West Ham Ruin Leicester’s Unbeaten Start, Saints Beat West Brom

West Ham United’s English striker Jarrod Bowen (R) scores the third goal past Leicester City’s Danish goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel during the English Premier League football match between Leicester City and West Ham United at the King Power Stadium in Leicester, central England on October 4, 2020. Alex Pantling / POOL / AFP

 

 

West Ham shattered Leicester’s unbeaten start to the Premier League season with a surprise 3-0 win, while Oriol Romeu’s superb strike inspired Southampton’s 2-0 victory against West Bromwich Albion on Sunday.

After thrashing Manchester City 5-2 last weekend, second-placed Leicester were brought back down to earth as their three-game winning run came to an end at the King Power Stadium.

Goals from Michail Antonio, Pablo Fornals and Jarrod Bowen ruined Leicester’s bid to win their opening four league games for the first time in their history.

West Ham, who crushed Wolves 4-0 in their previous league game, have won three of their four matches since boss David Moyes tested positive for the coronavirus in September.

“I had hoped to be back with the squad for today’s fixture but I’m not quite ready to return just yet,” Moyes told West Ham’s website before kick-off at the King Power Stadium.

“I’m feeling generally fine but I have had some mild symptoms so we are taking it day by day and following the advice of the medical experts.”

Alan Irvine again managed from the dugout, while Moyes, watching at home on television, liaised with assistant Stuart Pearce by phone.

Moyes’ quarantine hasn’t affected West Ham and they took the lead in the 14th minute.

Having won a free-kick when he was fouled by Caglar Soyuncu, Antonio made a well-timed run to the far post, where he headed home from Aaron Cresswell’s pin-point cross.

Antonio is the first Hammers player to score in five consecutive top-flight away matches since Mike Small in 1991.

Jamie Vardy’s long-range chip over Lukasz Fabianski was disallowed after the Leicester striker’s foul on Angelo Ogbonna.

West Ham doubled their lead in the 34th minute, Fornals beating the offside trap as he controlled Cresswell’s long punt and ran clear to fire past Kasper Schmeichel for his first goal since February.

Leicester failed to muster a single shot on target and with seven minutes left, Bowen slotted home from Fornals’ pass.

At St Mary’s, Southampton won their second successive league game against lowly West Brom.

Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side dominated throughout and Ryan Bertrand’s fierce drive drew a superb early save from Albion keeper Sam Johnstone.

Ings forced an even better save from the over-worked Johnstone with a header that was pushed away by the 27-year-old.

Southampton’s pressure was rewarded in the 41st minute when Moussa Djenepo’s clever drag-back eluded Jake Livermore before the winger stroked his finish into the bottom corner.

Southampton’s Polish defender Jan Bednarek (C back) jumps to head the ball over West Bromwich Albion’s English goalkeeper Sam Johnston (R) during the English Premier League football match between Southampton and West Bromwich Albion at St Mary’s Stadium in Southampton, southern England on October 4, 2020.
Glyn KIRK / POOL / AFP

 

Romeu, who hadn’t scored since February 2019, met Stuart Armstrong’s cross with a brilliant volley from the edge of the area to wrap up the points in the 69th minute.

West Brom are the first Premier League side to concede as many as 13 goals after four matches of a season since Southampton in 2012-13.

Albion, who blew a three-goal lead in their 3-3 draw with Chelsea last weekend, are winless in eight league matches dating back to last season.

AFP

Rodgers Hails ‘Phenomenal’ Vardy After Hat-Trick Record Against City

Leicester City’s English striker Jamie Vardy (L) and Leicester City’s Northern Irish manager Brendan Rodgers celebrate after the English Premier League football match between Manchester City and Leicester City at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, north-west England, on September 27, 2020. (Photo by Martin Rickett / POOL / AFP)

 

Brendan Rodgers hailed Jamie Vardy’s “incredible view of football” after the Leicester talisman scored a hat-trick for the Premier League pacesetters in their 5-2 victory against Manchester City.

The 33-year-old former England international converted two penalties and scored one from open play as the 2016 champions came from 1-0 down at the Etihad on Sunday.

It is the first time in 686 games as a manager that Pep Guardiola has seen his side concede five goals.

