Leicester City are supporting two homelessness charities over Christmas – Donations of sleeping bags, warm clothing, food and toiletries are needed – A drop-off point will be set up at King Power Stadium on the day of the Norwich City game
Football Club are supporting The Bridge and Action Homeless this festive period
by asking for donations on the day of the Norwich City game to take to the two
organisations on Friday 20 December.
Supporters wishing to contribute can drop items off at Baggage Storage in the
south east corner of King Power Stadium on Saturday 14 December from midday
note that the Club will not be accepting donations after the
game, so items cannot be taken into the stadium. Supporters are also advised to
arrive slightly earlier if they wish to contribute as the drop-off point will
close 15 minutes before kick-off.
City extended their winning streak in all competitions to NINE games with an
emphatic 4-1 victory at Aston Villa.
result strengthened the Foxes’ grip on second place in the Premier League,
extending the gap between them and nearest challengers Manchester City to six
points. It also gave notice to runaway leaders Liverpool that their coronation
as champions is still some way from being confirmed.
Brendan Rodgers decided on a change of both personnel and formation for his side’s shortest trip of the league campaign. Ben Chilwell, restored to fitness, was recalled in place of Christian Fuchs, while Dennis Praet and Kelechi Iheanacho replaced Ayoze Perez and Harvey Barnes as Rodgers switched to a diamond-formation 4-4-2.
Before the game, both sides joined in a minute’s applause in remembrance of Ron Saunders, who had passed away the previous afternoon at the age of 87.
was the last manager, prior to Claudio Ranieri, to bring a top-flight title to
the Midlands and the tributes paid to him from all sides of Villa Park showed
the respect he commanded within his former club.
In contrast to recent games, City moved quickly through the gears in the opening minutes with both Jamie Vardy and Caglar Söyüncü coming close to opening the scoring. The hosts, though, almost landed a blow of their own when El Ghazi hit the bar from close range.
key moment of the game came in the 19th minute when home defender
Mings collapsed on the touchline with what appeared to be a muscle injury,
Although he attempted to continue after treatment, City wasted no time in
exploiting his immobility.
given time and space in midfield, sent a perfectly-weighted through ball to
Vardy, who rounded Villa keeper Heaton. The City marksman miscued his initial
effort, but recovered his composure to find the net with his second attempt and
subdue his critics on the Holte End.
later said Villa’s fanbase had been the latest to taunt Vardy about his wife’s
alleged online activities, and as with previous ones, they were duly repaid
with interest. The message should have been learned by now: nothing fires him
City were dominant for the rest of the half, with James Maddison particularly impressive at the head of the diamond. They had several chances to extend their lead before Iheanacho marked his first league start for a year with the goal his display had threatened, swooping at the near post to finish off an excellent left-wing move involving Söyüncü, Chilwell, Youri Tielemans and Maddison.
the visitors were rocked by a Villa goal on the stroke of half-time, as
Grealish punished some indefensive defending following a corner. Although it was
noted that several home players had strayed offside in the move leading up to
the goal, referee Oliver and his assistant decided that as the ball had not
reached them, they had no influence, To the the surprise and disappointment of
the travelling contingent, a VAR review upheld the ruling.
Villa’s momentum continued after the interval, with Kasper Schmeichel turning away a fierce El Ghazi drive. However a Chilwell break forced a corner from which Jonny Evans headed home to restore City’s two-goal cushion.
The visitors were rarely troubled for the remainder of the game. Indeed, only more wayward finishing stopped them from inflicting a Southampton-style humiliation on their hosts, with Maddison, Tielemans and sub Harvey Barnes all missing sitters before Vardy, racing on to a pass from Dennis Praet, again took the opportunity to remind his team-mates how to hit the target.
frustrations boiled over in the closing stages, with Grealish somewhat
fortunate to see out the game after several attempts to goad Wilfred Ndidi into
a running battle. If the home captain wants to follow Maddison – his close pal
– into the England side, he would be well-advised to cut out the petulance from
the final whistle, home manager Dean Smith made a point of shaking each City
player by the hand as they left the field – a touch of class not always in
evidence from members of his profession, and an acknowledgement that his
players had been taught a tough footballing lesson.
result also marked City’s eighth successive victory in front of live TV cameras
– a drastic and welcome contrast to the horror shows regularly witnessed under
previous regimes in recent seasons.
the next two televised fixtures against last season’s top two, it is hoped this
run can be maintained for some time to come.
