Manchester City 3, Leicester City 1
Goals by Riyad Mahrez, Ilkay Gundogan, and Gabriel Jesus completed a Manchester City comeback after they came from behind to best Leicester City.
Manchester City had to dig deep to win this game after Jamie Vardy had helped himself to a trademark counter attack goal against the run of play to take the lead for the Foxes.
But Kevin De Bruyne pulled the strings with willing help from Riyad Mahrez and City roared back to comfortably beat the Foxes.
There were two changes from the side that beat Arsenal last weekend – Bernardo Silva and Mahrez replaced Phil Foden and Rodri.
And City looked to have more fluidity and pace with De Bruyne drawing attention away from Riyad Mahrez on the right – both went on to have great games.
Kevin De Bruyne and Riyad Mahrez shine as Manchester City come from behind to beat Leicester City
De Bruyne hit the post in the 14th minute from 18 yards out after a cut back by Mahrez as the two City players pushed up high on the right.
Mahrez skipped past the challenge of two defenders and cut the ball back again three minutes later only for Gabriel Jesus’ shot to be palmed away by Kasper Schmeichel with Caglar Soyuncu clearing the loose ball.
It was almost inevitable that Vardy would have his say during this game and he duly roasted Fernandinho for pace after being released by Harvey Barnes, lifting the ball over Ederson to open the scoring after 22 minutes.
City equalised after half an hour when Mahrez took control of a crossfield pass from Benjamin Mendy, skipped inside and his shot took a wicked deflection off Caglar Soyuncu to wrongfoot Kasper Schmeichel.
It was the least that Mahrez deserved after carving out at least three chances before he claimed the equaliser.
Kasper Schmeichel also earned his corn in a frantic first half, saving from Raheem Sterling and De Bruyne.
But the Danish keeper could do nothing with Ilkay Gundogan’s spot kick in the 43rd minute after Raheem Sterling was brought down by Ricardo Pereira.
After a brief VAR check Gundogan stepped up and confidently found the bottom right corner with a powerful spot kick despite a correct guess by Schmeichel who got a hand to the ball but couldn’t stop it.
And there was still time for James Maddison to force a save out of Ederson before the break as Leicester wouldn’t lie down after the penalty set back.
Ederson saved from Harvey Barnes and Schmeichel denied Mahrez’ low strike as both sides went for more goals in the second half.
But it was City who struck next as Kevin De Bruyne cut a swathe through Leicester City’s left flank, crossing from the right to find Gabriel Jesus who had to stretch from 3 yards out to score his 11th goal of the season and first at the Etihad this season.
City held off on substitutions until late in the game as players started to go down with cramp, a testament to the work rate they had to put up to beat a quality opponent.
The title race still looks distant though as the Blues remain in third, a point behind Leicester and 11 behind Liverpool who have a game in hand.
PLAYER RATINGS – Manchester City 3, Leicester City 1
Ederson: 7. Beaten by Jamie Vardy for his first goal. Bravely saved at the feet of Harvey Barnes who was chasing down a Vardy cross in the second half, injuring the Leicester winger in the process.
Kyle Walker: 6. Recovery pace came in useful for City but slightly reckless going forward.
Nicolas Otamendi: 6. Nervous with Jamie Vardy around.
Fernandinho: 6. Roasted by Jamie Vardy for Leicester’s opening goal.
Benjamin Mendy: 7. No swashbuckling runs down the left. Instead he used crossfield balls to Riyad Mahrez and one provided the equaliser.
Ilkay Gundogan: 7. Deep lying playmaker role. Confident penalty. Went off with cramp.
Kevin De Bruyne: 9. Playing higher up the pitch again and caused Leicester problems as he struck the post with a reaction shot after a cut back by Riyad Mahrez and had shots saved by Kasper Schmeichel. Kept up his level and created Jesus’ goal in the second half and forced a fingertip save from Schmeichel as he tried to chip him.
Bernardo Silva: 7. Deployed centrally to help cover the defence and used his extra pace to help cover midfield alongside Ilkay Gundogan.
Riyad Mahrez: 9. Desperate to do well against his former club, he was an outlet on the right for City and proved dangerous with Kevin De Bruyne drawing attention away from him and he provided three dangerous chances early on. Deserved huge slice of luck to score off a wicked deflection, went lose with a free kick. Several second half chances to keep Schmeichel on his toes.
Raheem Sterling: 7. Looked up for the battle with some piercing runs from the left. Had a shot saved from Schmeichel off De Bruyne’s cross.
Gabriel Jesus: 7. Selfless running and pressing up front. Denied a goal by a great save from Kasper Schmeichel but had to stretch to meet Kecin De Bruyne’s cross to give City a 2-goal cushion. Had a late shot saved by Schmeichel too as Leicester left gaps at the back.
Rodri (on for Ilkay Gundogan, 79): No time to mark.
Phil Foden (on for Raheem Sterling, 89): No time to mark.
Sergio Aguero (Kevin De Bruyne, 90+2): No time to mark.
GOALS – Manchester City 3, Leicester City 1
Man City 0, Leicester City 1: 22. Harvey Barnes found Jamie Vardy with a great pass from the Leicester left wing after Kyle Walker lost the ball to Ben Chilwell. Vardy outpaced Fernandinho and lifted the ball over Ederson after driving into te left channel
Man City 1, Leicester City 1: 30. Riyad Mahrez cut inside and his shot took a wicked deflection off Caglar Soyuncu to wrongfoot Kasper Schmeichel for the equaliser after a Benjamin Mendy crossfield pass released him.
Man City 2, Leicester City 1: 43. Raheem Sterling was brought down by Ricardo Pereira – and after a brief VAR check Mike Dean confirmed his penalty decision. Ilkay Gundogan stepped up and confidently found the bottom right corner with a powerful spot kick despite a correct guess by Kasper Schmeichel.
Man City 3, Leicester City 1: 69. Kevin De Bruyne weaved his way through Leicester City’s left flank and laid on a great cross from the right for Gabriel Jesus to tap in from 3 yards as City counter attacked.
MATCH STATS – Manchester City 3, Leicester City 1
Man City: Ederson, Walker, Otamendi, Fernandinho, Mendy, Gundogan (Rodri 79), De Bruyne (Aguero 90+2), Bernardo Silva, Mahrez, Sterling (Foden 89), Jesus
Man City Subs not used: Bravo, Zinchenko, Cancelo, Garcia
Bookings: De Bruyne 59 (Dissent); Gundogan 70 (foul on Jamie Vardy)
Goals: Mahrez 30; Gundogan 43 pen; Jesus 69
Leicester City: Schmeichel, Pereira, Evans, Soyuncu, Chilwell, Ndidi, Perez (Gray 68), Tielemans (Praet 77), Maddison, Barnes (Albrighton 64), Vardy
Leicester City Subs not used: Ward, Justin, Morgan, Iheanacho
Bookings: Soyuncu 35 (bringing Kevin De Bruyne down just outside the area); Ndidi 51 (foul on Kevin De Bruyne)
Goal: Vardy 22
Referee: Mike Dean