Leicester were on their travels again in the Premier League with a tricky trip to The Hawthornes against West Brom, who despite having conceded 14 goals so far this season, they have also kept 5 clean sheets in the past 7 games. For the Baggies, it was always going to be a tough task to keep City out with Vardy scoring as many goals as West Brom have scored all season.
Ulloa came in for an injured Christian Fuchs with Schlupp dropping to the left back position. It was a bittersweet change of personnel as Fuchs has been excellent of late, but Ulloa has also deserved his chance to make a start with some impressive appearances coming on as a sub.
The game kicked off with Leicester coming out of the blocks the fastest. Vardy twisted and turned the West Brom defence in the 8th minute only to see his strike come off the base of the post and flash across goal and out of play.
Marc Albrighton was heavily involved from the off and worked hard down the left with Schlupp in support and if anything was going to happen, it looked like it was along this channel. Schlupp was back to his old self. Good in possession and was always looking to bring the ball forward. Despite the great start, West Brom found their feet after around 20 minutes and settled into the game.
Many City fans were saying the Baggies were very poor and they were right, but you knew after that comment they would take the lead, which they did on 30 minutes. Once again this season, City struggled to deal with a set piece as £12m record signing Rondon lost Simpson to power a superb headed into the top corner from a Sessegnon corner. Schmeichel did his best to keep it out, but the power of the header was just too much.
Leicester had a few half chances in the first half, particularly Vardy and Drinkwater who both had shots blocked, but West Brom dealt well with what City were throwing at them and went into half time 1-0 up.
West Brom started the second half well and City had to put in some good defensive display as Rondon and Berahino combined well attacking City’s backline. Leicester found themselves level again on 57. The ball came out to Huth who thundered his header forward with Albrighton controlling the ball superbly before delivering a defence splitting cross into Mahrez who couldn’t miss from 6 yards out, finishing with a fine volley.
On 63, City almost took the lead as Mahrez collected the ball and waited patiently for the run from Schlupp down the left. Mahrez played Schlupp down the line and he delivered a low cross to Vardy who almost converted a cheeky flick past Myhill who was left scrambling to his left. However, a minute later, the Foxes were in front. Again Albrighton delivered a cross this time from the opposite side which took a very slight deflection on the way through, but that man Mahrez was there again in the six yard box and despite striking the ball against Myhill, the keeper had no chance of stopping the shot.
Replays showed that Mahrez may have been offside, but the goal stood and City have had their fair share if bad luck in the past, so won’t be too guilty about that little bit of luck.
West Brom continued to push City and their greatest threat came from set pieces, in particular their corners. 2 corners in as many minutes brought Schmeichel into play, who twice had to claw away dangerous balls in the six yard box. Something Schmeichel is often criticised about, but he coped well with the crosses in this game.
King came on for Ulloa and City switched to a 4-2-3-1 with King and Kante sitting in front of the back four to sure things up. Shortly after, the impressive Albrighton made way for Dyer in a straight swap and the Baggies brought on Lambert and Morrison for Yacob and Berahino in a bid to bolster their attack.
In the 77 minute, City broke again. Vardy and Drinkwater combined superbly on the halfway and Drinkwater delivered a pinpoint pass to Vardy, who raced through, took a touch wide of Myhill and delivered an unstoppable finish across the keeper for his 11 of the season to became only the third player to score in 8 straight games in the Premier League and the only player to do so for City.
This started a mass exodus of Albion fans with the City faithful asking questions about fire drills. Brunt made way for McManaman as West Brom went in search of an unlikely comeback. However on 83 minutes, they were given a lifeline as McManaman made an immediate impact and won himself a penalty. McManaman tumbled under pressure from Dyer and Simpson in what appeared to be a harsh decision by the referee, however I think the other way round, we’d have been calling for a spot kick.
Lambert converted to make it a nervy ending to the game. West Brom went close on 87 as McManaman again caused problems, curling a shot just wide from a Lambert knock-down. It looked as if Schmeichel had it covered, but it was close nonetheless.
Schmeichel was again tested in the final minutes of added time, but spread himself well to keep Lambert out, although I think his shot may have gone wide, but Schmeichel wasn’t to know.
City held on for a mother great win, taking them to 22 points after 11 games. Coincidently, that is the same about of points City were on when they visited The Hawthornes last season, however that was after 30 games in April!
Vardy top scorer, Mahrez second top scorer, City 3rd in the table, 3 points behind Man City, 15 points clear of the bottom 3, 5 points clear of 6th. Dare we dream?
I’m going to go against the grain on my man of the match, as I reckon many would have said Mahrez. Yes he scored two goals, but he would have done well to miss them, so my man of the match is going to the player that created the goals, as he worked his socks off with 56 touches and 13 crosses and 2 assists in 75 minutes…..