Aston Villa 2 – 4 Leicester City. Brendan Rodgers said Tete is “the winger we’ve been looking for” after Leicester’s new signing shone in an excellent win at Villa Park that edged the Foxes away from trouble at the foot of the Premier League.
The 22-year-old, a short-term signing from Ukrainian club Shakhtar Donetsk, impressed throughout and scored a fine goal to suggest he could prove the spark the Foxes need to avoid a scrap against relegation.
Rodgers’ side were twice behind in the first half but rallied to claim three vital points and stem Aston Villa’s fine start to life under Unai Emery.
“Tete is direct, can take people on and score,” Rodgers said.
“He’s someone we’ve been looking for for a while. He was outstanding. We have been crying out for that balance to the team. He gives us the space in the middle by playing so wide.”
Ollie Watkins gave the home side the lead after Emiliano Buendia hit the crossbar, only for fit-again James Maddison to immediately level.
Watkins then drove a shot in off another new Foxes signing, Harry Souttar, but Kelechi Iheanacho equalised again with a header before Tete rounded Emiliano Martinez to put Leicester ahead at the break.
Philippe Coutinho had a goal ruled out for offside as Emery’s side piled on the pressure in the second half, but Rodgers saw his team seal the much-needed points when substitute Dennis Praet ran through to score.
Before kick-off, Rodgers said his side faced “18 cup finals” to move away from peril at the foot of the table, and the man who guided Leicester to FA Cup glory in 2021 delivered success in this game too.
That did not appear too likely in the opening stages as the energetic hosts swept ahead.
Leicester needed a game-changer and, after a productive transfer window, Rodgers now appears to have several in his squad. Maddison, making his first league start in two months, was a class act throughout and soon equalised after Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall robbed Boubacar Kamara before Tete made his mark.
The Brazilian went close with two curling efforts after good runs down the right and stayed alert to round Martinez and score with style.
“Tete was outstanding today,” said Maddison. “He plays on the right, which is where I’ve had to play, so it’s nice to get some pace out there.
“There’s positivity around the club with some new faces and we got the points today.
“Getting new players in the door gives you a lift. The table doesn’t lie, but we know we can inject some oomph to go on a winning run. We are capable of that.”
The unfortunate own goal aside, Souttar looked an imposing presence on his Premier League bow, and third new signing Victor Kristiansen also posed a threat from left-back.
The new faces held firm as Villa poured forward after the break, and a first win since the World Cup has seen Leicester rise to 13th in the table, with some tough tests ahead.
Going into the game, only league leaders Arsenal had won more points than Villa since the World Cup break, and Emery will be left scratching his head at how this one got away.
Individual errors were costly as Kamara was stripped of the ball inside his own penalty area for Maddison’s equaliser after collecting a pass from his goalkeeper under pressure before he also lost the ball cheaply in the build-up to Tete’s strike.
Villa still managed 19 shots on goal in a busy attacking display had Watkins converted an open goal, and had Buendia’s header looped in instead of hitting the crossbar in the first half, the result could easily have been different.
But Praet capitalised on another error at the back to finally kill off Villa late on.
“We had mistakes today,” Emery said. “Leicester were at the bottom of the table but they have very good players and we gave them chances.
“We had good moments, created chances, but our mistakes were really big mistakes.”
With just two defeats under the former Arsenal manager, Villa is 11th and could have a European place in sight if they have a strong run-in.
source – BBC