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Three talking points from Manchester City’s 2-0 win over in-form Leicester

The Boot Room

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Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City arrived at the King Power Stadium on Saturday having won every match they have played since August. Leicester City, meanwhile, were on a good run themselves, going six unbeaten prior to the visit of the Citizens.

It was City that ran out winners in the end, although Claude Puel’s Leicester put up a strong fight, having a shot hit the post shortly before Kevin de Bruyne fired home the Blues’ second goal from a counter attack to seal the victory.

Guardiola’s side temporarily extended their lead at the top of the Premier League to nine points following the win, although that primacy was cut to eight after Manchester United beat Newcastle 4-1 at Old Trafford.

Below are three talking points from City’s win…

Another top class performance from Ederson

One of the main talking points this summer was the inflated transfer fees of many top players – PSG broke their transfer record to sign Neymar for nearly £200 million, whilst Kylian Mbappe joined for a future fee of £175 million.

In the Premier League, Romelu Lukaku joined Manchester United for £75 million from Everton, and City spent big themselves – £50 million on Kyle Walker their biggest outlay.

However, one of their most important deals has to be the signing of Ederson from Benfica for £35 million, a fee which could be called a bargain in today’s market.

The Brazilian kept his seventh clean sheet in yesterday’s win in what was another impressive performance.

He was signed to replace Claudio Bravo and provide Guardiola’s side with much more impetus when playing out from the back, as well as his ability to make top class saves.

Ederson demonstrated both those skills yesterday, impressing in the sweeper keeper role with his positioning ability, especially outside of his 18-yard box in intercepting long balls – one example came in the first half where he stopped Demarai Gray from potentially running clear – which in turn allowed City to press higher up.

One of City’s main problems last season was conceding goals, something which appears to have eased with the signing of the Brazilian.

Kompany decision a major talking point but promising signs for Puel’s side

Leicester may have lost 2-0 but they probably won’t be too disheartened.

City haven’t lost all season so a win for the Foxes was never realistically on the cards. Nonetheless, they definitely gave the Blues a game.

If referee Graham Scott had shown Vincent Kompany a red card for his early tackle on Jamie Vardy when the Leicester man was running through, the dynamics of the match could have changed completely.

As it stood, Kompany was shown a yellow, but Leicester still had chances after that despite City’s overall dominance.

Harry Maguire had a shot that hit the post shortly before City’s second, and Kompany almost diverted it into his own net following a Mahrez cross.

Leicester are currently only four points above the relegation zone, in 12th, but based on Saturday’s performance they should stay up comfortably.

Out of their next six games, they face four teams currently in the bottom half – the other two being Tottenham and Burnley – so if they pick up some wins out of those games, they could be looking towards challenging for the top half of the league.

Silva’s impressive season continues

The Spanish playmaker registered his 8th assist of the season in City’s win yesterday, cutting the ball back to de Bruyne for their match-clinching second goal just seconds after he had been on the line to cut out Maguire’s shot.

He also played a crucial part in City’s first goal, breaking through the Leicester defence and laying the ball across to Gabriel Jesus, who tapped into an empty net.

The form of the likes of de Bruyne, Leroy Sane and Sergio Aguero have been major talking points in City’s attacking development this season but Silva’s performances have been equally key.

The Spaniard does not score many but he plays a role that allows City’s front men to grab the goals instead. He adds an extra dimension to City’s play in terms of his passing and movement that would sorely be missed was he not to be playing.

Silva won City’s player of the season last year and has been one of Pep Guardiola’s most crucial players since he arrived at the club last summer. He has translated that form into this season and is still one of City’s most consistent and important performers.

Leicester City

Who is Leicester City’s new signing, Ricardo Pereira?

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Photo: Getty Images.

He may come to the Premier League as a regular in a league winning side set to travel to the World Cup as a Champions League regular, but few had heard of Porto full-back Ricardo Pereira when it was announced that terms have been agreed for him to join Leicester City.

The deal was confirmed on the club’s official website as the 24-year-old put pen to paper on a five year contract which will be confirmed on June 9th, when the international transfer window opens.

Yet, those who know Pereira well will not be surprised. The right-back was Claude Puel’s undisputed first choice at OGC Nice during his spell in France and was one of the first names on the current Leicester boss’ team-sheet week in, week out.

(Photo credit should read FRANCISCO LEONG/AFP/Getty Images)

Then, Pereira was deployed as both a right-back and a left-back, with his versatility being one of his biggest strengths in the eyes of Puel. Since then, he has added another dimension to his game, improving his attacking play and featuring in a more advanced role in midfield and even as a forward on the right hand side for Porto.

