Aston Villa played out their first goalless draw of the season and, with it, claimed their first draw on the road as Steven Gerrard’s side stopped the rot following four-straight defeats.
Gerrard made two changes to his line-up at the King Power Stadium, replacing the injured Lucas Digne with Ashley Young at left-back while, in attack, Leon Bailey came in for just his second start since November ahead of Danny Ings.
And it was the Jamaican who spurned the best chance of the match after just seven minutes, ballooning his first-time effort well over from just six yards out after a good pick-out from Ollie Watkins.
It was the turn of Leicester to have a go afterwards with the hosts dominating large parts of this one and, 18 minutes in, the impressive Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall skinned Ezri Konsa before crossing for James Justin at the far post. Thankfully, Young was on hand to put himself in harm’s way to clear the danger from inside Emi Martinez’s six-yard box.
Villa fought back with another chance as Philippe Coutinho linked up with Watkins before the latter fired straight at Kasper Schmeichel from 18 yards out.
Prior to the break, James Maddison whipped a free-kick just past Martinez’s post while, for large parts, Villa kept the Foxes at bay with Leicester having just two attempts on target all afternoon, with Villa managing three on goal.
Gerrard, meanwhile, replaced the already-booked Douglas Luiz for Tim Iroegbunam while Emi Buendia came on for the disappointing Coutinho. Marvelous Nakamba also came on for his first taste of match action since December following his return from him from injury.
Villa’s last meaningful act, meanwhile, came via record-buy Buendia who whistled one just past Schmeichel’s post with the match ending as a drab goalless affair as Villa stay 15th. Here are your player ratings from Leicester.
Emi Martinez – 6
Struggled with his distribution given the windy conditions, shanking passes back to him out for throw-ins and sending kicks high into the air which enabled Leicester to maintain pressure. Martinez had a pop at Mings after the communication was lacking between the pair following a hopeful ball into the goalkeeper’s 18-yard box. He’ll be buzzing with a welcome clean sheet while, in truth, he didn’t have an awful lot to do.
Matty Cash – 6
Got caught out just moments in as Castagne was able to cross into Villa’s box. The full-back showed real power to motor away from Dewsbury-Hall to start a Villa attack. Stuck to the task well.
Ezri Konsa – 6
Benefited from a vote of confidence from the boss and started once again here, winning a crucial header just moments in. Got rinsed by Dewsbury-Hall but Young got him out of trouble with a brilliant clearance. Back to his usual, decent standards here.
Tyrone Mings – 6
Won a lot of first contacts from Leicester’s corners into Villa’s box and stayed switched on defensively throughout. Mings did have a decent chance in first-half stoppage time but got his header all wrong. Lead the team well from the back given Leicester’s pressure.
Ashley Young – 6
In for Digne at left-back and defended bravely to deny Justin from tapping home from close range. Young was in the wars today and looked fired up, ranting and raving at those in front of him. He battled well and looked up for the fight.
John McGinn- 5
Lax with his passing in the middle of the park and let the odd ball bounce, much to the frustration of his centre-backs. McGinn had a powerful effort blocked, while he enjoyed an MMA-style roll-around with Mendy after the pair battled for possession. Just wanting to see that little bit more from the Scottish international.
Douglas Luis – 6
Did OK in the base of Villa’s midfield, liked his work, rarely gave the ball away and took up decent positions to mop up danger. Douglas got sucked into Leicester’s games in the second 45 and was in danger of being carded for a second time. Replaced by Iroegbunam with a little over 15 to go.
Jacob Ramsey – 5
Near non-existent in the first half but produced a purposeful run from deep just after the break. Perhaps guilty of setting too high a standard with his performances this season. Flat today.
Leon Bailey – 4
In for just his second start since November and missed a glaring chance on seven minutes, skying well over from six yards out after a good pick-out by Watkins. Bailey’s rustiness continued here with a series of under-hit and off-target passes, while Gerrard turned away in disgust at a silly foul he conceded which allowed Maddison a free pop at Villa’s goal from 25 yards. Bailey did, though, show flashes as he crossed for Coutinho while he also dribbled at Leicester before teeing up Watkins in the second half. Off it.
Ollie Watkins – 6*
Had a decent chance which he fired straight at Schmeichel, and repeated that just after the break with the City captain standing firm at his front post. Watkins did get some change out of Fofana today and flashed an effort across goal which Bailey couldn’t get near to. He did well up there without any real service.
Philippe Coutinho – 4
Another player who was near non-existent here with Coutinho’s best moment coming when he linked up with Watkins after 20 minutes. The Brazilian just couldn’t get on the ball with Leicester winning a lot of the duels here this afternoon. Coutinho’s last act was a mazy run from his own half before he teed-up Watkins. Replaced by Buendia after such a quiet showing.
Tim Iroegbunam on for Douglas Luiz, 75 minutes
Emi Buendia on for Coutinho, 78 minutes
Marvelous Nakamba on for Ramsey, 90 minutes
Subs not used: Robin Olsen, Benjamin Chrisene, Calum Chambers, Danny Ings, Tommi O’Reilly, Carney Chukwuemeka.
Leicester City: Schmeichen; Justin, Soyuncu, Fofana, Castagne; Tielemans (Perez, 85), Mendy, Dewsbury-Hall; Lookman (Barnes, 76), Daka (Vardy, 70), Maddison.
Subs not used: Ward, Albrighton, Iheanacho, Perez, Amartey, Choudhury, Ricardo Pereira.
Next up for Aston Villa: Norwich City at Villa Park, Saturday, April 30, kick-off 3pm.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.