Leicester City 4 Manchester City 2

Vardy Hat-Trick Sees Off Manchester City In December

Leicester City endured mixed emotions during the month of December with a memorable victory over Manchester City being offset against four defeats.

The Foxes went into their final UEFA Champions League group stage fixture, at FC Porto, knowing a place in the Last-16 had already been secured but their domestic form was the priority as Christmas loomed.  

Gameday 20: 
Sunderland 2 Leicester City 1
Premier League
Saturday 3 December, 2016 
Goals: Huth OG, Defoe 77; Okazaki 80
Attendance: 39,725

Match round-up:

Shinji Okazaki's fine late strike off the bench was not enough to prevent Leicester City from falling to a slender 2-1 defeat by Sunderland at the Stadium of Light. 

The North East has been fertile ground for the Foxes in recent seasons but an unfortunate own goal by Robert Huth and Jermain Defoe's 77th minute effort proved to be enough for the Black Cats to collect a third victory in four Premier League matches.

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Sunderland 2 Leicester City 1
Sunderland 2 Leicester City 1

Shinji Okazaki looks to get the play back underway swiftly after scoring against Sunderland.

With top-flight survival and UEFA Champions League qualification being the spoils of previous trips via the Wear, Claudio Ranieri made just the one change from the starting line-up who battled for a 2-2 draw with Middlesbrough at King Power Stadium last weekend. 

Late goal hero Islam Slimani replaced Okazaki alongside Jamie Vardy up front while midfielder Nampalys Mendy, preferred to the now fully fit Matty James on the bench, returned to first-team contention after a stretch on the side-lines with a recurrent ankle injury. 

Claudio Ranieri’s reaction: 

"Of course we wanted to get a point. Sunderland started better than us in the first 10 minutes but we stopped their shots. 

"After that we played better and I think both teams had the chances to score the goals and win the match.

"They scored first with the own goal and after that it was difficult. They scored another goal and after that we reacted very well to open the match but it wasn't enough.

"Last season everything was right, starting with luck. We must continue to work hard and maintain the right balance within ourselves. 

"The battle is long but that is football. There are good moments and bad moments. In the bad moments, we must stay together as we are."

 

Gameday 21:
FC Porto 5 Leicester City 0
Wednesday 7 December, 2016
UEFA Champions League
Goals: Andre Silva 6, pen 64, Corona 26, Brahimi 44, Diogo Jota 77
Attendance: 39,310

Match round-up:

Leicester City were beaten 5-0 by FC Porto in their final UEFA Champions League group fixture at the Estádio do Dragão.

Having already qualified as Group G winners, a much-changed Foxes side found themselves 2-0 down inside half an hour. 

Andre Silva headed the Portuguese outfit in front with just six minutes on the clock, before Jesus Corona converted on 26 minutes to double his side’s advantage. 

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FC Porto 5 Leicester City 0
FC Porto 5 Leicester City 0

Ben Hamer looks to seize upon the ball as City fall to defeat in Porto.

A third goal for the Dragons arrived just before the break, this time through Yacine Brahimi, whose fine flick at the near post made it 3-0. 

Andre Silva struck again in the second period, as the midfielder converted a penalty, while Diogo Jota fired in for 5-0 inside the final 15 minutes. 

Claudio Ranieri made 10 changes for City’s final Group G fixture, with the inclusion of youngster Harvey Barnes on the bench – a Leicester-born midfielder who has been at the Club since the age of nine. 

Claudio Ranieri’s reaction:

"I have a clearer idea about my players now. We wanted to see something different, but it was too easy for Porto. We didn't make them fight to score.

"We can lose, but I want us to show our character and our strength. We didn't do that well enough.”

 

Gameday 22:
Leicester City 4 Manchester City 2
Saturday 10 December, 2016
Premier League 
Goals: Vardy 3, 20, 78, King 5; Kolarov 82, Nolito 90
Attendance: 31,966

Match round-up:

Leicester City got back to their dazzling best as a Jamie Vardy hat-trick and Andy King's neat curler handed the Foxes a superb 4-2 victory against Manchester City.

City were without a Premier League victory since the 3-1 success against Crystal Palace in October but Claudio Ranieri's side were not fazed by their illustrious visitors at a sodden King Power Stadium. 

