Jonny Evans

Authoritative Leicester Hit Three Past West Brom On Filbert Way

Leicester City completed their first top-flight double over West Bromwich Albion since 1938 with a dominant 3-0 triumph at King Power Stadium on Thursday evening.
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Brendan Rodgers made a duo of changes from City’s 1-0 semi-final triumph over Southampton in the Emirates FA Cup, with James Maddison and Luke Thomas coming in on Filbert Way, replacing Ayoze Pérez and Ricardo Pereira on matchday 32 in the top flight.

It was a dramatic start, too, as Kelechi Iheanacho snatched possession from Conor Townsend and raced clear of the visitors’ backline, only for Baggies shot-stopper Sam Johnstone to close the Nigeria international down in the penalty area, before Maddison curled it over in the aftermath.

Mbaye Diagne, on loan at West Brom from Galatasaray, scuffed an effort from point-blank range at the other end and Leicester were eventually able to clear as the low sun set in the East Midlands.

Maddison then had a drive blocked, after Jamie Vardy’s inventive through ball, while Iheanacho later sidestepped Darnell Furlong and forced a low save from Johnstone at his near post.

Following a lengthy spell of precise, patient possession, the Foxes were ahead on 23 minutes. It came as Youri Tielemans threaded a perfect pass through to Timothy Castagne, who slid it back across the face of goal for Vardy to calmly register his 15th goal of 2020/21 for Leicester.

Three minutes later, it was 2-0. Tielemans’ corner deflected off Matt Phillips in the area and there was Jonny Evans to open his account this term with a bullet header past Johnstone and into the roof of the net.

It was so nearly three for City shortly afterwards as well as a loose ball came to Castagne on the right, but the Belgium international’s low drive came back off the base of the post.

Rodgers’ hosts survived a scare just after the half-hour mark, though, when Matheus Pereira’s corner grazed the crossbar, but it wouldn’t be too long before Iheanacho would be celebrating his 11th goal in eight appearances in all competitions for the Foxes.

Neat footwork from Maddison enabled him to pick out Vardy on the left, before Leicester’s No.9 danced into the 18-yard box, locating Iheanacho, who took a couple of touches to compose himself before slamming it high into the net for his 16th goal of the season in City’s colours.

He was so close to getting a 17th with three minutes of the half remaining when Castagne nodded Maddison’s high ball down, but the 24-year-old couldn’t hit the target from inside the area.  

When Diagne seized on a loose ball, Phillips picked it up and hit a powerful drive at goal, but Kasper Schmeichel was equal to it as City deservedly headed in at the break three goals to the good.

In the second period, Iheanacho was unfortunate not to add another when he got on the end of Maddison’s cross, but Dara O'Shea blocked bravely.

West Brom retained a threat, too, as Matheus Pereira unleashed a fearsome volley, only for team-mate Kyle Bartley to inadvertently get in the way. It wouldn't have counted, though, as Schmeichel was fouled in the build-up.

Midway through the half, on the other hand, Vardy was there to punish Bartley for misjudging a loose ball and, with Johnstone out of his goal, the 34-year-old went for it from distance, but was unable to find the power or accuracy required to score what would have been an extraordinary effort from at least 40 yards out.

Second-half substitute Pérez offered a different type of threat for the hosts and he was hauled to the ground on the edge of the area by Bartley on 79 minutes. Iheanacho stepped up to take the free-kick, although his attempt was well parried by Johnstone.

Semi Ajayi headed over the bar for the Baggies late on, while Iheanacho had an attempt blocked from distance, but Leicester nonetheless cruised to a first home success over their visitors from the West Midlands in 27 years.  

Major moment

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Jamie Vardy
Jamie Vardy

Leicester's No.9 applies a neat finish to put his side ahead midway through the first 45 minutes on Filbert Way.

After just 23 minutes, Leicester were on course for their first home victory over West Brom since 1994 and it was Jamie Vardy, the Club's all-time top Premier League marksman, who got the scoring underway. 

City's excellent footballing ability was on show for all to see as Youri Tielemans picked out Timothy Castagne, who in turn found Vardy, and the No.9 did the rest with a composed finish.

From then on, the Foxes played with confidence and authority en route to their 18th Premier League win of the season.

Who impressed?

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Youri Tielemans
Youri Tielemans

Youri Tielemans battles for possession during another impressive outing for the Club.

League Cup-winning former Leicester City captain Matt Elliott, speaking live on LCFC Radio, said: "There's cases for half a dozen tonight. [Youri] Tielemans oozed class. Tags (Gerry Taggart) mentioned about the closing down in midfield and pressuring, the breaking up of play, which he's a huge part of, increasingly so. It's not just Wilfred Ndidi who's the enforcer. They work in tandem in that aspect. There were genuine touches of class and quality from him."

Where do we stand?

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Kasper Schmeichel & Brendan Rodgers
Kasper Schmeichel & Brendan Rodgers

Manager Brendan Rodgers congratulates Kasper Schmeichel after another top-flight clean sheet.

City remain third in the Premier League standings with six games to go with 59 points, four more than fourth-placed Chelsea, and a goal difference of +21.

Coming up…

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Kelechi Iheanacho
Kelechi Iheanacho

Kelechi Iheanacho nets once again for Leicester City.

In just four days, on Monday, Leicester are back on Filbert Way for the visit of Crystal Palace (8pm kick-off), before heading to St. Mary’s Stadium to tackle Southampton next Friday (8pm kick-off).

All times BST.

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