Manchester City moved 17 points clear at the top of the table with a determined win at the King Power Stadium.
Second half goals from Benjamin Mendy and Gabriel Jesus secured the three points for the blues, as City moved to within four wins of clinching a fifth Premier League title, and a third in four seasons.
After a busy international period, manager Pep Guardiola left England trio John Stones, Raheem Sterling and Phil Foden on the bench, as well as Portuguese stars Bernardo Silva and Joao Cancelo. And in a week where it was announced that legendary striker Sergio Aguero would be leaving the club at the end of the season, Guardiola opted for the Argentine to start, along with Gabriel Jesus and Fernandinho shoring up the midfield.
City had crashed to a heavy defeat in the reverse fixture back in September and were already being written off as title contenders as they struggled to get to grips with the new season. A 2-0 defeat at Spurs in November left the blues in 11th place in the league, 8 points behind the leaders, but have since lost just once in 23 Premier League matches, a run that has propelled them to within 12 points of the league title, which they can seal at Newcastle, should they win their next four matches.
The blues looked to get an early goal and, despite weathering a spell of Leicester pressure, achieved their target only to be denied by the flag of the assistant referee. Fernandinho unleashed an unstoppable shot from 30 yards out, which flew past Kasper Schmeichel but was ruled out for an offside against Aguero. City’s all-time top scorer had strayed offside in the build-up and was adjudged to have been in the line of vision of Schmeichel.
After that setback, City took control and limited the kept the home side pressed in their own half, with City playing keep-ball for much of the first 45. Aguero had a half-chance on 20 minutes, but his volley flew high over the bar. Two minutes later, Kevin de Bruyne hit a shot over the bar, but was fouled in the process. His free-kick rattled the crossbar as City looked to press home their dominance.
The match then turned into a cagier affair, with City passing the ball between themselves and Leicester seemingly content to allow them to do so, and it wasn’t until the 40th minutes that another chance of note arrived. Mahrez and Aguero charged into the area and it was the former that took the shot which was saved by the leg of Schmeichel. The Algerian should really have done better against his former club as the blues stepped up the pace again. Jesus then fired over the bar two minutes before the interval as City looked to break the deadlock.
But as much as City dominated, it looked like a typical City moment happened on the stroke of half time. Jamie Vardy was put through on goal and he rounded Ederson to slot home, only for the assistant to raise his flag for offside. It was Leicester’s only chance of the half but thankfully for City, the former England striker was yards offside.
That proved to be the last action of the first half and, just like they had in their last Premier League outing, the blues had 45 minutes to find their way through a dogged defence. And in the way City have been in so many games this season, the blues found a way through, but it wasn’t without a scare.
Leicester came out in the second half with a bit more steel about them. Apart from Vardy’s disallowed effort, the home side had no shots on target, but within five minutes of the restart, Youri Tielemans had two chances to put the Foxes in front.
His first on 47 minutes was saved by Ederson and he was denied three minutes later by a superb block from Ruben Dias as Leicester tried to apply the pressure. But it only served to fire City up and 8 minutes later, the blues went ahead through an unlikely source.
A fierce shot from Mahrez was parried by the keeper and left back Benjamin Mendy picked up the loose ball, before side-stepping a weak challenge from Marc Albrighton. The France full-back then fired beyond the keeper on his weaker right foot to put the blues in front.
The goal took a bit of sting out of Leicester’s attack and the blues piled forward in search of more goals, and the second killer blow for the home side arrived in the 74th minute, and rather fittingly, it came from right foot of Jesus.
De Bruyne played a defence splitting pass that two Leicester players attempted to intercept, however the accuracy of the ball eluded them and set the Brazilian free. His ball square to substitute Sterling gave the England forward a chance to add to his goal tally, however Sterling took a touch and passed back to Jesus, who prodded home to send the points back to Manchester.
The blues now have a 17 point lead over United in second place and four more wins for City will guarantee another Premier League title arriving on the blue half of Manchester. Should United win their remaining matches, City could clinch the title at Newcastle.
It’s not like they haven’t done that before!
Final Score: Leicester City 0-2 Manchester City