- Benjamin Wolfe
City cruise past Leicester to move within 4 wins of PL title - Leicester 0-2 Manchester City Review
City returned to action after the international break with a solid win away at Leicester. City barely missed a beat and looked every bit the team we saw stride into ascendancy this year. A rare goal from Benjamin Mendy opened the scoring and a Gabriel Jesus goal wrapped up the win.
Pep Guardiola looked to be saving some players for the midweek clash against Dortmund. Raheem Sterling, Ilkay Gundogan, John Stones, Phil Foden, and Joao Cancelo all found themselves sat on the bench. Ederson was in goal as per usual with Kyle Walker, Ruben Dias, Aymeric Laporte and Benjamin Mendy ahead of him. Rodri partnered Fernandinho in midfield with Kevin De Bruyne, Riyad Mahrez and Gabriel Jesus ahead of them. Sergio Aguero played one of his last ever games for the club as he spearheaded the attack.
City deserved that win. It was a tricky fixture and one of the hardest remaining to Pep’s men at least on paper, but it was navigated with all of the confidence and ability that City have become known for this season. Two goals and a clean sheet. Three points in the sunshine. Happy days!
Right from the start, only one team was looking like they wanted to play football and they travelled down from Manchester. For the entire first half, almost all of the football took place within the Leicester half. I am not sure if Brendan Rodgers just did not know where the City goal was or what the deal was, but they refused to come out.
After only five minutes City had the ball in the net. A lovely strike from Fernandinho was ruled out for offside as Sergio Aguero had to jump over the ball before it went beyond Kasper Schmeichel. Unfortunate, but the correct call. City though had complete control of the tempo and the ball.
Sergio Aguero was adjudged to have blocked Schemichel's eye-line from an offside position, thus interfering with play and causing the goal to be ruled out.
In the 22nd minute, De Bruyne struck a free-kick off the crossbar. Kasper Schmeichel was left scrambling, but the stalemate endured. Pep’s men continued their patient pressure, probing and prodding for openings. It was so oppressive for Leicester that in the 40th minute their bench actually celebrated a rare foray into City territory.
Riyad Mahrez should have grabbed the first goal in the 41st minute but his left-footed strike hit the foot of the Leicester keeper. The other side of the goal was wide open so definitely a missed opportunity for a player as good as him.
Jamie Vardy had a goal ruled out right on half time as City’s offside trap worked to perfection, leaving the England striker several strides too far. Leicester ended the first half with 37% of the ball and no shots at all.
The second half was more positive from the home side and they nearly capitalised early on as Fernandinho lost the ball and star man Ruben Dias had to make a vital last-ditch tackle. Which of course he did. You do not just get past Ruben Dias.
In the 58th minute, the game finally had its first goal, and it came via Benjamin Mendy of all people. The marauding fullback faked a shot on his left and fired into the right-hand corner with his right foot. A lovely finish from an unlikely source.
City took the game beyond their hosts in the 74th minute when Kevin De Bruyne split the Leicester defence wide open with a through ball to Gabriel Jesus. A little one-two with Raheem Sterling (who had replaced Sergio Aguero) and the Brazilian tapped in from close range. That pass from the Belgian will not register on any assist charts, but he created that goal.
Benjamin Mendy scored for the second time in six Premier League appearances to open proceedings before Gabriel Jesus scored the dagger to all but seal the win.
Kevin De Bruyne was taken off in a rage in the 87th minute after Nampalys Mendy decided to throw his fists at his head several times and for some weird reason was not immediately sent off for his efforts. Mind-boggling decision and De Bruyne could not let it go and was taken off likely as a precaution from Pep. His anger was entirely justified.
At the end of the day though, City scored the goals, City kept the clean sheet and City took the three points. Another step towards the title.
Up next is the Champions League as City host Dortmund on Tuesday.
I am not sure what the difference in the Belgian was today, but this was a return to the all-action aggressive De Bruyne of 2017/18. He looked hungry and spurred on and he tormented the Leicester midfield all day. He did not get an assist but he was the reason we won.
This man is a human wall. It is actually crazy to see him in action. Even when there is danger, there suddenly is no danger and Ruben just stands there looking all stoic. What a hero this man is and whenever he is in our defence, we just seem unbeatable. Aymeric Laporte and John Stones are both qualified in their own right, but there is a reason they rotate and Ruben does not.
Manchester City have kept more clean sheets (28) and conceded fewer goals (26) in all competitions than any other side in the top five European leagues. This is something of which the club, fans and players should be immensely proud. It is a fantastic achievement and long may it continue. With Ruben, Aymeric and John it probably will.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Has to be Kevin De Bruyne. He was outstanding today, as he has been since he first pulled on that City shirt. He never stopped running, he intercepted passes, he made tackles and then he added on his trademarked cutting edge passes all over the pitch. When he is in this kind of mood you literally cannot stop him. He quite simply is the best midfielder in the world.
EDERSON - 7
DIAS - 8
LAPORTE - 7
MENDY - 8
RODRI - 7
DE BRUYNE - 10
AGUERO - 6
JESUS - 8
Subs: Sterling – 7, Foden - 6, Torres – 6