EPL Roundup: Haaland Hits Man City Hat-Trick Against Crystal Palace

Manchester City's Norwegian striker Erling Haaland celebrates scoring his team's second goal during the English Premier League football match between Manchester City and Crystal Palace at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, north west England, on August 27, 2022. (Photo by Nigel Roddis / AFP)
Manchester City’s Norwegian striker Erling Haaland celebrates scoring his team’s second goal during the English Premier League football match between Manchester City and Crystal Palace at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, north west England, on August 27, 2022. (Photo by Nigel Roddis / AFP)

 

Liverpool equalled the Premier League’s record win with a 9-0 demolition of Bournemouth, while Erling Haaland’s hat-trick inspired Manchester City’s comeback 4-2 victory against Crystal Palace on Saturday.

On a remarkable day in the top-flight, 10-man Chelsea beat Leicester 2-1, while Manchester United’s revival continued with a 1-0 win at Southampton.

Liverpool stole the spotlight as they recovered from Monday’s lacklustre 2-1 loss at Manchester United in astonishing style.

After three games without a win, the Reds rebounded by equalling Manchester United’s 9-0 wins against Ipswich in 1995 and Southampton in 2021, as well as Leicester’s thrashing of Southampton in 2019.

It took just three minutes for Luis Diaz to strike at Anfield as the Colombia winger headed home Roberto Firmino’s cross.

Three minutes later, Liverpool moved further ahead as Harvey Elliott bagged his first Premier League goal with a  20-yard curler.

Trent Alexander-Arnold rifled into the top corner from 25 yards in the 28th minute.

After providing three assists, Firmino scored himself with close-range volley to put the result beyond doubt by the 31st minute.

Virgil Van Dijk headed in Andrew Robertson’s corner on the stroke of half-time as Liverpool scored five in the first half of a Premier League game for the first time.

Chris Mepham’s own goal from Alexander-Arnold’s 46th minute cross was followed by Firmino grabbing the seventh in the 62nd minute.

Fabio Carvalho’s first goal since his summer move from Fulham made it eight in the 80th minute.

Diaz notched the historic ninth from Kostas Tsimikas’ corner with five minutes left as Liverpool equalled their biggest ever top-flight margin of victory, set against Palace in 1989.

Champions Manchester City staged another impressive rally as they came from 2-0 down to beat Palace at the Etihad Stadium.

Palace went ahead in the fourth minute as Eberechi Eze’s free-kick deflected off John Stones into the net for an own goal.

City fell further behind in the 21st minute when Palace defender Joachim Andersen was left unmarked to head in Eze’s corner.

But the champions came from 3-1 down to draw at Newcastle last weekend and Bernardo Silva gave them hope of a repeat with a 53rd minute effort that deflected in off Jeffrey Schlupp.

City equalised in the 62nd minute when Phil Foden’s cross reached Haaland and the former Borussia Dortmund striker headed his first home goal since joining in the close-season.

In the 70th minute, Haaland got his fifth in four games, prodding home from Stones’ pass after a flowing move. The Norwegian sealed his hat-trick from Silva’s pass in the 81st minute.

Raheem Sterling scored his first goals for Chelsea in a dramatic win over Leicester.

Chelsea midfielder Conor Gallagher was sent off in the 28th minute for a needless foul on Harvey Barnes just moments after being booked.

Sterling struck in the 47th minute, the former Manchester City forward’s shot deflecting off Daniel Amartey into the net.

Sterling doubled his tally in the 63rd minute as he tapped in from Reece James’ cross before Barnes squeezed in a low shot three minutes later.

Erik ten Hag said Manchester United have learned from their dismal start to the season after Bruno Fernandes clinched a hard-fought win against Southampton.

‘More compact’

Ten Hag’s side sat bottom of the Premier League after losing their opening two games.

But United have recovered from that embarrassing start to secure successive league victories for the first time since February.

Fernandes netted in the 55th minute when he met Diogo Dalot’s cross with a volley from just inside the area.

“I think the players learnt some lessons from Brentford. We were more compact on the long balls. Of course we were really happy,” Ten Hag said.

Vitaly Janelt scored an 85th minute equaliser as Brentford drew 1-1 with Everton, who took the lead through Anthony Gordon’s 24th minute opener.

Brighton beat Leeds 1-0 with Pascal Gross’s 66th minute goal at the Amex Stadium.

Arsenal will go back to the top if they beat Fulham in Saturday’s late game.

Iheanacho Scores As Man Utd Drop More Points In Race For Top Four

Leicester City's Nigerian striker Kelechi Iheanacho shoots the ball but misses to score during the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Leicester City at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on April 2, 2022. Lindsey Parnaby / AFP
Leicester City’s Nigerian striker Kelechi Iheanacho shoots the ball but misses to score during the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Leicester City at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on April 2, 2022. Lindsey Parnaby / AFP

 

Manchester United dropped more valuable points as they drew 1-1 at home to Leicester on Saturday, slipping further off the pace in the battle to secure Champions League football for next season.