Villa(4-3-3): Heaton; Elmohamady, Konsa, Mings
(Engels 23), Targett (Guilbert 78); Nakamba (Trézéguet
59), McGinn, Douglas Luiz; El Ghazi, Wesley, Grealish. Subs not used:
Nyland, Lansbury, Hourihane, Kodjia.
Exit junction 7 of the M6 and follow signs for Birmingham A34. After
passing Alexandra Stadium stay in the nearside lane and leave the main
carriageway. Matchday car parks are signposted on the left hand side.
Directions from the North East or South East
The following official parking sites on the south
side of the stadium are as follows:
Via Salford Junction / Lichfield Road – junction 6
of the M6 signposted A38
Star City (free parking)
Aston Social Club
Via Park Circus -junction 6 of the M6 signposted
A38 (M) City Centre
Aston Tower School
King Edward School
Are in place in residential areas around the
miles, 1 hour
There are a number of pubs in the vicinity of Villa Park, but most of them on match days are either members only or have bouncers on the door. ‘The Witton Arms allows away fans but does charge to gain entry. The Yew Tree is on the same road as the Witton Arms, but with this pub on your left carry straight on up the road, passing Witton Railway Station on your right. After about half a mile you will see the pub on the right hand side. Also around a 15 minute walk away near Birmingham City University is the ‘Hare of the Dog’ pub.
arrive a bit earlier then you may wish to visit the historic Bartons Arms,
located about a 15 minute walk away on High Street Aston (A34). This Grade II
listed building, is one of Birmingham’s finest pubs, with superb Victorian
decor, serving Oakham ales and Thai food is also on offer. It is a regular
entry in the CAMRA Good Beer Guide.
Star City is
just off Junction 6 of the M6, going towards Villa Park. Huge free car park,
plus plenty of food and drink outlets. It is then about a mile and half walk to
The two nearest train stations to Villa Park are Witton and Aston.
Train takes approx 1 hour
to Birmingham, 1hr 23mins to Aston, off peak day return £15.30
In light of the current security situation, most
clubs have implemented some additional entry procedures which can take
additional time. All fans are urged to arrive early to ensure they are able to
clear security and enter before kick off. Rucksack or similar type bags may not
be permitted in the stadium and there are no “left luggage” facilities in the
local area of most grounds.
All information is provided in good faith but the Foxes Trust
cannot be held responsible
for any errors.
to Aston Villa FC and the Football Ground Guide
Watford visited the King Power for an unusual 7.30pm kick-off on an unusual Wednesday evening, courtesy of Amazon’s entry into the live broadcasting of football matches. The communication of the earlier start seemed to go well, and the ground was – as ever – full by the kick-off.
Watford this season seem to be a bit of an enigma. On paper they look a more-than decent side and, having seen them on TV a few times, they seem capable of playing well too – yet they languish at the foot of the table with only nine goals scored all season. Would the return of their talisman Troy Deeney to the starting line-up signal a change in fortune?
Rodgers has intimated that he would use more of the squad to get Leicester over the run of games in December. The only change for this match was enforced, with Fuchs replacing Chilwell who has a groin injury.
Leicester started well, and Perez could have done better with two chances within the first five minutes (albeit one would have been disallowed for offside). Eventually, though, Watford got more organised, with a disciplined 4-4-2, with Deeney and Deulofeu leading the line. The first half had much of the feel of the very recent home game against Everton: City looking the better side yet without creating many clear-cut chances, the opposition time-wasting, well organized, but with a possible threat on the break.
Barnes was lively, creating a couple of good chances for himself, one of which was blocked by Foster, the other was shot wide. Vardy was rather harshly booked for diving in the penalty box, when the VAR replays clearly showed that his foot had been caught by the defender. Watford broke three-versus-two midway through the half, and Pereira did brilliantly to get back and make a tackle in the box to neutralize the chance.
