Leeds 1 City 4
Report by Kate Thompson
Before the game started, I was not expecting City to get anything from it but, not for the first time, how wrong can you be? In awful weather, they blew Leeds away with a masterclass in how to win matches in the Premier League.
The line-up was based on which defenders were fit and featured Fuchs, Fofana and Justin, flanked by Albrighton and Thomas, the last a surprise inclusion. Evans was deemed not fit enough and Maddison was only on the bench, for reasons not given.
After the lauded Bamford, who scored a hat-trick in their last match, placed a header straight into Schmeichel’s arms, Fuchs played a long forward pass which Barnes was able to collect. The Leeds defender Koch played a back pass to his goalkeeper that did not reach him, allowing the ever-alert Vardy to nip in and square the ball for Barnes to score the easiest of goals in only the second minute.
The move was so quick that the Sky Sports cameras missed it at first! Not for the first time, Vardy showed what an unselfish player he is – I can think of several Premier League players who would have tried to score themselves, forgetting that it is a team game. There was a reminder on one of the banners around the ground, which said ‘Side not self’ – how true!
City were all over Leeds like the proverbial rash and it was only a matter of time before they scored again. An excellent cross from the always willing Albrighton was headed goalwards by Vardy; it hit the keeper’s head and Tielmans capitalised on the mistake to score another easy goal.
At this stage, it seemed to be a case of how many City would score and some of us were probably dreaming of another Southampton result. They were sharper to every ball and it was exhilarating stuff. My one complaint was that the referee was ignoring several fouls on City players. Schmeichel made a good save in the 37th minute and in the conditions he had to be alert.
Leeds began the second half by bringing on Poveda-Ocampo for Shackleton and in the 47th minute they got a very fortuitous goal, when Dallas put a cross into the box which eluded everyone and crept into the corner of Schmeichel’s net. Two minutes later Dallas was booked for scything Albrighton down.
The goal gave Leeds heart and for the next 20 minutes or so they looked much better and came close to an equaliser when Hernandez clipped the corner of the upright and crossbar in the 54th minute.
Rodgers again demonstrated his tactical nous, bringing on Maddison for Praet in the 62nd minute and Under for Barnes in the 69th. Between these two, Roberts replaced Hernandez for Leeds, a move which clearly angered Hernandez. Schmeichel was called on again in the 67th minute and four minutes later City fans held their breath as Ayling went down in the box. Replays showed that Fuchs did not touch him and he should have been booked for simulation.
In the 76th minute Vardy got the goal his performance deserved, when a smart pass from Maddison to Under gave him an easy conversion.
Three minutes later Schmeichel made another good save. Alioski replaced Dallas for Leeds and to their credit they continued to work hard for another goal. Their corner count was ten to Leicester’s three and possession 68%, but as City showed in the title-winning season, there is only one statistic that matters! In the 82nd minute Vardy missed another opportunity, a rare mistake from him, and a minute later Thomas was booked for an innocuous looking foul. Morgan replaced Vardy in the 84th minute, another astute move to shut the back door.
In time added on Maddison was fouled right on the edge of the box but the referee (Marriner) initially ignored it, until the VAR official, Lee Mason, suggested he look at the pitchside monitor. Having done so, he signalled a penalty and Tielemans dispatched it with aplomb.
The result moved City to second in the table, just one point behind Liverpool. It is early days of course, but if they can keep up this standard, we are in for an exciting season. For one, I will then start to worry about another club poaching Rodgers!
In his after-match interview, he made a pointed reference to the fact that he is a British manager and the result would probably be described as lucky in some quarters! He is clearly irritated by the plaudits handed out to foreign managers in the Premier League, which is entirely understandable.
Leeds: Meslier; Ayling, Koch, Cooper(c), Dallas (Alioski 81); Klich; Hélder Costa, Shackleton (Poveda-Ocampo 45), Pablo Hernández (Roberts 67), Harrison; Bamford. Subs (unused): Casilla, Struijk, Davis, Casey.
The views expressed in this report are the opinions of the Trust member nominated to file the report only and do not represent the views of the Foxes Trust organisation