The draw at Old Trafford leaves Ralf Rangnik’s misfiring side three points behind the fourth-placed Gunners, who have two games in hand.

United, missing top-scorer Cristiano Ronaldo through illness, looked anaemic in attack for most of the first half as they struggled to establish any attacking rhythm.

Bruno Fernandes, who signed a new deal at United this week, was put through by Fred in the 27th minute but the Portuguese playmaker failed to make good contact and Kasper Schmeichel saved with his outstretched left foot.

READ ALSO: Eriksen-Inspired Brentford Thrash Chelsea 4-1

Minutes later Leicester had a chance to take the lead but Kelechi Iheanacho failed to control the ball on the edge of the area and ended up skewing his shot wide.

The sides remained deadlocked at 0-0 at the interval.

United looked sharper in the early stages of the second half but midfielder Scott McTominay was lucky to stay on the pitch after a nasty-looking challenge on James Maddison.

Marcus Rashford was brought on by interim manager Rangnick to replace McTominay and add extra zip to the home side’s attack.

But it was the visitors who took the lead in the 63rd minute when a United attack broke down and Maddison attacked down the left.

The England international produced a fine left-footed cross and former Manchester City forward Iheanacho headed past David de Gea, who got a hand to the ball but could not keep it out.

Leicester’s lead was short-lived, however, with United level just three minutes later.

The ball broke for Fernandes after the visitors failed to clear their lines properly and Fred lashed into the roof of the net.

Leicester had chances to re-take the lead

Iheanacho lifted the ball over the crossbar from a tight angle and De Gea then produced an outstanding fingertip save to keep out a goal-bound header from Wesley Fofana.

Leicester continued to look the more dangerous side and had the ball in the net with about 10 minutes to go when Maddison finished at the back post.

But the goal was overturned for a foul by Iheanacho on Raphael Varane.

United piled on the pressure late on but could find a winner.

 

AFP

EPL: Leicester’s Clash Against Tottenham Postponed Due To COVID-19 Outbreak

Leicester Vs Tottenham Calle doff due to COVID-19 outbreak
A file photo of Leicester boss, Brendan Rodgers and Tottenham’s manager, Antonio Conte

 

Leicester’s Premier League match against Tottenham on Thursday has been postponed due to a coronavirus outbreak, the Foxes have announced.

Britain is battling record numbers of Covid-19 cases as the Omicron variant wreaks havoc, with fears growing that the crisis could derail the season.

The Leicester v Spurs match is the fourth Premier League game to be postponed in the past week.

“Leicester City can confirm that the Premier League Board has decided to postpone Thursday night’s fixture against Tottenham Hotspur,” the club said in a statement.

“The decision was taken with guidance from medical advisors after the club resubmitted its application for postponement after confirmation this morning of further positive tests for Covid-19 within the first-team squad.

“As a result, the Club has an insufficient number of first-team players available to fulfill the match.”

-AFP

Napoli Win Thriller To Knock Leicester Out Of Europa League

Napoli's Algerian orward Adam Ounas shoots to open the scoring during the UEFA Europa League Group C football match between Napoli and Leicester on December 9, 2021 at the Diego-Maradona stadium in Naples. Alberto PIZZOLI / AFP
Napoli’s Algerian orward Adam Ounas shoots to open the scoring during the UEFA Europa League Group C football match between Napoli and Leicester on December 9, 2021 at the Diego-Maradona stadium in Naples. Alberto PIZZOLI / AFP

 

Napoli sent Leicester crashing out of the Europa League as the Italian side advanced to the knockout stages with a 3-2 win in a dramatic conclusion to Group C on Thursday.

Leicester were top of the group going into the final round of matches, but Brendan Rodgers’ team were condemned to an unwanted place in the Europa Conference League after the defeat in Naples dropped them to third place.

Napoli had blown a two-goal lead as Leicester hit back to level by half-time, but Eljif Elmas’s second goal of the game won it for the hosts after the interval.

READ ALSO: Barca Not At The Level To Compete In Champions League – Xavi

Spartak Moscow finished top of the group after a 1-0 win at Legia Warsaw, secured by Zelimkhan Bakaev’s 17th-minute goal.

Leicester would have salvaged their Europa League place if Legia’s Tomas Pekhart hadn’t missed a stoppage-time penalty.

Napoli ended in second place, two points ahead of Leicester, and will feature in the Europa League knockout round play-offs in February.

Continuing a disappointing season for the FA Cup holders, Leicester now have the unwanted burden of playing in the knockout play-off round of Europe’s least glamourous club competition when it resumes in the new year.

