Premier League
Aston VillaAston Villa1LeicesterLeicester City1

Aston Villa 1-1 Leicester City

By Tim PeachBBC Sport
Shinji Okazaki is congratulated after scoring Leicester's opener against Aston Villa
All of Shinji Okazaki's five goals for Leicester have come away from home

Leicester City returned to the top of the Premier League with a draw at bottom-of-the-table Aston Villa.

Shinji Okazaki opened the scoring for City, reacting quickest to poke home after keeper Mark Bunn had athletically clawed out Jamie Vardy's lob.

Riyad Mahrez missed a chance to double the lead after Leicester were awarded a controversial penalty for handball.

But Villa striker Rudy Gestede levelled after his second-half shot deflected past keeper Kasper Schmeichel.

Rudy Gestede is congratulated after scoring Aston Villa's equaliser against Leicester City
Gestede's goal was Villa's eighth in 11 Premier League games under Remi Garde

Leicester are now a point clear of Manchester City and Arsenal at the top of the table, but the Gunners will go back to the top if they get a point against Stoke on Sunday.

Villa's fighting spirit

Fighting spirit may keep us up - Garde

It might be over-exaggerating to say Villa have turned the corner after their fans' furious reaction to the draw with Wycombe in the third round of the FA Cup, but after manager Remi Garde's first win in midweek, there will be more optimism around Villa Park now.

Whereas in previous fixtures heads had dropped after going behind, on Saturday Villa continued fighting and they had more of the ball and won more battles than the league leaders.

They still have defensive frailties, none more obvious than when Vardy was afforded time to get onto the end of Schmeichel's long clearance.

Bunn may have backtracked well to keep out his lob, but his defenders were too slow to the rebound, letting Okazaki in for the opener.

Leicester's stars dimming?

Foxes failed to kill game - Ranieri

The success of Claudio Ranieri's men so far this season has primarily been built around two key men, Vardy and Mahrez.

Between them they have 28 goals and 10 assists in the Premier League, and while Vardy - who has just come back from a minor operation - did well for Leicester's goal, he did not look as sharp as when on his record-breaking streak earlier in the season, and missed a chance to win it in stoppage time when he fired over from a tight angle.

Mahrez's weak penalty - his second missed penalty in a row - will be a frustration to his manager, as will Leicester's inability to finish the game when in front.

Paying the penalty?

The main talking point of the first half was Leicester's penalty decision. It was the assistant referee who flagged for Aly Cissokho's handball, but it simply added to the recent confusion over the rule.

Riyad Mahrez's shot was blocked by Aly Cissokho's hand, after which the penalty was given
Cissokho claimed that his arm was up in self-defence

The Villa defender had dived in to block Mahrez's shot from a couple of yards, but the ball struck his arm up by his face with Cissokho facing the other way.

The FA state: handling the ball involves a deliberate act of a player making contact with the ball with his hand or arm. The referee must take the following into consideration:

  • the movement of the hand towards the ball (not the ball towards the hand)
  • the distance between the opponent and the ball (unexpected ball)
  • the position of the hand does not necessarily mean that there is an infringement

The home side had their own strong claim for a penalty in the second half when Leicester defender Robert Huth wrapped his arm around Libor Kozak's head to get to a cross first, but the referee turned down the appeal.

Man of the match - Mark Bunn (Aston Villa)

Mark Bunn saves Riyad Mahrez's penalty
Bunn, who has replaced Brad Guzan as first choice, saved a penalty which might have turned the game

What they said

Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri: "Yes, we lost two points. We started very well and scored a goal but after the missed penalty the Aston Villa players took a new energy.

"If we score a second goal, we close the match. We are very sad but also I say to the players 'if we make the performance the result is not important'.

"It's one point, it's OK, it's a derby - but we are disappointed."

Aston Villa manager Remi Garde: "If you look at the two games we've played we can be pleased about the spirit. These players have the right attitude to try to save the club from relegation. Sometimes it takes time.

