Leicester City made a successful start to their 2020-21 Premier League campaign with a comfortable 3-0 victory over West Bromwich Albion at the Hawthorns.
The home side started the better of the two, without ever really troubling Kasper Schmeichel. After half an hour Leicester finally sprung into life and Harvey Barnes forced two smart saves from Sam Johnstone.
The visitors remained on top in the second half and took a deserved lead when new signing Timothy Castagne headed home from close range after a cross by Dennis Praet just before the hour. Jamie Vardy then secured all three points for Leicester with two penalty kicks in the final 16 minutes.
West Brom now travel to Goodison Park to play Everton next Saturday, while Leicester will host Burnley on the Sunday evening.
Timothy Castagne of Leicester City celebrates with his team mates
Image credit: Getty Images
Can Leicester City go close to the top four again this year? The 2019-20 season was, when all weighed up, a superb effort by Brendan Rodgers’ team. They finished fifth in the table, ahead of the likes of Arsenal, Tottenham and Everton, and have European football to look forward to again. The forthcoming Europa League campaign is, however, laced with a little regret of what might have been.
On New Year’s Day the Foxes won at St James’ Park and were second in the Premier League. At that point, given how they were playing, it looked like they might qualify for the Champions League for only the second time in their history. What followed in the interrupted second half of the season was a miserable slump where Leicester won four, drew five and lost eight in the league. Their home defeat to Manchester United on the final day of the season had been an effective play-off for the final Champions League spot.
Since then Ben Chilwell has signed for Chelsea but his replacement Castagne managed to register on his debut today. Vardy was the Premier League golden boot winner last year and bagged two penalties today as Leicester secured their first away win in the league since that victory at Newcastle on January 1. With James Maddison now back as a late substitute today and Barnes continuing to develop, Leicester still have one of the most stylish attacking teams in the league. It’s a phenomenally tough ask given the wealth and recruitment of clubs around them, but can Rodgers relocate the momentum of the first half of 2019-20 and then hold it down the stretch this season?
MAN OF THE MATCH
Harvey Barnes (Leicester City). Barnes was a constant threat throughout the game and should have put Leicester ahead from a volleyed chance in the first half. His direct running led to the penalty for their second and his ability to cut in from the left was something West Brom struggled to cope with. If he can add more goals to his approach work then Leicester will have a potent force on their books.
West Brom: Johnstone 6; Bartley 5, Ajayi 6, O’Shea 6; Furlong 7, Livermore 6, Sawyers 6, Gibbs 6; Pereira 6, Robinson 6, Diangana 7. Subs: Robson-Kanu 6, Harper 6, Edwards 6
Leicester City: Schmeichel 6; Castagne 7, Ndidi 7, Soyuncu 6, Justin 7; Mendy 6; Perez 6, Praet 7, Tielemans 6, Barnes 8; Vardy 7. Subs: Maddison 6, Albrighton 6
30' GOOD SAVE! Leicester are playing now, with a lovely move through the inside channel that opens West Brom up completely. The ball is lifted back to Barnes near the penalty spot but he can only volley the ball straight at Johnstone, who parries the ball away. Praet can't convert the rebound.
56' GOAL! West Brom 0 Leicester 1 (Castagne 56) A lovely move by Leicester here. Justin tucks a reverse ball to Praet into the West Brom area. Praet stands a cross up to the back post, where Castagne flies in to head a debut goal from six yards out.
72' PENALTY! Barnes makes a superb run down the left and leaves Ajayi behind him. He cuts into the area and his point blank shot is saved by Johnstone; Bartley had fouled Vardy though, who had tried to get into position for a cut back, and Anthony Taylor points to the spot.
74' GOAL! West Brom 0 Leicester 2 (Vardy pen 74) The holder of the Premier League golden boot is off again in 2020-21. Vardy sends Johnstone the wrong way and dispatches a low shot just inside the left-hand post.
83' PENALTY! O'Shea brings down Justin in the area as both go for a loose ball after good work by Barnes.
84' GOAL! West Brom 0 Leicester 3 (Vardy pen 84) He's done it again! Vardy goes for the same corner, albeit with a little more lift, and sends Johnstone definitively the wrong way as he does so. 3-0.
- West Brom have never beaten Leicester City at home in nine matches in the Premier League era, drawing two matches and now losing seven.
- Jamie Vardy has now scored on all five of his Premier League appearances at the Hawthorns