Two quickfire goals from Leicester City in the first half condemned a Jack Grealish-less Aston Villa to their ninth league defeat of the season.
Words: Harry Trend | @HazaTrand
Leicester started the game strongly; a Foxes corner came out to Luke Thomas whose shot was blocked by Ezri Konsa.
Harvey Barnes, unsurprisingly, was proving to be the Leicester danger man in the opening moments. He skipped past Bertrand Traore before seeing his shot blocked by Ezri Konsa and rolling for a corner.
Villa grew into the half, and their first clean-cut chance came when a lovely piece of skill from Ollie Watkins found Anwar El Ghazi in space in the box. Unfortunately, Traore’s shot from the Dutchman’s square ball was blocked.
With 19 minutes gone Leicester got the goal they deserved, James Maddison’s low strike from outside the box found Emiliano Martinez’ left-hand bottom corner to put the Foxes ahead.
Four minutes later Brendan Rodger’s side doubled their lead; Jamie Vardy was first to a loose ball in the Villa penalty area – his first-time effort was parried by Martinez, but only as far as Harvey Barnes who finished emphatically.
Ezri Konsa then had the chance to cut Leicester’s lead in half, but he couldn’t get a clean connection on Douglas Luiz’ cross. And despite a flurry of corners toward the end of the half, the Pride struggled to test Kasper Schmeichel in the Leicester City goal.
The second half was just three minutes old when Bertrand Traore scored his sixth goal of the season. Matt Targett’s spinning cross found John Mcginn at the front post; the Scot’s effort was blocked by Thomas but luckily Traore was on hand to clean up with an acrobatic finish from close range to beat Schmeichel.
It seemed the momentum had swung Villa’s way, but soon enough Leicester were back on the offense.
Emiliano Martinez did well to shovel away James Maddison’s swinging free-kick with both hands. On the hour mark Jamie Vardy flashed an effort across goal. It looked like the team in blue would draw blood next. Soon after Tyrone Mings did well to marshall Jamie Vardy one on one with the former England frontman hitting his shot into the side netting.
In response, Smith tried to freshen things up for Villa, bringing on Trezeguet for Anwar El Ghazi then Jacob Ramsey for Ross Barkley.
And it was young Ramsey who found Matt Targett who floated a ball in toward Traore. Unfortunately, it was the Leicester youngster, Thomas, who did just enough to stop the Villa winger from getting his head to the ball.
Morgan Sanson was Smith’s final change, coming on for Douglas Luiz. His first contribution was positive, winning a corner off the head of Harvey Barnes.
Late on Ollie Watkins had a late penalty shout waved away as he and Amartey both tumbled to the ground.
However, Villa’s final chance came in the dying seconds – alas Mings couldn’t angle his header from Ahmed Elmohamadys cross on target. Villa will be glad that they won’t have to play Leicester City again this season.
Nevertheless, they must start faster than they did today against Leeds United next week.