Otherwise, it was a typical patient Leicester performance
against a team who tried to get the ball ‘up to the big man’ (Deeney) – a
tactic easily foiled by Söyüncü and Evans, or to try to get to the pacey
wing-men, who were very well dealt with by Pereira and Fuchs.
All of this led to no score in the first half.
As often seems to happen, City started the second half with
a marked increase in pace and intensity.
It took Watford a good ten minutes before they had any grip in the
second half, during which City simply dominated the game.
The key turning point occurred after Watford had
stabilised. A City corner was only
partially cleared back to Maddison, as his send cross was hit, Masina caught
Evans full in the face with a flailing hand.
It was not a violent act, but it was definitely in the ‘would be a free
kick anywhere else on the pitch’ territory and so was, rightly, given as a
penalty by both Craig Pawson, the referee, and the VAR-check.
Vardy coolly stepped up to score from the spot to extend further his almost unbelievable run of scoring under Brendan Rodgers.
City remained the better side for the rest of the match,
although there was a period when Fuchs – who had an excellent first half –
seemed to be regularly out-paced by the very quick Saar. Rodgers continued his recent spate of
intelligent substitutions by bringing on James Justin for his Premier League
debut, switching to a back three with the equally pacey Justin acting as
wing-back to cover Sarr. Despite being
brought on for defensive reasons, Justin’s first substantive act was to carry
the ball for over 50-yeards into the opposition half, an attacking attitude
that continued throughout his cameo performance.
Rodgers’ other substitutions were interesting, too. At nil-nil it might have seemed the easy
option to try to repeat the trick used against Everton, by bringing on the new
man-of-the-moment Iheanacho; instead Rodgers replaced Perez with Praet at half
time, and then Tielemans with Choudhury.
Praet looked his usual very competent self, and whilst Choudhury did not
settle into the game as well as he can, he did not do a lot wrong.
City created a couple of other decent chances, but Foster
was able to deal with them, and as five-minutes of additional time was
signalled, it looked as though we would simply see City play the game out for a
Watford, however, finally began to string a few passes together and managed to fashion their one-and-only shot on target, but it was a scuffed effort easily saved by Schmeichel.
As we awaited the referee’s whistle, Justin grabbed himself an assist on his Premier League debut, with a nice flicked header to Maddison, who barged through two challenges from Watford defenders before sliding the ball past Foster to make it two-nil with practically the last kick of the match. The score was a good reflection of the balance of play, but Watford’s defence had made Leicester work pretty hard for it.
And Watford? They
looked a better team than ‘bottom of the league’ implies in every department
except one: they never looked close to scoring a goal – even with Deeney (who
was mostly anonymous). By contrast, the
current Leicester team is able to create regular chances and has players – most
notably Vardy – who are more than capable of scoring from them. The fact that is backed up by the division’s
best defence adds up to a continuation of this remarkable season so far: seven
top-flight wins in a row and second place in the Premier League.
A final mention should go to the group of around one hundred
school children in the family stand who kept up a near-constant barrage of
noise in support of City for the entire match.
I don’t know who you are, but well done!
It was a strange feeling for this City fan turning up for a home match expecting to win. Everything pointed to a home win. Everton were struggling for form, with their manager Silva apparently about to be sacked. LCFC were on the crest of a wave after five consecutive victories, second in the table and chasing Liverpool. What could go wrong?
Rodgers picked the same team as usual, although there was a mild surprise in the subs. Gray was absent, apparently ill, and Choudhury took his place. The much-maligned forgotten man Kelechi Iheanacho was also on the bench – more about him later.
City started confidently, as did Everton, and we all waited for the first goal to happen. It did, after 20 minutes, but it was Everton who scored. Sadibe, who was a menace throughout the match, sent in a good cross from the right and Richarlison got ahead of Ricardo for a forceful header past Schmeichel.
