Foxes stay top despite home draw

By Dan Ableson

Leicester City failed to go five-points clear at the top of the Barclay’s Premier League after drawing 1-1 against West Bromwich Albion at the King Power Stadium.

The home side came from one goal down to take the lead before half time but Craig Gardner’s free kick after the break sealed the point for the visitors in an entertaining clash.

The Foxes made two changes from the weekend as Danny Simpson and Andy King came in for Daniel Amartey and N’Golo Kante.

City will now turn their attention to Watford on Saturday evening whilst the Baggies host Manchester United.

The Foxes, who were coming off the back of a last minute victory against Norwich at the weekend  began the game full of confidence with both Shinji Okazaki and Riyad Mahrez making early inroads in the West Bromwich defence who conceded two goals  in their 3-2 victory over Crystal Palace on Saturday.

But it was the visitors who opened the scoring in the 11th minute when the tough tackling Darren Fletcher turned provider with a delicate through ball that found Rondon who calmly slotted it underneath the onrushing Kasper Schmeichel.

The home side continued to create chances with top scorer Jamie Vardy and Marc Albrighton coming close.

And it didn’t take long for City to score a much deserved equaliser in the 30th minute when Danny Drinkwater picked up the ball 20-yards from goal and unleashed a low effort that took a wicked deflection past Ben Foster.

The visitors were struggling to contain the league leaders who nearly made it two in the 36th minute when Drinkwater’s precise cross met Vardy whose header cannoned back off the crossbar.

City’s relentless pressure paid off just before half time when Albrighton accurate cross field ball found Riyad Mahrez at the edge of the box who neatly cushioned it down into the path of King who calmly side footed the ball in to the back of the net leaving the keeper rooted to the spot.

Tony Pulis’ men struck back immediately after halftime when Craig Gardener’s sublime free kick sailed past Schmeichel’s right hand side making it 2-2.

However, Leicester were once again showing their resilience and when Okazaki rose highest to meet the ball it was only the bar that stood in their way for the second time in the game.

West Brom, who scored three at the weekend, nearly did the same again but Rondon squandered a golden chance to double his tally in the 65th blazing the ball over the bar from just 5 yards out.

Much like the first half Leicester began to control the game in look for the breakthrough passing up a host of half chances, none more so than Mahrez’s stoppage time bicycle kick.

But, they failed to break down the visitors defence for the third time, in a game that could play a significant role in this season’s title race.

Referee: Mark Clattenburg

32,018

 

From we are staying up, to we are staying top

BY JORDAN HUGGINS

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After a rambunctious start, Leicester have had to settle with a point against 13th placed West Bromwich.

Goals from Danny Drinkwater & Andy King were not enough for all three points following a 2-2 draw at the King Power Stadium in front of 32,018 fans.

The game started quickly with an incident involving Christian Fuchs only 30 seconds removed from kick off, almost against the run of play 11 minutes in Darren Fletcher rolled a crisp through ball into the path of Solomon Rondon, who overpowered Robert Huth and calmly converted just outside the six yard box.

The game calmed down after 15 minutes as Leicester continually threatened through Vardy, Albrigton, and Okazaki, and West Brom through Rondon and Gardner.

It was clear Leicester were missing N’Golo Kante as they were continually forced to build from the back with Wes Morgan pressing forward frequently. After three clear scoring opportunities it was looking like it wasn’t to be Leicester’s day until lady luck showed up and a low driven shot from Danny Drinkwater deflected wickedly to make it 1-1 in the 31st minute.

A 36th minute header by Jamie Vardy hit the post and proved a signal of intent from the league leaders. Moments later, Mahrez, following a smart reverse pass by Albrighton hesitated and pulled his shot high into the crowd.

Looking to provide a much needed spark before the end of the half, Marc Albrighton made himself the man for the occasion, his driven cross field pass found Mahrez who flicked the ball into the path of Andy King and he made no mistake converting to put Leicester 2-1 up on the stroke of half time.

In true Premier League fashion, the second half saw West Brom respond immediately on the 49th minute as Craig Gardner converted a sublime free kick into the top left corner leaving Kasper Schmeichel in no mans land and pulling the game level to 2-2.

Okazaki come close (56th minutes) but the woodwork again savied West Brom blushes after some lacklustre defending.

