Wolverhampton Wanderers 0-0 Leicester City
When two of the brightest sides in the Premier League can serve up a stinker like we saw tonight, the weekend can only get better!
The best bits were a sending off and a VAR controversy and that pretty much says it all.
Premier League: Wolves vs Leicester City was the weekend opener, and the Foxes won’t have minded that. The last time they played on a Friday night they hammered Southampton 0-9 at St Marys. But they could still be playing this time tomorrow and I suspect the score would still be 0-0.
The big news hurtling around the ground before kick-off was that Manchester City have been banned from European competition for two seasons. If the Sky Blues are unsuccessful in their appeal then that could open up fifth place for a Champions League spot.
A win tonight would have put Wolves within a point of that fifth position but the hosts looked tired and couldn’t break down the Foxes’ ten men.
Highlights of the game
Brendan Rodgers hoped that Wilfred Ndidi would be fit to make a return, but the Nigerian midfielder needs a little more time, so the Foxes were unchanged from the side which drew 2-2 with Chelsea before the winter break; and how they missed him in a lacklustre display. They looked fresh enough from the off, having 78 per cent of the ball in the first ten minutes, and Youri Tielemens forced Rui Patricio into a save with a well hit effort.
But Wolves came back at the Foxes and Kasper Schmeichel had to get down quickly to save a Diogo Jota shot at his near post. Then, top scorer Raul Jimenez took a tumble under a challenge from Tielemens, and Ruben Neves blasted the resulting free kick into the Leicester wall. Wolves were in the ascendency and Matt Doherty swung in a dangerous cross which Jonny Otto rose to meet and powered a header over the crossbar.
In all honesty, the first half Wolves vs Leicester City highlights were few and far between, and when we thought we had a big moment, VAR ensured we didn’t! Wolves played a short corner between Pedro Neto and Jota, and when Doherty met the cross, the ball bounced to Willy Boly who nodded home.
But the eagle eyes at Stockley Park spotted that Jota’s heel, was fractionally offside at the short corner. Ridiculous!
It was the correct decision of course, but ridiculous nevertheless. The law needs changing or VAR is in danger of changing our beautiful game forever.
Ruben Neves was booked for his protests and boos rang around the ground.
The second half offered little, if anything more than the first. James Maddison took a tumble in the penalty area, under a challenge from Romain Saiss, but he went down too easily with no penalty awarded.
Nuno threw Adama Traore on to try to inject some pace and then Wolves won a numerical advantage when Hamza Choudhury brought down Leander Dendoncker and the Leicester midfielder was sent off. The hosts responded by bringing on new signing Daniel Podence.
But Wolves offered much too little and when Jimenez’ 90th minute header flew wide it was time to go home.
It was Wolves’ 42nd game of the season and it showed as they failed to take advantage of their numerical advantage.
League top scorer Jamie Vardy didn’t have a sniff all night and has now gone six league games without scoring. But the Foxes are now on 50 points, just two fewer than last season’s total.
These two teams played out a 0-0 draw in the opening fixture of the season.
I should have known!
A disappointing exit from the EFL Cup semi-final has left Leicester City with a clear run at the league, and next they entertain Manchester City at the KingPower Stadium. It will be interesting to see how the Sky Blues respond to their recently announced European ban.
Then the Foxes visit bottom club Norwich City, before trying their luck in the other domestic cup, with an FA Cup tie at home to Championship club Birmingham City.
Next up Wolves have a Europa League tie at home to Espanyol on Thursday and, before they make the return trip to Barcelona the following week, they entertain Norwich City at Molineux.
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