City continued to dominate possession but much
of it was too slow which suited Everton’s defensive line up and allowed their players
to regain places in defence. Everton’s cynical fouls started to add up with
referee Graham Scott, who had an inconsistent game, reluctant to bring out his
Perez bore the brunt of some fouls but often went down too easily which did not help his cause. He broke through on two occasions, once shooting narrowly wide and again being tackled just as he seemed certain to score.
Little was seen of Jamie Vardy until he seemed to be upended for a possible penalty. In the immediate confusion Chilwell also seemed to be brought down just within the penalty box as he broke forward. The referee immediately pointed to the spot and Vardy took hold of the ball to take the penalty. But then the long wait took place as VAR pondered over the decision.
The ref, as normal since VAR was instigated,
did not consult the pitch side screen to help check whether he made the correct
call. What on earth is the point of not using the technology? VAR decided it
was no penalty and no contact. Chilwell was not booked for “simulation” so can
someone please explain that to me?
The injustice of the decision brought City to
life but few further chances were created in a rather disappointing first half.
No-one was playing that well, play was too ponderous and Everton had looked
well organised and capable of holding onto their lead unless City could change
City started brighter in the second half with
Chilwell and Ricardo pushing forward. Ricardo burst through but his shot was
saved. Tielemans shot over when in a good position. Meanwhile the Everton players
started to waste time from the start of the second half with feigned injuries
and other obvious ploys which frustrated the crowd.
Perez, who had not had the best of games, was
taken off with about 30 minutes to go. To everyone’s surprise he was replaced
by Iheanacho and, at the same time, Rodgers changed the team shape. We shall
never know what Rodgers said to Kelechi as he warmed up ready to take the field
but it certainly worked. From his first confident touch he transformed the
N’Didi also started to have a greater influence and Ricardo began to terrorise Everton’s defence as he became a right winger. Iheanacho first had a shot saved, then after a pass from N’Didi, hit a cross shot from which Vardy scored from a very tight angle. 1-1 at last.
Could City pull off a victory with time
ticking away? Kean came on for Everton and nearly scored with a snap shot which
fooled Schmeichel. Allbrighton came on for Barnes as City upped the pace. Vardy
headed over narrowly from a good position.
Injury time beckoned. Surely Graham Scott would give at least 5 minutes primarily for Everton’s time wasting. Incredibly only 3 minutes injury time was awarded. Everton players kept falling over supposedly injured as they continued to waste time. In the last minute of injury time Iheanacho picked up the ball from midfield, sublimely beat his man and curled his shot past Pickford’s right hand. The linesman’s flag had gone up as soon as he had collected the ball and so, although VAR was assessing the situation, it seemed most likely that the goal would be ruled to be offside. Kelechi put his hands together in prayer as we all waited for a VAR decision.
After an endless wait IT’S A GOAL by the narrowest of margins! 2-1 and the crowd erupted. All the players ran towards Rodgers and piled into a heap as Everton players slumped to the ground in despair. There was hardly time to re-start as the match ended 2-1. It was cruel on Everton but their timewasting antics had not worked.
After such a euphoric end to the match it
seems churlish to point out some of the flaws in City’s performance. Perhaps we
now expect too much of our team? Even the top teams work out a way to win when
not playing that well.
In the first half the passing was not fast or
incisive enough and did not pull Everton’s well drilled team out of position.
Chilwell and Ricardo did not press forward that much. However, that changed in
the second half but there were still moments in defence when Soyuncu made some
rare errors and Chilwell allowed Sadibe to drive in too many crosses.
Tielemans, Barnes and Maddison did not make much of an impact in the first half
but Maddison and N’Didi in particular exerted their influence in the second
My man of the match award would be shared
between Ricardo and Iheanacho. Despite being beaten by Richarlison for
Everton’s goal Ricardo was a constant threat and was one of the reasons why
City upped a gear in the second half. Iheanacho I suspect surprised us all. In
30 minutes he became the catalyst as wave after wave of attacks bore down on
Everton. His touch and control were sure and he took his goal with aplomb.
After being written off by many (including me I admit) do we have a re-born
striker to support Vardy?
Games start to come thick and fast and the
match against manager-less Watford looms on Wednesday night. Can we keep the
run going? Come on you Foxes!