“I’ve got to be honest I don’t even know what the competition is,” Rodgers said of the Europa Conference League.

“I was focused on the Europa League and winning this group and at the very least finishing second. But I am sure we will find out soon enough.”

Seven Leicester players and three staff members missed the trip to Italy, with Rodgers revealing both positive Covid-19 cases and other illnesses had depleted his squad.

He was still able to name eight of the team beaten by Aston Villa last weekend, in contrast to Napoli, who are in the midst of a major injury crisis which deprived them of Victor Osimhen, Kalidou Koulibaly, Lorenzo Insigne and Fabian Ruiz.

Despite their fitness issues, Napoli took the lead in the fourth minute as Adam Ounas marked his first start for the club since 2019 with a clinical low strike from just inside the penalty area.

Napoli struck again in the 24th minute when Andrea Petagna beat Leicester’s offside trap and squared his pass to Elmas, who slotted past Kasper Schmeichel with ease.

Leicester rocked

Jonny Evans gave Leicester hope when he fired home after Napoli failed to clear James Maddison’s 27th-minute free-kick.

Rodgers’ men blew a 2-0 lead in a draw against Napoli in September and it was Napoli’s turn to squander that advantage this time.

Evans’ first goal in Europe for eight years was followed in the 33rd minute by Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall’s maiden goal for Leicester.

Maddison’s free-kick was only cleared to the edge of the area, where the 23-year-old midfielder smashed a superb volley into the bottom corner.

But Napoli regained the lead in the 53rd minute as Elmas lashed home from Giovanni Di Lorenzo’s cross.

Maddison hit the post from just six yards moments later as Rodgers held his head in frustration.

Real Sociedad secured second place in Group B with a 3-0 win against PSV Eindhoven, who drop into the Europa Conference League.

Mikel Oyarzabal netted a 43rd-minute penalty and scored again in the 62nd minute before Alexander Sorloth struck in the final moments after Ibrahim Sangare’s red card for PSV.

Group B winners Monaco were held to a 1-1 draw at Sturm Graz.

Group A winners Lyon lost their 100 percent record in this season’s competition after a 1-1 draw against second-placed Rangers.

In Group D, first-placed Eintracht Frankfurt drew 1-1 at third-placed Fenerbahce, while second-placed Olympiakos lost 1-0 against Antwerp.

Chelsea Cruise As Kante Rocket Inspires Leicester Rout

Chelsea's French midfielder N'Golo Kante scores his team's second goal during the English Premier League football match between Leicester City and Chelsea at the King Power Stadium in Leicester, central England on November 20, 2021. Ben STANSALL / AFP
Chelsea’s French midfielder N’Golo Kante scores his team’s second goal during the English Premier League football match between Leicester City and Chelsea at the King Power Stadium in Leicester, central England on November 20, 2021. Ben STANSALL / AFP

 

Chelsea swept to a 3-0 win at Leicester as N’Golo Kante’s rocket helped the Premier League leaders move six points clear at the top on Saturday.

Antonio Rudiger opened the scoring and Kante’s long-range blast put Chelsea in control before Christian Pulisic came off the bench to score in the second half.

Thomas Tuchel’s side are unbeaten in their last nine games in all competitions after erasing the bitter taste of a frustrating 1-1 draw against lowly Burnley before the international break.

READ ALSO: Abidal’s Wife Seeks Divorce Over Links To PSG’s Hamraoui

Chelsea’s ruthless display provided the perfect riposte to Paris Saint Germain manager Mauricio Pochettino’s recent claim that the European champions are a “defensive” team.

It was the ideal preparation for a big week that features a crucial Champions League tie against Juventus on Tuesday before Manchester United visit Stamford Bridge on November 28.

With Belgium striker Romelu Lukaku hoping to return shortly after an ankle injury and Timo Werner back among the substitutes following his hamstring problem, Chelsea are perfectly positioned to cement their place at the top of the table.

The only concern was an injury that forced off Italy midfielder Jorginho in the closing stages.

Chelsea made quick work of dispatching lacklustre Leicester, who had managed only one clean-sheet in their previous 17 league games and none since the opening day of the season.

Foxes boss Brendan Rodgers switched to a three-man central defence in a bid to shore up his leaky rearguard, but Chelsea easily found holes in the formation.

Ben Chilwell has been among the goals for both Chelsea and England lately and the left-back should have opened the scoring against his former club after just four minutes.

Picked out by Jorginho’s raking pass, Chilwell got behind the Leicester defence and surged into the penalty area, only to drive his shot against the crossbar with just Kasper Schmeichel to beat.

Every touch from Chilwell was jeered by Leicester fans, but he helped silence the crowd in the 14th minute.

