Report and free highlights as blocks from Jonny and Max Kilman keep out Leicester, while Ruben Neves and Adama Traore missed good chances at the other end for Wolves.
Comment and Analysis
Sunday 7 February 2021 16:54, UK
Leicester missed the chance to pull level on points with second-placed Manchester United in the Premier League table after a series of Wolves blocks denied them in a 0-0 at Molineux.
Brendan Rodgers’ side were below their best throughout the contest but would have found the net if Jonny – on his return from a cruciate injury – had not made a brilliant double-block to deny James Maddison in the first half, or Max Kilman hadn’t put his body on the line to keep out Harvey Barnes’ effort after the break.
Wolves wasted a couple of good early moments of their own, with Ruben Neves volleying badly off target before James Justin got in the way of Adama Traore’s shot, and when they did eventually hit the target for the first time in the 77th minute, Kasper Schmeichel was quick off his line to deny sub Fabio Silva.
The result leaves Leicester in third, while Wolves stay 14th, 12 points above the drop zone.
Wolves: Patricio (7), Semedo (6), Coady (6), Kilman (7), Dendoncker (7), Jonny (7), Neves (6), Moutinho (6), Traore (8), Neto (7), Jose (6).
Subs: Hoever (6), Silva (6), Gibbs-White (n/a)
Leicester: Schmeichel (7), Pereira (6), Evans (5), Soyuncu (7), Justin (7), Tielemans (6), Choudhury (6), Perez (6), Maddison (7), Barnes (7), Iheanacho (6).
Subs: Vardy (6), Albrighton (6)
Man of the Match: Adama Traore
How the draw played out…
Both teams had been boosted by important midweek wins and there were big chances – and crucial blocks – at both ends of the pitch during a fascinating first half, which saw a blockbuster battle between Leicester left-back Justin and Wolves winger Traore.
It was the hosts who had the first opening, with Neves surprisingly getting a volley all wrong from a flicked-on corner, which had been won by Traore, before Justin made a vital intervention on 15 minutes to get in the way of Traore’s shot from 15 yards out after Pedro Neto brilliance on the left flank.
At the other end, Kelechi Iheanacho fired wildly off target before James Maddison whipped a cross through the Wolves box which just needed to be turned in. More Neto skill saw him skip past Ricardo Pereira before sending a similarly tempting pass through the Leicester six-yard area soon after.
Maddison warmed Rui Patricio’s hands with a couple of tame efforts from range – but there was some brilliant defending from the returning Jonny in between.
The defender was making his first appearance of the season after recovering from a cruciate ligament injury but was perfectly placed to make a double block to deny Maddison a certain opener.
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Jonny was taken off at half-time but his team-mates were nearly celebrating shortly after the restart when Traore – who increasingly got the better of Justin after the break – fired across goal, but Ricardo was handily placed to prevent Neto from tucking in.
Rodgers sent on Jamie Vardy on 60 minutes to try to come up with the breakthrough but Neto almost orchestrated the opener for Wolves when he beat Ricardo and cutback for Joao Moutinho, who wasted time and space on the edge of the box by shooting badly over.
Barnes was the latest Leicester player to be denied by a brilliant block, when Max Kilman threw himself in front of the winger’s shot, before Wolves finally registered a shot on target, with Silva halted by a sharp Schmeichel.
There was a late chance for fit-again Vardy in stoppage time but the striker was unable to steer his header on target and clinch all three points on his return to the side.
What the managers said…
Wolves head coach Nuno Espirito Santo said: “It was a good performance. It was a tough game against a very good team, but we played well. We were organised, we had chances, things that we’re trying to stabilise the team and progress and grow.
“Yes [it was a good defensive performance] and with a lot of players out. Jonny gave a big hand, coming back from injury, but trying to be compact.
“We had good chances. In the end, clear ones but it will come. I’m proud of the way the boys committed to the challenge of facing a team who are very good in possession and always realising that they have to press and go so there are positives.”
Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers: “We have always had tight games against Wolves. I’m very proud of the players and how they kept going, it was the kind of day where you had to grind out a result. We started with a point and if you can’t win, you don’t give anything away.
“We had some chances, got into some really good areas, but a mixture of some good defending by them and us not finding the final pass meant we didn’t quite score. But it’s a clean sheet, the players worked ever so hard after a tough game midweek, so we take the point.
“To be on 43 points, I don’t there is any cause for concern for us. We want to win every game; these players give absolutely everything for us and the club. We will just recover now and prepare for the game on Wednesday.”
Man of the match: Adama Traore
Traore’s match-up with Leicester’s Justin was a fascinating battle throughout the contest on Sunday, with the Wolves man just about edging the battle.
While Justin will point to his crucial block to prevent Traore slotting in from 15 yards out in the first half, the Wolves winger began to increasingly get the better of the full-back, particularly in the second half, when he repeatedly caused problems for Leicester.
One burst past Justin saw Traore fizz a cross into the six-yard box which Neto would have converted but for Ricardo’s interception. That was one of three chances he created, with his game-high five dribbles lighting up the match.
- Of the 589 fixtures to have been played 5+ times in the Premier League, Leicester v Wolves has had the highest proportion finish goalless (50%), with four of their eight meetings in the competition ending 0-0.
- No team has earned more away points in this season’s Premier League than Leicester City (27, level with Manchester United).
- Wolves have won just one of their last 10 Premier League games (D4 L5), failing to score in three of their last four in the competition.
- Leicester have kept five clean sheets in 12 away league outings this season, as many as they managed in the whole of 2019-20.
- This was Wolves’ first clean sheet in eight home league games since their 2-0 win over Crystal Palace in October.
- Wolves’ tally of 27 points from 23 Premier League games this season is their lowest return at this stage since their promotion in 2018, five fewer than they had after 23 matches in 2018-19 (32) and seven fewer than last term (34).
Wolves host Southampton in the FA Cup on Thursday evening, before travelling to the Saints on Sunday in the Premier League. Leicester host Brighton in the FA Cup on Wednesday before taking on Liverpool in the Premier League on Saturday.
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