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Sunday 4 December 2016

Foxes snare City draw

Leicester settle for point to go level at top

Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero is challenged in the penalty area by Gokhan Inler of Leicester City during the Premier League match at The King Power Stadium last night
Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero is challenged in the penalty area by Gokhan Inler of Leicester City during the Premier League match at The King Power Stadium last night

Leicester finished 2015 level on points with Arsenal at the top of the Barclays Premier League after a goalless draw with Manchester City at the King Power Stadium.

The stalemate leaves Leicester second in the table behind the Gunners on goal difference, completing an amazing turnaround from 12 months ago when the Foxes were bottom of the standings.

After defeat at Anfield on Boxing Day, some questioned the title credentials of Claudio Ranieri's team but they silenced their critics with another superb performance on Tuesday night as they more than held their own against many people's favourites for the crown.

City stay third and without an away win in the league in six outings since a 1-0 victory at Crystal Palace on September 12.

The two teams had cancelled each other out, and Leicester had marshalled the threat of Raheem Sterling well, until the 18th minute. It was then that Sterling caught Bacary Sagna's ball over the top into space and teed-up Kevin De Bruyne, whose first-time shot from the edge of the area was parried away by Kasper Schmeichel.

It signalled the start of an assertive spell from City, only briefly interrupted when Aleksandar Kolarov got himself in a tangle and Riyad Mahrez curled a shot narrowly over the crossbar.

City got in down the right again before the half-hour mark following good link up play between Sagna and De Bruyne. Sterling took a pass on his chest and, losing his balance, hit a volley but Schmeichel got a hand on the ball and it spun past the far post.

Sterling threatened again in the 32ndminute when Schmeichel had to help his left-foot shot from the edge of the box over the crossbar.

Leicester survived the spell of pressure unscathed and finished the first half strongly. Christian Fuchs turned away from De Bruyne and delivered a beautiful cross from the left which just eluded Jamie Vardy and Marc Albrighton in the six-yard box.

Four minutes before half-time Vardy was presented with a glorious chance to score - an opportunity he has buried many times already this season. Fernandinho dallied and lost possession 30 yards out, allowing Danny Drinkwater to put Vardy clear on goal but the Premier League's top scorer uncharacteristically blazed his shot over the crossbar.

There was more ebb and flow about the second half as chances went begging at both ends.

Sergio Aguero flicked a near-post effort just wide straight after the restart before N'Golo Kante soon had Joe Hart worried with a dipping 25-yard shot.

Albrighton scuffed his shot wide from a good position inside the penalty area while back at the other end Schmeichel had to push away a Nicolas Otamendi header.

A brilliant pass from Drinkwater gave Vardy another sight of goal but his shot was straight at Hart, who then did well to repel a powerfully-struck Fuchs free-kick in the 76th minute.

Both sides had spells of late pressure but neither could make the breakthrough and a draw was a fair result.

Leicester keeper Kasper Schmeichel echoed that sentiment after the game.

"It was a pretty fair result," the Danish international said.

"They had a few chances and we had some chances.

"It's slightly disappointing but we'll take a point. We are a very good team, we proved that at the back end of last season, and this season too, and we are right up there in the mix.

"We are halfway through this season, it is still only December and there is a long way to go yet," added the in-form Schmeichel.

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