Post by Football News on Sept 30, 2017 17:31:06 GMT
AFC Bournemouth 0 - 0 Leicester
Bournemouth stay in bottom three after failing to break down Leicester
By the full-time whistle, neither Bournemouth nor Leicester City had too much to shout about. This stalemate did few favours for either side’s hopes of steering clear of the Premier League relegation zone before the upcoming international break. After seven matches, both teams can only take solace from a sole victory this season, against Brighton and Hove Albion.
Craig Shakespeare opted to drop Riyad Mahrez from his starting lineup in Premier League for the first time since April, with Demarai Gray, a player coveted by Bournemouth since he was a teenager at Birmingham City, preferred here. Shakespeare urged Gray to seize his chance, while Mahrez had to make do with a place on the bench.
Christian Fuchs also returned at left-back while Jamie Vardy started, despite his omission from the England squad. The striker has hardly trained over the past fortnight and will have a steroid injection next week to treat a long-standing hip problem. Eddie Howe also made two changes, with Lewis Cook’s name ironically jeered by home supporters after being awarded the man of the match award on his first league start this term. Marc Pugh, who scored the winner in this fixture last season, also returned for the Cherries.
Pugh was heavily involved again this time around too. After a cagey opening couple of minutes, Bournemouth exploded into life. Joshua King played a neat one-two with Jermain Defoe, who scooped the ball onto the bar after beating Andy King to his strike-partner’s low cross. The rebound bounced its way towards Pugh, who would have scored but for the right hand of Danny Simpson, who kept the ball out. Then came another early scare for the Foxes a minute later. Defoe latched onto a marvellous defence-splitting through ball by Junior Stanislas but before bearing down on Kasper Schmeichel, the Leicester City captain Wes Morgan did brilliantly to get back at his man and hassle the forward after inevitably losing the footrace. Defoe could only set up Pugh, who dragged his effort wide. Leicester looked lost but Bournemouth continued to pour forward, with King himself forcing Wilfred Ndidi into a clearance.
The Leicester defender, Harry Maguire, was given a rough ride by King and the Bournemouth forward should have done better when he found himself unmarked inside the box, but side-footed wide after Pugh slid him in from the left. Somehow Leicester, exposed time and again, survived but an exasperated Shakespeare sought personnel changes at the interval and introduced Vicente Iborra in place of King, the Wales midfielder.
After a stop-start beginning to the second half, Stanislas tested Schmeichel from distance but the Leicester goalkeeper comfortably held his effort. Bournemouth continued to pry for an opening, with Cook, the England under-21 midfielder, jinking away from Iborra and Ndidi in the middle of the park before King’s lofted pass was eventually cleared. Then, against the run of play, Leicester squandered an unlikely lifeline on the hour mark. Marc Albrighton’s downfield ball was kept away from Vardy but Simon Francis’s clearing header fell straight to Shinji Okazaki. The Japan forward has been a man in form of late, but shot wide from 12 yards when presented with a glistening opportunity. That was to be Okazaki’s final contribution before Shakespeare summoned Kelechi Iheanacho. Then came Mahrez, in place of Albrighton. Then came a big decision for Graham Scott, the referee. But when Defoe fell under pressure from Ndidi and then Fuchs, he wearily waved away appeals for a penalty. There was almost a stoppage-time twist in the tale when Mahrez’s low cross forced Ake to clear just wide of his own goal. Neither side left the field entirely happy.