While Liverpool, who are in the table, played for the title at the Club World Cup, Manchester City and Leicester City were the following on the 18th day of the Premier League. Leicester are second in the table and are the surprise team of the season in England’s top division and had lost only twice before their clash with City. Pep Guardiola’s team changed that and won their second league game in a row with a 3-1 (2-1) home win. Riyad Mahrez (30th minute), Ilkay Gündogan (43rd, Foulelfmeter) and Gabriel Jesus (69th) scored for the hosts. Jamie Vardy (22nd) had put Leicester in the lead (22nd).
Manchester City made the play first, after a post goal from Kevin De Bruyne (13th minute) all hinted at an early lead for the hosts – but Leicester countered: Harvey Barnes sent striker Vardy on the move via the left- which ran Fernandinho got away and lifted the ball over City’s keeper Ederson in the 16th. It was the 17th goal of the season for Leicester’s top scorer. Manchester reacted immediately: a long ball from Benjamin Mendy landed on the right wing at Riyad Mahrez. He scored with left against his former club, the ball was falsified by alar Söyüncü unsustainable for keeper Kasper Schmeichel. Shortly before the break, Ilkay Gündogan turned the game around with a converted foul.
At half-time, City’s dominance was clear: 13-3 shots on goal for Manchester, more than twice as many passes played (321:143), almost 70 per cent ball possession. After the restart, City took the pressure back a little bit, but the visitors did not make enough of their ball possession. It wasn’t until the 61st minute that the Foxes came dangerously in front of the opposing goal. Barnes did not hit Vardy’s flank properly and had to be replaced injured after the ensuing collision with Ederson. Schmeichel saved his team with a strong display against Mahrez (66th), when Gabriel Jesus came to the ball from close range after a beautiful solo from De Bruyne, he was powerless.
The win means City are close to one point (38) against Leicester. The gap to leaders Liverpool is still 11 points for the champions in a game.
Manchester City 3-1 Leicester City (2-1)
0-1 Vardy (22nd)
1:1 Mahrez (30th)
2:1 Gündogan (43rd, Foulelfmeter)
3:1 Gabriel Jesus (69th)
Manchester: Ederson – Walker, Fernandinho , Otamendi, Mendy – De Bruyne (90+1.), Gündogan (79th Rodrigo), Bernardo Silva – Mahrez, Gabriel Jesus, Sterling (89th Foden)
Leicester: Schmeichel – Ricardo Pereira, Evans , Söyüncü, Chilwell – Ndidi, Ayoze Perez (68th Gray), Tielemans (77th Praet), Maddison, Barnes (64th Albrighton) – Vardy
Yellow cards: De Bruyne, Gündogan – Söyüncü, Ndidi