the Club - while Vardy's late strike was touched into his own net by Ampadu.

For his two assists on the day, Vardy also became only the sixth player to register 100 goal involvements in the Premier League after turning 30 (81 goals, 20 assists), level with Gianfranco Zola (101). 

Major moment

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Ayoze Pérez
Ayoze Pérez

Ayoze Pérez doubles City's lead and puts his side in a commanding position in the second half.

City's second goal of the afternoon was as crucial as it was stylish, giving the home side a cushion after being denied valiantly by Paul Heckingbottom's side for long spells either side of the interval. 

It came about as second-half substitute Marc Albrighton showed vision to find Ayoze Pérez in the middle and City's No.17 did the rest, picking out the bottom corner from outside the visitors' penalty area.

Who impressed?

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Kelechi Iheanacho
Kelechi Iheanacho

Kelechi Iheanacho scoops up the match ball after scoring his first hat-trick for Leicester City against Sheffield United.

Speaking on LCFC Radio's live coverage, former City captain Matt Elliott said: "It's got to be Kelechi [Iheanacho] hasn't it? A lot of players have played their part. [Jamie] Vardy was exceptional with his assists, [Youri] Tielemans was massively influential in midfield... I could go through the whole list, but there's only one man isn't there?! If you get a hat-trick and you don't get Man of the Match, he wouldn't be happy with me!"

Where do we stand?

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Brendan Rodgers
Brendan Rodgers

Brendan Rodgers congratulates his players at the full-time whistle at King Power Stadium.

The Foxes climb to second in the Premier League table, on 56 points and with a goal difference of +21. Manchester United, in third, are two points behind and they host West Ham United at Old Trafford later on Sunday. The scoreline, meanwhile, matches the 5-0 win over Newcastle United in 2019/20.

Coming up...

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Jamie Vardy
Jamie Vardy

Jamie Vardy played a decisive role in the scoring of City's fifth goal of the afternoon.

The Red Devils are the visitors to King Power Stadium next Sunday in the quarter-finals of the Emirates FA Cup (5pm kick-off), before the first international break of 2021. Manchester City then travel to Filbert Way in the Premier League on Saturday 3 April (3pm kick-off).

All times GMT.

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