Match Report: Aston Villa 1 - 1 Leicester City

Aston Villa 1 - 1 Leicester City
Gestede 75'        Okazaki 28'
In a game tinted in controversy and poor refereeing, Aston Villa pulled one back to draw with Leicester City 1-1.  
The evening started with a sense of hope following Villa's win on Tuesday night against Crystal Palace. However, Leicester started the brightest, with Jamie Vardy's movement behind the centre halves causing the majority of Villa's first half problems.

Villa named an unchanged line up from the team that beat Crystal Palace mid week. However, they didn't start like they did against Palace. Players like Ayew and Veretout looked tired and worn out, which made the first half even harder for Villa. In the fourteenth minute, a flick on into the path of the oncoming Vardy was thwarted by Mark Bunn who received a yellow card for his over-eagerness. Yet, Libor Kozak could have eased the pressure when he was gifted the ball by Robert Huth. Kozak's touch left a little to be desired, but he managed to muster up a shot - which was weak to say the least - that was saved by Kasper Schmeichel. He collected the rebound which he tried to find Ayew with, but this was snuffed out by Wes Morgan. 
It was generally a tight game but Villa’s problem, in addition to a lack of balance and poor finishing, is that they can unravel at any moment. They did so here in the twenty eighth minute and were made to pay. Vardy was allowed to run on to a punt from Schmeichel and aimed a delicate lob over Bunn, who backtracked well to claw it off the line. But Okazaki reacted faster than any defender to convert the rebound, which was once again saved by Bunn, yet it was already well over the line.
Leicester had the chance, just four minutes later, to put the game beyond Villa when Roger East pointed to the spot. A ball came across the box to find Mahrez on the edge of the box, who released a shot. Aly Cissokho did well to get across to block the shot, which graced his arm, and was unfortunately deemed as a deliberate handball. Mahrez stepped up to the spot, hitting it straight down to middle which Bunn - on only the Villa keeper's second start this season - saved smartly with his outstretched legs.
The save gave both Villa and the fans a new energy, which they brought into the second half.
Leicester invited pressure, sitting deep to protect their lead while making space for the breaks at which they excel. That plan could have been undone on the hour, when Huth caught Kozak in the face with a swinging arm as he tried to cut out a cross into the box from Westwood. Villa demanded a penalty, but the referee saw nothing wrong.
Villa kept coming. Ayew dribbled brilliantly to the byline in the sixty fifth minute before pulling the ball back to Leandro Bacuna, who failed to shoot with enough power to beat Schmeichel. Moments later Leicester nearly scored on the break, but Bunn denied Vardy.
After Leicester withdrew Okazaki, Remi Garde saw an opportunity for Villa to capitalise. He introduced Rudy Gestede who instantly set out to roar on the crowd, thrusting his arms towards the Holte End in an attempt to lift the atmosphere.
Villa's directness was rewarded when Gestede collected the ball at the edge of the area, barged past Huth and benefited from a slice of luck when his shot took a nick off Morgan and continued into the net. Villa deserved their equaliser, and went looking for a winner. However, this once again demonstrated Villa's desperate need for a striker that can make something out of nothing.
Star Man
Mark Bunn
For me, it was hard to decide who I would give this title to following last night's game as no one stood out as my star man. It was more of a collective team effort from all the players on the pitch. It was probably easier to label the player who had struggled most in the game.
However, it would be hard to ignore Villa's summer signing when giving out the man of the match award following his penalty save that kept Villa in the game.
His distribution, in comparison to Brad Guzan's was particularly good, with Kozak and Gestede both getting the service that was required from a goal kick.
Despite his reasonably good game, Bunn struggled with his judgement, twice running off his line to stop Vardy and failing on both occasions. However, Bunn's troubles made Guzan's in comparison worse and also highlighted Villa's lack of a good all round goalkeeper.

Molly Jennens

I'm Molly Jennens and I am an aspiring football journalist. Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoy it.

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