Saturday 6th February 2016, at the Etihad Stadium
Robert Huth, 2nd minute
Riyad Mahrez, 47th minute
Robert Huth, 59th minute
Sergio Agüero, 86th minute
If this game was a film: Kill Bill vol.1
Full of action and surprises… but it is not over yet.
2nd minute: Leicester set the tone early for the game as Robert Huth made contact from a cross and, with help from a Martín Demichelis deflection, the ball went past Joe Hart.
47th minute: Riyad Mahrez shifted the ball over a sliding Nicolás Otamendi, to dance his way towards the City goal and strike the ball sweetly into the net.
53rd minute: Fernando heads a corner down towards goal and Kasper Schmeichel spectacularly gets down quick enough to save.
59th minute: Huth rises above Demichelis from a corner and loops the ball into the top corner of the net. A great header from the German centre-back, who was probably more surprised than anyone that he finished this game with a brace.
86th minute: on his Premier League debut, Bersant Celina crossed a fantastic ball into the box for Sergio Agüero to rise and nod the ball into the net, offering City hope.
88th minute: a terrible back-pass to Kasper Schmeichel put Agüero through on goal, with just the keeper to beat. Despite this, the angle was too difficult for Agüero to grab his 7th goal in 4 games.
Stat of the Game
Attempts: MCFC 27 – 6 LCFC
Bad day at the office?
Everyone’s had them. We’ve all accidentally stapled our tie to a piece of paper, or spilt a coffee on the photocopier; and today City had theirs. City didn’t particularly play badly, there were plenty chances to score and they saw a lot of the ball. Two set pieces and a great Mahrez goal were the deciders, despite a late surge from Sergio and the gang. Agüero scored arguably the best goal of the match with a great header, but it was not enough to see the blues overturn the table-toppers. Another header from Agüero? Is he Edin Džeko in disguise?
5000/1 at the start of the season to win the league, and now the favourites; Leicester City have surprised everyone this season. Leicester’s team performance and energy against City was commendable and a rare sight at the Etihad Stadium, as many teams turned up to sit eleven players in their own half awaiting the City attacking masterclass. The Leicester back four were strong throughout the game, and the pace of Vardy and technique of Mahrez highlight that this team are worthy of their place at the top of the league. Claudio Ranieri stated after the game that the team play as an eleven on the pitch, and this was evident from their performance.
Can Leicester win the league? Ranieri said that the fans “must continue to dream” but would not comment on anything that reaches beyond the next seven days. Personally, I’ve seen stranger things happen – Pitbull is still making music afterall!
Quote of the Presser
When asked what he thinks about being bookmaker’s favourites for the league, Claudio Ranieri: “they said I would be sacked first!”
The Leicester fans reminded the world how far they have come with constantly switching between chanting “we’re gonna win the league” and “we are staying up, we are staying up!”
Some City fans waited for the Leicester players to finish celebrating with their own fans, to applaud them off down the tunnel. Although Leicester’s rise to prominence this season is much more dramatic, you get the sense that City fans really remember how far they have come.
Finally, in a week where Manuel Pellegrini announce that he will be replaced by Pep Guardiola at City next season; the City faithful sang their famous song in ode to the Chilean at the end of the game. “Sheikh Mansour went to Spain in a Lamborghini—brought us back a manager: Manuel Pellegrini”
Who is Bersant Celina?
It was no surprise when Sergio Agüero hit the net for the blues today, with 37 goals in his last 33 games at the Etihad Stadium, however, the surprise was that it was Bersant Celina with the assist. At 19-years-old, Celina is a name to keep an eye on for the future, and one to make you feel even more upset that you aren’t a Premier League footballer with the youngster being only 19-years-old.
Celina has been playing with the Elite Development Squad and has now worked his way up to the first team. This was his first Premier League appearance; he made his City debut in the FA Cup match against Norwich City earlier in the season. His cross to Agüero for City’s goal was perfectly executed for the short Argentinian to nod the ball home. There’s plenty more to see from Celina as he is rated so highly amongst the academy prospects—especially with his pinpoint passing and accurate crossing.
Men of the Match
Leicester’s fantastic performance was epitomised by the pace and talent of Jamie Vardy who was all over the pitch during the game. Some of the best defenders in Europe would have struggled up against the pacey striker. This is a great sign for the national side, after Vardy’s form had faltered a few weeks earlier, but he is back to his old self. His pace and delivery was superb.
His moment of the match: on the 66th minute a long ball was sent over Vardy and towards the City back four. The speedy Premier League highest goalscorer managed to sprint through the defence and reach the ball, springing Joe Hart into life with a fantastic save.
Despite the bad result for City, Sterling was a standout performer for the blues. His pace worried Danny Simpson, who also played well, and he managed to tee up a few chances for the blues. Similarly to Vardy, it was Sterling’s pace that offered the best chances for City, and yet again, the national side will benefit from these two players improving their form. On another day, Sterling could have brought about a win for City, especially with his link up play with Silva earlier on in the first half, but unfortunately not in this game.
His moment of the match: On the 56th minute, Sterling wriggled into the box yet again and the City fans got to their feet. The Englishman lost the ball and Leicester considered where to begin their quick counter attack, but Sterling fought hard to get the ball back in the six yard box, managing to pull out a shot.
The Fat Lady isn’t even rehearsing yet
They say, “It’s not over until the fat lady sings”, and the fat lady is still on voice rest at the moment. Manuel Pellegrini was quick to point this out in his post-match interview, stating that there is still 39 points to play for and that “in football things change from one week to another one.”
With captain Vincent Kompany on the mend, City’s 14 first team players available could have a boost for the game against Tottenham Hotspur next week with the captain taking part in training this week.
With City playing Tottenham, and Leicester playing Arsenal next week on the 14th February—we may gain a little more insight into the outcome of the league, but this is only February—and nobody has won the league in February. That is, if you discount Liverpool in the 2013-14 Premier League season.