Leicester ranked second in the Premier League after beating Aston Villa 2-1 in round 25, on the evening of February 21.
*Goals: Traore 48 ‘- Maddison 19’, Barnes 23 ‘.
With captain Jack Grealish due to injury, Aston Villa is no longer himself, despite being kicked at home. The army under Dean Smith attacked sporadically and had to wait for a fixed ball when Ross Barkley could not fill the void left by his teammates. Grealish’s absence was a chance for James Maddison to impress.
Leicester’s conductor opened the scoring with a deep shot from outside the box. Aston Villa let Leicester win the ball two right before the penalty area in this phase. Their midfielders could not back up to accompany Maddison while Tyron Mings hesitated, not rushing to close the corner.
Just four minutes later, the visitors doubled the gap. Once again Leicester successfully capitalized on the opponent’s indecision. Harvey Barnes kicked off the roof of Villa’s net while goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez was lost after stopping Jamie Vardy’s stretch shot.
Losing two goals when the first half had not passed half, Villa determinedly raised the squad. But the individual’s efforts cannot help them create mutations. On the contrary, the well-coordinated combinations of the trio Maddison, Barnes and Vardy make Leicester’s attacks more dangerous.
The home team’s upstream hope was lit up by Bertrand Traore’s shortening the score at the start of the second half. Using Leicester defenders sucked towards John McGinn, after Matt Targett’s cross, Traore was a step faster than goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel with his volley-lofted effort.
However, this goal did not help the home team regain the match. Even more, they almost lost by Maddison’s free-kick, if it weren’t for Martinez’s excellence, or Vardy’s two unsuccessful attempts after he eliminated Villa midfielders for his speed.
The second half had six minutes of stoppage time. But that does not help Villa avoid failure at home. Win 2-1, Leicester paid the 0-1 loss in the fifth round and rose to second place with 49 points, three points ahead of Man Utd. Villa stomped on eighth place. The next round, Leicester will host Arsenal on the evening of February 28, while Villa is a guest of Leeds the day before.
Aston Villa: Martinez, Elmohamady, Konsa, Mings, Targett, Douglas Luiz (Sanson 81 ‘), McGinn, Traore, Barkley (Ramsey 76’), El Ghazi (Trezeguet 67 ‘), Watkins.
Leicester: Schmeichel, Ricardo Pereira (Amartey 76 ‘), Evans, Soyuncu, Thomas, Tielemans (Choudhury 88’), Ndidi, Castagne, Maddison (Mendy 64 ‘), Barnes, Vardy.