Luke Thomas

Villa Victorious As City's Unbeaten Run Ends

Leicester City's unbeaten run was halted at Villa Park after Aston Villa claimed a 2-1 Premier League victory on Sunday evening.
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For City's second match in five days, manager Brendan Rodgers handed midfielder Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall his first Premier League start for the Football Club. The Academy graduate was one of two changes, replacing Boubakary Soumaré, while Patson Daka led the attack in place of Jamie Vardy.

Zambia striker Daka looked lively from the off, first forcing Emiliano Martínez into a save at his near post. On the sixth minute, the ball was put out of play and the entire stadium observed a beautiful applause in memory of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes, before his name rang around Villa Park.

After play resumed, James Maddison, having scored in three-straight matches heading into the encounter, had an attempt blocked in the area, while Daka, after dispossessing Tyrone Mings, fired off target inside the opening 10 minutes.

City continued to assert their dominance and after Daka won the ball 25 yards from goal, he fed Academy star Harvey Barnes. The No.7 darted into the box, and cut it onto his right foot before placing it through the legs of Ezri Konsa and into the bottom corner to hand his side an early lead.

However, the hosts were level not long after. Northern Ireland defender Jonny Evans initially cleared a free-kick, but the ball then fell to Emiliano Buendía, whose header touched Konsa and flew past captain Kasper Schmeichel. After a brief review by VAR, the goal was confirmed.

Three Academy graduates combined on 23 minutes to create Leicester's next chance. Goalscorer Barnes did well down the left and pulled it back to Luke Thomas, whose cross was nodded just inches wide by a stooping Dewsbury-Hall. 

City were winning the midfield battle, and after save by Schmeichel to deny Matty Cash at the near post on 28 minutes, they once again regained possession to creat a goalscoring opportunity. Maddison, however, could not steer his attempt past a number of Villa defenders after dropping his shoulder to glide past Marvelous Nakamba.

With around 10 minutes of the first half to play, only a last-ditch challenge from Cash prevented Barnes from mustering up a strike on goal after Dewsbury-Hall fed Maddison on the counter-attack. The Foxes were undoubtedly on top - their task would be to capitalise on that.

Rodgers' men continued to fly forward, with Thomas this time bending over after being teed up by Barnes. Then, Evans' free-kick located Daka, who flicked onto Maddison, however the No.10's left-footed shot was gathered by Martínez.

Steven Gerrard's men thought they had snatched the lead at the end of the first half, but Jacob Ramsey's strike was ruled out by VAR for a foul on Schmeichel. The Dane was adjudged to have had control of the ball before Ramsey found the net.

Four minutes after the interval, with both sides unchanged, Cash fizzed a delivery across the face of goal and only some good positional play from Evans prevented Buendía from latching into it. Not long after, Ashley Young curled off target, while Thomas made a vital block to deny Ollie Watkins. The match turned in Villa's favour.

Villa's pressure told, on 54 minutes, when Konsa rose highest to a John McGinn corner to head his side in front.  The hosts had the ball in the net again on 58 minutes, however Watkins' effort was chalked off after the referee's whistle had long been blown for a foul on Evans in the build-up. 

Thomas was there again just after the hour mark to halt a strike from Cash, while Maddison arrowed just inches wide from 20 yards out. As City searched for a leveller with plenty of the second half to play, Rodgers introduced top scorer Vardy in place of Ademola Lookman

Schmeichel did superbly to spread himself and save from Watkins with his legs while one-on-one with the forward. Shortly after, Ramsey lifted over after being set up by McGinn, before a brilliant stop from Martínez saw him tip Barnes' looping header over the crossbar. 

The resulting corner saw Maddison play it along the floor to the feet to Dewsbury-Hall, whose appeals for a penalty after a challenge from Douglas Luiz were waved away. A second substitution followed for City, with Ayoze Pérez replacing Daka. 

With eight minutes remaining, Dewsbury-Hall sliced a half-volley over with his right boot. That was his last action of the evening as Nigeria striker Kelechi Iheanacho replaced the young midfielder. There would be four minutes of added time to play, and City had a series of corners in the closing stages, however Villa were able to defend them effectively, and held out for the win.

Major moment

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Harvey Barnes
Harvey Barnes

Harvey Barnes had initially given the Foxes the lead before Aston Villa turned the game on its head.

It was Ezri Konsa's header at the beginning of the second half that ultimately settled the match at Villa Park, with John McGinn the provider from a corner-kick.

Where do we stand?

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Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall
Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall

Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall made his first Premier League start for the Football Club against Aston Villa.

After their 15th Premier League match of the season, City sit 11th in the table after being leapfrogged by Aston Villa. They have 19 points and a goal difference of -4.

Coming up...

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Brendan Rodgers
Brendan Rodgers

The Foxes next head to Italy to tackle Napoli in the UEFA Europa League.

Attentions now turn to Thursday's final UEFA Europa League Group C fixture as the Foxes head to Napoli's Diego Armando Maradona Stadium (5:45pm kick-off). Then, their Premier League campaign resumes against Newcastle United at King Power Stadium on Sunday (2pm kick-off).

All times GMT.

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