Harvey Barnes led Leicester City to a 4-0 win over Aston Villa at the King Power Stadium on Monday, snapping a four-match Premier League winless run.
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Barnes scored and played a role in Leicester City’s other two goals as Jamie Vardy bagged his first two goals of 2020 in the win. Marc Albrighton assisted both the Foxes’ goals.
Leicester now has 58 points to hold an eight-point advantage on fifth place, 10 over sixth.
Villa’s 25 points are two behind a trio of teams. The Villans have lost four-straight in league play and sit 19th. They next face Chelsea, Newcastle, Wolves, and Liverpool.
Three things we learned
1. Vardy’s 2020 finally begins: Leicester City star Jamie Vardy had 17 goals on the Premier League season entering Monday’s action, but had not found the back of the goal since a 3-1 loss to Man City on Dec. 21. The goal moves Vardy back ahead of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in the race for the Golden Boot. More important, however, is the idea that Vardy could help Leicester firm up its top four credentials.
2. Villa architects of own demise (and VAR didn’t help): There’s no question that Leicester was the better team on the day, but their breakthroughs both came from Villa errors. Reina’s race to meet Albrighton’s delightful long ball to Barnes was ill-conceived and Mings’ unlucky lunge cost Villa any hopes of a comeback. Should it have been a penalty? Probably not, but it’s a low-percentage defensive move anyway.
3. Barnes an easy Man Of The Match: The 22-year-old scored his fifth and sixth league goals to go with six assists, and served the ball that led to Vardy’s penalty while also helping negotiate the counter for Vardy’s second. Barnes also is a willing combatant in his own end, winning the lion’s share of his duels while being credited with three tackles and an interception.
The visitors stormed out of the gates, and an early free kick was slid wide of the goal by Mbwana Samatta.
Leicester responded, with Kelechi Iheanacho missing wide before Pepe Reina made a great save on a Jonny Evans header.
Villa defender Frederic Guibert’s well-timed tackle earned penalty shouts from the Leicester faithful in the 23rd minute.
The Foxes kept coming, and Iheanacho missed wide with a promising header attempt 10 minutes later.
Barnes put Leicester City ahead in the 41st, as Albrighton sprung him down the wing. Barnes pushed the ball around an onrushing Reina and slotted into the empty goal.
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Reina denied a breaking Iheanacho in the 47th minute as Leicester kept coming forward.
It continued to be all-Leicester, and Dean Smith prepared some subs in the hopes of injecting life into his side.
Mings was whistled for a penalty before that could happen, his shoulder striking the ball in a lunge to block Barnes’ cross. Vardy beat Reina to make it 2-0 with 28 minutes to play.
Evans made two tackles to spring a counter for Leicester’s third, Barnes waiting to play Vardy down the left.