"If there is pre-season it's because it's useful and when you don't have pre-season to work with your team it's more difficult. I didn't have this time and when I arrived the team had lost seven games in a row.

"I know my face was new in the dressing room - my language as well - but it doesn't take hours to put it right."

The stats you need to know

  • Shinji Okazaki has now scored five goals for Leicester City in all competitions, all of them coming away from home.
  • The Foxes have now been top of the Premier League table for 33 days this season, the same number of days that Spurs have been top of the PL table since its inception in 1992 (based on end of days).
  • Rudy Gestede scored his first Premier League goal in 10 appearances for Aston Villa at Villa Park.
  • Aston Villa have seen a substitute score on just three occasions in the Premier League since 22 September 2013 - two of those have been scored by Gestede.
  • The Foxes' run of six hours and 11 minutes without conceding a Premier League goal was ended by Gestede's goal.

What's next?

Both sides have FA Cup third round replays to take care of. Aston Villa host League Two Wycombe Wanderers on Tuesday night, while Leicester are at home to Tottenham Hotspur.


Aston Villa

Formation 4-3-3

  • 31BunnBooked at 14mins
  • 7BacunaBooked at 85mins
  • 5Okore
  • 16Lescott
  • 43CissokhoBooked at 32mins
  • 17Veretout
  • 8Gueye
  • 15Westwood
  • 25GilSubstituted forGestedeat 67'minutes
  • 27Kozák
  • 19J AyewSubstituted forSinclairat 90+5'minutes


  • 1Guzan
  • 4Richards
  • 6Clark
  • 9Sinclair
  • 18Richardson
  • 38Lyden
  • 39Gestede


Formation 4-4-2

  • 1Schmeichel
  • 17Simpson
  • 5Morgan
  • 6HuthBooked at 76mins
  • 28Fuchs
  • 26MahrezSubstituted forUlloaat 69'minutes
  • 4Drinkwater
  • 14Kanté
  • 11AlbrightonSubstituted forGrayat 85'minutes
  • 20OkazakiSubstituted forde Laetat 59'minutes
  • 9VardyBooked at 85mins


  • 2de Laet
  • 10King
  • 22Gray
  • 23Ulloa
  • 27Wasilewski
  • 32Schwarzer
  • 33Inler
Roger East

Match Stats

Home TeamAston VillaAway TeamLeicester
Shots on Target

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Aston Villa 1, Leicester City 1.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Aston Villa 1, Leicester City 1.

  3. Substitution

    Substitution, Aston Villa. Scott Sinclair replaces Jordan Ayew.

  4. Post update

    Libor Kozák (Aston Villa) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  5. Post update

    Foul by Christian Fuchs (Leicester City).

  6. Post update

    Attempt missed. Jamie Vardy (Leicester City) left footed shot from the left side of the box is too high. Assisted by Daniel Drinkwater with a through ball.

  7. Post update

    Foul by Jordan Veretout (Aston Villa).

  8. Post update

    Demarai Gray (Leicester City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  9. Post update

    Jores Okore (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  10. Post update

    Foul by Jamie Vardy (Leicester City).

  11. Post update

    Attempt missed. Libor Kozák (Aston Villa) right footed shot from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Rudy Gestede with a headed pass following a set piece situation.

  12. Post update

    Hand ball by Leonardo Ulloa (Leicester City).

  13. Substitution

    Substitution, Leicester City. Demarai Gray replaces Marc Albrighton.

  14. Booking

    Leandro Bacuna (Aston Villa) is shown the yellow card.

  15. Booking

    Jamie Vardy (Leicester City) is shown the yellow card.

  16. Post update

    Offside, Leicester City. Christian Fuchs tries a through ball, but Jamie Vardy is caught offside.

  17. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Idrissa Gueye (Aston Villa) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Libor Kozák.

  18. Post update

    Offside, Leicester City. Daniel Drinkwater tries a through ball, but Jamie Vardy is caught offside.

  19. Post update

    Idrissa Gueye (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  20. Post update

    Foul by Wes Morgan (Leicester City).