Substitutes made on the 62nd minute saw Marc Albrighton come off for Jeffery Schlupp and Leonardo Ulloa come on for Shinji Okazaki

Two minutes removed from his introduction Schlupp almost restored the lead with a low drive that was scooped up neatly by Foster, moments later Rondon skied the ball in front of a keeperless goal following a well orchestrated attack.

Leicester remained on top late into the game but West Brom showed great fighting spirit throughout.

Mahrez then squandered a great chance right at the tail end attempting an audacious bicycle kick deep into stoppage time. A late defensive substitution from Tony Pulis made it clear that this was a satisfactory point for the Baggies.

The last chance of the game fell to Leonardo Ulloa, who mistimed a golden opportunity to repeat his late heroics against Norwich, Leicester remain top of the league by three points.

City rue missed chances in home draw with dogged West Brom

Billy Grimshaw

Title chasing Leicester City had to settle for a 2-2 draw at home to West Bromwich Albion this evening. Andy King stepped into fill the role of midfield enforcer vacated by the injured N’Golo Kante in the major change for City from the Norwich game on Saturday.

The Foxes fought back from a goal down to lead and had the better of the game, but must take only a share of the spoils as goals from Danny Drinkwater and Andy King cancelled out Salomon Rondon’s opener before a fine Craig Gardener free kick restored parity.

The home side enjoyed a bright start, dominating the early exchanges while the men from the Hawthorns sat back and absorbed the pressure. Seemingly from nowhere, West Brom hit the front in the 11th minute. With Leicester on the attack, the ball broke to Darren Fletcher who produced a peach of a pass up-field into the Leicester half. Rondon out-muscled Robert Huth before coolly slotting through the legs of Kasper Schmeichel.

The game continued in the same vein following the goal, with Leicester on top and West Brom looking to counter. Riyad Mahrez looked lively down the right flank and produced a few clear cut chances.

Leicester finally made the pressure count when a Mahrez cross was cleared only as far as Danny Drinkwater and the midfielder rifled a low shot at goal. The strike was deflected off the heels of Jonas Olsson and looped over the helpless Foster to draw the Foxes level.

Tempers were beginning to rise on the pitch, with Mark Clattenburg doing well to keep a lid on things as half time approached. Leicester’s goalscorer almost turned provider in the 36th minute as Drinkwater’s cross was cannoned off the crossbar form a Jamie Vardy header.

The comeback was complete on the stroke of half time, when Marc Albrighton produced a brilliant cross-field pass to Mahrez, with the Algerian delighting the crowd with a sublime backheel flick into the path of the arriving Andy King, who calmly lifted the ball into the net.

West Brom started the second half brilliantly, with Craig Gardner curling in an exquisite free kick from 25 yards after Mahrez was penalised for hand ball on 48 minutes.

It took a miraculous reaction save from Foster to deny Okazaki’s header from close range restoring the Foxes lead almost immediately. Rondon then missed a wonderful chance on 66 minutes to put West Brom ahead, ballooning a cross from 3 yards over the bar.

Chances were exchanged in the final quarter with neither side able to make the decisive breakthrough. Leicester continued to probe as the final whistle approached, with substitute Ulloa coming agonisingly close, but it was to no avail and two points in the title race were lost.

 

 

Foxes drop points at home against defiant West Brom

By George Bushell

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League leaders Leicester were made to settle for a draw against Midland rivals West Bromwich in what can only be described as a fiercely contested derby.

It was the away side who struck first through a Rondon effort slotted under Schmeichel after being put through one-on-one by Darren Fletcher inside 15 minutes.

The Foxes responded by striking twice through Drinkwater and King, showing the spirit which has kept them so high in the league.

Shortly after the break an equalizer came through a Craig Gardener free-kick which flew straight into the back of the net to give the Baggies a point to hold onto until the end of the game.

Ranieri made two changes to the eleven that narrowly beat Norwich on Saturday, with the injured N’Golo Kante being replaced by Andy King and Danny Simpson returning from suspension to replace Daniel Amartey.

West Bromwich on the other hand make one change, bringing in James Chester to replace Chris Brunt, who also misses out through injury.

In the early stages of the game it looked like Leicester would keep the ball in the oppositions half for the majority of the half but in the eleventh minute Salomon Rondon managed to get goal-side of the Leicester defence to take a shot at goal which proved too difficult for Schmeichel to keep out.

The goal ended an impressive run of 474 minutes without conceding a goal.

