Aston Villa 1-2 Leicester City: Foxes first-half double secures the win
BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 21: Harvey Barnes of Leicester City celebrates with James Maddison of Leicester City after scoring to make it 0-2 during the Premier League match between Aston Villa and Leicester City at Villa Park on February 21, 2021 in Birmingham, United Kingdom. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Plumb Images/Leicester City FC via Getty Images)

Leicester City moved to second in the Premier League after they beat  Aston Villa at Villa Park.

Two goals in four minutes from James Maddison and Harvey Barnes saw the Foxes cruise into a two-goal lead at half-time.

Bertrand Traore got Villa back into the game with an close-range finish shortly after the restart but the Foxes were able to hold on and secure their first consecutive league wins in the West Midlands since 1960.

Story of the Match

Foxes off to a flying start

Before the game had even kicked-off, one of the biggest talking points of the day was the absence of captain Jack Grealish from the Villa squad. 

The number 10 wasn't included in the match day squad, with the England international ruled out through injury and the early signs of the game showed that as Leicester produced a quick-fire double to take a deserved lead.

It was just before the 20th minute mark that Brendan Rodgers' side's dominance paid off as they took the lead through Maddison.

After good defensive work from the Foxes, Youri Tielemans spearheaded the counter-attack to launch a cross-field ball across to Jamie Vardy.

Although beaten in the air, Vardy was able to retrieve the second ball and find the feet of Maddison, who danced into a pocket of space and shot from outside the box, clipping the post on the way to open the scoring.

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Less than five minutes later and the visitors s doubled their advantage as Barnes scored his 13th goal of the season.

Villa couldn't cope with the Leicester attack and despite Martinez's initial save from Vardy's effort, it was wide-man Barnes who was first to follow in and strike home from close range into the roof of the net.

Poor first half sees Villa to create nothing

The first-half saw the home side fail to create anything significant as they were pinned back and chasing the ball for most of the first 45.

Ollie Watkins cut a frustrated and isolated figure as he tried to feed off scraps, often being beaten in the air by the centre-half duo of Caglar Soyuncu and Jonny Evans.

The closest they looked like scoring was from a set-piece, however Ross Barkley's deliveries failed to conjure anything significant as Leicester easily defended them.

Early second-half goal gives home side lifeline

The onus was on Aston Villa to come out and improve on a poor first-half showing and they did so in perfect fashion through Bertrand Traore.

Some good work in the middle of the park allowed full-back Matt Targett to flash a menacing ball into the box, where Traore managed to connect with his foot despite slipping and reduce the deficit to one.

Traore's goal was Villa's first shot on target of the game as the former Lyon man scored his fifth league goal of the season.

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Traore comes close to equaliser

Despite the early goal, Villa failed to really trouble Leicester again, however with 10 minutes to go, the home side came close to levelling the game.

It was the same duo who combined for the first goal - a teasing cross from Targett looked to find the head of Traore, but his attempt to get his head on the ball wasn't enough as it just missed and went out for a goal kick.

Key Takeaways

Foxes prove they don't always need to rely on Vardy's goals 

A lot is made of Jamie Vardy's goalscoring record for Leicester and rightly so. As last season's golden boot winner and the top scorer for the Foxes this term, it's expected, but even the best of strikers sometimes go on scoring droughts.

The 34-year-old has just one goal in his last six, but now Leicester have goals all over the pitch.

In particular, Maddison and Barnes, who both found the net today are enjoying some of the best goalscoring form of their career. Barnes himself is now just one behind Vardy in the charts, with 13 in all competitions but it proved yet again that the East Midlanders are no one-trick pony.

Leicester continue impressive form on the road

The away side's form on the road has been relentless this season, losing just once away from the King Power Stadium in the league and they continued that impressive run again in the West Midlands.

It's one of the main factors as to why they are where they are and it is entirely deserved. Home form has picked up as well in recent weeks and with just 13 games to go in the league, Leicester are well and truly in the hunt for the UEFA Champions League spots.

Villa struggle to create without Grealish 

Any side who is missing their best player is bound to feel the effects, but with Aston Villa, it was evident that they were missing their star man.

Although they were able to find the back of the net, chances proved hard to come by for Dean Smith's men. 

It took until the 48th minute for them to register a shot on target - coincidentally the goal they scored - but if their boyhood hero is to be out for some time, Villa need to find a way to adapt without him.

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