Jamie Vardy inspired Leicester City to a comprehensive 4-1 victory at Leeds United on Monday Night Football to move the Foxes up to second in the Premier League.
First-half strikes from Harvey Barnes and Youri Tielemans saw the Foxes cruise into the break at Elland Road 2-0 up, though things could have been different had Patrick Bamford not squandered two gilt-edged opportunities.
Stuart Dallas grabbed a lifeline early in the second half and an improved Leeds almost equalised when Pablo Hernandez’s rattled the crossbar, but the hosts’ hopes of a comeback were extinguished 14 minutes from time by Jamie Vardy’s seventh league goal of the season, before Tielemans dispatched a stoppage-time penalty after a VAR review to add gloss to the victory.
Leicester’s fourth consecutive away victory lifts them up to second in the Premier League, a point off leaders Liverpool, while Leeds remain 12th in the table after losing back-to-back home games under Marcelo Bielsa for the first time.
Leeds: Meslier (6), Ayling (6), Koch (3), Cooper (5), Dallas (6), Klich (4), Shackleton (4), Costa (5), Harrison (6), Hernandez (6), Bamford (4).
Subs: Roberts (5), Poveda (6), Alioski (n/a),
Leicester: Schmeichel (7), Albrighton (7), Fofana (7), Fuchs (7), Thomas (6), Justin (6), Mendy (7), Praet (7), Tielemans (8), Barnes (8), Vardy (8).
Subs: Morgan (6), Maddison (7), Under (7).
Man of the Match: Jamie Vardy
How Foxes hit four to move second
It took Leicester just two minutes to take the lead, but they could have been behind before that. Jack Harrison’s inch-perfect cross from the left found Bamford unmarked six yards out, but the in-form Leeds striker headed straight at Kasper Schmeichel.
Seventeen seconds later and Leicester were ahead. Robin Koch’s poor back pass ran aground on the wet surface and Vardy pounced, rounding the on-rushing Illan Meslier before selflessly squaring for Barnes to stroke into the unguarded net.
Leeds struggled to contain Leicester’s rampant attack and Barnes would have had a second had it not been for Meslier, who smothered a shot at the feet of the Foxes’ forward.
But it was only a matter of time before Leicester struck again and it came on 21 minutes. Vardy was central yet again as he stole a march on Koch to head Marc Albrighton’s cross on target. Meslier produced a fine save at point-blank range, but Tielemans was on hand to hammer in the rebound.
- Liam Cooper, Pablo Hernandez and Jamie Shackleton returned as Leeds made three changes from the win at Aston Villa.
- Luke Thomas, Christian Fuchs, Nampalys Mendy and Harvey Barnes returned as Leicester made for changes from the win at AEK Athens.
Meslier’s blushes were spared when he spilled an Albrighton cross onto the post on 25 minutes, but another missed Bamford opportunity – when he fired at Schmeichel after being played in by Luke Ayling’s reverse pass – ensured the Foxes reached the interval with their two-goal lead intact.
Leeds emerged from the break a different side and took just three minutes to reduce the arrears, as Dallas’ in-swinging cross sailed all the way into the far corner to breathe life into their response.
Seven minutes later and Leeds came within the width of the post of drawing level, with Hernandez’s brilliant effort curling past the dive of Schmeichel but onto the woodwork.
Leeds thought they should have been awarded a penalty on 74 minutes when Ayling went to ground under the challenge of Christian Fuchs, but referee Andre Marriner spotted no contact had been made.
And Leicester relief turned to joy soon after as substitutes James Maddison and Cengiz Under combined to get in behind, and the Turkey international – just as he did in Sunday’s win at Arsenal – squared for Vardy to tap home.
Vardy could have added another but he uncharacteristically shanked a shot wide late on, only for Tielemans to ensure an impressive performance ended on a high with a clinical penalty into the top corner after VAR had spotted Mateuz Klich’s foul on Maddison just inside the area.
Opta stats – Flying Foxes
- Leicester City have made their joint best-ever start to a top-flight campaign (after seven games), matching their tally from 2000-01 (15 points).
- Leicester have won each their opening four away games to a season for the first time in the club’s history (this their 116th campaign in English league football).
- Leeds remain winless in their last four league games against Leicester (D2 L2), their longest run without a victory against the Foxes since between Feb 2006 – Dec 2010 (a run of seven).
- Harvey Barnes’ opener after 119 seconds was Leicester’s fastest Premier League goal since Shinji Okazaki netted after just 52 seconds against Brighton back in August 2017.
- Youri Tielemans has scored more goals in his last three Premier League away appearances for Leicester (3) than he did in his first 25 games on the road for the Foxes (2).
What the managers said…
Leeds head coach Marcelo Bielsa: “The result was fair. In the first 30 minutes it was difficult for us to defend, and in the hour we dominated, we weren’t able to create enough danger.
“The distribution on the pitch was not correct and it was very difficult for us to defend in the first 30 minutes. We allowed them to make the final passes with too much comfort and ease.”
Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers: “My players were tactically brilliant. You have to deny Leeds space, if it becomes a basketball game, as they’ve shown, they can cause any team problems. We denied the space, made it difficult and then had the quality when we had the opportunities.
“We were amazing, we’ve got so many players out and right across the team it was a really good team performance. This team has got an amazing mentality, lots of young hungry players.
“You need to have more than one way to play in the modern team. My teams will always look to dominate and control where we can, but you can also control the game without the ball and especially against teams with real quality.
“You still have to have that concentration to block and press at the right moments. I’m pleased with our flexibility and how we are developing and improving.”
Man of the Match – Jamie Vardy
9 – Jamie Vardy’s strike this evening saw him become the seventh player in Premier League history to score 9+ consecutive goals away from home in the competition and the first since Harry Kane (13 in a row on the road) in September 2017. Breakaway. #LEELEI pic.twitter.com/v3ly7Aqujc
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) November 2, 2020
Jamie Vardy has now been directly involved in 13 goals in his last 12 Premier League games (11 goals, 2 assists), whilst his assist for Harvey Barnes saw him become just the second player to reach 30 assists in the competition for the Foxes alongside Steve Guppy (34).
Leeds travel to Crystal Palace on Saturday at 3pm, while Leicester entertain Braga in the Europa League at 8pm on Thursday before hosting Wolves on Super Sunday at 2pm – live on Sky Sports Premier League.