Jamie Vardy’s instinctive close-range strike proved to be the difference as Leicester City were off to a flyer against Wolves.
Leicester City built on their recent Community Shield endeavours as they got off to a perfect start in the Premier League coming out on top in a well-contested 1-0 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers at the King Power Stadium.
It was a close affair with both teams looking bright early in the game, while exhibited free-flowing football. Both sides had their fair share of chances to take the lead, with Wolves coming close as Joao Moutinho regained the possession in midfield and delivered a brilliantly timed through pass to set Adama Traore clear through down the middle only to see the Spaniard’s sidefooted effort going wide.
Traore should really have scored that chance as just five minutes later his team was penalised for not capitalising as Leicester full-back Ricardo Pereira squeezed past two players down the right flank and slid in an inviting low cross into the six-yard box, where Jamie Vardy was lurking. The striker beat off his marker Conor Coady to flick a magnificent left-footed shot past Wolves keeper Jose Sa.
Vardy then agonized the Wolves fans by celebrating his goal by howling in front of the away section. Leicester ended the first half with a 1-0 lead. Youri Tielemans came close with a powerful 20-yard dipping shot late in first-half stoppage time, but Sa made a decent save.
Wolves started the second half more brightly and proactively, with Raul Jimenez’s movement creating problems for the Leicester defence. Leicester took the foot off the gas a little as if they were wary of the threat on the counter that Jimenez, Trincao and Traore possess although they did create a chance when Tielemans played Harvey Barnes through on goal towards the right only for Max Kilman to make a crucial block.
Wolves controlled the passage of play as the game moved towards the end, but no clear cut chances were forthcoming. In the final minutes, though, Kilman, out of the blue, dribbled inside-out fantastically to release a shot at goal only to be blocked by a Leicester defender. The centre-back got another chance, but his header went straight to Kasper Schmeichel as Leicester held on for three points.
Here are our player ratings for Brendan Rodgers’ men as they begin the new season on a winning note.
Kasper Schmeichel: 6.5/10
Schmeichel had really nothing to do in the first half except the 1v1 situation against Traore, on which he did superbly by making himself big to make sure Traore sent his effort wide. He was called into action more in the second half and made a few decent saves; he was uncharacteristically rash with his distribution today.
Ricardo Pereira: 7.5/10
That was the Ricardo we’re all familiar with, bobbing up and down, joining the attack but equally aware defensively. His assist, in particular, was exquisite; he used a brilliant piece of skill to get past two players before sending a precise mid-height cross for Vardy.
Daniel Amartey: 7/10
He performed his task well despite a few poor passes, quite nearly gave two goals away with his mistakes but made amends by making a big block in the final minutes to deny Kilman to score a possible equaliser.
Caglar Soyuncu: 7/10
He looked perfectly fine for the first time in the last few months; he was horrific at Euros and preseason. He led the defensive line very well, especially under pressure, was aerially strong and made a couple of crunch tackles, stopped Trincao from scoring, and was cool in possession.
Luke Thomas: 8/10
Continues to improve with each passing game. Another confident display from the academy product, who contributed defensively with several well-timed tackles & interceptions. Made astute offensive runs and produced a tempting ball for James Maddison’s first-half chance.
Brendan Rodgers on why Ryan Bertrand missed today's game against Wolves, and on Luke Thomas' performance at left back: pic.twitter.com/sAkaDbquJg
— BBC Sport Leicester (@BBCRLSport) August 14, 2021
Wilfred Ndidi: 7/10
Ndidi wasn’t particularly good on the day, a bit slow and more defensive-minded, never made any progressive runs or carries. He contributed with three tackles and interceptions and completed two dribbles. Another decent day in the engine room.
Youri Tielemans: 6.5/10
He was more defensively engaged today, made massive four tackles, blocked two shots. He didn’t create enough offensively, which is something he wouldn’t want to associate himself with but considering his overall performance, he was fine.
Ayoze Perez: 6/10
His first touch was really poor at times, and he couldn’t control the ball comfortably enough, saying that some of his link-up play with Maddison was wonderful, but he needs to improve. Otherwise, someone else will pounce on his failures to get a starting berth.
James Maddison: 6/10
Looked threatening with his passing and interchanges at times but faded as the game went on and was substituted. He needs to link up with Vardy better.
Harvey Barnes: 7/10
Leicester really missed his presence on the flank last season, which eventually forced them to move to a front two of Kelechi Iheanacho and Vardy. Back in the side, the Englishman undid the opponents a couple of times on the wing but failed to capitalise on a scoring opportunity on the counter in the second half. Encouraging signs for the Foxes, though.
Jamie Vardy: 8.5/10
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) August 14, 2021
He picked up from where he left off last season. He was electric throughout the afternoon, gave Wolves centre-halves’ a torrid time catching . His razor-sharp movement in front of goal stole the show and the three points for the Foxes.
Boubakary Soumare: 6/10
Looked good with his progressive runs, ball carries and dribbling. Seemed more proactive in the offensive department than Ndidi, but he struggled with physicality a little and lost the ball cheaply at times.
Jannik Vestergaard: 6/10
Cool, calm and composed on his Leicester debut. He may start next week alongside Soyuncu.
Kelechi Iheanacho: 6/10
He has completely transformed every element of his game. Brilliant hold-up play in tight areas, used his strength to keep the ball in final moments to ensure that Wolves don’t get another chance.