The victory gave Leicester maximum points from their first three games in the English top-flight for the first time in their history.

Rodgers praised Vardy’s overall awareness of the game.

“He’s a phenomenal player,” said the Leicester boss. “He’s tactically so good. You see his goals and runs but he has an incredible view of football. He understands the game.

“With that, along with his running ability, he’s sensational.”

Rodgers side faded badly when the 2019/20 season resumed after the coronavirus shutdown, eventually finishing fifth, but have shrugged off that disappointment.

The former Celtic and Liverpool manager said what cheered him most in Manchester was his team’s all-round display.

“I think you could say 100 percent this was a team performance,” he said. “You can’t come here (to Manchester City) unless the team is as one and synchronised.

“If ever there’s a team man of the match then this is it.”

Rodgers said the Foxes’ performance was the best since he took over at the club in February 2019.

“We are normally a high-pressing team but against a team of this quality we wanted to deny them the space and we knew we had the players to break out and exploit the spaces,” he said.

“To go behind so early, we showed calmness.

“We didn’t panic and had good moments in the first half. To go in at 1-1 we were happy but knew we could push on again in the second half.”

-AFP

Vardy Nets Brace As Leicester Start Season On Winning Note

Vardy has scored in all five of his away Premier League appearances against West Brom. Photo: [email protected] League.

 

 

Leicester bounced back from a disappointing end to last season to get their new campaign off to a winning start as Jamie Vardy scored two penalties in a 3-0 win at West Brom.

Belgian international Timothy Castagne opened the scoring on his debut as West Brom were given a harsh lesson on the step-up in quality they face on their return to the Premier League.

Leicester won just two of their last 10 games to miss out on a place in the Champions League on the last day of last season and Brendan Rodgers had voiced his frustration at a lack of funds to help their chances of success in four competitions this season.

But the one new signing the Foxes have added made a big impact as Castagne’s towering header from Dennis Praet’s cross opened the floodgates 11 minutes into the second half.

Despite Leicester’s drop-off in the second half of the campaign, Vardy still won the Premier League’s golden boot last season and the 33-year-old launched his challenge to be top scorer once more with two expertly taken spot-kicks in the final 16 minutes after he and James Justin had been felled inside the area.

AFP

English Striker Vardy Wins Premier League Golden Boot

File photo: Leicester City’s English striker Jamie Vardy celebrates after scoring the opening goal from the penalty spot during the English Premier League football match between Leicester City and Watford at King Power Stadium in Leicester, central England on December 4, 2019.
Lindsey Parnaby / AFP

 

Jamie Vardy won the Premier League Golden Boot for the first time in his career on Sunday despite a poor end to the season for Leicester City that saw them miss out on the Champions League.

England forward Vardy, 33, became the oldest player to win the award for the league’s top scorer after netting 23 goals, one more than Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Southampton’s Danny Ings.

With Chelsea ensuring a top four finish with a 2-0 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers, Vardy drew a blank as the Foxes failed to gain the win against Manchester United that they needed to leapfrog Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side into the top four.

Vardy came closest for Leicester in Sunday’s 2-0 defeat at the King Power Stadium when he hit the bar on the hour mark.

Ederson took the Golden Glove award for the most clean sheets after Manchester City’s 5-0 win over relegated Norwich took him to 16 for the season.

He finished one ahead of Burnley stopper Nick Pope, whose team suffered a 2-1 home defeat to Brighton.

AFP

Leicester Closer To Securing UCL Spot After Beating Sheffield As Villa Hold Everton

leicester-city
Leicester City’s Northern Irish manager Brendan Rodgers (R) congratulates Leicester City’s English striker Jamie Vardy (C) at the end of the game during the English Premier League football match between Leicester City and Sheffield United at King Power Stadium in Leicester, central England on July 16, 2020. Michael Regan / POOL / AFP

 

 

Leicester moved a step closer to Champions League qualification after a 2-0 win against Sheffield United while Aston Villa’s survival hopes were seriously damaged as Everton snatched a late draw on Thursday.

Brendan Rodgers’ side earned their first win in three games thanks to goals from Ayoze Perez and Demarai Gray at the King Power Stadium.

