Leicester City 4-0 Aston Villa: Foxes return to winning ways in emphatic fashion
LEICESTER, ENGLAND - MARCH 09: Harvey Barnes of Leicester City scores his teams first goal during the Premier League match between Leicester City and Aston Villa at The King Power Stadium on March 09, 2020 in Leicester, United Kingdom. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

Leicester City returned to winning ways in the Premier League after a convincing win over relegation threatened Aston Villa.

Harvey Barnes and Jamie Vardy were both at the double for Brendan Rodgers' side who strengthened their grip on a top four finish whilst defeat for Dean Smith's Villans leaves them two points adrift of safety in 19th place, however they do have a game in hand on rivals around them.

Story of the match

Nervy start for both sides

It is fair to say that it took a while for both teams to get going in the opening stages of the game, with Villa striker Mbwana Samatta missing from close range from a Jack Grealish free-kick.

Nine minutes in  Bjorn Engels almost scored a calamitous own goal however his header bounced just the right side of the post after some early Leicester pressure.

Aston Villa have conceded the highest amount of goals from set pieces this season and could have added to the collection if it was for better finishing from Leicester.

The Foxes centre-back pairing of Jonny Evans and Caglar Soyuncu had chances from two separate James Maddison corners. Evans would have his shot saved by Villa goalkeeper Pepe Reina, whilst Soyuncu's effort flew over the crossbar.

Penalty shout for Foxes?

There could have been strong cases for a Leicester penalty 22 minutes into the game after left-back James Justin - making his first home Premier League start for the Foxes - was brought down in the box after a strong challenge from Frederic Guilbert. Referee Michael Oliver deemed the challenge to be fair whilst VAR also felt there was no need to intervene and reassess the decision made by Oliver.

Rush to the head for Reina

As the first-half looked to end goalless, it was the in-form Barnes who would open the scoring for the home side 41 minutes in.

A teasing ball from former Leicester wide man Mark Albrighton allowed Barnes to run in behind the Villa backline before he was greeted by the on-rushing Reina. The Spaniard was caught in no man's land and the former England Under-21 international rolled the ball past Reina and comfortably slotted the ball into the back of the net for his fourth goal in seven Premier League games.

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Vardy finally breaks drought

Jamie Vardy scoring is a sight many have become accustomed to seeing however the Premier League's top goalscorer has been without a goal since December for the Foxes.​​​​​​​

After good work from Leicester's first goalscorer, Barnes delivered a teasing ball into the box only for it to hit the arm of Tyrone Mings as he made an attempt to block the cross.

Despite pleading to referee Oliver that he hadn't hit his hand, VAR confirmed after a lengthy wait that Oliver had made the right call and Vardy stepped up to dispatch from the penalty spot to score his 18th of the season.

Double delight for Vardy

Vardy marked his return to the scoresheet in fine fashion but Evans deserves the highest of praise after kick-starting a classic Leicester counter-attack following his brilliant double tackle.

The ball eventually found the feet of HaBarnes who timed his pass to perfection for Vardy to run onto who's initial cut-back ricocheted off Guilbert to fall perfectly for Vardy to knock onto his stronger right foot and half volley past the helpless Reina.

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Brilliant Barnes makes it four

The 22-year-old had been a nuisance for the Villa defence all game and deservedly got his second and Leicester's fourth of the game 85 minutes in.

Similarly to the first goal, Barnes combined with Albrighton who latched onto a threaded ball from substitute Youri Tielemans to drive the ball into the box for Barnes to thunder home first time and pile on the misery for Smith's Villa.

Key Takeaways

Villa poor again

Despite showing promising signs in the opening stages for Aston Villa, it was a familiar old story for their travelling fans.

The away side failed to have a shot on target during the 90 minutes and have conceded the second most amount of goals in the league this season - with bottom of the table Norwich City only conceding more.

The Villans also seem to be lacklustre and look void of creating anything when Jack Grealish is marked out of the game. The Foxes coped well with Grealish by giving him next to no space to operate and nullified the Villa attack.

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Barnes for England?

It's hard not to take notice of the young talent after his display tonight and his form in recent times in a Leicester shirt.

Barnes' two goals tonight meant he now has five goals in his last seven Premier League games and with Euro 2020 on the horizon, England boss Gareth Southgate may gift Barnes with a first call-up to the senior squad for the March international friendlies against Denmark and Italy to have a closer look.

Vardy back to his best?

Vardy has struggled for goals in recent times but after returning from injury to find a place on the bench, Vardy returned to goalscoring form in emphatic style.

The 33-year-old's goals were two composed finishes and could provide him a major confidence boost as he prepares for Leicester's end of season run-in.