Manchester City's Kevin De Bruyne celebrates with Riyad Mahrez against Leicester City
Manchester City's Kevin De Bruyne celebrates with Riyad Mahrez against Leicester City Image Credit: AP

Manchester City and Leicester City served up a Christmas cracker at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday in the pick of another English Premier League card shredded by Covid.

Three games had been postponed due to the pandemic sweeping through various dressing rooms, accounting for the fixtures of Liverpool v Leeds, Wolves v Watford and Burley v Everton.

This was on the back of two weeks of turmoil that saw as many as 13 games cancelled as the Omicron variant caused havoc with the traditional winter English Premier League calendar. Now we make that 14 as Tuesday’s match between Leeds United and Aston Villa was called off on Sunday evening ahead of the action that did get the green light.

Despite all the uncertainties off the pitch, City and Leicester gave enough drama on it to make up for a season’s-worth of missed games in a 6-3 epic.

Pep Guardiola’s men started out simply sublime, attacking from the first whistle to assert their dominance as they looked to stretch their lead to six points at the top of the table, with Liverpool out of action and Chelsea playing later in the evening.

Leicester simply had no answers during a whirlwind first half that saw Ilkay Gundogan and Kevin de Bruyne score, and Riyad Mahrez and Raheem Sterling slot home from the penalty spot — all inside 25 minutes.

Forever the perfectionist, City boss Pep Guardiola will not be happy at the way City took the foot off the gas in the second half and allowed a window of opportunity for Leicester — and boy, did they take it. James Maddison and Ademola Lookman capitalised on two lazy lapses of judgement in the City defence before

alarm bells were seriously ringing around a stunned Etihad when former City striker Kilechi Iheanacho pounced to claw Leicester back to 4-3 with 25 minutes to go. However there was a mighty, audible sigh of relief as City almost immediately restored their two-goal advantage when Aymeric Laporte struck, and Sterling settled the roller-coaster affair late on.

Not many teams score three at the Etihad and end up thumped. Mind you, not many City teams score six and still leave the field scratching their heads about what went wrong. Just like this whole weekend and the EPL schedule predicament to come, we have more questions than answers.

Elsewhere on the card that survived, Arsenal kept up their run after a miserable start to the season as they thumped struggling Norwich 5-0 on a high-scoring day. The win keeps them fourth behind Chelsea and ahead of rivals Tottenham.

Spurs finally got back in action after a run of Covid postponements and they saw their way past Crystal Palace, who were without their manager Patrick Vieira — isolating after yet another positive COVID test in the EPL. Goals from Harry Kane, Lucas Moura and Son Heung-Min gave them an untroubled 3-0 win over Palace, while Southampton seemed to start the predictable seasonal West Ham fade with a 3-2 win.