Man City v Leicester City

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Manchester City took an early lead but were stunned by a Jamie Vardy hat-trick and lost 5-2 in the Premier League on Sunday.

Riyad Mahrez smashed in the opener just three minutes in and the home side were dominant for long spells.

But Jamie Vardy won, and converted, a penalty before half-time – and after the break flicked in a second, won another spot-kick and side-footed home his treble.

City pressed to reduce the arrears, but matters instead got worse as James Maddison curled in a magnificent fourth, Nathan Ake headed a consolation and Youri Tielemans scored yet another penalty.

Here are five things we learned from the game at the Etihad Stadium.

Clinical Vardy

He had barely touched the ball for half an hour, spent more time in a central midfield zone than a striker’s one and was part of a defensive-minded set-up for Leicester early on – but then Jamie Vardy clicked into gear.

Given the most minimal of service, he maximised the Foxes’ attacking potential with guile, speed and a ruthless edge.

His two penalties were buried, while the back-heeled, flicked strike in between was cheeky, ingenious, immaculately executed.

City couldn’t get near his movement off the ball and certainly couldn’t match his clinical finishing.

No No 9, no goal poaching

By contrast, City had lots of the ball, several moments of danger and a few instances which looked as though they’d soon run away with the game – but no end product.

Mahrez absolutely battered in a loose ball and Ake scored off a set-piece, but in open-play chances they lacked the finishing touch to make good on their dominance.

Liam Delap had one attempt which bounced off the bar, but beyond that the home team simply lacked a presence in the box which always looked like taking the ball in a dangerous area.

No Sergio Aguero, no Gabriel Silva, no guarantee of goals to go on the end of the possession.

Maybe Pep should coach tackling

That said, two goals should be enough to win most home games for top teams.

The City manager once infamously stated that he didn’t coach his team to tackle.

Obviously, that was more a reference to the fact that technique and defensive tactical approaches involve rather more than literally going through tackling drills, but perhaps his back line could do with a refresher course.

Kyle Walker, Eric Garcia and Benjamin Mendy all gave away spot-kicks with clumsy, ill-judged and poorly timed tackles.

Add in an inability to track the movement off the ball and concede five and it was a woeful day all-round.

Looking thin

It must be noted that injury absences left even City’s monster squad stretched and looking extremely thin.

Ferran Torres and Aymeric Laporte were the only senior outfielders who could be considered potential starters, plus Oleksandr Zinchenko – the rest were exclusively youngsters and backups.

Guardiola will hope to get a couple of them back sooner rather than later; the only question is whether he’ll most hope to get defensive reinforcements back first or attacking alternatives.

Inferiority complex

It had been suggested more than once that Leicester’s 2019/20 campaign started to fall down after back-to-back, heavy defeats to the top two last season, Liverpool and Man City.

Given they went the rest of the season without beating a team who finished third or fourth either, the so-called inferiority complex over facing the big teams was being questioned.

This, then, was an emphatic answer: a tactical plan which ultimately worked well, plus the confidence which came and visibly grew in the group with each passing goal they scored.

Leicester found the way to unlock City and repeated it with ruthless precision and, ultimately, have won themselves an early spot atop the fledgling Premier League table.


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