Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Leicester City 0-1 Manchester City: Bernardo Silva the difference as champions keep pace with Ronald

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 11 Sep 2021

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Bernardo Silva scored the only goal as Manchester City beat Leicester City 1-0 to move a point behind Manchester United at the top of the Premier League.

On a day when Cristiano Ronaldo’s return to United, and subsequent brace in a 4-1 win over Newcastle United, was the dominant story, the defending champions delivered a scarcely needed reminder they are not to be ignored.

City dictated matters at King Power Stadium, though Pep Guardiola’s side lacked a ruthlessness that the man they were reportedly set to sign prior to him returning to United continues to display.

Yet the instrumental Silva made the telling impact in the 62nd minute, his goal enough to seal the points against a Leicester side whose threat was not consistent enough to merit any share of the spoils.

Guardiola’s men had the better of the first-half opportunities as Kasper Schmeichel was forced to keep out a Gabriel Jesus header after fine work from Silva, who later saw an effort deflected wide before Jack Grealish cleared the crossbar.

However, City would have fallen behind two minutes into the second half if not for the woodwork, Harvey Barnes clipping the crossbar with a header from Jamie Vardy’s right-wing cross.

Vardy rounded Ederson and fired home from a tight angle but was correctly flagged offside after latching on to Wilfred Ndidi’s throughball.

Ferran Torres failed to squeeze a low effort inside the near post after he was sent through on goal but City’s dominance of possession was eventually rewarded thanks in part to a defensive error.

Leicester centre-back Caglar Soyuncu could only succeed in diverting Joao Cancelo’s shot from outside the box into the path of Silva to poke home from point-blank range.

Schmeichel tipped over a swerving effort from Kyle Walker and City survived a late scare as Ederson denied Ademola Lookman following a counter, the visitors holding firm and keeping pace with new leaders United, both clubs seemingly set to play centre stage in the title race.

What does it mean? Scoreline fails to tell full story

You could look at the margin of victory and the chances Leicester had through Barnes and Lookman and think the hosts were unfortunate not to get something from the game.

In reality, though, they were second best by a wide margin. City had 61 per cent possession, 493 accurate passes to Leicester’s 286 and finished with 2.6 Expected Goals to the Foxes’ 0.7. They were full value for the points, even if they were not as clinical as in the 5-0 win over Arsenal last time out.

Bernardo at his best

City’s midfield enjoyed near complete command of the contest, with Silva at the heart of many of their forays forward.

In addition to his goal, Silva had two more shots on target and played three key passes. Ilkay Gundogan and Jack Grealish topped that tally with four, but Silva was the difference in the game.

Leicester’s limp effort

Leicester prevailed 5-2 at the Etihad Stadium last September, but they never came close to posing City the same level of problems this time around. Brendan Rodgers’ men offered six shots compared to 25 for City, with just one on target.

What’s next?

City turn their attention to the Champions League and their quest to claim the trophy that has continually eluded them on Wednesday against RB Leipzig. They then host Southampton on Saturday. Leicester welcome Napoli to the King Power Stadium in the Europa League on Thursday, prior to visiting Brighton and Hove Albion three days later.

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