Chilwell curled an inswinging corner towards Rudiger and the German centre-back got between two Leicester defenders to glance a header into the far corner.

It was a well-timed reminder of Rudiger’s quality as Chelsea try to persuade the 28-year-old to sign an extension to a contract that runs out at the end of the season.

Kante shines

Having squandered the lead against Burnley after missing a host of chances, Chelsea were in no mood to repeat that mistake and they struck again in the 28th minute.

Reece James dropped his shoulder to work space for a pass to Kante and the France midfielder advanced unchecked before drilling a fine finish past Schmeichel from the edge of the area.

Like Rudiger, it was Kante’s first goal since scoring in the win at Tottenham in September.

Chelsea denied Leicester a single shot in the first half and they remained firmly in control after the interval.

Thiago Silva’s sweeping pass sent Callum Hudson-Odoi away down the left and his cutback reached Chilwell, whose stinging shot was clawed to safety by Schmeichel.

Hudson-Odoi was inches away with a long-range curler before under-worked Chelsea keeper Edouard Mendy was tested by Daniel Amartey’s fierce strike.

Jamie Vardy headed over from James Maddison’s cross as Leicester briefly put Chelsea under pressure.

Chelsea midfielder Mason Mount was anonymous in his first start for almost a month after dental surgery and he was hauled off on the hour.

Pulisic was Mount’s replacement and the United States winger seized his chance when he stabbed home from fellow substitute Hakim Ziyech’s pass in the 71st minute.

It was Pulisic’s first club goal since the opening weekend of another injury-plagued season for the 23-year-old.

AFP

Top Four In Sight As Ramsdale Heroics Give Arsenal Win At Leicester

Arsenal's English goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdaleduring the English Pr (R) saves a shot from Leicester City's English midfielder Harvey Barnes emier League football match between Leicester City and Arsenal at King Power Stadium in Leicester, central England on October 30, 2021. JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP
Arsenal’s English goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale saves a shot from Leicester City’s English midfielder Harvey Barnes during the English Premier League football match between Leicester City and Arsenal at King Power Stadium in Leicester, central England on October 30, 2021. JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP

 

A goalkeeping masterclass from Aaron Ramsdale helped Arsenal to a 2-0 Premier League win at Leicester on Saturday as the in-form Gunners climbed to the cusp of the top four.

Gabriel and Emile Smith Rowe gave the visitors a comfortable first-half lead but only Ramsdale’s heroics denied the Foxes a sniff of a comeback at the King Power Stadium.

Mikel Arteta’s team extended their unbeaten run in all competitions to nine games and moved fifth, level on 17 points with fourth-placed West Ham, and three ahead of Leicester, who drop to 10th.

Brendan Rodgers’ men had won their last four games in all competitions to recover from a slow start to the season.

READ ALSO: Tuchel Challenges Chelsea To Match Man City, Liverpool

But it was Arsenal who maintained their momentum after recovering from their worst start to a league campaign in 67 years.

Arteta’s men were bottom of the table after three games, but have since moved ahead of Manchester United and Tottenham in the battle for a place in the top four.

Arsenal never looked back after a stunning start.

The Gunners had only scored once away from home in the league but grabbed an early lead through centre-back Gabriel.

The Brazilian scored his first goal of the season in the fifth minute when he met Bukayo Saka’s inswinging corner with a glancing header into the far corner.

Smith Rowe doubled the lead in the 18th minute with his fourth goal of the season when he tucked away a loose ball in the area after Luke Thomas’ poor clearance.

Leicester had scored at least twice in each of the past five matches in all competitions but Ramsdale, who joined Arsenal from Sheffield United earlier this year, was in inspired form to prevent them adding to their goal tally.

He tipped wide Kelechi Iheanacho’s long-range effort and made a remarkable save just before half-time, parrying James Maddison’s free-kick onto the post before Jonny Evans hit the woodwork on the rebound and Thomas Partey cleared the ball off the line.

The 23-year-old continued to keep Leicester at bay in the second half as he denied substitutes Ademola Lookman and Harvey Barnes.

Thomas and Barnes went close but Arsenal almost made the game safe when Kasper Schmeichel kept out Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s shot at the far post from a corner.

AFP

Man Utd Must Fix ‘Mentality And Tactics’, Says Pogba

Manchester United’s French midfielder Paul Pogba applauds the fans at the end of the English Premier League football match between Leicester City and Manchester United at King Power Stadium in Leicester, central England on October 16, 2021. (Photo by Paul ELLIS / AFP)

 

Paul Pogba delivered a withering assessment of the state of Manchester United’s form after a 4-2 defeat to Leicester left the Red Devils already five points adrift in the Premier League title race.

