Wolverhampton Wanderers 0-0 Leicester City: VAR denies hosts chance to close on top four

Boly’s header was the fourth goal Wolves have had disallowed by VAR this season. Only Sheffield United (five) have had more

Wolves missed out on the chance to close the gap on the top four as they were held to a goalless draw by 10-man Leicester City amid more VAR controversy.

Just before half-time, Wily Boly looked to have opened the scoring for the hosts after a short corner routine but his close-range header was ruled out with Pedro Neto judged to be offside in build-up.

Leicester midfielder Hamza Choudhury was sent-off 14 minutes from the end of normal time after collecting two bookings in the second half.

But in a game full of incident and goalscoring chances, the main talking point was Boly’s disallowed effort.

Only Sheffield United, with five, have had more goals ruled out by VAR decisions in the Premier League this term than Nuno Espirito Santo’s side and the decision was greeted with derision by the home supporters who chanted ‘What a load of rubbish’ and ‘Is it football anymore?’.

The result leaves Leicester third in the table, a point behind Manchester City.

However, Wolves move up to seventh, three points behind Sheffield United in fifth, and well-placed to compete for a Champions League place next term, if City’s ban from European club competitions is upheld and England retains four clubs in the competition.

Strikers draw blanks

While the early parts of this game suggested the sides could emulate the seven-goal thrillers that have marked their last two Premier League meetings at Molineux, that hope fizzled away largely due to poor finishing.

Raul Jimenez was chief culprit for the hosts, heading three excellent opportunities either over or wide of the Leicester goal and slashing woefully at a left-foot shot that drifted wide of Kasper Schmeichel’s and remained in play.

When Wolves did hit the target, Schmeichel was there to deny them, brilliantly stretching out his left leg to prevent Diogo Jota from scoring and blocking Adama Traore’s stinging stoppage-time shot at point-blank range.

Jamie Vardy fared no better for the visitors. After the hour mark the Premier League’s leading marksman had touched the ball just seven times on his 200th Premier League appearance for the Foxes.

And the 33-year-old’s evening did not get any better as he failed to register a single shot, meaning he has now gone six Premier League games without a goal – his longest run without a top-flight goal since he went seven games between December 2016 and February 2017.

Man of the match – Jonny Evans (Leicester City)

In an impressive display, Evans made the most clearances (seven) and interceptions (three) of any Leicester player

‘We are in danger of becoming robots’ – what they said

Wolves manager Nuno Espirto Santo to BBC Match of the Day: “Leicester had possession in the first half but did not create, we scored in the first half and dominated a very good team. The boys created many chances but it requires more work from us to complete the actions.

On the disallowed goal: “It is reality now but each time it happens it upsets you. When you see the images, there is not a clear advantage but the law is the law. I am positive about the reaction of the professionals and the fans, but something has to be done.

“Let those who understand do something to have the joy of celebrating. We in danger of becoming robots.”

Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers speaking to BBC Match of the Day: “I thought we deserved a point. They are always a threat on the counter. It was impressive for us to keep a clean sheet with 10 men.

“We probably could’ve been quicker around the attack – the build-up play was good – but away from home you expect to come under pressure and it ends up being a very good point and keeping the gap to 14 points between us.”

On the VAR decisions: “I think his big toe was offside! It’s unfortunate. We’re disappointed to give the corner away. We’ve had a number that have gone for and against and you just have to keep the team calm.

“I didn’t think it was a red card for us, so it’s unfortunate.”

Firing blanks – the stats

  • Wolves have drawn consecutive league games without scoring for the first time since April 2010, when they drew 0-0 against Stoke and Fulham.
  • Two of Leicester’s three goalless draws in the Premier League under Brendan Rodgers have come against Wolves.
  • Since returning to the Premier League in 2014-15, Leicester have received 19 red cards – the joint-most of any team in that time (level with Everton and Watford).
  • Only Aston Villa (6) have seen their opponents receive more red cards in Premier League games this season than Wolves (5).
  • Since joining Leicester, Jamie Vardy has played more league games against Wolves without scoring than any other side (6).
  • Vardy became only the second Leicester player to make 200 Premier League appearances for the club, after Muzzy Izzet (222). Aged 33 years and 34 days, Vardy is the oldest Englishman to reach 200 appearances in the competition since Alan Stubbs (35y 323d) in August 2007.

What next?

Wolves travel to Norwich next Sunday, 23 February (14:00 GMT), while Leicester host Manchester City on Saturday, 22 February (17:30 GMT) knowing a win will send them above Pep Guardiola’s side into second.

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