Leicester 0-0 Bournemouth: Riyad Mahrez misses penalty as Foxes are held
By Jefferson Lake
Last Updated: 02/01/16 6:10pm
Leicester failed to capitalise on the controversial dismissal of Bournemouth captain Simon Francis as they were held to a goalless draw at the King Power Stadium.
Riyad Mahrez saw his 59th-minute spot-kick saved after referee Andre Marriner had sent off Francis for his last-ditch challenge on Jamie Vardy as the striker advanced on goal.
Vardy had earlier hit the post but the Cherries had chances to score too, notably through Josh King's first-half header, before they resorted to an ultra-defensive mentality when reduced to 10 men.
Leicester have now failed to score in three Premier League games, and this 0-0 stalemate means Arsenal, who beat Newcastle United 1-0, have now opened up a two-point gap at the top of the Premier League.
The Foxes remain in the top four by a healthy margin of seven points to fifth-placed Manchester United but will feel aggrieved they did not keep pace with Arsenal in a match in which they had a man advantage for more than half an hour.
That they did not win was a result of a superb defensive performance by the visitors, who were solid and disciplined in their shape after Francis' dismissal, and actually limited Leicester to fewer chances than when the contest was 11 against 11.
With the sides level, Marc Albrighton found Mahrez with a deep cross after nine minutes which the Algerian - in the flamboyant style which has become his trademark this season - diverted over the bar with an acrobatic scissor-kick.
King then should have done much better with a free header from 10 yards, having timed his run between Wes Morgan and Robert Huth to perfection to meet the ball after it was intelligently kept in play by a stretching Junior Stanislas on the left wing.
Vardy struck the post after collecting a scuffed effort from Leonardo Ulloa and Dan Gosling then filed his entry for the miss of the match with a skied effort after he had been picked out by King from the right flank.
Ulloa was replaced by Nathan Dyer at half-time, to facilitate the switch of Mahrez to a more central position, but the game's complexion was changed completely by the sending-off and he often found space limited by an overloaded Bournemouth defence.
Leicester had long spells of possession but were lacking in their final ball - a multi-pass move that ended with a hurried ball into the box which N'Golo Kante barely got a toe to as it squirmed wide of goal - and the visitors sealed off the pockets of space which flair players such as Mahrez like to find.
Bournemouth deserve credit for limiting the division's joint-highest goalscorers to such slim pickings while Leicester have 11 days in which to sharpen their attacking instincts before their next Premier League game, at Tottenham.
Leicester: Schmeichel (6), Simpson (6), Morgan (7), Huth (6), Fuchs (6), Mahrez (6), Drinkwater (6), Kante (6), Albrighton (7), Ulloa (5), Vardy (6).
Subs: Dyer (6), Okazaki (5), De Laet (5).
Bournemouth: Boruc (8), Smith (7), Francis (7), Cook (8), Daniels (8), Surman (7), Ritchie (6), Gosling (7), Arter (6), Stanislas (7), King (6).
Subs: Distin (7), Murray (6).
Man of the match: Artur Boruc.