The Portuguese side have relied on the number 21 as they returned to the top of Liga NOS this season and his fine form has earned him a spot in his national team, adding to his two caps from 2015 with another in November and then being selected ahead of Barcelona’s Nelson Semedo for Fernando Santos’ World Cup squad to travel to Russia.

A strong dribbler who likes to overlap down the flank, he is a clear upgrade on Danny Simpson provided he can rapidly adapt to the pace and physicality of the Premier League.

With a WhoScored rating of 7.59 in 2017/18, Pereira is one of the most highly rated full-backs in Europe and possessed some of the best statistical returns in the world in his position. His signing for the Foxes represents a step in the right direction in the club’s quest to return to European football.

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Leicester City will hope Kelechi Iheanacho can live up to price-tag next season

The Nigerian striker still has to prove himself at Leicester City.

Mathew Coull

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Leicester City played out a scintillating final game of the season against Tottenham Hotspur this weekend, losing 5-4 at Wembley in a game where defending appeared to be abandoned. One of the highlights of the game was a magnificent strike from Leicester striker Kelechi Iheanacho. He picked up the ball from 25 yards out and fired a rasping left-footed drive into the top corner of Hugo Lloris’ goal. It was, simply unstoppable.

For Leicester fans, it was probably just as frustrating as it was pulsating to see this strike go in. Because every Foxes fan is acutely aware that this is what the Nigerian is capable of, yet he struggles to do it on a regular basis.

(Photo by Oleg Nikishin/Getty Images)

In August last year, Leicester beat off a host of competition to sign the striker from Manchester City. According to ESPN, the Nigerian set the club back £25 million. But it was an investment in what is clear talent.

The former wonderkid had shown in his brief appearances for Manchester City and with the Nigeria senior team that he is a ruthless finisher in front of goal. If given chances, surely he would be a lethal Premier League striker.

But his application is often not at the right level. This season, Iheanacho managed just three goals in 21 Premier League appearances.

(Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Yet this strike against Tottenham highlighted the fact Leicester have a potential star on their hands. He was brilliant in the Foxes FA Cup campaign, with four goals in five games. This summer he will lead the line for Nigeria at the World Cup and has a fine record with the Super Eagles.

Leicester paid £25 million for a player they hope can become a top talent. Incidentally, the 21-year-old’s middle name is ‘Promise’. If he can deliver on that next season, Leicester’s investment will not be in vain.

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Does Arsenal win justify stay for Claude Puel at Leicester?

Josh Kerr

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Claude Puel
Photo: Getty Images

Claude Puel helped Leicester secure their first win over Arsenal in 24-years on Wednesday night to round off their home campaign in spectacular fashion.

However, does the win do enough to justify why the Frenchman should stay at King Power for next season?

The Foxes ended a miserable run of five games without a win and six at the King Power Stadium by inflicting a first-ever defeat to the Gunners.

The victory, courtesy of goals from Kelechi Iheanacho, Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez, ensured Puel’s side now cannot finish lower than ninth.

After the win, Puel dedicated the final home game of the season to his Leicester supporters, despite many fans wanting a change of management in the East Midlands.

Puel took over from Leicester with the Foxes sitting third from the bottom – a position that had resulted in the sacking of Craig Shakespeare back in October.

Puel was a breath of fresh air for the former Premier League champions and got them quickly flying up the league table.

However, his poor form in recent weeks has also seen fans unhappy with his unimaginative style of play, and some have called for their fourth managerial change in just over a year.

The current Leicester boss found himself in an almost identical position last season when he was sacked by Southampton on the final day of the season, despite guiding the team to an impressive 8th place finish.

It comes as a cruel reminder to Puel that wins just aren’t enough in the modern game. Fans still want to see their team playing a positive brand of football that lifts them off their seats each weekend.

Puel’s obsession with results had clearly upset the Leicester dressing room, who looked jaded and unimpressed with the manager’s tactics in recent weeks, but Wednesday’s win may inspire the board to keep the 56-year-old in charge of the Foxes for next season.

Leicester can’t afford to keep going through managers and Puel’s style may not be the most imaginative, but the former Saints manager has dragged them up the table dramatically when they looked a serious contender for the drop just months ago.

The supporters need only look to Burnley for inspiration, with the Clarets recording a stunning seventh place finish that has secured them European football for next season.

Puel has an 8th and 9th place finish on his managerial CV, and supporters should be delighted with the progress made since his appointment back in October.

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