Leicester moved off the bottom of the Premier League table with a 2-0 home win over Leeds that puts the spotlight on Jesse Marsch’s out-of-form side instead.
Robin Koch’s own goal put Leicester ahead early in the first half and Harvey Barnes doubled the advantage soon after. There was no way back for Leeds, who remain out of the relegation zone only on goal difference following a seventh game without a win.
For Brendan Rodgers, this was a much-needed victory, significant in that it was achieved without James Maddison available and featured a second consecutive clean sheet. Indeed, Leicester have scored six without reply in their last three home games.
Only one point – and the small matter of the relegation zone – separates the sides now. Given that the Leeds supporters booed their side off at half-time and full-time, as well as loudly questioning Marsch’s substitutions, the pressure has shifted. For now.
Leicester: Ward (8), Castagne (7), Amartey (7), Faes (8), Justin (7), Tielemans (7), Soumare (7), Dewsbury-Hall (8), Praet (7), Vardy (7), Barnes (8).
Subs: Daka (6), Mendy (6), Perez (6).
Leeds: Meslier (6), Firpo (5), Kristensen (5), Koch (4), Llorente (6), Roca (5), Adams (6), Aaronson (6), Summerville (6), Sinisterra (7), Bamford (5).
Subs: Cooper (6), Rodrigo (5), Harrison (6), Gelhardt (6), Klich (n/a).
Player of the match: Harvey Barnes.
How Leicester overcame Leeds
Leeds started the game positively and had plenty of the ball in the opening stages, with Leicester looking tentative, but Koch’s error changed the tone of the evening in an instant. The ball was hardly travelling that fast from Dennis Praet’s centre. It was poor.
It was an important moment for Praet, though, taking on that Maddison role in the absence of the suspended star. There would have been fears that the Foxes could not create enough in his absence, but the second goal was a really encouraging team effort.
Brendan Rodgers made two changes from the draw with Crystal Palace. With James Maddison serving a suspension, Dennis Praet replaced him, while Jamie Vardy was preferred to Patson Daka in attack.
Jesse Marsch reshuffled by making four changes from the defeat at home to Arsenal. In came Patrick Bamford, Junior Firpo, Diego Llorente and Crysencio Summerville, who was making his first ever start for Leeds.
Jamie Vardy’s clever flick found Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall in space and he had the presence of mind to pick out Barnes in space. The winger did the rest. Vardy is still waiting for his first goal of the season but he was involved in both here.
The result might be viewed as a little harsh on Leeds given their 14 shots. Luis Sinisterra even hit the bar. But they looked vulnerable throughout, with issues often self-inflicted. The wait for an away win goes on. The wait for any win dates back to August. Alarming form.
FPL stats: Leicester 2-0 Leeds
|Bonus points||Ward, Amartey (3pts) | Justin, Faes (1pt)|
Rodgers credits Barnes’ display
Rodgers was particularly pleased with his team’s second goal, one that saw Leicester build up from the back. “It was one of the best team goals you will see this season,” he said.
Barnes was the scorer of it. “He is always a threat, Harvey. His pace and directness is important, he is getting better with defending and pressing as well.” That aspect of the whole team’s performance was something that Rodgers highlighted.
“The intensity of our defending was very good, we played through the pressure with the ball. When we had to defend, the players from the front never stopped running. The players showed that mentality and desire to defend. It was a very confident performance.”
Marsch insists he retains board backing
“I know I am supported by the club,” said Marsch.
“One of the things I saw even before I came is the way the board supported Marcelo [Bielsa]. All the way. For many years. Everyone internally. I can only say I have felt that same support from everyone.
“When a team goes through a bad patch, the coach is the first one to be questioned. Is he doing the right things? Is he making the right decisions? But we are together. We are unified.
“From the board perspective, from the player perspective, we are doing everything we can. The league is tough. We are not getting enough out of it right now and we need to figure out the solutions.”
Fulham visit Leeds at Elland Road in the Premier League on Sunday; kick-off 2pm. Leicester visit Wolves at Molineux at the same time, on the same day.
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