Fulham 0-2 Leicester City: Foxes strengthen top-four push with comfortable victory

Kelechi Iheanacho, Leicester City
Kelechi Iheanacho’s first goal since November set Leicester on their way to victory over Fulham

Leicester strengthened their position in the Premier League’s top four with victory over Fulham, whose survival hopes suffered a further blow at Craven Cottage.

James Maddison played a key role in both the visitors’ goals, delivering a delightful in-swinging cross for Kelechi Iheanacho to head home before teeing up James Justin to double the Foxes’ lead on the stroke of half-time.

Brendan Rodgers’ side had three goals disallowed – Caglar Soyuncu’s first-half header was ruled out for a push on Tosin Adarabioyo before Iheanacho and Ricardo Pereira were denied by the linesman’s flag in the second half.

Fulham had chances too – notably when Adarabioyo’s header was palmed over the crossbar by Kasper Schmeichel moments before the visitors’ second goal.

That header, however, was the Cottagers’ only effort on target in the entire 90 minutes.

The result lifts Leicester two points behind second-placed Manchester United, while Fulham remain seven points adrift of safety in 18th.

Maddison the key for Leicester

Brendan Rodgers hails Foxes’ ‘excellent’ win

Rodgers admitted his team “weren’t good enough” in Sunday’s defeat by Leeds United – a result that saw them miss the chance to move two points behind Premier League leaders Manchester City.

The Foxes were without injured defenders Timothy Castagne and Wesley Fofana at Craven Cottage, while key duo Wilfred Ndidi and Jamie Vardy are only set to return against Wolverhampton Wanderers on Sunday.

Leicester had earned just one point from their past four league fixtures without Vardy, while winning only six of their 22 league matches without Ndidi since the Nigerian’s debut in January 2017.

However, two superb assists from Maddison steered the Foxes to victory in west London.

The 24-year-old’s teasing delivery from the right gave Iheanacho the simple task of directing a close-range header past Areola, while he showed great composure to tee up Justin for the visitors’ crucial second goal.

The former Norwich City man has now been directly involved in 12 goals in his past 12 appearances in all competitions for the Foxes.

“He’s got immense quality,” Rodgers said. “The cross that comes in [for the first goal], if it was Kevin de Bruyne everyone would be talking about it. It was an unbelievable cross.

“He’s created lots of moments for the team [and showed] great skill on the edge of the box for the second goal. He’s an absolutely outstanding young player and I’m so happy he plays in my team.”

Youri Tielemans also had an excellent game at the heart of midfield, winning possession 10 times and completing more passes than any other Leicester player.

Only Manchester United have collected more points on their travels this season than Rodgers’ side, who have now won eight of their 11 away league matches in 2020-21.

Toothless Fulham in deep trouble

Scott Parker ‘disappointed’ by Cottagers’ lack of quality

Fulham came into Wednesday’s game without a win since beating Leicester 2-1 at King Power Stadium on 30 November.

The Cottagers have proved tough to beat in recent weeks, but their failure to convert chances into goals has seen them lose ground on the teams above the drop zone.

They carved out the first opportunity of the game after 12 minutes, but Justin produced a fine block to deny Aleksandar Mitrovic after a marauding run from Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa down the left.

Adarabioyo forced Schmeichel into an outstanding one-handed save late in the first half, only for Justin’s goal moments later to leave Scott Parker’s side with a mountain to climb.

Parker brought on Mario Lemina and Ivan Cavaleiro at half-time and the latter went close to halving the deficit within minutes of the restart, dragging a low shot wide of Schmeichel’s left-hand post.

But that was the closest the hosts came to a route back into the match, as their winless league run stretched to 11 games.

No home comforts for Cottagers – the stats

  • Fulham have lost their first four home games in 2021 in all competitions – the first time they’ve lost their first four home games in a calendar year as a Football League side.
  • Leicester have won 26 away points in the Premier League this season – their second highest such total in a Premier League campaign after their 2015-16 title success (39).
  • Fulham have gone 11 games without a win in the Premier League (D7 L4) – the current longest such streak in the competition.
  • Fulham have won only two of their 21 Premier League games this season – before this term, 13 of the 15 previous Premier League sides to win two games or fewer after 21 were relegated at the end of the campaign, although one of the sides to survive were Fulham in 2007-08.
  • Leicester’s Kelechi Iheanacho scored his first Premier League goal in 15 games since netting against Crystal Palace in July 2020.
  • Leicester’s James Maddison assisted two goals in a single Premier League game for the first time in his career (87th app).

‘Quality at both ends the difference’ – what they said

Fulham boss Scott Parker, speaking to BBC Match of the Day: “The cold hard fact is that we’ve lost a football match today and we know what we need to do – we need to win.

“Quality at both ends was the difference, we had some good moments in the first half but we still didn’t cause them many problems. Their quality in the final third was evident.

“There’s still 17 games left. I understand what the perception will be, but we have a team here that have been in games. We know what we need to do and there needs to be a clear focus on that.”

Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers, speaking to BBC Match of the Day: “It was important for us to respond, that’s how you define your team in terms of setbacks. I thought we were excellent and scored two outstanding goals. We showed real moments of quality.

“I think the team is maturing – it’s hard physically for players this season. We had one shot against us all night which shows the concentration. Second half we controlled it and stayed calm.