United have not won an English top-flight title since 2013 but were expected to challenge this season after splashing out to sign Cristiano Ronaldo, Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane in the transfer window.

However, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men have taken just one point from a possible nine against Aston Villa, Everton and Leicester in their last three league games.

United also crashed out of the League Cup last month and are under pressure for Wednesday’s Champions League clash with Atalanta after losing their opening group game to Swiss side Young Boys.

“If we want to win the title, these are the games we need to win, even if they are very hard,” Pogba told Sky Sports.

“We have been having these kinds of games for a long time and haven’t found the problem. We have conceded easy and stupid goals.”

United’s defence was easily exposed by a Leicester side that had not won since August before Saturday.

Solskjaer started with all of Pogba, Bruno Fernandes, Sancho, Mason Greenwood and Ronaldo and hinted afterwards he may have to sacrifice some of his attacking stars to better balance the side.

“We know that the fans were going to push and put pressure on us and we need to be more mature, play with more experience and arrogance – in a good way – by taking the ball and playing our football,” added Pogba.

“We need to find the key for this change because we deserved to lose.

“I don’t know if it is the mindset of the players. We need to change something. We need to find the mentality and tactics to win. We have to look as individuals and as a team to fix this.”

Former Manchester United captain Gary Neville said Solskjaer’s forward players were not working hard enough defensively.

“I love them as players those five, but having them all in the same team there’s not enough workhorses,” said Neville.

“We needed workhorses alongside the great players. Manchester United at this moment in time are imbalanced.”

The pressure is rising on Solskjaer to turn things around quickly ahead of a demanding run of fixtures.

Solskjaer’s men face Liverpool, Tottenham, Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal in their next six Premier League games.

Leicester Pile Pressure On Solskjaer As Man Utd Collapse

Manchester United's Norwegian manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer reacts at the end of the English Premier League football match between Leicester City and Manchester United at King Power Stadium in Leicester, central England on October 16, 2021. Paul ELLIS / AFP
Manchester United’s Norwegian manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer reacts at the end of the English Premier League football match between Leicester City and Manchester United at King Power Stadium in Leicester, central England on October 16, 2021. Paul ELLIS / AFP

 

Leicester piled pressure on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer with a late goal spree in their thrilling 4-2 victory against troubled Manchester United on Saturday.

Solskjaer will face renewed scrutiny after United’s collapse at the King Power Stadium left them without a win in their last three Premier League games.

The United manager saw Mason Greenwood open the scoring early on, only for Leicester’s Youri Tielemans to equalise before half-time.

Caglar Soyuncu put Leicester in front in the closing stages before Marcus Rashford marked his first appearance this season after shoulder surgery with United’s leveller.

READ ALSO: It Is Time For Rashford To Focus On Football, Says Solskjaer

In a dramatic denouement, Leicester ended United’s English league record 29-game unbeaten run away from home with goals from Jamie Vardy and Patson Daka in the last seven minutes.

It was a bitter blow for Solskjaer, who had already endured criticism after United were beaten by Aston Villa and held by Everton in their final games before the recent international break.

While Solskjaer may not be in immediate danger of the sack, the Norwegian must emerge with some notable victories from a testing period featuring matches against Liverpool, Tottenham, Manchester City and Atalanta twice in the Champions League.

Cristiano Ronaldo started after Solskjaer controversially left him on the bench for the first 57 minutes against Everton, but the Portugal star was held in check.

Spluttering United have won only one of their last five games in all competitions.

Adding to United’s woes, the club were forced to defend their decision to fly the 100-mile journey to Leicester.

Claiming their travel plans changed due to “circumstances” amid reports of motorway traffic congestion, United were accused of disregarding climate change issues.

United played as though they were hampered by the jet-lag associated with much longer flights throughout a wretched display.

Ashen-faced Solskjaer

Greenwood put United ahead in the 19th minute when he cut in from the right and played a one-two with a Bruno Fernandes before smashing an unstoppable 20-yard strike into the top corner.

It was the 20-year-old’s first goal since August and his fourth of the season.

Ronaldo’s strike was fisted away by Kasper Schmeichel, but Leicester were level in the 31st minute as Tielemans matched Greenwood’s moment of magic.

Harry Maguire, rusty on his return from a two-match calf injury lay-off, sloppily surrendered possession to Kelechi Iheanacho as he tried to play out from the back.

Iheanacho found Tielemans and the Belgium midfielder clipped a sublime lofted finish over David De Gea for his second goal this season.

Leicester had the upper hand and Iheanacho shot wide late in the first half before testing De Gea soon after the interval.

United were struggling to find their rhythm and although Nemanja Matic lashed narrowly wide with a long-range blast, it wasn’t long before Solskjaer took off the anonymous Jadon Sancho.

There was little improvement in United’s performance and De Gea had to make a good save to turn Tielemans’ shot onto the woodwork.

