Football: Manchester City out-foxed at home

Brace by Huth as Leicester stun City to confirm their status as league favourites

ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE

Manchester City 1

Leicester City 3

LONDON • Leicester have gone from surprise packages to title contenders to title favourites.

The latest chapter of the Foxes' fairy tale was inked yesterday, after they defeated closest rivals Manchester City 3-1 at the Etihad Stadium.

It was the most sensational win to date of Leicester's 12-month rise from the bottom to the top of the table and left Claudio Ranieri's side six points clear of City, making them the bookmakers' favourites to win the title.

"It is a crazy Premier League. It is a good result, the players played very well," the Italian told BT Sport.

"We were never afraid. We wanted to win here.

"Now we are very, very confident and it is important to think about Arsenal, we are ready to fight there."


Leicester's German defender Robert Huth wheeling away after scoring his second goal of the game and his side's third goal. Following a superb display, the Foxes will visit Arsenal next Sunday full of confidence. As for Manchester City, poor defending was largely to blame for their 1-3 home loss. PHOTO: REUTERS

Why would they not go to the Emirates without fear?

City went into yesterday's top-of-the-table clash with the best Premier League home record this season, winning 16 of their last 19 league games.

Yet Leicester netted thrice, with Robert Huth the unlikely two-goal hero while Riyad Mahrez got on the scoresheet again.

City, playing at home for the first time since Pep Guardiola was announced as the successor to manager Manuel Pellegrini, were undone in just three minutes.

The hosts did a poor job of marking a corner and Huth was able to ghost ahead of Martin Demichelis, scoring from six metres with a shot that deflected in off the unfortunate defender.

The goal allowed Leicester to play on the counter-attack - their preferred modus operandi - and City mustered just one shot on target in the first half, with Kasper Schmeichel smothering a shot from Sergio Aguero.

City goalkeeper Joe Hart had to rush out and save from Jamie Vardy and Danny Drinkwater, but Leicester continued to probe and three minutes into the second half, they doubled their lead.

Pablo Zabaleta lost possession high up the field on Leicester's left, Nicolas Otamendi sold himself too easily by going to ground without managing to dispossess the ball carrier, an elegant feint by Mahrez took Demichelis out of the equation and the winger rifled a right- foot shot past Hart from 15m.

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    YESTERDAY

    Manchester City 1 Leicester 3

    Tottenham 1 Watford 0

    Stoke City 0 Everton 3

    Newcastle 1 West Bromwich 0

    Swansea 1 Crystal Palace 1

    Aston Villa 2 Norwich 0 Liverpool 2 Sunderland 2

    Southampton v West Ham

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It was a stunning development which prompted City manager Manuel Pellegrini to throw on Fernando and Kelechi Iheanacho.

The changes almost brought instant results as Fernando headed a David Silva corner goalwards, only to see former City goalkeeper Schmeichel brilliantly claw his effort off the line.

Huth then punished City for yet more slack defending from Leicester's next attack, a 60th-minute corner. Christian Fuchs swung over a left-wing corner and Huth rose high above the static Demichelis to send a perfect header soaring into Hart's top-right corner.

Aguero replied for City with a glancing header in the 87th minute but City remained winless against a current top-six side this season.

More worryingly for City, they have now lost six league games out of 25 this season - as many as when they last won the league title in 2014.

"No complaints. Leicester played better than us," Pellegrini told BBC Sport, adding that he has not given up on the league title. "There are 39 points to play for, nothing is finished."

City's hopes for a quadruple are certainly not over. But, while Pellegrini's men still also have the Champions League, FA Cup and League Cup trophies to play for, Leicester are happy to have just the Premier League title in their sights.

"All the teams around us have the Champions League and Europa League," Huth told BT Sport. "It is inevitable they are thinking about other games and it can only work in our favour - we only have the league to focus on."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on February 07, 2016, with the headline 'OUT-FOXED AT HOME'. Print Edition | Subscribe