Leicester City 2-0 Sheffield United: Foxes book European football with comfortable victory
Leicester players celebrate their opener against Sheffield United | Photo: Getty/ Plumb Images

Leicester City bounced back from their shock defeat to Bournemouth at the weekend as they overcame an under-par Sheffield United 2-0 at the King Power Stadium.

Ayoze Perez opened the scoring for the hosts with a cool finish from the centre of the box, with Demarai Gray coming off the bench to secure the three points and at least a UEFA Europa League place for Brendan Rodgers' men. Meanwhile, the Blades, whilst not putting in an inspiring showing will hope to bounce back and follow the Foxes into Europe next season.

Story of the Match

Early chances

Understandably keen to react to their thumping on the South Coast, Leicester could actually have conceded in the opening minutes after David McGoldrick managed to get to George Baldock's centre. Under pressure from James Justin, his effort flew over the crossbar. 

The hosts soon managed to gather themselves though and enjoyed a few opportunities. Ayoze Perez lifted a header over before Jamie Vardy forced a great stop out of Dean Henderson. The Sheffield United man then had to be at his best to halt a powerful effort from the Perez again.

The former Newcastle United man was not to be denied for much longer though as he gave the hosts the lead. Good play from Luke Thomas, who greatly impressed on what was his Leicester debut, saw the youngster find some space on the left. He stayed composed to play the ball across the box to the unmarked Perez who struck clinically into the bottom corner.

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Changes from Wilder

Typically ruthless, Blades' boss Chris Wilder elected to make three changes at the break as he introduced John Lundstram, John Fleck and Lys Mousset.

It was actually Leicester who really should have extended the lead though. After netting at Bramall Lane earlier this season, Vardy was faced with just Henderson after being played through by Youri Tielemans but could only strike the post. Barnes then twice had efforts saved, with Tielemans himself also having an effort blocked having got on the end of Vardy's lofted ball.

For all of the Foxes' dominance, they did still look vulnerable. Jack O'Connell went so close to equalising as a corner struck him a few yards out but a great save from Kasper Schmeichel kept the scores level. 

Gray wraps up the points

That save came in vital late on as the points were sewn up with just ten minutes to play. A fantastic ball out from Jonny Evans picked out Vardy superbly. The striker rolled the ball across to substitute Gray, who took one touch to take the ball wide and another to pull it across goal and into the bottom corner to secure a morale-boosting win for Leicester.

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Takeaways

Leicester bounce back

A dominant first-half showing and the lead at the break had just a touch of deja vu about it at the King Power Stadium following the Bournemouth defeat. However, this time the Foxes kept their heads to secure a vital win in the context of the race for Champions League.

Substitutions work this time

On the topic of Bournemouth, there was another aspect that was different this time around. At the Vitality, the decision from Brendan Rodgers to introduce Dennis Praet at half-time appeared to completely switch momentum, leading to criticism from supporters. Changes worked this time around though, with Gray coming off the bench to secure the three points with just his second Premier League goal of the campaign.

Blunted Blades

For all of their heroics in their brilliant win against Chelsea, Sheffield United really struggled to threaten in the East-Midlands. But for one save from Kasper Schmeichel, the hosts were not really threatened all too much. The defeat will be a blow to their hopes of Europa League football.

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