De Gea plunged to his left to deny Daka, but Leicester’s pressure paid off in the 78th minute.

Daka’s shot was saved by De Gea and when the ball deflected off Ayoze Perez, Soyuncu was on hand to fire home from close-range.

Solskjaer must have felt a wave of relief when Rashford ran onto Victor Lindelof’s ball over the top and smashed past Schmeichel in the 82nd minute.

But, less than 60 seconds later, Solskjaer’s face was ashen again as Perez’s pass found Vardy and the striker slotted into the corner with the outside of his boot.

Zambian striker Daka added to Solskjaer’s misery in stoppage-time when he tapped in Tielemans’ free-kick for his first Leicester goal.

AFP

Iheanacho Scores Winner As Leicester Beat Man City To Lift Community Shield

Leicester City's Nigerian striker Kelechi Iheanacho (C) scores the opening goal from the penalty spot during the English FA Community Shield football match between Manchester City and Leicester City at Wembley Stadium in north London on August 7, 2021. Adrian DENNIS / AFP
Leicester City’s Nigerian striker Kelechi Iheanacho (C) scores the opening goal from the penalty spot during the English FA Community Shield football match between Manchester City and Leicester City at Wembley Stadium in north London on August 7, 2021. Adrian DENNIS / AFP

 

Jack Grealish’s Manchester City debut was spoiled by Kelechi Iheanacho as the Leicester striker’s late penalty clinched a 1-0 win in the Community Shield on Saturday.

All eyes were on Grealish when he came on as a second half substitute following his British record £100 million ($139 million) move from Aston Villa on Thursday.

After training with his new team-mates for the first time on Friday, Grealish replaced Sam Edozie in the 65th minute and looked lively in his cameo appearance.

Grealish, the most expensive English player of all-time, carried more threat than any of his team-mates.

But Grealish’s first game in a City shirt ended in disappointment as Iheanacho netted the last minute winner from the penalty spot after the Nigerian was hauled down by Nathan Ake.

Defeat in the annual curtain raiser to the English top-flight season will matter little to City if they can replicate last term’s superb form, which carried them to Premier League and League Cup glory.

But the Champions League runners-up start their title defence at Tottenham on August 15 with an unsettled look that will concern Pep Guardiola.

With Guardiola admitting City’s interest in Tottenham striker Harry Kane on Friday, it was notable that his team lacked the kind of cutting edge the England captain would surely provide.

Persuading Tottenham to sell for less than their £150 million ($208 million) asking price remains City’s hope, but they might be advised to splash on the evidence of this largely toothless display.

Admittedly, City were without Kevin De Bruyne and Phil Foden after the playmakers both suffered injuries at Euro 2020.

Leicester City players celebrate after Leicester City's Nigerian striker Kelechi Iheanacho scored the opening goal during the English FA Community Shield football match between Manchester City and Leicester City at Wembley Stadium in north London on August 7, 2021. Adrian DENNIS / AFP
Leicester City players celebrate after Leicester City’s Nigerian striker Kelechi Iheanacho scored the opening goal during the English FA Community Shield football match between Manchester City and Leicester City at Wembley Stadium in north London on August 7, 2021. Adrian DENNIS / AFP

 

With several other City stars resting from Euro and Copa America duty, Guardiola fielded a weakened team featuring teenage debutant Edozie and fellow academy graduate Cole Palmer.

For Leicester, their second Community Shield triumph — and their first for 50 years — showed they can build on last season’s maiden FA Cup victory.

Three months after beating Chelsea in the final, Leicester were back at Wembley nursing a defensive injury crisis before the season has even started, with Wesley Fofana, James Justin and Jonny Evans all sidelined.

Grealish class

Brendan Rodgers did have Harvey Barnes back for the winger’s first appearance since February after a serious knee injury.

Barnes showed no signs of rust as he drew a good save from Zack Steffen with a stinging low drive.

City had threatened early on when Ilkay Gundogan’s free-kick was superbly tipped over by Kasper Schmeichel.

But Leicester looked the more cohesive unit in the first half and Steffen saved alertly from Jamie Vardy’s close-range flick.

Manchester City's English midfielder Jack Grealish applauds the fans at the end of the English FA Community Shield football match between Manchester City and Leicester City at Wembley Stadium in north London on August 7, 2021. Adrian DENNIS / AFP
Manchester City’s English midfielder Jack Grealish applauds the fans at the end of the English FA Community Shield football match between Manchester City and Leicester City at Wembley Stadium in north London on August 7, 2021. Adrian DENNIS / AFP

 

It might have been a friendly, but Guardiola’s frustration at City’s struggles boiled over when he was booked for an angry rant at the fourth official after Palmer was penalised for a foul.