It was an essential result after Leicester’s 4-1 thrashing by lowly Bournemouth on Sunday.

Leicester remain in fourth place, just one point behind third-placed Chelsea and three ahead of fifth-placed Manchester United, who face Crystal Palace later on Thursday.

The Foxes face a tense run-in as they bid to return to the Champions League for the first time since 2016-17.

Their next match is at Tottenham on Sunday before a potentially decisive home clash with Manchester United on the last day of the season.

Sheffield United’s first defeat in five games was a blow to their hopes of reaching the Europa League at the climax of a fine first season back in the top-flight.

Aged 19 years, 36 days, academy graduate Luke Thomas was the third youngest player to make his first Premier League start for Leicester after Emile Heskey and Stuart Campbell.

The England Under-19 left-back laid on an early chance for Perez when his cross was headed over by the Leicester winger.

 

leicester-city-villa
Sheffield United’s English defender Jack O’Connell (C) jumps to head the ball as Leicester City’s Danish goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel (3rd R) comes out to punch the ball away during the English Premier League football match between Leicester City and Sheffield United at King Power Stadium in Leicester, central England on July 16, 2020. David Davies / POOL / AFP

 

Jamie Vardy forced Dean Henderson to save with his legs and the Blades keeper had to be alert again moments later to deny Perez’s volley from another Thomas cross.

It was third time lucky for Perez as the Spaniard put Leicester ahead in the 29th minute with his first goal since January.

Perez started the attack with a pass wide to Thomas and took the return ball before drilling low past Henderson from just inside the penalty area.

Vardy hit the post from Youri Tielemens’ defence-splitting pass soon after the interval, with Henderson twice tested by Harvey Barnes as Leicester pushed for a second.

John Egan’s header forced a fine save from Leicester’s Kasper Schmeichel, but Gray’s deft finish sealed the points from Vardy’s pass in the 79th minute.

Everton Held At Home

At Goodison Park, Villa were within touching distance of a second successive win after Ezri Konsa put them ahead in the second half.

But Theo Walcott brought Everton level in the 87th minute when his header was ruled to have crossed the line.

It was an agonising blow for Villa, who remain second bottom and sit three points from safety with just two games left.

With West Ham and Watford — the two teams directly above the relegation zone — meeting on Friday, Villa aren’t down yet, but they are in grave danger of an immediate return to the Championship.

 

villa-everton
Aston Villa’s Dutch striker Anwar El Ghazi (C) misses a goal opportunity during the English Premier League football match between Everton and Aston Villa at Goodison Park in Liverpool, north west England on July 16, 2020. PETER POWELL / POOL / AFP

 

No English top-flight fixture has been played more often than Everton against Villa, but it might not be on the schedule next season after the late drama.

Mbwana Samatta headed Villa’s first chance well over from a good position before Jack Grealish wasted two good chances early in the second half.

Villa finally took the lead with their first shot on target in the 72nd minute.

Conor Hourihane’s free-kick curled into the six-yard box and Konsa stuck out a leg to poke in his first Premier League goal.

But with time ticking down, Walcott meet a deep cross with a looping header that crept over the line with an assist from Konsa’s despairing overhead attempt to clear.

Watford Snatch Late Point As Liverpool Prepare For Title Push

Leicester City’s English defender Ben Chilwell celebrates after scoring his team’s first goal during the English Premier League football match between Watford and Leicester City at Vicarage Road Stadium in Watford, north of London on June 20, 2020. (Photo by ANDY RAIN / POOL / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or ‘live’ services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. /

 

Premier League strugglers Watford rescued a dramatic 1-1 draw against Leicester thanks to Craig Dawson’s last-gasp overhead kick at the start of a weekend which could see Liverpool move within one win of the title.

In the first full weekend of English top-flight matches since the coronavirus shutdown in March, Watford’s hopes of avoiding relegation looked set to be dented by Ben Chilwell’s superb 90th minute strike.

But in a remarkable conclusion, Hornets centre-back Dawson launched himself into an acrobatic effort moments later to claim his first goal for the club.

“It’s something you practise in training and it probably doesn’t go in very often. I’m delighted with my first goal. It was obviously a very important goal and it was good to get a point in the end,” Dawson told BT Sport.

