Leicester 1-0 Wolves: Jamie Vardy has mixed fortunes from spot Foxes go top

Report and free highlights as Leicester’s Jamie Vardy nets eighth goal of season with penalty before missing another with sixth consecutive win in all competitions to see off Wolves, who remain in eighth

Digital Football Journalist
@Ronnabe

Sunday 8 November 2020 16:53, UK

Jamie Vardy scored one penalty and missed another as Leicester went top of the Premier League with a 1-0 win over Wolves at the King Power Stadium.

Vardy converted from the spot following a contentious call that Max Kilman had handled Dennis Praet’s cross, which referee Anthony Taylor only awarded after checking the VAR review monitor.

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A more clear-cut decision gave Vardy the chance to double Leicester’s lead before half-time against an out-of-sorts Wolves when Rayan Ait-Nouri wiped out James Justin, but Rui Patricio guessed right to keep out his poor spot kick and keep the visitors in contention before half-time.

Their second-half performance showed more attacking threat with Pedro Neto and Ruben Neves testing Kasper Schmeichel, but the Foxes, who could have secured victory late on through Harvey Barnes, saw out the game to go top of the Premier League, at least until Liverpool took on Manchester City on Super Sunday.

Player ratings

Leicester: Schmeichel (7), Fofana (8), Evans (7), Fuchs (7), Justin (7), Mendy (6), Tielemans (7), Thomas (5), Praet (7), Maddison (7), Vardy (7).

Subs: Albrighton (6), Barnes (6), Morgan (n/a).

Wolves: Patricio (7), Kilman (6), Coady (6), Boly (6), Semedo (6), Dendoncker (5), Neves (6), Ait-Nouri (5), Podence (6), Jimenez (6), Neto (6).

Subs: Traore (6), Marcal (6), Silva (6).

Man of the match: Wesley Fofana.

How Leicester kept up fine form to go top

Eyebrows may have been raised when Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo claimed Wolves were not in ‘great form’ despite a run of 10 points from four games – but his side did not look like a team with the wind in their sails at the King Power Stadium.

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They remained resolute defensively up until Kilman was harshly ruled to have handled Praet’s cross when Taylor checked the VAR monitor, allowing Vardy to smash the ball beyond Patricio from 12 yards. But the visitors did struggle to hold onto possession and saw barely five per cent of the ball in the Leicester third before the break.

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Even so, for all the Foxes’ territory, their only two shots on target before half-time both came from the spot, with Ait-Nouri’s ill-judged lunge on Justin after a poor touch from the Wolves defender giving Vardy the chance to step up from 12 yards again. This time, he went the other way, with Patricio guessing right to keep out a poor spot kick.

Wolves were stung into life by that reprieve for the final six minutes of the first period, albeit without testing Kasper Schmeichel, and left Leicester – who looked likely to enjoy a two-goal cushion only minutes earlier – relieved to hear the half-time whistle.

The visitors’ habit of second-half revivals was again realised following a Santo team talk, but not before Youri Tielemans had nodded a presentable chance wide within a minute of the restart, and Vardy had seen a dipping effort from wide palmed over.

Leicester then needed a superb sliding block from Wesley Fofana to deny Daniel Podence a chance to tap home an equaliser when Nelson Semedo found space on the wing, before Neto powered an effort straight at Kasper Schmeichel, who did well to hold onto it.

Wolves still struggled to create clear chances until Leander Dendoncker volleyed just wide from Marcal’s raking pass, before Neves – searching for his first league goal in more than a year – was kept out by a superb Schmeichel stop.

Still Leicester carried a threat and nearly sealed three points when substitute Harvey Barnes’ goalbound effort was deflected over by Kilman’s vital block, and despite some late pressure from Wolves, the hosts’ hopes of going top were never seriously threatened.

What the managers said…

Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers: “I think it’s the best win of the three this week. With so many players out and such a tough schedule, it was an incredible performance. We had to show a different side to the team today. I thought first half we were very good in our football, some of the quality of combinations, how we got through Wolves and into dangerous areas was very good, and we should have been maybe more than 1-0 up.

On going top: “It’s been an incredible start, I’m so happy for the players. It’s important in any season your first steps are positives, and with all players available it would’ve been really good, but for the players we’ve had out for the guys to show that quality and resilience, it’s what you want as a manager.”

Wolves manager Nuno Espirito Santo: “Leicester started better than us, that led to the situation of the penalties. As the game went by we improved, the second half we were much, much better. We caused situations, produced situations requiring better finishing.

“I haven’t seen the images of the penalty. It’s very hard to judge the work of the referees, VAR saw it, Anthony saw it on the screen, but inside it’s difficult to coach a player and tell him he must put his arms away that will create unbalance. It’s very hard, what we want from situations is good and fair decisions.

“Week in, week out we see different things. Until they get it right, we’ll be talking about it over and over again, something we don’t want. We have enough problems in football to be suspicious about anything, I don’t want to think about that.”

Man of the match – Wesley Fofana

Brendan Rodgers made clear he needed defensive reinforcements in the summer and in the shape of Wesley Fofana, it looks like he’s got them.

It’s still early days for the 19-year-old, but he looks mature beyond his years at the heart of Leicester’s back three, and with three tackles, two interceptions – a Leicester high – and as many passes in the opposition half as wing-back James Justin across the 90 minutes, showed exactly what Rodgers wants.

“Today again he showed he’s strong, aggressive, and has that class on the ball,” he told his post-match press conference. “He made one recovery challenge which was unbelievable. He’s a big talent, we’re delighted with him, he’s loved his start here. He’s been very good.”

Opta facts

  • Leicester have won 18 points in their opening eight Premier League games (W6 L2), their best ever start to a top-flight season and best start to a season since winning 19 points in their first eight games in 2008/09 in League One.
  • Wolves have won none of their four away Premier League matches against Leicester (D2 L2), failing to score in every match.
  • Leicester have won their last six matches in all competitions, scoring 15 goals and conceding just twice.
  • Leicester’s Jamie Vardy has scored 23 of the 28 penalties he has taken in the Premier League (82%) and has scored more penalties than any other player since the start of the 2014/15 season.
  • Leicester City have scored seven penalties in the Premier League this season, four more than any other side. The Foxes have been awarded eight so far in 2020/21, the earliest in a campaign a team has ever been awarded as many as eight penalties; the previous earliest was Man Utd last season (16th game).

What’s next?

Leicester travel to Liverpool after the international break on November 21; Kick-off at 3pm. If they win at Anfield, they will be guaranteed to end the weekend top of the Premier League.

Wolves’ next game, at the same time, is at home to Southampton.

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