Jamie Vardy & James Maddison

Leicester City’s Season Review: December

The final month of 2020 involved a busy schedule of Premier League and Europa League action for the Foxes, including key victories in both competitions.
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Already guaranteed a safe passage into the knockout stages of the Europa League, Brendan Rodgers opted the rest several senior players for the trip to Zorya Luhansk on matchday five.

At a bitterly cold Slavutych Arena, the Foxes looked on course to take a well-earned point back home, despite being without the likes of Kasper Schmeichel, Jonny Evans and Jamie Vardy.

However, substitute Allahyar Sayyadmanesh popped up with what proved to be the winner six minutes from time, converting Denys Favorov’s cross to secure victory for the hosts in Ukraine.

All was not lost, though, as Leicester would still have an opportunity to claim top spot in the group on matchday six.

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Goals: Sheffield United 1 Leicester City 2

Enjoy the goals from the Foxes' 2-1 victory over Sheffield United on Sunday afternoon in the Premier League.

City then travelled much closer to home to take on Sheffield United in the Premier League three days later, on 6 December, 2020. Following a top half finish during their first campaign back in the top flight, Chris Wilder’s outfit were struggling for form in the early months of 2020/21.

Ayoze Pérez got the ball rolling with his first goal of the season, showing quick reactions to pounce on Marc Albrighton’s deflected shot in the area, slamming the ball home on the half-volley, despite the outstretched glove of Aaron Ramsdale getting a hand to the strike.

It was a lead the away side deserved, but they would not have it all their own way, however, as Oli McBurnie rose highest to head in a corner almost immediately and restore parity.

Just as the game looked to be moving towards a stalemate, James Maddison won possession in the middle of the park and took one touch before sliding an inch-perfect ball through for Vardy to run on to.

City’s centre forward made no mistake, curling the ball around Ramsdale to snatch three points at the death. It was a particularly enjoyable one for boyhood Sheffield Wednesday fan Vardy, who moved Leicester back up to the third in the standings and recorded a 14th away win since Rodgers took charge. 

First Team

Goals: Leicester City 2 AEK Athens 0

Cengiz Ünder and Harvey Barnes netted for the Foxes in their 2-0 Europa League victory over AEK Athens on Thursday evening.

Straight back into European action, the Foxes made light work of sealing top spot in Group G, defeating AEK Athens for the second time this term. Both goals came within the opening quarter of an hour as City got the job done early on Filbert Way.

Youri Tielemans exchanged a one-two with Harvey Barnes before crossing into the box towards Cengiz Ünder, who, after a miscued clearance from Stratos Svarnas, hammered a well-executed volley into the back of the net. AEK goalkeeper Panagiotis Tsintotas did not even have time to move, such was the ferocity of the strike.

Barnes then made another marauding run down the left, cutting inside onto his right before firing an effort towards goal that took a deflection on its route to goal, wrong-footing the ‘keeper. It was a fortuitous second and a late present for the 23-year-old, who celebrated his birthday a day earlier.

That made it four wins and 13 points taken from Leicester’s six group games, finishing above SC Braga on goal difference to set up a last 32 tie with Slavia Prague over two legs in February.

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Goals: Leicester City 3 Brighton & Hove Albion 0

Enjoy all the goals from the Foxes' superb 3-0 victory over Brighton in the Premier League on Sunday night.

Another home success and clean sheet was to come three days later, when Brighton & Hove Albion arrived at King Power Stadium. Maddison was at his scintillating best during a whirlwind first half from the hosts.

Sending possession out to James Justin on the right, the full-back’s wicked low cross was almost pounced on by Vardy, but instead fell out to Maddison, whose first-time left-footed shot snook under Mat Ryan and into the Brighton net.

Justin was involved once more as he ran onto Pérez’s through ball, arrowing in another low cross that Vardy was able to meet and poke home for his 10th league goal of the campaign.

A free flowing attacking move created the third, with Pérez and Vardy both having a hand in setting up Maddison to create space for a shot and opt to bend the ball into the far top corner with his left boot. It was a simply brilliant way to secure another three points.

First Team

Goals: Tottenham Hotspur 0 Leicester City 2

Both goals from the Foxes' superb Premier League victory over Tottenham in the Premier League in December 2020.

Leicester’s only league defeat of the month came at home to Everton, as Richarlison and Mason Holgate netted in each half to inflict a rare loss on Rodgers’ side.

The response was instant, though. City travelled to Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on 20 December, coming away with a 2-0 victory against José Mourinho’s Spurs. Serge Aurier clattered into the back of Wesley Fofana and with the help of VAR, Leicester were awarded a penalty.

Vardy’s typically emphatic spot-kick was sent straight down the middle to hand the visitors the lead on the stroke of half-time.

Justin’s lofted ball was then expertly controlled by Maddison, who found himself through on goal and finished into the bottom corner, only for the offside flag to deny him.

A quick counter did finally bring the second as Albrighton carried the ball forward before clipping it into the box, where Vardy was placed to head towards goal and find Toby Alderweireld in the right place to divert it into his own net on the hour mark.

First Team

Goals: Leicester City 2 Manchester United 2

All the goals from an entertaining Boxing Day draw with the Red Devils at King Power Stadium.

The month ended in back-to-back draws, the first a thrilling contest against Manchester United at King Power Stadium.

Marcus Rashford’s opener, clinically finished past Schmeichel, was cancelled out by Barnes, who fired in from range with his unfavoured left foot.

Schmeichel made a stunning second half stop to deny Rashford a second, but Bruno Fernandes looked to have sent the three points back to Manchester with 10 minutes to play when he beat the offside trap and guided the ball home.

A late own goal ensured Leicester would take a share of the spoils. Justin found Pérez and Vardy was on hand to meet the Spaniard’s drilled cross, flicking it in off United defender Axel Tuanzebe after making a smart run to the penalty spot.

First Team

Goals: Crystal Palace 1 Leicester City 1

Both goals from the Foxes' Premier League draw with Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.

City had to fight hard to come from behind once more against Crystal Palace in the final fixture of 2020. After a goalless opening half, Wilfried Zaha spread the ball out to Andros Townsend before collecting it at the back post and directing a controlled volley into the net.

A late Barnes equaliser drew Leicester level. Chesting down Evans’ header, he then evaded a challenge and somehow found space for a low shot that nestled into the bottom corner to continue his fine form in front of goal.

The Foxes had risen to second in the Premier League table ahead of the second half of the season.

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