Watford climbed to 16th place, one point above the relegation zone, but they could be passed by West Ham, Bournemouth and Aston Villa depending on their results this weekend.

Leicester remain third, six points ahead of fourth-placed Chelsea, as they look to secure a spot in next season’s Champions League.

With all games being played behind closed doors due to the health crisis, there was the now familiar sight of empty seats being covered over at an eerily quiet Vicarage Road.

Following the trend from the first four matches of the restart this week, a minute’s silence was observed for victims of coronavirus and both teams took a knee in support of the Black Lives Matter cause before kick-off.

– Liverpool back on Sunday –
On Sunday, Liverpool will play for the first time since the top-flight hiatus when the title chasers make the short trip to Merseyside rivals Everton.

Jurgen Klopp’s side, 22 points clear of second-placed Manchester City, need two wins from their remaining nine games to end their 30-year wait to be crowned English champions.

If the Reds beat Everton, they can wrap up the title with another victory against Crystal Palace at Anfield on Wednesday.

Klopp’s men have not been in action for 106 days and the Liverpool boss is relieved to return after talk the season might be declared null and void, which would have deprived his team of the title their superb season deserves.

Liverpool had been on course to become the first English champions to be crowned in March after recording 27 wins from 29 matches.

However, Liverpool’s inevitable title will now come with an asterisk according to some pundits, who claim the Premier League’s new normal of matches behind closed doors with more substitutes allowed has taken the shine off the leaders’ achievements.

– Back in full swing –
Klopp doesn’t care about those critics and, on the eve of Liverpool’s return, the German hit back.

“Now I have had a lot of time to read. I had to Google the word ‘asterisk’. I only knew the word from a comic!” Klopp said.

“This is the most difficult year and season to become champions, 100 percent. It is an interrupted season, like has never happened before.

“Whoever will be champions, it will be historic because it is a year that we will never forget.

“Give us an asterisk, yes. We cannot do a lot of things that we usually can do but in this specific case at least we can say this is really special.

“That’s why we enjoy the little asterisk there.”

Liverpool’s derby clash comes at the conclusion of a busy weekend that confirms the Premier League is back in full swing.

Following four midweek matches on Wednesday and Friday, this is the first Saturday since March 7 that top-flight games have been played in England.

Brighton, two points above the bottom three, return to action at the Amex Stadium against Arsenal, who are reeling from their 3-0 defeat at Manchester City on Wednesday.

Arsenal are eight points adrift of the top four and another loss would effectively extinguish their faint hopes of qualifying for the Champions League.

West Ham, level on points with Brighton, host Wolves, who are bidding for an unexpected European berth, while Bournemouth face Crystal Palace.

Chelsea play for the first time since the lockdown on Sunday when Frank Lampard’s men head to struggling Aston Villa.

-AFP

Leicester Hold Chelsea To 2-2 Draw In Premier League

Chelsea’s English striker Tammy Abraham (2L) misses a chance at goal during the English Premier League football match between Leicester City and Chelsea at King Power Stadium in Leicester, central England on February 1, 2020. Adrian DENNIS / AFP

 

Antonio Rudiger rescued Chelsea as the German defender’s second goal of the game earned a 2-2 draw against top-four rivals Leicester on Saturday.

Rudiger put Chelsea ahead early in the second half at the King Power Stadium before Harvey Barnes and Ben Chilwell scored in quick succession to give Leicester the lead.

A thrilling second half climaxed when Rudiger became the first defender to score a brace for Chelsea in the Premier League since John Terry against Fulham in 2013.

Third-placed Leicester could be more sanguine about the result as they sit eight points clear of fourth-placed Chelsea, who have now won just one of their last five league games.

Frustrated that Chelsea failed to make any signings during the window, Blues boss Frank Lampard claims his team are now underdogs in the race to qualify for next season’s Champions League via a top-four finish.

Depending on Manchester United and Tottenham’s results, Lampard’s prediction could look prescient by the conclusion of the weekend’s action.

Showing his irritation with Chelsea’s spluttering form, Lampard dropped Kepa Arrizabalaga after some error-prone displays from Chelsea’s keeper, with 38-year-old Willy Caballero making his first league appearance since May.

