Manchester City were free to call upon Ederson and Gabriel Jesus after Brazil’s football federation dropped its ridiculous demand for FIFA to impose a five-day exclusion. It seems common sense prevailed for once. A single goal from Bernardo Silva was enough to win the game.
The biggest news of the matchday squad was the return of both Kevin De Bruyne and Phil Foden. It is hugely important that we have our best players available to us, so this was great to see. Ederson started in goals with Kyle Walker, Ruben Dias, Aymeric Laporte and Joao Cancelo protecting his goal. Rodri anchored the midfield with Ilkay Gundogan and Bernardo Silva alongside him. Starboy Ferran Torres spearheaded an attack with Jack Grealish and the resurgent Gabriel Jesus flanking him.
Shortly after kick-off at the King Power, Jack Grealish was subjected to a campaign of booing from the home crowd. Strange really considering they were all highly likely to have been demanding Super Jack start for England just a few weeks ago. Tribalism in football is strange.
City started the strongest, with 95% of the ball after the first five minutes. In the 7th minute, some excellent work from Bernardo Silva teed up Gabriel Jesus but he was unable to convert. He really should have put City 0-1 up.
Leicester City love a counter-attack and almost landed a blow on City in the 9th minute. Ederson saving from Jamie Vardy before Kyle Walker blocked the follow-up. Ederson received some medical treatment following a collision here. After a quick shirt change due to blood, he soldiered on.
After 20 minutes City were still the team forcing the issue, with 74% possession. A Bernardo Silva shot was smartly saved by Kasper Schmeichel. Perhaps Jack Grealish was a better option for the Portuguese maestro.
A third of the way through the game and City were still on top. A chance fell to Ferran Torres but again Kasper Schmeichel denied City the opener. Leicester as always were looking dangerous on the counter.
Having fans back in the stadiums is objectively amazing. The game was a poor shadow of itself without them. Fans can influence referees, however, and City needed to be careful of being drawn into challenges in a hostile away ground such as the King Power. Especially with Rodri already on a yellow card and Aymeric Laporte picking one up himself for very little.
Approaching half time there was more backs to the wall defending from Leicester. Ferran Torres and Ilkay Gundogan denied by goal-saving blocks. City in the ascendancy deserving of a lead they did not possess. At halftime, the game was a stalemate.
Leicester opened the second half strongly with a Jamie Vardy cross being met by the head of Harvey Barnes. Thankfully for City, his effort struck the bar. Huge let off number one. Jamie Vardy was then played through on Ederson’s goal and slotted home. Thankfully for City, the offside call saved them. Huge let off number two.
Yet another missed chance for City arrived in the 55th minute. Ilkay Gundogan putting Ferran Torres through on goal, but his effort struck the side netting. Kevin De Bruyne, Zinchenko, John Stones and Fernandinho were soon warming up on the touchline.
In the 62nd minute, City took the lead through Bernardo Silva. A well-deserved lead it must be said! A blocked shot from Joao Cancelo was chased by his international teammate and City finally had the lead. Pep takes this opportunity to swap out Ferran Torres for Raheem Sterling.
Kyle Walker attempted a long-range shot in the 71st minute but Kasper Schmeichel tipped it over the Leicester bar. The vocal City fans in the King Power began a chorus of ‘Sheikh Mansour, my lord…’.
Newly introduced ex-Manchester City player Kelechi Iheanacho drove Leicester forward in the 76th minute and played in Ademola Lookman. He was denied a goal by a huge Ederson save. Another warning shot for City.
Fernandinho was introduced in the 84th minute for Gabriel Jesus. An attempt from Pep Guardiola no doubt to see the game through at 0-1. Since the introduction of Kelechi Iheanacho Leicester looked more threatening.
As the game edged towards the final whistle, Ederson and Ruben Dias in particular stood tall. The introduction of Fernandinho to assist Rodri helped to mitigate the Leicester threat as well. The final whistle blew, and Manchester City took the three points. It was by no means easy.
Up next for Manchester City is the visit of RB Leipzig in the Champions League. The game takes place at the Etihad on Wednesday, September 15 at 20:00. The game will be shown in the UK on BT Sport 3.
Why is it that Japhet Tanganga can spend 90 minutes being overly physical against City players in one game, then City players such as Aymeric Laporte can barely touch a player in another game and immediately get booked? As a fan, it’s unbelievably frustrating to watch and on some level, it must affect the players. We just want consistency.
The rumours all summer were of this man moving on, and if you believe the reports, for as little as £40m. It would have been absolutely criminal if that had come to pass. Bernardo Silva is a superb player and provides a level of dynamism and effort matched by few. It also helps that his linkup play at times with Jack Grealish is sublime. Apologies for the cliché but keeping him at the club is almost like a new signing.
EDERSON – 9
WALKER - 8
DIAS - 8
LAPORTE - 8
CANCELO - 7
RODRI - 7
GUNDOGAN - 7
BERNARDO – 9
JESUS - 7
FERRAN - 7
GREALISH - 7
Subs: Sterling – 5, Fernandinho – 7
MAN OF THE MATCH
Tough one today. I considered Ederson and Bernardo Silva, with both deserving. Since I praised one up above, I’ll go with the other. The goal won the game, but only because of Ederson’s saves. The decision from Brazil to allow him to play could well have earned City three points. He’s a fantastic goalkeeper, he was superb, and he’s my man of the match.
Written by: @CityReportBen
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