A Jamie Vardy hat-trick ensured Leicester City continued their 100% start to the season as they thumped Manchester City 5-2 at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday evening.
Riyad Mahrez marked his 200th Premier League appearance with a wonderful strike, blitzing the ball home with a fantastic right-footed drive early on. The Algerian's former teammate, Vardy, then took control of the game soon after, netting two penalties, either side of a wonderful backheeled effort from close range.
Substitute James Maddison added to the advantage with ten minutes remaining with an absolutely unbelievable strike. Nathan Ake gave the Citizens brief hope with his first goal for the club but another penalty, this time from Youri Tielemans, secured an historic result for Brendan Rodgers and his charges.
Story of the Match
Mahrez haunts Leicester again
It did not take very long at all for the scoring to be opened and it was Leicester old boy Mahrez who struck the first blow. A cleared corner fell to the Algerian in the penalty area and despite being on his right foot, he rifled an absolutely brilliant strike into the top corner of the net for his second goal in as many matches at the Etihad against his former employers.
There were a few opportunities for City to even add to their lead before the break, with Raheem Sterling and Fernandinho having efforts stopped by Kasper Schmeichel.
Vardy treble turns the game around
But for all of the home side's dominance throughout the opening period, they somehow found themselves going into the break level. Great work from Harvey Barnes on the edge of the area saw him pick out Vardy, who rolled away from Kyle Walker and was taken down in the box. Referee Michael Oliver had no reservations and pointed to the spot. Having netted twice at the Hawthorns from the spot a fortnight ago, Vardy was lethal once again, hammering the ball into the top corner.
A brilliant move then saw the Leicester man get on the scoresheet once again after the break as the Foxes completed a great comeback. Youri Tielemans and Timothy Castagne combined wonderfully down the right, with the full-back putting in a dangerous low ball. Vardy showed typically predatory instincts to score with a sumptuous flick.
He completed his hat-trick only minutes later and it was once again from the spot. Just like in the first-half, the speedy forward ghosted in behind Eric Garcia and was then taken down. Predictably, he assumed the responsibility and tucked home once again, this time in the opposite corner.
Goals continue to come for the Foxes
Surprise at the scoreline then turned into sheer disbelief, with Maddison climbing off the bench to get his first goal of the season. Skipping inside from the left, he let fly with a spectacular right-footed shot that arrowed into the top corner of Ederson's goal, leaving the Brazilian grasping at thin air.
The hosts did have time to earn a consolation, with defender Ake nodding in a corner for his first goal of the season but Leicester were not quite finished. Maddison this time managed to wriggle away from the hosts' defence and was then felled by Benjamin Mendy. With Vardy off the pitch, Tielemans claimed the ball and stuck it away with consummate ease to make sure Leicester were the first side to score five at the Etihad in the Premier League since 2003.
Foxes tactics change stumps City
For a lot of the first period, Leicester really struggled to threaten their illustrious hosts. Standing off Pep Guardiola's men, the visitors barely had a touch.
That was until the break. Rodgers' troops pushed 15 yards further up the pitch and it really troubled the hosts' backline. Vardy's pace was a constant threat and that really showed in City's rash challenges for the three penalty incidents.
Centre-back severely needed
Once Leicester tried to go forwards then the Manchester City defence looked shaky. With links to Benfica's Ruben Dias growing stronger by the day, his presence has not looked more needed than today. Every time the Foxes got in behind the back, City looked vulnerable and if they do not fix that then they will be nowhere near the Premier League title once again.
Historic day for Leicester
Even in their title winning campaign of 2015/16, Leicester did not manage to win their opening three matches. This really does feel like a message sent out to the rest of the Premier League. There were a lot of predictions suggesting that the Foxes would not be able to challenge the established elite once again this season but this result really does say otherwise.