Chelsea started on the front foot and Tammy Abraham appealed for a penalty when he was challenged by Caglar Soyuncu, but referee Lee Mason and then VAR both rejected the claim.

Jamie Vardy was back from injury but Leicester’s 17-goal leading scorer hadn’t netted in his last four league games and he wasted a good chance to put the hosts ahead when he burst onto Ayoze Perez’s chest down in the penalty area, only to shoot straight at Caballero.

Pedro went close with a clever chip from the edge of the area which Leicester keeper Kasper Schmeichel tipped over at full stretch.

 Sloppy defending 

Leicester were stunned by their late League Cup semi-final defeat against Aston Villa in midweek and they looked low on confidence at times.

Hamza Choudhury should have headed Leicester in front on the stroke of half-time but, befitting their scrappy showing, the midfielder couldn’t keep his close-range effort on target.

Choudhury was at fault again when Chelsea snatched the lead in the 46th minute.

When Mason Mount swung a corner towards the far post, Choudhury misjudged his jump and Rudiger got behind him to head in from close range.

It was the perfect way for the German defender to mark his 100th Chelsea appearance as he scored only his fifth goal for the Blues.

But Chelsea’s defence remains far from impregnable and Leicester hit back to equalise eight minutes later.

James Maddison found Youri Tielemans and the Belgian’s pinpoint pass sent Barnes racing away down the left-wing.

Cutting back into the Chelsea area, Barnes tried his luck with a low strike that took a deflection off Andreas Christensen and looped over Caballero into the net for the winger’s fourth goal in his last six games.

Chelsea conceded again in the 64th minute as more sloppy defending allowed Leicester to sweep through.

Caballero rashly rushed off his line in a failed attempt to reach an over-hit cross and Chilwell was left unmarked in the area to fire home from Tielemans’ pass.

To their credit, Chelsea didn’t throw in the towel and Rudiger equalised in the 71st minute, the center-back rising above Chilwell to power a superb header over Schmeichel from Mount’s free-kick.

Leicester should have won it but Jonny Evans headed wide from six yards before Barnes flicked past the far post from close range.

AFP

Leicester Fight Back To Beat West Ham

Leicester City’s English midfielder James Maddison (L) takes a shot but doesn’t score during the English Premier League football match between West Ham United and Leicester City at The London Stadium, in east London on December 28, 2019. Ben STANSALL / AFP

 

A much-changed Leicester bounced back from a Boxing Day thrashing by Liverpool to beat West Ham 2-1 on Saturday as Tottenham’s charge towards the Premier League top four stalled in a 2-2 draw at Norwich.

Leicester had taken just one point from their previous three games to realistically end an unlikely title challenge, but remain second best in the table behind runaway leaders Liverpool after ending a three-game winless run.

Brendan Rodgers made nine changes to the side outclassed by the European champions two days ago with Jamie Vardy among those missing due to the birth of his daughter.

Kelechi Iheanacho and Demarai Gray made the most of their chance for a rare Premier League start by scoring either side of half-time, although Gray also saw an early penalty saved by Lukasz Fabianski.

The Foxes move 10 points behind Liverpool having played two games more and stretch their lead over Manchester City in second to four points.

Pablo Fornals levelled for the Hammers just before half-time, but they remain just one point above the relegation zone after a seventh defeat in nine games.

AFP

Liverpool Thrash Leicester To Stretch Lead In Premier League

Liverpool’s Brazilian midfielder Roberto Firmino (R) heads home the opening goal of the English Premier League football match between Leicester City and Liverpool at King Power Stadium in Leicester, central England on December 26, 2019. Oli SCARFF / AFP

 

Liverpool stretched their Premier League lead to 13 points by outclassing second-placed Leicester in a 4-0 win on Boxing Day as Manchester United and Tottenham cut the gap on fourth-placed Chelsea.

Mikel Arteta got off to an underwhelming start as Arsenal manager with a 1-1 draw at Bournemouth, but Carlo Ancelotti had a more positive impact on his Everton bow as Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s brilliant diving header earned a 1-0 win over Burnley.

