Manchester City 6-3 Leicester City - Citizens edge out spirited Foxes in festive thriller
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 26: Aymeric Laporte of Manchester City celebrates after scoring their side's fifth goal during the Premier League match between Manchester City and Leicester City at Etihad Stadium on December 26, 2021 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Chris Brunskill/Getty Images)

Manchester City extended their lead at the top of the Premier League to six points, as they came out on top in a nine-goal thriller at the Etihad Stadium.

Story of the Match

Any fear of a post-Christmas hangover for the league leaders was abolished as soon as Chris Kavanagh blew his whistle, with Pep Guardiola's side flying out of the blocks to open the scoring within five minutes. 

It came after a barrage of pressure on the Leicester City back-line, with Kevin De Bruyne making the breakthrough as Jannick Vestergaard afforded the Belgian far too much space inside the penalty area, and De Bruyne took the opportunity masterfully, turning and firing home from 12 yards.

Manchester City's relentless energy had their opposition pegged back inside their own half for the entirety of the early exchanges, and they were given the opportunity to double their lead from the penalty spot after a lengthy VAR review adjudged that Yuri Tielemans had dragged down Ayermic Laporte inside the penalty area. Riyad Mahrez stepped up and fired home from the spot to make it 2-0 inside 15 minutes.

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Two became three as Ilkay Gundogan tapped home from close range as Kasper Schmeichel failed to deal with Joao Cancelo's driven cross, and three soon turned into four as Raheem Sterling fired home Manchester City's second penalty of the afternoon, after the Englishman was hacked down inside the area by Tielemans.

Schmeichel had had little to cheer about in the opening half an hour, but the Leicester City captain soon made his presence known, making two fine stops to deny Sterling and Gundogan from extending City's lead as the hosts heading into half-time four goals to the good.

Manchester City had scored fifteen unanswered goals heading into the second half, and with the hosts fresh of the back of a 7-0 drubbing of Leeds United in their last Etihad outing, there was the potential of Leicester being on the end of a hammering. But Brendan Rodgers' men clearly hadn't read the script.

James Maddison finished off a fine counterattack to pull what looked to be a mere consolation back for the Foxes, a goal which was met by a sarcastic chant of 'we've scored a goal from the Leicester faithful inside the Etihad Stadium.

But the sarcasm soon turned to worry for Guardiola and co, as Ademola Lookman tapped home five minutes later to cut the deficit to two. Manchester City's gaffer was out of his seat in disarray as he remonstrated to his troops.

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Former Manchester City forward Kelechi Iheanacho had played a key role in both of Leicester goals, assisting both Maddison and Lookman, and it was he who made it a one-goal game in the 65th minute, as he finished off yet another free-flowing Foxes counter-attack.

With Leicester in the ascendancy, it was imperative that Manchester City found the next goal, and that is exactly what they did as Ayermic Laporte rose highest to head home Mahrez' corner.

Leicester was handed a gilt-edged opportunity to get back within one as Maddison put the ball on a plate for Marc Albrighton to head home, but despite being unmarked in the six-yard box, the Englishman could not direct his header goalwards as the chance went begging.

City put the final nail in the Leicester coffin deep in proceedings as Sterling turned Ruben Dias' header home from close range to complete the scoring on what was a wacky and wild Boxing Day in East Manchester.

Manchester City: Ederson; Cancelo, Dias, Laporte, Zinchenko; Fernandinho (C), Gundogan, Bernardo; Sterling, Mahrez, De Bruyne.

Leicester City: Schmeichel (C); Thomas, Vestergaard, Amartey, Albrighton; Perez, Tielemans, Dewsbury-Hall, Lookman; Maddison, Iheanacho.