Vardy was inches away from opening the scoring when he met Barnes’ cross with an agile half-volley that was pushed onto the post by Steffen.

Grealish warmed up to huge cheers early in the second half before wild finishes from Gundogan and Riyad Mahrez wasted good chances to put City ahead.

City fans got their wish with 25 minutes left when Grealish was introduced to huge cheers.

Grealish, wearing the number 10 shirt, got plenty of touches as he glided around the final third in search of space.

The most fouled player in the Premier League last season thought he had won a free-kick on the edge of the area after an incisive burst, but Paul Tierney waved play on.

An astute pass from Grealish picked out Bernardo Silva’s run into the Leicester area, but his team-mate’s cross wasn’t up to scratch.

Despite Grealish’s class, it was Leicester who finished with the trophy thanks to Ake’s blunder.

Caught in possession by Iheanacho, Ake clearly tripped the striker, conceding a penalty that the Leicester star drilled high into the net.

 

AFP

Leicester Blow Champions League Chance As Kane Signs Off With Golden Boot

Leicester City’s Northern Irish manager Brendan Rodgers (C) reacts at the end of the English Premier League football match between Leicester City and Tottenham Hotspur at King Power Stadium in Leicester, central England on May 23, 2021. (Photo by Shaun Botterill / POOL / AFP)

 

Leicester blew the chance to qualify for the Champions League for just the second time in the club’s history as the Foxes lost 4-2 to Tottenham on Sunday.

Jamie Vardy twice put Brendan Rodgers’s men ahead from the penalty spot.

But Harry Kane, on what could be his final appearance for Spurs, a Kasper Schmeichel own goal and a late double from Gareth Bale secured seventh place in the Premier League for Tottenham and a place in next season’s Europa Conference League.

Leicester spent more days in the Premier League top four than any other club this season, but for the second consecutive year they fell away in the final weeks of the campaign to miss out on the riches and prestige of Champions League football.

Chelsea’s 2-1 defeat at Aston Villa opened the door for the FA Cup winners to take advantage and move into fourth.

For much of a dramatic afternoon, it looked like Leicester would do just that as Vardy slotted home his first penalty on 18 minutes.

Kane is keen to move on from his boyhood club after Tottenham also missed out on the Champions League for a second straight year.

But the England captain secured the consolation prize of winning the Golden Boot as he slammed home his 23rd Premier League goal of the campaign four minutes before half-time.

Vardy was spot on again seven minutes into the second-half to put Leicester back in pole position to round off a fine season after lifting the FA Cup for the first time in their history last weekend.

Schmeichel was one of the heroes at Wembley eight days ago, but the Dane’s mistake cost his side dear with a place in the Champions League worth at least £60 million.

The Leicester captain flapped at a corner to punch the ball into his own net 14 minutes from time.

With the home side then chasing a winner, Bale struck twice in the final 10 minutes to also sign off his loan spell from Real Madrid on a high.

Leicester were furious Kane was not penalised for handball before he teed up the Welshman to slot into an unguarded goal.

Bale then tapped home his 16th goal of the season after his initial effort came off the post deep into stoppage time.

AFP

Iheanacho Scores But Chelsea Beat Leicester To Gain Top-Four Advantage

Chelsea's German head coach Thomas Tuchel (L) applauds the fans following during the English Premier League football match between Chelsea and Leicester City at Stamford Bridge in London on May 18, 2021. Chelsea won the match 2-1. PETER CZIBORRA / POOL / AFP
Chelsea’s German head coach Thomas Tuchel (L) applauds the fans following during the English Premier League football match between Chelsea and Leicester City at Stamford Bridge in London on May 18, 2021. Chelsea won the match 2-1. PETER CZIBORRA / POOL / AFP

 

Kelechi Iheanco’s goal was not enough as Chelsea avenged their FA Cup final defeat by Leicester to move above the Foxes into third in the Premier League with a 2-1 win in front of 8,000 fans at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday.

Antonio Rudiger and Jorginho, from the penalty spot, scored the goals for Thomas Tuchel’s men to keep a place in next season’s Champions League in their own hands.

However, victory came at a cost for the Blues as N’Golo Kante limped off injured in the first half just 11 days before they face Manchester City in the Champions League final.

Victory away to Aston Villa on Sunday will guarantee Chelsea a top-four finish.

Leicester will forever have the memories of winning the FA Cup for the first time at Wembley on Saturday, but are now at risk of missing out on Champions League football on the final day of the campaign for the second consecutive season.

Brendan Rodgers’s men still lead Liverpool by three points, but the Reds will go fourth on goal difference if they win at Burnley on Wednesday.

Leicester host Tottenham on the final day, while Jurgen Klopp’s men welcome Crystal Palace to Anfield.

