Leicester returned to form in a spectacular style with a 4-0 thrashing of Aston Villa at the King Power Stadium that keeps Dean Smith's side in the relegation zone.
Harvey Barnes capitalised on Pepe Reina's goalkeeping error to give the home side a first-half lead before Jamie Vardy came off the bench to score twice in the second half.
Barnes added his second and Leicester's fourth late in the game as Villa capitulated to their fifth consecutive defeat in all competitions.
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Villa could have moved out of the drop zone with a victory but this defeat, in which they mustered only one shot on target, means they remain one place off the bottom.
For Brendan Rodgers' side, this ended a four-game winless run and strengthens their grip on third spot by restoring their five-point advantage over Chelsea in fourth.
Leicester: Schmeichel (6), Pereira (7), Evans (7), Soyuncu (7), Justin (8), Ndidi (8), Praet (8), Maddison (7), Albrighton (8), Iheanacho (7), Barnes (9).
Subs: Vardy (8), Tielemans (6), Mendy (6).
Aston Villa: Reina (4), Guilbert (5), Engels (5), Mings (5), Targett (5), Elmohamady (6), Luiz (6), Nakamba (6), Hourihane (5), Grealish (6), Samatta (6).
Subs: El Ghazi (6), Davis (6).
Man of the match: Harvey Barnes.
How Leicester saw off Villa
Villa had started the brighter as they aimed to take the positives from their spirited Carabao Cup final defeat and had two good chances to score the opening goal of the game.
Matt Targett's cross from the left found Conor Hourihane but he scuffed his shot and then Mbwana Samatta stretched to connect with a free-kick from the same flank but put it wide.
From that point onwards, it was Leicester in the ascendancy and the home side twice went close from James Maddison corners as Villa struggled to cope with the aerial threat.
Jonny Evans' header was well saved by Reina before Caglar Soyuncu should have done better when heading well over the bar while unmarked at the far post.
Jamie Vardy was only fit enough for the bench so Brendan Rodgers continued with Kelechi Iheanacho up front. Ben Chilwell was not available so that allowed an opportunity for James Justin as he was preferred to Christian Fuchs at left-back. Importantly, Wilfred Ndidi was back in the starting line-up for the first time in the Premier League since New Year’s Day.
Dean Smith restored goalkeeper Pepe Reina to his starting line-up after opting with Orjan Nyland for the Carabao Cup final against Manchester City. In the only other change from the team that lined up at Wembley, Aston Villa went with Conor Hourihane in midfield with Anwar El Ghazi dropping to the bench and Jack Grealish moving back out wide.
Rodgers' side were warming to their task in the East Midlands cold with James Justin, deputising for Ben Chilwell at left-back, particularly impressive before the break.
Kelechi Iheanacho headed wide from Ricardo Pereira's cross too but when the opening goal did come it owed plenty to a poor decision by the oldest player on the pitch.
Marc Albrighton turned away from trouble and played a clever ball down the channel for Barnes to run onto but Reina made it easy for him by committing himself.
The winger nudged the ball by him and then calmly finished beyond the backtracking Tyrone Mings to ease any lingering tension inside the King Power Stadium after a poor run of form.
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Iheanacho should have doubled the lead soon after the interval when he ran clean through on goal but struck his left-footed shot against the legs of Reina.
The Nigeria forward had to make way for Vardy soon after and the Leicester hero, who missed the defeat to Norwich, did not have to wait long to extend his side's advantage.
Mings leaned into Barnes' cross and referee Michael Oliver ruled the ball had struck his arm rather than his shoulder, awarding a penalty that was upheld after a VAR check.
Vardy did the rest from the spot, going down the middle to deceive Reina, to score his 18th Premier League goal of the season - his first since before Christmas.
His second followed before the night was through. Evans' double tackle sparked a counter-attack and Vardy beat Reina with a fierce shot on the angle at the second attempt.
There was still time for a fourth when Barnes made a near-post run and slotted home Albrighton's right-wing cross to score his sixth goal since the turn of the year.
