MAN CITY 2, LEICESTER CITY 0
Manchester City made hard work of defeating Leicester City, the Barclays Premier League’s bottom club.
It took a late goal from substitute James Milner to finally see off the spirited Foxes who could easily have pulled off a shock.
Leicester, who fell behind to a first half stoppage time goal from David Silva, gave a performance which belied the fact they have picked up only one point from a possible 18 and had a number of glorious chance to cause an upset.
Yet on the flip side of the coin, City could and should have won by a wider margin as they, too, created a glut of chances.
The main culprit was new £28million signing Wilfried Bony, the £28million signing, who must be wondering how his did not find the net on his full debut.
Bony had four clear-cut chances, but just could not find a route to goal. That was down to a combination of wayward finishing and the brilliance of Mark Schwarzer.
The 42-year-old Aussie rolled back the years with a goalkeeping masterclass which belied his advancing years.
Captain Vincent Kompany was the highest-profile casualty as manager Manuel Pellegrini made five changes from the side beaten at Liverpool on Saturday.
Samir Nasri, Pablo Zabaleta, Fernandinho and Edin Dzeko also lost their places as there was a first start for new-boy Bony and recalls for Bacary Sagna, Martin Demichelis, Fernando and Jesus Navas.
Pelegrini explained why he made the changes: “It was important to refresh the team mentally and physically after two difficult games, and it was not a problem leaving Kompany out or any of the other players.
“When you have had a result you don’t want, the next game is always difficult, and the most important thing was to win the three points.
“It was important to keep a clean sheet and try to dominate which we did and had good possession. Leicester may be bottom, but they drew at Everton in their last game and played well in other recent games.
“May be we should have scored the second goal too late.”
Leicester manager Nigel Pearson thought his side ought to have had three penalties saying his group are “resilient” and will overcome those setbacks saying there was plenty of positives to take from the game.
He again called for the introduction of new technology to eradicate such mistakes saying he believes UEFA have made a mistake by deciding not to pursue this avenue for another 12 months.
Bony almost made it a memorable start when, after less than three minutes, his header from a David Silva was cleared off the line by Esteban Cambiasso.
Striker Bony then nearly blotted his copybook as he was lucky not to concede a penalty for a clumsy challenge on Jeff Schlupp.
City keeper Joe Hart had to race off his line to save at the feet of Croatian Andrej Kramaric. He clearly got the ball before the player as Leicester’s shout for a penalty was more in hope than substance.
Bony had another great chance as he was denied by keeper Mark Schwarzer after getting on the end of a low Navas cross.
Schwarzer was called into action again flinging himself full length to his left to turn away a stinging shot from Navas.
Bony ought to have broken the deadlock in the 42nd minute when Bony beautifully chested down a Silva pass, but proceeded to blaze over from eight yards.
The breakthrough came in first half stoppage time when Silva found the net with a close-range finish after Bony’s shot was blocked by Wes Morgan and rebounded into his path as he beat Schwarzer who was already on the ground. It was his 10th goal of the season.
Bony had yet another great chance soon after the restart from a Navas cross but, from eight yards, miscued to such a degree that his shot hit the corner flag.
City were lucky not to concede another penalty when Fernando’s challenge in Kramaric was inside the box, but referee Robert Madley awarded it outside. Kramaric’s free lick was deflected off Aleksandar Kolarov into the side netting.
Aguero came close to doubling City’s lead when his header from Kolarov’s cross was brilliantly saved by Schwarzer who then made an even better stop to turn over a long-range effort from Yaya Toure.
Leicester came within inches of equalising with 15 minutes left when Riyad Mahrez’s shot from the left of the box hit the far upright.
Schwarzer then pulled off another flying save to deny Silva as the second half was developing into an enthralling contest.
City finally saw off spirited Leicester with two minutes left when substitute Milner latched onto a Navas cross to fire home a low shot from six yards.