Leicester City finally secured their first Boxing Day victory in the Premier League as they earned a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Manchester City.
The visitors dominated possession early on and were rewarded after 14 minutes as Bernardo Silva calmly slotted the ball past Kasper Schmeichel to open the scoring. However, just five minutes later, Marc Albrighton found himself unmarked in the box to head home an equaliser. Both sides had great chances to take the lead, but the score remained level at the half-time whistle.
Leicester's momentum seemed to fade following the restart, but they succeeded in frustrating City, who pushed for a second goal. However, it was the Foxes who took the lead through Ricardo Pereira, who unleashed a thunderous strike from distance following a poorly-defended corner to make the score 2-1 with just nine minutes remaining.
In the dying embers of the match, Fabian Delph was shown a straight red card after a dangerous challenge, bringing an end to a disappointing day for City.
Key Talking Point
Just a few weeks ago, it seemed as though Claude Puel would be out of a job by 2019, but things have quickly changed.
After an inspired performance in the victory over Chelsea, Puel guided Leicester to another superb performance against the defending Premier League champions. Defensively, they looked sturdy and determined, and truthfully they could, and perhaps should, have netted at least another two goals in the first half.
The second half was more about defending, but Leicester certainly did that well. City had few good chances to score, and Pereira's impressive 81st-minute strike seemed to deflate Pep Guardiola's side. Puel has certainly done something to galvanise his players in recent weeks, and he deserves a lot of credit for the way his side played this afternoon.
Starting XI: Schmeichel (5); Pereira (7), Morgan (7), Maguire (6), Chilwell (6); Choudhury (6), Mendy (6), Ndidi (6); Albrighton (7), Vardy (8), Maddison (7).
Substitutes: Gray (6), Simpson (6), Okazaki (N/A).
STAR MAN - Jamie Vardy
It comes as no surprise to fans of the Premier League that Jamie Vardy's work ethic is one of Leicester's most valuable qualities. The 31-year-old wants to fight for every loose ball and he loves to terrorise defenders.
Vardy proved to be a reliable focal point at the top of Leicester's attack, finding space and forcing chances out of nothing. He deserved a goal but will have to make do with an assist as it was his perfect cross which allowed Albrighton to net the equaliser. It was a superb performance for Vardy, and fans were eager to praise the Englishman on Twitter.
Vardy is a PL legend, big game player.— Dezil Dez (@DezilDezz) December 26, 2018
WORST PLAYER - Kasper Schmeichel
Leicester did incredibly well to level the scoreline in the first-half, but it almost seemed as though Schmeichel was intent on sabotaging his team at times. His distribution often left a lot to be desired as he played several passes which led to fantastic chances for City. Fortunately for the Dane, his errors were not fatal.
Key Talking Point
City's squad depth is truly stunning, yet there is one key area in which City are not well stocked - defensive midfield. A thigh injury forced Fernandinho to miss the defeat to Crystal Palace, and he remained unavailable against Leicester, and City certainly missed him.
The likes of Vardy, James Maddison and Hamza Choudhury all had fantastic chances to score in the first half, and Ilkay Gundogan occasionally seemed powerless to stop the Foxes from running forward.
If City do not have a plan for life without Fernandinho, then they need to find one quickly.
Starting XI: Ederson (6); Danilo (6), Stones (6), Laporte (5), Delph (5); De Bruyne (6), Gundogan (5), B.Silva (6); Sane (6), Aguero (6), Sterling (5).
Substitutes: D. Silva (6), Mahrez (6).
STAR MAN - Leroy Sane
In what was an unimpressive performance from City, there were few standout performers. City will not be happy with their performance, but Leroy Sane often looked to be City's best chance of finding some magic.
The German regularly found himself running through on goal and had several chances to grab either a goal or an assist. However, he will be frustrated with his end product.
WORST PLAYER - Fabian Delph
In fairness to Delph, he is not a natural defender. Pep Guardiola has frequently utilised Delph in such a role, but his frailties were on show against Leicester. He struggled to deal with Leicester's dynamic attackers and was guilty of allowing Albrighton to stroll into the penalty area unopposed for his equaliser.
His red card in the dying embers of the match was unnecessary, and signalled the end of a miserable day for Delph. Fans were not impressed and jumped on Twitter to express their frustrations.
Delph has to be one of the worst players in the premier league— Matt⚒ ANTONIO OUT OF MY CLUB 🚫 (@ttaMahplA) December 26, 2018
Leicester City will be looking to make it three wins in a row as they welcome Cardiff City to the King Power Stadium on Saturday.