The spirit of the foxes would not be dampened despite their early setback, as they continued to take shots at Foster’s goal, none of which managing to hit the target in the early stages.

City grew in confidence as the first half went on and nearly got the equalizer in the 27th minute when Vardy connected with a Mahrez cross but the Englishman’s header went straight into his compatriot’s hands.

It wasn’t much longer until the unrelenting pressure told and a Danny Drinkwater shot from outside the box deflected off Jonas Olsson and past the grasping arms of Ben Foster on the half hour mark.

Soon after it nearly got much worse for the West Midlands team as Jamie Vardy once again got free from his markers to hit the crossbar with a header from a perfectly executed cross from Drinkwater.

It looked as if the teams would go into the break level but in the first minute of stoppage time an Albrighton cross found Mahrez who showed sublime skill to flick the ball back to Andy King, finishing the move with neat side-foot finish past Foster.

The half-time team talk given by Pulis made an instant effect on his players.

Craig Gardener’s direct free-kick found the back of the net in the 50th minute of the game to bring the two teams level.

Leicester responded with their ever present never say die attitude and their reward nearly came in the 57th minute as the crossbar was once again left rattling, this time by Shinji Okazaki.

Ranieri opted for a double substitution in the 63rd minute with Okazaki and Albrighton being replaced by Schlupp and Ulloa.

City continued to pile pressure on the West Bromwich goal with Premier League top scorer Jamie Vardy proving a consistent menace for the opposition.

In an effort to turn two dropped points into three gained the Foxes made their third and final substitution an attacking one as January signing Demarai Gray took the place of Sebastian Fuchs but the substitutions didn’t manage to have their intended impact as the game ended honours even.

West Brom stall Leicester’s title charge

BY SAM PINKHAM

Embed from Getty Images

Goals from Salamon Rondon and Craig Gardner were enough to hold league leaders Leicester to a 2-2 draw at the King Power Stadium on Tuesday night.

Leicester had their chances to win the game, and on two occasions they saw efforts rebound off the woodwork, but Ranieri’s men will be disappointed they did not pick up all three points.

Leicester made two changes to the side that beat Norwich City at the weekend, with Danny Simpson and Andy King replacing Daniel Amartey and N’Golo Kante. West Brom made one change from their last outing, with James Chester replacing the injured Chris Brunt.

Leicester started the game brightly and had the first chance of the game. Mark Albrighton whipped a free kick in which fell to Andy King at the back post, but his effort blazed over the bar.

But it was the baggies who opened the scoring in the 11th minute. Salamon Rondon managed to get goal side of Robert Huth and poked the ball under the legs of the onrushing Kasper Schmeichel.

That was the first goal that City had conceded at the King Power in their last seven hours and 43 minutes of Premier League action.

City piled on the pressure and eventually drew level in the 30th minute when Danny Drinkwater’s speculative effort deflected off Olsson and looped over the helpless Foster.

It was just what the rampant foxes deserved, and they almost went ahead when Drinkwater’s cross found the head of Vardy, but the bar stood in the way of him netting his 20th goal of the season.

On the stroke of half time, Leicester did take the lead, and it was the Welshman Andy King who fired home after Mahrez neatly took down an Albrighton cross.

City were well worth their half time lead, but were slow out of the blocks in the second. They were made to pay when Craig Gardner fired in a lovely free kick past the stranded Schmeichel to draw the baggies level in the 50th minute.

The bar denied Leicester again in the 57th minute, when Okazaki’s powerful header beat Foster but could not beat the woodwork.

Ranieri made a double substitution in the 63rd minute, with Leonardo Ulloa and Jeff Schlupp replacing Shinji Okazaki and Mark Albrighton.

Vardy’s energy was causing the West Brom defence problems all game, and he nearly put Leicester in front when he forced a good save from Foster after nicking the ball from Gareth McCauley on the left wing.

Leicester should have won it in the final minute. Mahrez’s header fell to the feet of Leonardo Ulloa but the Argentine struggled to make good contact and his effort deflected just wide.

2-2 was how the game would finish, and Tony Pulis will be heading home the happier of the two managers.

Ten of the past 12 teams to be top of the Premier League by the 1st March have gone on to win the title. Leicester fans will be hoping that tradition continues.

Next up for them is a trip to Vicarage Road on Saturday, whilst West Brom face an injury hit Manchester United at the Hawthorns on Sunday.