Chelsea beat Tottenham in a big win for Frank Lampard over his former mentor Jose Mourinho on Sunday, but the gap between the two is back down to three points as the Blues lost 2-0 at home to lowly Southampton.

Spurs came from behind to beat Brighton 2-1 thanks to goals from Harry Kane and Dele Alli, while United moved just a point further back in seventh as they too overturned a poor start to thrash Newcastle 4-1 with Anthony Martial scoring twice.

Liverpool lay down a marker 

Liverpool’s trip to their closest challengers was the top billing of a busy Boxing Day card, but there was no contest as the newly crowned world champions showed their class.

Roberto Firmino’s header was scant reward for a dominant first half display as Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah wasted big chances.

However, three goals in seven minutes in the final quarter ensured the scoreline fairly reflected their control.

James Milner doubled the visitors’ lead before Firmino’s classy finish made it 3-0.

Trent Alexander-Arnold helped set up all of his side’s first three goals and rounded off a stunning individual display by drilling home the fourth from outside the box.

Tottenham, Man Utd close on Chelsea 

After the highs of Sunday, Chelsea again struggled when faced with breaking down stubborn defensive opponents in Southampton.

The Blues have now lost to West Ham, Bournemouth and the Saints in their last four home league games.

“We are being asked a different question at home. At the moment we are not answering them,” said a frustrated Lampard. “We do not manage to pick up that final pass.”

Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl’s decision to rest in-form talisman Danny Ings paid off as his replacement Michael Obafemi scored just his second Premier League goal with a calm finish into the top corner.

The visitors then secured a second straight win to move up to 14th when Nathan Redmond prodded past the onrushing Kepa Arrizabalaga 17 minutes from time.

Spurs were still feeling the after-effects of that Chelsea defeat with Son Heung-min suspended and confidence low when Adam Webster headed Brighton ahead midway through the first half.

Kane swept home at the second attempt after his first shot was saved by Mat Ryan before Alli then delivered all three points with a delightful chipped finish from an acute angle.

“It’s an unbelievable finish,” Kane said admiringly of Alli’s winner. “The ball is cut back to him, comes to hit Kieran – rounds him so quickly and it’s a kind of scoop over the goalkeeper – it’s fantastic.”

United were also beaten 2-0 at bottom-of-the-table Watford on Sunday and another frustrating evening seemingly beckoned when Matty Longstaff scored his second Premier League goal – both of which have come against the Red Devils.

However, unlike when the Magpies beat Ole Gunnar Solskajer’s men 1-0 in October, the response from United was emphatic.

Martial fired in at the near post with the help of Newcastle ‘keeper Martin Dubravka before a thundering finish from Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford’s header made it 3-1 before the break.

Another defensive error then teed up Martial to dink over Dubravka for the fourth early in the second half.

Arteta’s slow start 

Arteta got an early lesson in the flaws that have blighted Arsenal’s season as they were caught out trying to play from the back to concede the opening goal when Dan Gosling put Bournemouth in front.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang again rode to the Gunners’ rescue to equalise just after the hour mark, but a point leaves Arsenal still down in 11th.

“It was intense, I was so excited, I just wanted to pass that energy to the players and I really enjoyed it,” said Arteta.

Sheffield United are sixth, behind Tottenham only on goal difference, as they missed the chance to close to within a point of Chelsea in a 1-1 draw with Watford.

Gerard Deulofeu gave the Hornets an early lead, but that was quickly cancelled out by Oliver Norwood’s penalty.

Crystal Palace climbed up to eighth thanks to Jordan Ayew’s brilliant individual run and finish a minute from time to beat West Ham 2-1.

Aston Villa won the battle of two of the bottom three as Conor Hourihane’s fine strike was enough to beat Norwich 1-0.

AFP

Man City, Man Utd And Leicester Qualify For League Cup Semis

A photo combination of Manchester City, Manchester United and Leicester City players celebrating their qualification into league cup semi-final

 

Holders Manchester City booked their place in the semi-finals of the League Cup as Raheem Sterling’s second-half double warded off a shock by League One Oxford in a 3-1 win at the Kassam Stadium.

Manchester United ended fourth-tier Colchester United’s fairytale run with a 3-0 win at Old Trafford, while Leicester survived a second-half fightback from Everton to secure their place in the last four 4-2 on penalties after a 2-2 draw.