Ranieri, the Foxes boss, made 10 changes from the line-up who fell to defeat against FC Porto in the UEFA Champions League with Vardy, Riyad Mahrez and Islam Slimani among those returning to action. 

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Leicester City 4 Manchester City 2
Leicester City 4 Manchester City 2

Jamie Vardy jostles for possession as the Foxes see off Manchester City in style.

The guests were without star striker Sergio Aguero and midfield hustler Fernandinho but Pep Guardiola, the newly-anointed Manchester City boss, still had a wealth of talent at his disposal for the contest. 

Second-half strikes from Aleksandar Kolarov and Nolito, narrowing the arrears late on, proved that but Leicester's night was not to be ruined by such details as they got back to winning ways in emphatic style.

Claudio Ranieri’s reaction:

"Of course we wanted to get a point. Sunderland started better than us in the first 10 minutes but we stopped their shots. 

"After that we played better and I think both teams had the chances to score the goals and win the match.

"They scored first with the own goal and after that it was difficult. They scored another goal and after that we reacted very well to open the match but it wasn't enough.

"Last season everything was right, starting with luck. We must continue to work hard and maintain the right balance within ourselves. 

"The battle is long but that is football. There are good moments and bad moments. In the bad moments, we must stay together as we are."

 

Gameday 23:
AFC Bournemouth 1 Leicester City 0
Tuesday 13 December, 2016
Premier League
Goal: Pugh 34
Attendance: 11,068

Match round-up:

Leicester City fell to defeat on the south coast with Marc Pugh's solitary strike in the 34th minute proving to be enough for AFC Bournemouth to secure three points at the Vitality Stadium.

The Foxes went into the clash riding the crest of a wave in the wake of an emphatic 4-2 victory over Premier League title-chasing Manchester City on Saturday and Claudio Ranieri made just one enforced change to his line-up.

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AFC Bournemouth 1 Leicester City 0
AFC Bournemouth 1 Leicester City 0

Marc Albrighton is bundled to the floor at Vitality Stadium.

In came Spanish right-back Luis Hernández for Danny Simpson, suspended after picking up his fifth caution of the season at King Power Stadium at the weekend, with Danny Drinkwater and Kasper Schmeichel missing out.

Claudio Ranieri’s reaction:

“I think the result is too harsh for us because we deserved more. “n the first half in our best moment, we had a chance to score with a corner. Then, they scored a goal. 

“In the second half, we created more chances than them, but we didn’t score. Then, Bournemouth won. Well done to Bournemouth, but I think tonight we deserved a draw. 

“It’s okay, the performance was good for us. Of course, it wasn’t possible to make the same performance as Man City, but it was good. The desire was good and the concentration was good, just the goal [was missing]. 

“Sometimes we have to be more aggressive and press a little higher to get back in the match. I know in our eight matches away, we have got only one point, but I think we can improve.

"I’m sure in the next eight matches, we will do something more.” 

 

Gameday 24:
Stoke City 2 Leicester City 2
Saturday 17 December, 2016
Premier League
Goals: Bojan 39 pen, Allen 45; Ulloa 74, Amartey 88
Attendance: 27,663

Match round-up:

A spirited performance at the bet365 Stadium saw the 10 men of Leicester City battle from two goals down to earn a 2-2 Premier League draw against Stoke City.

The Foxes had Jamie Vardy sent off midway through the first half, and Stoke capitalised on their one-man advantage after Bojan converted a penalty. 

The hosts went 2-0 up on the stroke of half-time through Joe Allen, but that did not stop the Premier League champions from getting something out of the game. 

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Stoke City 2 Leicester City 2
Stoke City 2 Leicester City 2

Daniel Amartey celebrates scoring a dramatic equaliser for 10-man City.

First, after being on the pitch for just two minutes, Demarai Gray combined with Leonardo Ulloa to craft Leicester’s first goal – the Argentine striker nodding in from close range for his first of the 2016/17 campaign. 

Then, with just two minutes to play, Daniel Amartey headed in a maiden City goal to earn his side a deserved point against the Potters.  

