Man City survived an inspired comeback in the second half from Leicester in a breathtaking 6-3 victory over the Foxes in the Premier League.
Cityzens were ruthless from the start and opened the scoring within four minutes when Fernandinho picked out Kevin De Bruyne with a lovely cut ball. The Belgian made no mistake, he checked it expertly before asking for his time to laser a left-footed strike in the lower corner.
Leicester’s counterattacks created a good chance for James Maddison on the right, but he could only look on with dismay as his strike rebounded off the crossbar.
Aymeric Laporte came in to finish the match. Yours Tielemans had to make a substitution after 28 minutes. Riyad Mahrez stepped up to fire his resulting point kick in the top corner.
Only 20 minutes had passed when the hosts put the competition in doubt (or so we thought). Joao Cancelo’s sizzling cross over the six-yard ball worked effectively down the right and was traded tightly into Ilkay Gundogan’s path by Leicester goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel and the German made no mistakes from the right.
Leicester meandered and City poured more salt into the visitors’ wounds as they added a fourth just four minutes later. Again, it was Tielemans who was the culprit when he felled Raheem Sterling inside the penalty area with a lazy challenge, before the English national team player took the ball and sent the penalty himself.
The home side worked hard to get through the middle and as a result, had a good chance of getting one back as Sterling tried lifting the ball over keeper Oleksandr Zinchenko and Bernardo Silva.
Mahrez threatened with an effort after the break, but it was Leicester who pulled back a goal on the counter nine minutes after the restart.
Aymeric Laporte slipped and slithered in the wet grass. His usual rapid runs were nowhere to be seen today.
And it was not just a consolation for the foxes because Ademola Lookman took a second shortly after. Iheanacho turned to the supplier was again with a correct timed through ball and the winger made no mistake one-on-one against the City goalkeeper.
Memories of Newcastle’s famous comeback in the second half were then evoked when Leicester netted their third of the half. Maddison’s rasping shot was tipped just over the bar by Ederson before Iheanacho followed in cleverly to bundle the ball over the goal line.
Guardiola’s side, however, took a fire extinguisher to Leicester’s jump right after. Laporte rose to the top of the back post from Mahrez’s corner and put his header in the far corner to inject a sigh of relief into the Etihad crowd.
To the great relief of the City faithful, Sterling then put the competition without a doubt four minutes from the time he was in place to put the finishing touches on Ruben Dia’s header from a corner from six meters away.
This is how both teams gave grades.
Dias protests with the referee / Alex Pantling / GettyImages
Ederson (GK) – 5/10 – Admittedly three times, but he would be forgiven for regretting his side’s defense.
Joao Cancelo (RB) – 7/10 – Chose his moments to overlap Mahrez on the flank and delivered with consistent quality into the risk area.
Ruben Dias (CB) – 6/10 – Quite the contrast in activity on both halves. Hardly needed to sweat during the opening period before being bombarded in the second half.
Aymeric Laporte (CB) – 7/10 – Fought by Youri Tielemans for Mahrez’s first half, with his distribution outside the defense also particularly effective. Unfortunate failure for Maddison’s goal but he improved to take City’s fifth.Oleksandr Zinchenko (LB) – 6/10 – Showed his wide range of passes from his inverted position, although he did not cover himself in honor of Lookman’s blow.
Gundogan celebrates his goal / Alex Pantling / GettyImages
Fernandinho (CM) – 8/10 – Still a classic act at 36 years old, with his constant game changes that proved to be dizzying for Leicester.
Bernardo Silva (CM) – 6/10 – His slalom skiing was fully shown, although he did not threaten the penalty area as much as he has done this season.
Ilkay Gundogan (CM) – 6/10 – Could not have asked for an easier goal chance for City’s third, and reaped the rewards for his ability to find space inside the penalty box.
Sterling celebrates / James Williamson – AMA / GettyImages
Riyad Mahrez (RW) – 5/10 – Held his width to the right really effectively to create space for De Bruyne infield.
Kevin De Bruyne (ST) – 7/10 – Fits like a glove in this fake nine-role, and ends with self-confidence to begin the Man City procession.
Raheem Sterling (LW) – 8/10 – Looking back at his best and gave Marc Albrighton a cool time in the first half and scored a couple of goals.
72. STADSUB | @PhilFoden replaces @DeBruyneKev?
? 5-3? #ManCity pic.twitter.com/PVmjn24Xn1
– Manchester City (@ManCity) December 26, 2021
Phil Foden (ST) – N / A
Albrighton had a tough afternoon against Sterling / Alex Pantling / GettyImages
Kasper Schmeichel (GK) – 3/10 – Made some decent stops, but his mistake for Gundogan’s goal characterizes his struggle this season.
Marc Albrighton (RB) – 3/10 – A chic afternoon against a confident Raheem Sterling.
Daniel Amartey (CB) – 4/10 – Looked vulnerable in his defensive duels, but that’s understandable given the quality of City’s strikers.
Jannik Vestergaard (CB) – 4/10 – If ever one afternoon summed up why Rodgers has been reluctant to use the Danish national team player as part of a four-man defense.
Luke Thomas (LB) – 4/10 – Cancelo’s moves gave him problems and he could not influence the game going forward.
Maddison celebrates / James Williamson – AMA / GettyImages
Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall (CM) – 5/10 – A quiet afternoon chasing Man City’s shadows.
Youri Tielemans (CM) – 3/10 – Endured a nightmare afternoon and conceded two penalties and he can not complain either.
James Maddison (CM) – 8/10 – A performance that will make Gareth Southgate sit up and notice. Drove forward Leicester when all hope seemed to be lost at half time.
Lookman and Iheanacho Celebrate / James Williamson – AMA / GettyImages
Ayoze Perez (RW) – 3/10 – An effective outlet on the right wing during the early substitutions, but he was hooked at half time.
Kelechi Iheanacho (ST) – 8/10 – A threat in the transition, took two assists and a goal in a productive second half.
Ademola Lookman (LW) – 7/10 – Looked very bright during the break and took his goal really well in the second half.
A second switch for visitors?
➡️ Choudhury⬅️ Tielemans # MciLei pic.twitter.com/A1kjhf6C5f
– Leicester City (@LCFC) December 26, 2021
Timothy Castagne (RB) – 6/10 – Offered Leicester more defensive protection.
Hamza Choudhury (CM) – N / A
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