Aston Villa completes the semi-finalists after they thrashed Liverpool’s youngest ever side 5-0 on Tuesday with the European champions’ first team away at the Club World Cup.

READ ALSO: Firmino Strikes Late To Take Liverpool Into Club World Cup Final

City have won this competition for the past two seasons and Pep Guardiola showed his intent to keep hold of the trophy by naming a strong side.

Joao Cancelo’s first goal for the English champions opened the scoring midway through the first half, but City were momentarily stunned when Matty Taylor levelled a minute into the second half.

Sterling quickly restored the visitors’ lead as he tapped home a wonderful cross from Angelino.

But City men were put under intense pressure for a spell and needed Claudio Bravo to make a fine save from Tariqe Fosu’s shot.

Guardiola introduced Gabriel Jesus from the bench in a bid to kill the tie off and it was from the Brazilian’s cross that Sterling tapped home his second 20 minutes from time.

United patience pays off

Manchester United had to be patient before seeing off Colchester, who had beaten Tottenham and Crystal Palace to make the last eight.

Marcus Rashford was guilty of missing a host of chances in a goalless first half.

However, the England international made amends six minutes into the second period with a calm finish to register a career-best 14th goal of the season.

Rashford was also the creator of United’s other two goals as Ryan Jackson turned a cross into his own net before Anthony Martial stretched to convert at the back post.

Leicester travel to City in the Premier League on Saturday, four points ahead of the champions in second place.

And the Foxes will also have a semi-final to look forward to in the new year as they held their nerve from the spot after blowing a comfortable lead.

James Maddison and Jonny Evans struck in five first-half minutes to give the visitors a 2-0 half-time lead.

Ben Davies gave Everton hope 20 minutes from time and a sensational long-range strike from Leighton Baines sent the game to penalties.

Maddison then saw his spot-kick saved to start the shootout, but Kasper Schmeichel was Leicester’s hero with saves from Cenk Tosun and Baines before Jamie Vardy scored the decisive penalty.

AFP

Rodgers Signs New Leicester Deal, Ending Arsenal Link

Leicester City’s Northern Irish manager Brendan Rodgers watches from the touchline during the English Premier League football match between Leicester City and Watford at King Power Stadium in Leicester, central England on December 4, 2019. Lindsey Parnaby / AFP

 

Brendan Rodgers has committed his long-term future to Leicester City, ending speculation linking him with the vacant Arsenal manager’s job.

The Northern Irishman moved to Leicester from Celtic in February after winning seven trophies in just under three years in charge in Scotland.

The 46-year-old has taken Leicester to second in the Premier League behind Liverpool, with 11 wins from 15 matches this season.

Leicester, the 2015/16 Premier League champions, have won their past seven league games to equal their top-flight record for consecutive victories.

Rodgers’ success at the King Power Stadium saw him linked heavily with the Arsenal manager’s job after the sacking last week of Unai Emery.

“When I made the decision to come to Leicester City, it was because I was excited about the direction the club was taking and how I could apply my experience to the journey,” said Rodgers, who went close to winning the Premier League with Liverpool in 2014.

“I came here with a purpose to add something to that and to help the club build for the future,” added Rodgers in a statement issued by the club.

Rodgers said talks about the contract had been going on before Emery was sacked.

“We’ve been talking for a few weeks,” he said at his pre-match press conference ahead of Sunday’s game at Aston Villa. “It’s a great club. We just want to keep progressing.

“We’re looking to continue on the legacy. We don’t have the wealth of the top six, but perhaps we can do this in a different way.”

Leicester City Chairman Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha said: “Brendan’s qualities as a coach are well-known and evident in the way he has sought to unlock the potential in every member of our exciting young squad.

“But just as important to us is the suitability of Brendan’s wider philosophy to the club’s established culture and values.”

AFP

Vardy Stars As Leicester Beat Watford

Leicester City’s English striker Jamie Vardy celebrates after scoring the opening goal from the penalty spot during the English Premier League football match between Leicester City and Watford at King Power Stadium in Leicester, central England on December 4, 2019. Lindsey Parnaby / AFP

 

Details coming shortly….