Chelsea's Italian midfielder Jorginho (R) celebrates scoring his team's second goal during the English Premier League football match between Chelsea and Leicester City at Stamford Bridge in London on May 18, 2021. Glyn KIRK / POOL / AFP
Chelsea’s Italian midfielder Jorginho (R) celebrates scoring his team’s second goal during the English Premier League football match between Chelsea and Leicester City at Stamford Bridge in London on May 18, 2021. Glyn KIRK / POOL / AFP

 

Roared on by the biggest attendance at Stamford Bridge in over 14 months, Chelsea exploded out the blocks with Leicester barely able to get out their own half in the first 45 minutes.

However, a combination of Kasper Schmeichel and controversial refereeing kept the hosts at bay until the break.

Chelsea were denied in a dramatic end to the cup final by a VAR review which ruled out Ben Chilwell’s goal for offside.

Timo Werner had two more goals disallowed in the first half as the German international was firstly flagged offside before his second effort was ruled out by a VAR review for handball.

But in between, Werner was rightly dismayed when he was somehow denied a penalty.

Bizarre decision

Youri Tielemans’s stunning strike was the difference between the sides three days ago, but the Belgian was caught dallying on the ball inside his own box by Werner and kicked the former RB Leipzig striker as he attempted to clear.

Referee Mike Dean bizarrely blew for a free-kick against Werner and was not asked to review his original decision by VAR.

With millions on the line for a place in the Champions League, that decision could have proved very costly for Chelsea.

But there was little doubt about the outcome once Rudiger bundled home a corner two minutes into the second half.

Werner finally got a VAR call to go his way to double Chelsea’s lead 24 minutes from time.

Wesley Fofana’s foul on Werner was initially given as a free-kick outside the box, but on review Dean was told to point to the penalty spot.

Jorginho coolly sent Schmeichel the wrong way and for 10 minutes, Chelsea looked to be cruising.

However, Leicester set up a nervy finale when Wilfred Ndidi robbed Mateo Kovacic and teed up Iheanacho to slot home his 19th goal of the season.

The Nigerian also became the first player to score on all seven days of the week in a single Premier League season.

Leicester had a glorious chance to salvage a point and keep their top-four fate in their own hands in the final minute, but Ayoze Perez blasted over from Ricardo Pereira’s cut-back.

Tempers flared in stoppage time with both sets of players, substitutes and coaches involved in an altercation after Rudiger took exception to a challenge from Pereira on Chilwell.

Chelsea, though, kept their heads to see out the final few seconds and take a huge step towards another season of Champions League football.

 

Tuchel Tells Chelsea Not To Fear Leicester Rematch

Chelsea’s German head coach Thomas Tuchel gives a post match interview after the English FA Cup final football match between Chelsea and Leicester City at Wembley Stadium in north west London on May 15, 2021. – Leicester won the FA Cup for the first time in the club’s 137-year history as Youri Tielemans’s sensational strike beat Chelsea 1-0 in front of 22,000 fans at Wembley. (Photo by Nick Potts / POOL / AFP)

 

Thomas Tuchel encouraged his Chelsea players not to waste the success of his first few months in charge at Stamford Bridge in the final week of the Premier League season ahead of a FA Cup final rematch against Leicester on Tuesday.

Chelsea were beaten 1-0 by the Foxes at Wembley on Saturday to miss out on their first shot at silverware this month.

Tuchel’s men also face Manchester City in the Champions League final on May 29, but need two wins from their final two Premier League games just to qualify for next season’s Champions League.

Liverpool’s dramatic late win at West Brom on Sunday, thanks to goalkeeper Alisson Becker’s 95th minute header, means the Reds should finish in the top four if they win their last two games at the expense of one of Leicester or Chelsea.

“It is easier to be self-confident when you constantly win, but there is no need to be afraid,” said Tuchel after experiencing back-to-back defeats for the first time since he took charge in January. “We need to believe in ourselves.

“It’s super important for our ambitions (to qualify for the Champions League). The situation is very clear, it is still in our hands. It is what we have worked hard for.”

Tuchel dismissed suggestions the cup final defeat had put more pressure on his side to gain revenge against the Foxes.

But he lamented a 1-0 home defeat to Arsenal last week, when he made seven changes with one eye on Wembley, for blowing a commanding position in the battle for a top-four finish.

The German said he did not watch Liverpool’s late win at the Hawthorns due to his superstition.

“It did not help not to watch it,” he added. “It does not make things boring, it was a fantastic header in the last minute that makes things pretty interesting, but it is still in our hands.

“The setback was the Arsenal game, it is our fault it is so close again. We left the door open and Liverpool put a foot into the door.

“We had a huge performance so far but we need to finish the job. We need to focus, forget the other results and rely on ourselves.”

AFP