Wesley Fofana

No Breakthrough As City & Villa Share The Spoils

Leicester City and Aston Villa played out a goalless Premier League draw at a blustery King Power Stadium on Saturday afternoon, with the Foxes extending their home unbeaten run to nine games in all competitions in the process.
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For City's fourth match in the space of just 10 days, manager Brendan Rodgers elected to make four changes to his starting XI. In came James Justin, Çağlar Söyüncü, Ademola Lookman and Patson Daka, with Ricardo Pereira, Jonny Evans, Harvey Barnes and Kelechi Iheanacho the men to make way. Jamie Vardy, meanwhile, was named on the bench after missing the last 10 games with a knee injury.

Villa, who in the lead up had a contrasting fixture schedule having not played for two weeks, spurned an opportunity to open the scoring after nine minutes, however Leon Bailey lifted over Ollie Watkins' pull-back from around eight yards out. A let off for the Foxes, who set about applying pressure on their counterparts. 

That pressing saw Zambia international Daka twice recover possession of the ball high up the pitch, although on those two occasions, City were unable to capitalise. Not long after, a mazy run from Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall saw the Academy graduate breeze past Ezri Konsa before whipping a cross into the box, but Justin couldn't quite get there.

Justin turned creator midway through the first half, slipping a pass into Daka, who stretched and side-footed into the hands of Emiliano Martínez. Fellow goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel was then tasked with clinging onto Watkins' low drive at the other end. 

Leicester and Villa were well matched in the opening 45 minutes, with a well-struck free-kick from James Maddison whistling past Martínez's right-hand post in time added on, before Justin intervened before Philippe Coutinho could pull the trigger from close range. Mings nodded the resulting corner wide, and it was honours even at half-time.

Into the second half, Söyüncü and Wesley Fofana teamed up to distract Watkins to halt the striker's run into the City box. Watkins later slid a strike wide from a tight angle under pressure from Turkey centre-back Söyüncü.

Steven Gerrard's side were growing into the game, as Schmeichel was forced into a near-post save by the lively Watkins on 55 minutes. A brace of bookings for Papy Mendy and Dewsbury-Hall broke up play around the hour mark, with City aiming to stamp their authority on the game in the latter stages.

After Dewsbury-Hall slammed over with his right boot from 25 yards, a roar echoed around King Power Stadium when Vardy was introduced from the bench with just under 20 minutes to play. The Club's all-time leading Premier League goalscorer replaced Daka upfront, having missed 19 of the Foxes' last 21 games prior to the clash.

Two Leicester free-kicks, one of which resulted in a yellow card for Douglas Luiz, were delivered into the box by Maddison, but Watkins headed clear on both occasions to thwart the hosts' threat from set-plays. The No.10 was later booked for a tackle on Ashley Young.

With 15 minutes remaining, Justin had to get in the way of Jacob Ramsey's effort, and was there again shortly after to cut out Watkins' pass across the face of Leicester's goalmouth.

A second switch of the afternoon saw Barnes enter the action in place of Nigeria winger Lookman. Ten minutes were left on Filbert Way, with very little to separate the two sides. After play resumed, a smart save from Martínez denied another goal-bound free-kick from Maddison.

Having made an impact as a substitute of late, Spanish attacker Ayoze Pérez came on in place of Youri Tielemans, who made his 150th appearance against Everton on Wednesday, for Leicester's third and final change of the encounter.

Heading into the final five minutes of normal time, the match was perfectly poised to pinch the points, and attacker Emiliano Buendía nearly did exactly that when he curled wide from distance.

Rodgers' men were determined to push up until full-time, however, as the clock ticked on, Villa were as equally as intent to win it as Fofana blocked from Watkins before Schmeichel claimed Young's curler. 

Barnes scuffed into the welcome arms of Martínez in the sixth minute of injury time, but there would be no late breakthrough for Leicester. City are now without a loss in their previous nine matches across all formats at King Power Stadium.

Major moment

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James Maddison

James Maddison curled wide from a free-kick in first half injury time.

During first half stoppage time, a sweet free-kick from James Maddison looked to be heading into the top corner of the net, however it sailed just inches wide of Emiliano Martínez's upright in what proved to be City's closest moment to breaking the deadlock.

Who impressed?

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Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall

The Foxes Academy graduate battled away in midfield on Saturday.

2000 League Cup hero Matt Elliott told LCFC Radio at full-time: "On the day, it could be Papy Mendy. He’s done a good job for his team as ever, but I’m going to pick Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall. There won’t be too many complaints about that, even though it’s not been his best game."

Where do we stand?

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Jamie Vardy

The Foxes No.9 made a return to action after missing the last 10 matches in all competitions.

After matchday no.32 in the 2021/22 Premier League, City occupy 10th position in the standings.

Coming up...

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Çağlar Söyüncü

Çağlar Söyüncü strides forward out of defence following the 0-0 draw with Aston Villa.

Filbert Way is set for a historic night on Thursday when it plays host to its first -ver European semi-final, as Roma visit in the first leg of the UEFA Europa Conference League last four (8pm kick-off). The Foxes then head to Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League three days later (2pm kick-off). 

The details...

All times BST.

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