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ICF’s Leicester match report

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 I said I’d do a report today come hell or high water, when people were speculating how many Leicester would score... so here goes. A cold clear day, perfect for football, already with floodlights on by kick off at 3.

 

Put it this way, coming into the game one team was 19th and one was 2nd having won 8 in a row. If you were visiting from Mars I think you’d have struggled to tell which was which, but would have picked the team in yellow as the latter if you’d had to.

 

Farke went with Cantwell and Buendia on the flanks after Hernandez a bit lacklustre last week, Tettey/Trybull, unchanged back 5 (phew) and McLean just behind Pukki. 

 

leicester did start brightly, creating one chance to shoot centrally from the edge of the box but it had no power and was easy for Krul, shortly after he had to be sharply down to push another shot onto the post and gather the rebound.

 

City came into it from then on and a brilliant move by Aarons on the right let him whip in a low cross after a 1 - 2 and at the far post Pukki just couldn’t stretch enough to get it on target with the goal completely  open. I worried it would be one of those days, but soon after a brilliant ball from Buendia- looking back to his best - allowed Pukki to run on goal beating Leicester’s highly rated CBs  and tucking the ball into the corner with the keeper stranded.

 

City pushed on seeking another but Cantwell was unable to get a shot away from the edge of the box.

 

Things got a bit tasty when City put  the ball out with a man down, from the throw Leicester sent the ball to their winger and City were waiting for him to return the ball but he was purposefully running to the centre and our defence suddenly woke up that he wasn’t going to, and swarmed around him at the edge of the box. He went down and was surrounded by furious players in yellow, the ref harshly booked Cantwell and gave a free kick, fortunately things calmed and Maddison passed the ball back to Krul.

 

A few minutes later Leicester won a corner and Maddison had some deserved applause from the City fans as he came to take it. He curled it to the near post where Vardy was unmarked to flick it on and it deflected in off Krul’s arm, unfortunate for him in a generally excellent game but to have Vardy unmarked at the near post is unforgivable, surely a player must be defending  there whether you’re playing zonal or man marking?

 

As the half wound down it was a very equal game and the 6 minutes of injury time saw half chances ( but no real threats) at both ends.


The Leicester no 14 who’d failed to give the ball back was clearly shaken by it (roundly booed by City fans whenever he got the ball) so I’m guessing it was a misunderstanding by him. About 10 minutes later he was subbed (before half time) having given away the ball every time it came to him after the incident.

 

The second half opened again with a strong start by Leicester but City weathered it - a few half chances rather than a storm - as the half wore on City came into it again and had the better chances. Turns out Pukki was playing with a broken toe, a couple of times later on he was played through but this maybe slowed him just enough for their no 4 to catch him and do just enough to stop him getting the shot away.

 

At the other end, Leicester were mainly restricted to set pieces and fortunately City were now looking sharp defending them. Vardy got away once and went past Krul well to the left of goal,  but from a very narrow angle he put the ball the wrong side of the post with Zimmerman covering the goal anyway.

 

At the far end I felt Leicester were very much there to be take, but Cantwell and Buendia were both clearly tiring heavily  from about 75 minutes  and I was disappointed Hernandez didn’t come on until 10 minutes later, and would have preferred Vrancic to Stiepermann when he finally came on. We really needed at least one change sooner.

 

As time ticked down City looked more likely to score although Leicester were always a threat from set pieces. One flowing move saw the ball played from the right to Stiepermann, it seemed perfectly teed up on his left foot and last season he’d probably have buried it, instead he laid it on to Hernandez who had a worse angle and trying to create another opening the ball was lost.

 

So in the end I was disappointed with a point, which tells the story really. The question is whether we can translate these performances into points against the less good footballing sides where we’ve lost most of our games such as Watford, Soton etc etc.

 

Lots of good performances from the starting 11, Cantwell was good again, Buendia close to his best, Pukki superb obviously, and McLean continues to be excellent in the no 10 spot. Tettey and Trybull and our CBs did very well against a quality attack and Aarons looked superb like last season, Byram continues to be excellent defensively and is improving in attack as he gets to know the others. Krul again was a rock.

 

this season is frustrating because we’ve shown repeatedly we can compete and get points from the top end Prem teams - I can never remember a City team looking so competitive in the top flight against the good teams, you’d have to go back to the early 90s.  But it’s the less good teams we’re struggling against and we just need to learn to cope with them and we’ll be fine, problem is the season is so short that we’re running out of games. Fortunately the table is so tight that we are certainly still in with a real chance if we can only find some consistency.

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