Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

NO CHOP YET FOR AXEMAN! ; MATCH ANALYSIS CITY 2 LEICESTER 0under-Pressure Pellegrini Shakes Up Blues by Dropping Kompany and Nasri - but Gets His Rewards as City Keep Up with Chelsea in Title Race

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

NO CHOP YET FOR AXEMAN! ; MATCH ANALYSIS CITY 2 LEICESTER 0under-Pressure Pellegrini Shakes Up Blues by Dropping Kompany and Nasri - but Gets His Rewards as City Keep Up with Chelsea in Title Race

Article excerpt

CITY boss Manuel Pellegrini took the axe to his team - and they responded with a win that keeps their title hopes alive.

Goals from David Silva and James Milner cut through bottom club Leicester's sti resistance after the Blues - with skipper Vincent Kompany dropped to the bench and Fernandinho and Samir Nasri chopped altogether - had toiled to find their verve.

Pellegrini had promised that he would rest two or three players after the poor displays against Barcelona and Liverpool - but this looked like a strong message to his squad that he will not tolerate the slump in form that saw them win just two of their previous nine games.

It looked as though his bold selection might backfire at first, as Eliaquim Mangala and Martin Demichelis looked vulnerable to Leicester's quick counter-attacking thrusts, but they settled to get a grip and ensure the Blues had the best of it.

City toiled through the first half-hour of the game, completely dominating the ball and piling up the pass count, but relying on the muscle of Wilfried Bony to make any dents on a virtual 11-man defence.

And with the Foxes testing out the new-look City defence on the break, it was an uncomfortable first half for the Blues as they sought the goal they needed to crack the visitors' resistance.

It almost came after just three minutes as Silva swung over a corner and Bony steamed in to head goalwards - the ball was heading just outside the post but Esteban Cambiasso cleared it just in case.

It was a reminder of why City - who have been utterly impotent from corners, free-kicks and aerial crosses into the box - decided to fork out Pounds 25m for the big Ivorian.

He was a real handful for the visitors, who were closing down the space on which Silva and Sergio Aguero normally thrive, but were finding Bony's powerful hold-up play more di-cult to combat.

But Leicester initially provided a threat of their own, only a brilliantlytimed Demichelis tackle stopping Je rey Schlupp from bursting free.

And when Bony trotted back to his own box to defend a corner, his clumsy challenge on Schlupp saw ref Robert Madley turn down a clear penalty.

~ey again appealed for a spot-kick as Andrej Kramaric tumbled over Joe Hart's dive as he streaked into the area, but the keeper had reached the ball and pushed it to safety before making contact.

~e back four looked as wobbly as ever in the opening phase but Demichelis and Mangala got to grips with the task and, with Fernando doing a good shielding job and the City midfield eating up every bit of ball possession, Leicester's threat grew less and less.

But the Blues were still finding it hard to put their passing game together, with Silva - normally a model of consistency - as o - key as anyone.

In the last 10 minutes of the half they finally began to find their rhythm and sharpness of touch and, when Jesus Navas dashed to the by-line and pulled his cross back, Bony's side-foot shot was kept out by keeper Mark Schwarzer. …

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