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Leicester City 1 West Brom 2: Phillips downs struggling champions

Matt Phillips pounced on Danny Drinkwater’s poor backpass and netted a second-half winner to help West Brom beat Leicester City 2-1 in Sunday’s Premier League encounter at the King Power Stadium as the reigning champions’ difficult start to the season continues.

Leicester have won just three out of their opening 11 league fixtures and are already trailing leaders Liverpool by 14 points following this weekend’s results. 

Albion, who ended a five-game winless streak, took a 52nd-minute lead through James Morrison, only for Islam Slimani to almost immediately restore parity.

But the impressive Phillips made sure Tony Pulis’ men clinched a third league victory of 2016-17 – and Leicester’s first home defeat in the Premier League since September 2015 – when he latched on to Drinkwater’s wayward pass with 18 minutes remaining and coolly found a way past Ron-Robert Zieler. 

The visitors made a strong start to the game and nearly went a goal up after just three minutes when Phillips almost made the most of a poor defensive header from Christian Fuchs, goalkeeper Zieler only narrowly managing to push the low shot toward the far corner wide of the target.

Phillips continued to cause the Leicester defence all kinds of problem in the opening stages and he found Salomon Rondon with a sublime cross from the left in the 15th minute, but the striker aimed his header just wide.

Leicester, meanwhile, struggled offensively before the break and failed to record a single shot on goal as the Albion defence did well to keep Shinji Okazaki and Slimani quiet.

Claudio Ranieri consequently opted to replace Okazaki with Jamie Vardy at half-time, but West Brom continued to dominate after the break and they deservedly went a goal up via Morrison. Rondon stopped a Leicester counterattack in midfield before setting up Phillips down the right, who in turn reached Morrison with a sublime cross and the attacking midfielder beat Zieler with a superb header.

Leicester immediately started pushing for an equaliser and they got what they were after just three minutes after the opener when Slimani found the net. Riyad Mahrez curled in a dangerous cross from the right and Slimani lost his marker before heading home from close range.

The visitors remained unperturbed by the quick leveller and Phillips restored his side’s lead in the 72nd minute after a huge error from Drinkwater. The Leicester midfielder’s poor pass backwards was easily intercepted by Phillips and the winger capped a fine outing with a delicate finish.

Key Opta stats:

– Leicester City have lost their first home game in the Premier League since September 2015, having previously gone 20 unbeaten (W13 D7).
– The Foxes conceded more than once in a Premier League home game for just the third time in 2016 (twice against West Brom, once against West Ham).
– This is the first time that Pulis has registered a Premier League victory against a reigning champion, drawing four and losing 10 before today.
– All four of Slimani’s goals for Leicester City in all competitions have been headers and at the King Power Stadium.

Sun 6 Nov, 2016
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