“The culture we have created is an environment where we ask the players to be courageous. When you lose games there’s a vulnerability but we have always taken that as something to reflect on. Once we fail in a game we learn from it and get out and win the next game.”

What’s next?

Fulham welcome West Ham to Craven Cottage in their next league match on Saturday, 6 February (17:30 GMT), while Leicester travel to Wolves the next day (14:00).

Player of the match

TielemansYouri Tielemans

with an average of 7.50

Fulham

  1. Squad number17Player nameCavaleiro

    Average rating

    5.21

  2. Squad number1Player nameAreola

    Average rating

    5.09

  3. Squad number21Player nameReed

    Average rating

    4.89

  4. Squad number14Player nameDe Cordova-Reid

    Average rating

    4.83

  5. Squad number15Player nameLoftus-Cheek

    Average rating

    4.73

  6. Squad number16Player nameTosin

    Average rating

    4.67

  7. Squad number5Player nameAndersen

    Average rating

    4.64

  8. Squad number34Player nameAina

    Average rating

    4.63

  9. Squad number18Player nameLemina

    Average rating

    4.58

  10. Squad number19Player nameLookman

    Average rating

    4.57

  11. Squad number33Player nameRobinson

    Average rating

    4.47

  12. Squad number2Player nameTete

    Average rating

    4.30

  13. Squad number9Player nameMitrovic

    Average rating

    4.21

  14. Squad number29Player nameZambo Anguissa

    Average rating

    4.08

Leicester City

  1. Squad number8Player nameTielemans

    Average rating

    7.50

  2. Squad number1Player nameSchmeichel

    Average rating

    7.41

  3. Squad number2Player nameJustin

    Average rating

    7.36

  4. Squad number10Player nameMaddison

    Average rating

    7.28

  5. Squad number14Player nameIheanacho

    Average rating

    7.26

  6. Squad number21Player nameRicardo Pereira

    Average rating

    7.10

  7. Squad number6Player nameEvans

    Average rating

    7.05

  8. Squad number4Player nameSöyüncü

    Average rating

    6.93

  9. Squad number11Player nameAlbrighton

    Average rating

    6.79

  10. Squad number20Player nameChoudhury

    Average rating

    6.69

  11. Squad number18Player nameAmartey

    Average rating

    6.63

  12. Squad number24Player nameMendy

    Average rating

    6.60

  13. Squad number17Player nameAyoze Pérez

    Average rating

    6.26

  14. Squad number15Player nameBarnes

    Average rating

    5.91

Line-ups

Fulham

Formation 3-4-3

  • 1Areola
  • 34AinaBooked at 59mins
  • 5Andersen
  • 16Tosin
  • 2TeteSubstituted forCavaleiroat 45′minutesBooked at 89mins
  • 21ReedBooked at 24mins
  • 29Zambo AnguissaSubstituted forLeminaat 45′minutes
  • 33Robinson
  • 15Loftus-CheekSubstituted forDe Cordova-Reidat 71′minutes
  • 9Mitrovic
  • 19Lookman

Substitutes

  • 3Hector
  • 4Odoi
  • 12Rodák
  • 13Ream
  • 14De Cordova-Reid
  • 17Cavaleiro
  • 18Lemina
  • 23Bryan
  • 25Onomah

Leicester

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 1Schmeichel
  • 21Ricardo Pereira
  • 6Evans
  • 4Söyüncü
  • 2Justin
  • 8Tielemans
  • 20ChoudhurySubstituted forMendyat 61′minutesBooked at 72mins
  • 17PérezSubstituted forAlbrightonat 61′minutes
  • 10Maddison
  • 15BarnesSubstituted forAmarteyat 76′minutes
  • 14Iheanacho

Substitutes

  • 11Albrighton
  • 12Ward
  • 18Amartey
  • 19Ünder
  • 24Mendy
  • 28Fuchs
  • 33Thomas
  • 38Leshabela
  • 46Daley-Campbell

Referee:
Robert Jones

Match Stats

Live Text

  1. Match ends, Fulham 0, Leicester City 2.

  2. Second Half ends, Fulham 0, Leicester City 2.

  3. Foul by Aleksandar Mitrovic (Fulham).

  4. Daniel Amartey (Leicester City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  5. Ivan Cavaleiro (Fulham) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  6. Foul by Ivan Cavaleiro (Fulham).

  7. Youri Tielemans (Leicester City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  8. Harrison Reed (Fulham) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  9. Foul by Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester City).

  10. Offside, Leicester City. James Maddison tries a through ball, but Kelechi Iheanacho is caught offside.

  11. Foul by Ola Aina (Fulham).

  12. Çaglar Söyüncü (Leicester City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  13. Attempt missed. Aleksandar Mitrovic (Fulham) header from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Harrison Reed with a cross.

  14. Corner, Fulham. Conceded by James Justin.

  15. Attempt blocked. Bobby De Cordova-Reid (Fulham) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Aleksandar Mitrovic with a through ball.

  16. Foul by Bobby De Cordova-Reid (Fulham).

  17. Nampalys Mendy (Leicester City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  18. Substitution, Leicester City. Daniel Amartey replaces Harvey Barnes.

  19. Corner, Fulham. Conceded by James Justin.

  20. Harrison Reed (Fulham) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

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