This was a much more assured performance by Leicester with the returning Wilfred Ndidi, making his first Premier League start since New Year's Day, commanding throughout.
For Villa, the solution shows no sign of presenting itself.
What the managers said…
Brendan Rodgers: "As the game went on, we looked more like how we've been for most of the season. The resilience and effort was brilliant and in the second half we got our fluency back and some of our goals were outstanding. We played some really good football at times.
"The intensity is important to how we play and the pressure on the ball was much better. That desire is so critical for us. A real collective confidence has allowed us to be where we are, and our ambition is to stay there. If we play like that and with that confidence, we have every chance.
"This result is very, very important. Both teams needed to win for different reasons, but our desire and quality has seen us through. We were much more creative, dynamic and fast and all with a solid defensive base."
Dean Smith: "It was a very tough night. We started the game quite well but then we didn't defend corners well enough and we had a big mistake for the goal.
"I didn't know what the penalty was given for - I thought it hit Tyrone Mings' shoulder - but it was given. The penalty award was a massive moment. We were still in the game. It went against us - I thought wrongly - that's my opinion.
"But then we became architects of our own downfall. Being hard to beat needs to be our priority. For periods we were but the scoreline is a harsh reflection."
Analysis: Was it a penalty?
Smith was clearly annoyed by the penalty decision that took the game away from Aston Villa but did he have a point? Jamie Carragher, watching the game in the Monday Night Football studio, certainly thought so.
"There's no doubt for the penalty the ball hits the light blue of Tyrone Mings' shirt," said Carragher. "VAR is brought in to bring errors out of the game... for me, that's shoulder and the game should be allowed to carry on.
"I think it's very harsh, and if the referee hadn't given it there's no way VAR would overturn it."
Smith described his own opinion on VAR as "irrelevant" but he was disappointed by referee Michael Oliver's original call.
"Tyrone is adamant it is a shoulder," the Villa boss said afterwards in his press conference. "It is a big gamble for Michael Oliver to call that as a penalty. The gamble hasn't paid off in my opinion."
Man of the Match: Harvey Barnes
The young winger has arguably been Leicester's best player so far in 2020 and he was particularly excellent against Aston Villa, scoring twice and playing his part in the other two goals as well.
"Barnes has been pretty much unplayable tonight," said Sky Sports' Andy Hinchcliffe. "He showed his pace for the first goal and throughout he's shown his ability to go on the outside, and get crosses in, he'll drop a shoulder and go in-field as well.
"His movement off the ball has also been brilliant. He's had everything and has given Guilbert the run-around all evening."
- Leicester have scored 4+ goals home and away against the same side in a top-flight season for the first time since the 1967-68 campaign against Southampton..
- Aston Villa remain the only side in the Premier League this season yet to register an away clean sheet.
- Leicester secured their first win in five Premier League games (D2 L2), since winning 4-1 against West Ham in January.
- Aston Villa players have recorded 10 errors leading to goals in the Premier League this season; more than any other side in the competition.
- Kasper Schmeichel became only the fourth Danish player to hit the 200-game mark in the Premier League, after Thomas Sørensen (364), his father Peter Schmeichel (310) and Christian Eriksen (226).
- Leicester's Harvey Barnes has netted four goals in his last four home Premier League games, after failing to find the back of the net in any of the 22 before that.
- Marc Albrighton now has as many Premier League assists as Riyad Mahrez for Leicester City (27); only Jamie Vardy (28) and Steve Guppy (34) have more for the club.
- Leicester striker Jamie Vardy is now the outright Premier League top-scorer this season (19) after ending a run of 644 minutes without finding the net in the competition.
Leicester are back in action against another relegation-threatened side when they travel to Vicarage Road to take on Watford in the lunchtime kick-off on Saturday.
Aston Villa have another tough assignment at the weekend when they host Chelsea at Villa Park. That game is live on Sky Sports Premier League from 5pm. Kick-off is at 5.30pm.