In the weeks leading up to this game it felt like Leicester were starting to spiral out of control in their race for a place in the top four. They were in desperate need of a break – and tonight, they got one against Aston Villa as they ran out emphatic 4-0 winners over the relegation strugglers.
Leicester were pushing the pace throughout most of the first half, but some how, some way, they were unable to get themselves over the finish line and grab that elusive goal. Thankfully, that goal came when Harvey Barnes took advantage of a bizarre decision from Pepe Reina to come shooting out of his goal to slot the Foxes into the lead.
Back on track
In the second half, with Jamie Vardy on the pitch, Leicester were awarded a penalty after VAR deemed Tyrone Mings to have handled the ball despite it seemingly hitting his shoulder. Vardy stepped up and brought his nine-game drought to an end, doubling their lead in the process.
Barnes scored his second after Vardy had also scored his own brace, with Leicester scoring twice in six minutes to put the game beyond the reach of Villa.
Aston Villa manager Dean Smith had the following to say after the result.
“It was a very tough night. We started the game quite well but then we didn’t defend corners well enough and we had a big mistake for the goal.
“I didn’t know what the penalty was given for – I thought it hit Tyrone Mings’ shoulder – but it was given.
“The penalty award was a massive moment. We were still in the game. It went against us – I thought wrongly – that’s my opinion.
Issues in the camp
“But then we became architects of our own downfall.”
Brendan Rodgers, on the other hand, was clearly relieved to see his side get back into the win column.
“As the game went on we looked more like how we’ve been for most of the season. The resilience and effort was brilliant and in the second half we got our fluency back and some of our goals were outstanding. We played some really good football at times.
“The intensity is important to how we play and the pressure on the ball was much better. That desire is so critical for us. A real collective confidence has allowed us to be where we are and our ambition is to stay there. If we play like that and with that confidence we have every chance.”
Leicester are set to make the trip to Vicarage Road in order to take on Watford this weekend whereas Aston Villa must pick themselves up and dust themselves off before hosting Chelsea.
Leicester: Schmeichel (7), Justin (7.5), Soyuncu (7.5), Evans (7.5), Pereira (7.5), Ndidi (7.5), Barnes (9), Maddison (7.5), Praet (7.5), Albrighton (8), Iheanacho (6), Vardy (8.5), Mendy (6), Tielemans (6.5)
Aston Villa: Reina (3.5), Guilbert (6), Engels (6), Mings (5.5), Targett (6), Nakamba (6), Elmohamady (6), Luiz (5.5), Hourihane (6.5), Grealish (6), Samatta (6), Davis (5.5), El Ghazi (6)
Referee: Michael Oliver
Goals: Barnes x2, Vardy x2
Yellow Cards: Evans, Praet, Hourihane
Red Cards: N/A
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