Claudio Ranieri’s reaction:

“The match changed when Jamie was sent off. We were nervous and after the penalty we lost our calm and shape. 

“In the dressing room we restarted and thought what was best for the match. They showed a fantastic performance.

“We talked about staying calm because we had some yellow cards - try to play football and maintain our shape because we could come back like last season. 

“It was fantastic. We spoke and were very focused on what we had to do for the next half.”

 

Gameday 25:
Leicester City 0 Everton 2
Monday 26 December, 2016
Premier League 
Goals: Mirallas 51, Lukaku 90+1
Attendance: 31,985

Match round-up:

Leicester City fell to a 2-0 defeat to Everton at King Power Stadium on Boxing Day, courtesy of a solitary Kevin Mirallas strike and Romelu Lukaku's late effort.

City, who took six points from the Toffees last term, were without the suspended Jamie Vardy, Robert Huth and Christian Fuchs with Claudio Ranieri calling upon Shinji Okazaki, Marcin Wasilewski and Ben Chilwell.

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Leicester City 0 Everton 2
Leicester City 0 Everton 2

Romelu Lukaku closes the scoring at King Power Stadium with a neat finish.

Demarai Gray, too, was handed a starting berth for the Foxes with Riyad Mahrez dropping to the bench ahead of a busy New Year schedule of fixtures for Ranieri's side over the coming weeks. 

Claudio Ranieri’s reaction:

“We wanted to win. We wanted to make a point. We wanted to make a very good present to our fans on Boxing Day. 

“We tried to do our best and until their goal the match was in our control. We tried to do something and tried to make some good chances to make a goal, but their first shot at goal they scored, from a long kick from their goalkeeper. 

“We maybe reacted a little late and they scored. After the goal they were much better than us to keep control of the match, to move the ball and slow down the tempo at the right moment. 

“We were a little nervous. We tried to make some good crosses but only one arrived to Leo Ulloa and the ‘keeper saved. The ‘keeper made very good saves from our crosses. 

“When you concede a goal you must do something different. For this reason I say for the first goal maybe we react a little late from a long kick but that’s football. It’s the little details. We must concentrate more on the little details.”

 

Gameday 26:
Leicester City 1 West Ham United 0
Saturday 31 December, 2016
Premier League
Goal: Slimani 20
Attendance: 32,060

Match round-up:

Leicester City ended 2016 with a battling 1-0 victory over West Ham United at King Power Stadium on New Year's Eve, courtesy of Islam Slimani's 20th minute header.

The Foxes got back to winning days in satisfying fashion to cap off the greatest year in the Club's history to lift spirits following the 2-0 defeat to Everton on Boxing Day and see in 2017 with three hard-earned points. 

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Leicester City 1 West Ham United 0
Leicester City 1 West Ham United 0

Islam Slimani scored the only goal of the game in the 20th minute for Leicester.

Claudio Ranieri elected to spring a tactical surprise ahead of kick-off with a change in formation from 4-4-2 to a more attacking 4-2-3-1 stratagem, with Riyad Mahrez supporting Slimani high up the pitch. 

On the back of an impressive Premier League debut on Boxing Day, left-back Ben Chilwell kept his place ahead of Christian Fuchs while Robert Huth returned for Marcin Wasilewski in the centre of defence.  

Claudio Ranieri’s reaction:

“I know Marc [Albrighton] crosses much better from the right side than left side. Today was important to change something because now the world is waiting to see Riyad [Mahrez] on the right and coming inside.

"We have to improve we how we find him between the lines. [Islam] Slimani’s header was a masterpiece. When the ball comes from the cross, Slimani is fantastic. We have to make more crosses for him. 

“We started very well. Three first 30 minutes were fantastic. The last 15 minutes of the first half they created two good chances to draw the match but we defended very well. In the second half we closed the space and it was good. 

“It was good to win these three points, it was good at the end when our fans supported us and it was good to see my players fight together to win the match." 

Top scorer: Vardy (three goals).

High point: A 4-2 success over Manchester City reminded both Foxes fans and others of the Club's potiential and saw Jamie Vardy return to scoring ways.

Low point: Defeat to Sunderland at the Stadium of Light was a tough result to take considering that it was against a side many considered to be set for relegation.

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