Leicester 4-0 Aston Villa: Foxes savage sorry Villa

Leicester 4-0 Aston Villa: Foxes savage sorry Villa as Pepe Reina horror show sees Harvey Barnes notch double while Jamie Vardy nets brace on injury return

  • A Pepe Reina howler piled more misery on Aston Villa as they lost to Leicester  
  • Harvey Barnes capitalised on Reina running off his line to fire Leicester ahead
  • Tyrone Mings was the villain in the second half after he handled in his area
  • Jamie Vardy scored the penalty before netting his second at the near post 
  • Barnes grabbed his second of the game after slotting home a curled effort 
  • Monday night’s defeat leaves Villa in a perilous position in the Premier League 

Jamie Vardy needed just three minutes to break a goalscoring duck lasting nearly three months as the second-half substitute’s double put Leicester’s Champions League challenge firmly back on track and increased Aston Villa’s relegation fears.

Vardy had not scored since the 3-1 defeat at Manchester City on December 21 – nine games ago – after his flying start to the campaign was interrupted by two calf injuries and a damaged gluteal muscle following the turn of the year.

Yet moments after replacing Kelechi Iheanacho on the hour mark, Vardy converted from the penalty spot to double the Foxes’ lead after Harvey Barnes had taken advantage of goalkeeper Pepe Reina’s howler to put the home side one up at half-time. Vardy and Barnes added further goals to leave Villa rooted in the bottom three after their fourth consecutive defeat.

A Pepe Reina howler and doubles from Harvey Barnes and Jamie Vardy saw off Aston Villa

Vardy capped his return from injury with a clinical double to put Leicester in command

The Englishman struck from the penalty spot just after the hour mark at the King Power 

Barnes made it four with five minutes remaining as the youngster grabbed his second goal

The penalty was given after Michael Oliver deemed Tyrone Mings had handled the ball

Monday’s defeat means Villa remain in the drop zone and in big trouble with 10 games left

Leicester (4-1-4-1): Schmeichel 6; Pereira 7.5, Evans 6.5, Soyuncu 6.5, Justin 7; Ndidi 6.5 (Mendy 84), Albrighton 6.5, Praet 7.5 (Tielemans 76), Maddison 7, Barnes 8; Iheanacho 5.5 (Vardy 60, 7.5). 

Subs not used: Ward, Morgan, Perez, Fuchs.

Scorers: Barnes 40, 85, Vardy 63 (pen), 79

Booked: Praet, Ndidi, Evans

Manager: Brendan Rodgers 7.5

Aston Villa (4-3-3): Reina 5; Guilbert 5, Engels 5.5, Mings 6, Targett 5; Elmohamady 5 (El Ghazi 64, 6), Douglas Luiz 5.5, Nakamba 6, Hourihane 5.5 (Davis 67, 6), Grealish 5.5; Samatta 5.5. 

Subs not used: Nyland, Taylor, Drinkwater, Konsa, Trezeguet.

Scorers: N/A

Booked: Hourihane

Manager: Dean Smith 5

Referee: Michael Oliver 6.5

Attendance: 32,125 

Season at a glance

 

 

Leicester (4-1-4-1): Schmeichel 6; Pereira 7.5, Evans 6.5, Soyuncu 6.5, Justin 7; Ndidi 6.5 (Mendy 84), Albrighton 6.5, Praet 7.5 (Tielemans 76), Maddison 7, Barnes 8; Iheanacho 5.5 (Vardy 60, 7.5). Subs not used: Ward, Morgan, Perez, Fuchs.

Scorers: Barnes 40, 85, Vardy 63 (pen), 79

Booked:

Manager: Brendan Rodgers 7.5

Aston Villa (4-3-3): Reina 5; Guilbert 5, Engels 5.5, Mings 6, Targett 5; Elmohamady 5 (El Ghazi 64, 6), Douglas Luiz 5.5, Nakamba 6, Hourihane 5.5 (Davis 67, 6), Grealish 5.5; Samatta 5.5. Subs not used: Nyland, Taylor, Drinkwater, Konsa, Trezeguet.

Scorers:

Booked: Hourihane

Manager: Dean Smith 5

Referee: Michael Oliver 6.5

Attendance: 32,125

 

Naturally, there was an edge to Vardy’s celebration as he let Reina know exactly what he thought of the Spaniard’s apparent attempts to distract him before the kick was taken. Yet Vardy was smiling again at full-time as Leicester restored their eight-point cushion over Manchester United, while Villa remain two points adrift of safety.

