Kevin de Bruyne scored a stunning free-kick as Manchester City continued their fine form as they beat Leicester City at the King Power Stadium. The Belgian struck four minutes into the second half to win the points for the blues, which also silenced claims that City wouldn’t be able to win matches without top scorer Erling Haaland.
The Norwegian was sidelined with a foot injury that forced him from the pitch during Wednesday’s Champions League clash with Borussia Dortmund, with rumours that he may miss two matches until he recovers.
With 17 Premier League goals and 22 overall, some had questioned whether the blues would be able to score without Haaland’s on-field presence, despite the fact that City had won the last season’s competition without a recognised striker all season.
Julian Alvarez stepped into Haaland’s shoes as City dominated the Foxes from the start, pinning the home side in their own half of the pitch for most of the first 45 minutes. Those that had suggested City couldn’t do it without Haaland were no doubt salivating as the teams went in goalless at half-time, The blues were banging on the door throughout, limiting Leicester to minor breaks that caused no concern.
By comparison, the home side were working hard to contain the blues as they followed manager Brendan Rodgers’ game plan to frustrate City as much as possible. Leicester barely left their half, while the scourge of Manchester City in recent years, Jamie Vardy, was hardly present.
City had some excellent chances in the first half but found keeper Danny Ward in fine form, denying Alvarez, Silva and Rodri, while at the other end, Ederson kept out an effort from Harvey Barnes.
But it was City’s talisman from midfield who would ultimately prove to be the match winner. Jack Grealish was brought down well outside the penalty area and the Belgian saw his chance and curled a stunning free-kick over the wall and out of the reach of Ward, before clipping the inside of the post and in.
It was no more than City deserved, and in fairness, they should have taken the lead moments earlier when Rodri’s shot whistled just wide of the upright.
Youri Tielemans woke up the home crowd when his volley from just outside the D was tipped onto the bar by Ederson, before the City defence shepherded the ball back to the grateful Brazilian. Leicester mad two substitutions in the 72nd minute and that seemed to spark something within the side. Ederson was called into action again to deny former blue Kelechi Iheanacho, and later scrambled across his goal as a comical moment saw John Stones’ header hit Ruben Dias and went wide.
City held on for a precious three points as boos rang out from the home crowd, either because the referee blew for full-time while Leicester were on the attack or, more likely, for parking the bus and allowing City to swarm all over them.
Whatever the reasons, the travelling faithful didn't care as they watched their team bring home the points.
Final Score: Leicester City 0-1 Manchester City