Manchester City’s bid to retain the Premier League title suffered a major blow as the champions crashed to a shock 2-1 defeat at Leicester on Wednesday.
Just days after their surprise home loss to Crystal Palace, Pep Guardiola’s side took the lead through Bernardo Silva’s early goal.
But Marc Albrighton equalised for Leicester and Ricardo Pereira’s 81st-minute rocket handed City a third loss in their last four league games.
City are now seven points behind leaders Liverpool and drop to third place below Tottenham.
The problems are mounting up for Guardiola as Liverpool extended their lead at the top to leave City ruing a week either side of Christmas that threatens to see the trophy prised from their grasp.
In a rarity for Guardiola’s impressive team, Leicester had them rattled on occasions, especially in a 10-minute spell at the end of the first half in which Claude Puel’s side threatened to seize the initiative completely.
Leicester failed to make the most of that period but claimed victory with eight minutes remaining as Pereira pounced with a 20-yard blast to give a fine Leicester performance its deserved reward.
City dominated much of the second half but failed to significantly trouble Kasper Schmeichel in the Leicester goal to lay bare one of the issues facing Guardiola — an uncharacteristic lack of attacking cohesion.
Sergio Aguero, made captain for the day, played a key hand in Silva’s goal yet struggled on the whole to make any impression on a solid Leicester defence led superbly by the impressive Harry Maguire.
With Raheem Sterling also kept quiet by Leicester’s disciplined display, only Leroy Sane of City’s attacking trio made any real inroads into the home side’s defences.
The other Premier League games
In other matches played on Wednesday, Liverpool secured a comfortable 4-0 home win over Newcastle United.
At Old Trafford, Manchester United continued their resurgence under their new caretaker manager as they beat Huddersfield Town 3-1. Paul Pogba scored two goals for United in the Boxing Day clash.
Elsewhere Tottenham Hotspur continued their blistering form with a 5-0 demolition of AFC Bournemouth at home.
Everton also secured a big away win as they trounced Burnley 5-1 at Turf Moor.
While there were goals to savour in the other Boxing day games, the Crystal Palace vs Cardiff City tie ended in a barren draw.