Villa had won just once away from home at Leicester in the Premier League era, and have taken only two Victories outside Villa Park in the league this term. Danny Drinkwater, who won the title with Leicester in 2016, was a substitute for his return to the King Power Stadium.

Yet Dean Smith’s men started brightly, perhaps encouraged by the fact Jamie Vardy – available again after missing two games with a calf injury – was only on the bench. Conor Hourihane should have marked a rare start with a goal in the sixth minute after Jack Grealish and Matt Targett combined down the left, only for the Irishman to take a fresh air shot when unmarked six yards out.

 Vardy taunts Reina after slotting home his penalty in the 63rd minute on Monday night

The hosts lead at half time after Harvey Barnes capitalised on a huge error from Reina

Barnes gave Leicester the lead just before half time after skipping past the onrushing Reina

Barnes’ team-mates swarm to congratulate the youngster after firing his side ahead

The Spanish goalkeeper watches on after gifting the hosts an early advantage on Monday

Mbwana Samatta was similarly wasteful moments later when he slid in at the far post to meet Hourihane’s curling free-kick but made poor contact and the ball trickled wide.

Having let Leicester off the hook, Villa then nearly gifted them a goal. Bjorn Engels and Pepe Reina could not decide how to deal with Ricardo Pereira’s lofted pass from deep, and Engels’ attempted headed to the stranded goalkeeper trickled just wide. Reina then redeemed himself by producing a fine save to keep out the unmarked Jonny Evans’ header from Maddison’s corner.

Another corner from Maddison led to another chance moments later, with Caglar Soyuncu sending his header too high when left alone at the far post.

Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish looks to wriggle away from Leicester City’s Marc Albrighton

Jonny Evans directs a header at goal but Reina is equal to it and smothers the attempt

After Wilfred Ndidi’s fierce challenge on Grealish had briefly floored the Villa captain, Leicester wanted a penalty when James Justin – in at left-back for the injured Ben Chilwell – tumbled under Frederic Guilbert’s challenge, but neither referee Michael Oliver nor VAR signalled a penalty.

Though not at their best, Leicester were still making chances. Kelechi Iheanacho headed Pereira’s perfect cross wide from eight yards, and Harvey Barnes shot weakly at Reina after Dennis Praet had released him with an excellent pass.

Barnes did not have to wait long to correct his mistake. Against his former club, Marc Albrighton spotted Guilbert out of position and released Barnes down the left in the 41st minute

Mbwana Samatta miscues his strike after being found by a wicked Conor Hourihane free kick

Reina opted to charge out of goal to meet the winger but fluffed his clearance, allowing Barnes to move inside, steady himself and find the net from the edge of the box. Leicester’s relief was obvious as Vardy led the celebrations along with the other substitutes.

Soon afterwards, the impressive Pereira followed through with a challenge on Targett and his studs caught the shin of the Villa left-back.

Iheanacho had scored six goals in his previous five games against Villa yet he was frustrated again soon after half-time when more poor defending allowed him clean through, but Reina saved with his legs.

Caglar Soyuncu and Samatta battle for possession in the first half at the King Power Stadium

Maddison continued to be dangerous from set pieces. He whipped over a free-kick from the left that Evans headed just wide of the far post. With an hour gone, Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers sent on Vardy for Iheanacho to exploit the wobbling Villa back four.

Within three minutes, he had broken his drought. Tyrone Mings handled Barnes’ cross and after VAR had upheld the penalty call, Vardy rammed the spot-kick down the centre as Reina dived to his left.

Leicester star Jamie Vardy started on the bench with Brendan Rodgers resting the striker

Leicester City fans displayed a banner opposing football being played on Monday nights

The forward appeared to have been upset by something during the build-up to the kick and after converting, he pointed at Reina before later putting his fingers to his lips in a ‘shush’ gesture.

Vardy made it three when he benefited from more desperate defending to beat Reina at his near post with 11 minutes remaining, before Barnes made it four with a close-range finish from Albrighton’s cut-back. In stoppage time, Albrighton wasted the chance of a fifth against his old club when he sliced wide from inside the box.




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