AFC Bournemouth 1-0 Leicester City: Cherries edge out foxes thanks to early Pugh goal

AFC Bournemouth 1-0 Leicester City: Cherries edge out foxes thanks to early Pugh goal

It was a match dominated by the home side who had the returning Marc Pugh to thank for all three points, as Leicester's troubles away from home continued with a loss.

Ninad Barbadikar

AFC Bournemouth continued their good form at the Vitality and produced an excellent defensive performance to keep out Leicester City with a 1-0 victory thanks to a great finish by the returning Marc Pugh.

Claudio Ranieri's Leicester looked nothing like the side that beat Pep Guardiola's Manchester City 4-2 last week as they failed to take their chances and sat back for most of the game, allowing Bournemouth to dictate the flow of the play.

Ranieri made one change

Ranieri made just one change to the starting XI against Manchester City, Luis Hernandez coming in for Danny Simpson at right back. The front two of Islam Slimani and Jamie Vardy offering different kinds of threat with their abilities, looked to threaten the Cherries' defense.

Eddie Howe made three changes to the team that lost out at Turf Moor against Sean Dyche's Burnley. Pugh made his first start since returning from injury to replace Ryan Fraser, Dan Gosling was benched in favour of Jack Wilshere and Joshua King was drafted in, in place of Callum Wilson, a tactical tweak from Howe as he fielded a 4-2-3-1 formation.

Bournemouth break Leicester resistance

The first-half began with the away side having the better of the early chances, Vardy and Mahrez in particular combining to create goal-scoring opportunities but the Cherries back four was resolute and never really looked threatened.

Leicester were happy to sit back in their own half with the entire team as Bournemouth passed the ball around looking for spaces to exploit in behind the Foxes' backline, their earliest chance came when Charlie Daniels shrugged off Daniel Amartey to produce a very good cross and Adam Smith was closest to it but couldn't get the telling touch with his diving header.

Bournemouth enjoyed the lion share of the possession in the first half as Leicester were happy to let them have the ball and play predictable passes, the first real chance for the Cherries came when Jack Wilshere tried his luck from 20 yards out with a low drive but Ron-Robert Zieler had it covered.

The German was soon after involved in a somewhat embarassing incident when his clearance came off the back of Benik Afobe, the two players then raced for the ball till Zieler cleared the ball out for a throw and Afobe looked to get the ball rolling quickly to Pugh, but his effort from distance went over and Zieler was left a relieved man between the sticks.

Leicester struggled to capitalise on sustained pressure

Leicester had a short period of sustained pressure where they had a series of corners and long throws from both sides as Christian Fuchs and Hernandez looked to threaten Artur Boruc with their long throws but the Cherries remained firm.

The first goal of the game came after a counter-attack from Bournemouth led by the industrious Harry Arter, the whole team advanced in numbers as the Leicester tracked back to their defensive positions, the opportunity was seemingly lost for the home side when Wes Morgan cleared, but Simon Francis intercepted, played the ball in to Adam Smith who squared it for Afobe, his strike was well saved by Zieler, but the rebound was struck goalwards with great technique by Pugh to give the home side the lead.

It was a well-deserved goal for Howe's men, they've looked positive with the ball, Leicester sat back for much of the half and were punished for their approach, Bournemouth looked the better of the sides going into half-time, with Leicester looking to improve in the second half.

Cherries thwart the Foxes in the second-half

Ranieri looked to try a different approach and sent Shinji Okazaki on for Slimani, his partnership with Vardy last season was very productive and the Italian hoped the Japanese international could provide the spark for the Foxes' comeback in the second half.

Bournemouth kicked off the second half on the front foot and did not sit back to get comfortable with the one goal advantage they had and pressed on as Leicester struggled to get a foothold in the game.

Smith came close early in the second half to extend the home side's lead, when a Francis cross found him in the box and his curling effort just missed the far post, the goal would've eased the Cherries' anxiety, but it was a difficult shot to pull off for Smith as well.

Ultimately Leicester couldn't find that spark as they crashed to a loss

Build-up from open play never looked like the plan for Ranieri's men as they looked to take advantage from set-piece situations and long throws, Bournemouth however have a very good record at defending corners so any threats by the Foxes from the corner kicks were dealt with well by the home side.

Both managers made attacking changes as Wilson came off the bench for Afobe and Ranieri sent on the pacy Nigerian Ahmed Musa in a last ditch effort to salvage something from the game.

The final few minutes of the game was where the away side came to life, a series of efforts on goal but the Bournemouth defence was strong and held out. Artur Boruc made a match-winning save late on in added time to preserve his clean sheet, when he saved a powerful header from the Argentine Leonardo Ulloa.

Bournemouth held on to the final whistle for the victory, the three point sees them move to eighth in the table and the Foxes on the other hand sit just above the relegation zone in 16th place after 16 games as their league struggles continue to worry Ranieri.

Howe will be very pleased with his side's performance in the game and will hope the Cherries can make Dean Court their fortress for the rest of the season.