Jamie Vardy

Resolute Foxes Up & Running With Wolves Triumph

A performance defined by attacking prowess and defensive determination secured Leicester City a 1-0 victory over Wolverhampton Wanderers at a full King Power Stadium on the opening day of the new Premier League season.
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Five-hundred-and-twenty-three days since the last such occasion, the Foxes were backed by a raucous, capacity crowd on Filbert Way as Brendan Rodgers made one change to the starting XI which defeated Manchester City in the FA Community Shield last weekend.

In came Academy graduate and England youth international Luke Thomas at left-back in a 4-2-3-1 system, stepping in for new signing Ryan Bertrand, who tested positive for COVID-19 in the build-up to Saturday’s league opener.

Harvey Barnes, adorning his new No.7 shirt, was an early menace for Ki-jana Hoever on the left channel, while Jamie Vardy’s cross was cleared from the right. Adama Traoré, meanwhile, had to be dealt with by Daniel Amartey, before Thomas cleared Raúl Jiménez’s ball.

It was a frenetic start and next up was an opening for Vardy as Ayoze Pérez threaded a through ball into the Leicester No.9’s path. Portuguese goalkeeper José Sá, a summer signing for Wolves from Olympiacos, was nonetheless able to get a hand onto his low drive towards the far post.

On 15 minutes, City had the ball in the net, as Youri Tielemans laid up Vardy for a composed finish past Sá, but the linesman’s flag was raised. Wolves then broke on the counter, with Traoré carrying the ball deep into Leicester territory – until Thomas’ brave block on the 18-yard line.

Elsewhere, after Barnes turned Hoever inside out on the left flank, 21 minutes in, it eventually fell kindly for Thomas at the other end, following industrious work from Vardy. James Maddison, though, was beaten to the ball at the far post by Romain Saïss. The Foxes were turning the screw.

Sá then had to be alert to another Vardy effort shortly afterwards as Pérez located the Club’s all-time top Premier League goalscorer on the edge of the area.

With around 10 minutes until the interval, Maddison chipped the Wolves backline and found Vardy, who attempted an audacious flick over the onrushing Sá, who scooped it up comfortably in the end.

The best chance that far, though, would fall to Wolves as João Moutinho cut out a loose ball and teed up Traoré to gallop free, headed straight for Kasper Schmeichel’s goal. City’s No.1, nonetheless, was able to watch on as the Spain international missed the target from close range.

A moment of real Leicester City magic was just around the corner. Sumptuous skill from Ricardo Pereira, leaving Marçal and Moutinho in his wake, afforded the former Porto star room to deliver a cross into Vardy to open his account in 2021/22 with a cute first-time finish.

Cue a noise the like of which has not been heard since March 2020. It was a passage of play which lasted barely five seconds and left Wolves stunned.

Matters nearly got worse for the visitors too, as Tielemans’ long-range strike was palmed away by Sá in added time. They’d survived another scare, but it was the Foxes who went in at the break ahead. 

Into the second half, Moutinho blazed over after Traoré had alarm bells ringing in the Leicester area, while Çağlar Söyüncü was needed to deflect on-loan Barcelona wing-back Francisco Trincão's shot behind after Amartey's forward ball was dispossessed. 

On the hour-mark, meanwhile, Rodgers turned to new signings Jannik Vestergaard and Boubakary Soumaré to make their competitive home debuts for the Football Club. Pérez and Maddison were the players to make way. Leicester were now in a 3-5-2 shape.

Leicester advanced and a last-ditch intervention from Conor Coady stopped Barnes from getting on the end of Vardy's ball before, at the other end, Hoever's cross was glanced wide by Jiménez. It was becoming increasingly stretched. Tielemans then fed Barnes, only for him to be denied by Coady again.

As the visitors countered, Traoré broke through City's defensive lines and belted a half-volley straight at Schmeichel, with the Dane standing tall to catch it. Last season's top goalscorer in all competitions, Kelechi Iheanacho, then made his maiden appearance of this campaign, replacing Barnes, on 71 minutes.

An excellent opportunity to double the lead arrived on 77 minutes. Tielemans collected it from Soumaré and played it between Coady and Marçal, enabling Vardy to run onto it and rifle it wide. Seconds later, a Ricardo block was all that stopped Traoré's powerful drive from hitting the bottom corner. 

Wolves were really pushing for an equaliser. With three minutes to go, Max Kilman skipped into the area, riding several challenges, before his effort was superbly blocked by Amartey. He later also headed straight at Schmeichel from point-blank range. 

Moments later, it was Thomas' turn to throw himself in front of Morgan Gibbs-White's low drive. Coady, on the other hand, also had the ball in the net, but was ruled offside – just as the visiting continent of supporters roared in premature delight.

In the latter moments, the FA Cup holders showed composure to see the game out, with Iheanacho forcing a succession of attacking corners, as Wolves struggled to regain possession, just when they needed it most. It ended in three points, kick-starting Leicester's season, in front of 31,983 people. 

Major moment

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Jamie Vardy

The Club's all-time top Premier League goalscorer wheels away in delight after opening his account in his eighth top-flight campaign.

City's winning goal is truly one for the highlights reels. It arrived just as the home side appeared to be wrestling control of a game which had ebbed and flowed for both sides, but it took a moment of real quality to separate them. Step forward Ricardo Pereira, now fully up to speed after a duo of injuries. 

With the flick of a boot, the flying full-back was away from Marçal and João Moutinho in a heartbeat, before setting it up perfectly for Jamie Vardy to do what he does best. Operating on the shoulder of the last man, there was Leicester's No.9 to prod home the decisive goal for the Foxes.

Who impressed?

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Wilfred Ndidi

Nigeria international shelters possession from Leander Dendoncker and looks to carry it forwards for the Foxes.

Matt Elliott, the former Leicester City captain and member of LCFC Radio's live panel, said: "Wilfred Ndidi controls the game so well. Even as we're speaking now, he's just taken a hold of it and slowed everything down, setting the tempo the way Leicester want it. He's kept everything ticking over as usual."

Where do we stand?

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Brendan Rodgers

Brendan Rodgers looks on ahead of the first game of his third full season as Leicester City manager.

The Foxes sit seventh in the early Premier League standings, as one of seven sides to have tasted victory on matchday one. Twenty-time English champions Manchester United lead the way on goal difference. 

Coming up…

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King Power Stadium

The Blue Army greet the Foxes onto the field of play at King Power Stadium.

Next up for the Foxes is a trip to the capital to tackle West Ham United at London Stadium on Monday 23 August (8pm kick-off). Then, the following Saturday, it's newly-promoted Norwich City at Carrow Road (3pm kick-off) before the first international break of the 2021/22 campaign. 

All times BST.

Leicester City Crest





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