Leicester City defend a corner against MK Dons

Stalemate At Stadium MK

Leicester City were held to a goalless draw by MK Dons at a rain-drenched Stadium MK on Friday evening.
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Craig Shakespeare named a much-changed side to the one that beat Luton Town 1-0 earlier this week, as he welcomed back Demarai Gray and Ben Chilwell, who were handed extended summer breaks after their involvement for England Under-21s.

Only Leonardo Ulloa, Yohan Benalouane and Vicente Iborra remained from Wednesday’s starting XI and it was Ulloa that first came close to breaking the deadlock.

Tom Lawrence whipped in a delightful cross to the Argentine, who got up well but couldn’t direct his header on target with just seven minutes gone.

Captain on the night Andy King then ventured forward and after making space for himself 25 yards from goal, he flashed an effort wide of the mark.

With momentum going forward, City continued their search for an opener and only a deflection would take Gray’s powerful drive away from goal following good work from Lawrence on the left.

The second period proved to be a tighter affair, as MK Dons looked much improved. Gboly Ariyibi fired over Ben Hamer’s bar, while Gray fizzed a free kick off target shortly after.

Hamer was called into action with around 15 minutes to play, first denying Ariyibi before collecting Ed Upson’s follow-up strike.

A superb turn from Iborra then saw the Spaniard set himself on the edge of the area, but he lashed wide under pressure from the MK Dons defence – the final major action of a closely-fought pre-season friendly fixture.

 

Key moment

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Tom Lawrence
Tom Lawrence

Lawrence holds off two MK Dons markers.

While clear-cut chances in the second period were at a premium, City were most productive going forward before the break and should have been ahead inside the opening 10 minutes.

Tom Lawrence’s fine delivery was met by Leonardo Ulloa, who did well to peel away from his marker, only to nod just inches over the bar.

Should it have gone in, it may have set the tone for the game, but as Craig Shakespeare pointed out in his post-match interview, Friday’s fixture was all about minutes. 

 

Who impressed?

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Matty James
Matty James

Matty James clashes with Dean Lewington for possession.

Part of a midfield three alongside skipper Andy King and former Sevilla man Vicente Iborra, Matty James looked comfortable in the centre of the pitch.

His performance against Robbie Neilson’s men was an impressive one. James broke up play and retained the ball well in possession during his third appearance of pre-season.

 

Coming up…

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Craig Shakespeare and Michael Appleton
Craig Shakespeare and Michael Appleton

Foxes boss Craig Shakespeare discusses tactics with assistant manager Michael Appleton.

An entirely different City squad will head to the Molineux Stadium to face Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday (3pm kick-off) for a third pre-season fixture of the week.

A trip to Burton Albion follows on Tuesday 1 August (7.45pm kick-off), before the Foxes round off their pre-season campaign against Borussia Mönchengladbach at King Power Stadium four days later.

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