Kelechi Iheanacho’s first Premier League hat-trick helped Leicester to a 5-0 thrashing of Sheffield United to consolidate their place in the top four.
It was a nightmare start to Paul Heckingbottom’s interim tenure. He replaced the departed Chris Wilder late on Saturday, with Sheffield United mustering just one shot on target at the King Power Stadium and suffering their heaviest defeat of the season.
Iheanacho (39) opened things up in the first half as he tapped home a sweeping Jamie Vardy cross to score in three successive Premier League games for the first time.
But it was after the break when Leicester truly overpowered their opponents. Ayoze Perez (64) added the second with a lovely finish, with Vardy once again setting up Iheanacho (69) for his second of the afternoon soon after.
Sheffield United already missing Wilder
- Sheffield United never lost by more than a three-goal margin under Chris Wilder.
- They have now suffered their heaviest defeat in any competition since September 2008 (0-6 v Arsenal, League Cup), whilst this is their heaviest league defeat since April 2000 (0-5 v Blackburn).
- The only time Sheffield Utd conceded 5+ goals in the 227 games under Chris Wilder was in a 5-4 Championship defeat v Fulham in Nov 2017
- Sheffield United manager Paul Heckingbottom became only the third manager in Premier League history to lose by 5+ goals in his first game in charge, after Alan Smith in 1994 (Crystal Palace 1-6 Liverpool) and Roberto Di Matteo in 2010 (West Brom 0-6 Chelsea).
The striker’s hat-trick goal was a thing of beauty as he powered home from 25 yards out, before Vardy’s cross was turned home by Ethan Ampadu at close range to round off a bruising defeat for Sheffield United.
It’s a vital win for Leicester, who move into second above Manchester United and eight points clear of West Ham in fifth, with the two sides facing each other later on Sunday, live on Sky Sports. Sheffield United remain rooted to the bottom of the table with 14 points.
It did not take long for Leicester to start seeing chances fall their way, but were twice denied by Aaron Ramsdale. The first saw Timothy Castagne send a lovely cross into the area, which Perez glanced towards goal. However, the fingertips of Ramsdale sent the ball pinging off the far post.
A few minutes later, Wesley Fofana played a neat pass into the channel for Vardy, but Kean Bryan initially did well to pick it up. However, the Leicester striker muscled him off the ball before striking, but Ramsdale was down low to make a save with his leg before jumping up to collect the looping pass.
Ampadu also made a superb blocked as Youri Tielemans let fly from the top of the area, sending the ball behind with an outstretched foot. However, the Sheffield United defence was found wanting three minutes later when Leicester took the lead.