Leicester City found their winning form in the Premier League this weekend, as they claimed a 3-1 victory over Crystal Palace last Saturday. Even with a late goal from Yohan Cabaye for the Eagles, the Foxes appeared to have full control of the match for the most part. It was a strong showing from the squad, and one that came at a crucial time.
There are plenty of things that should be considered after this match, and here are a few:
Quite frankly, the goals were just that - stunning. The second goal by Shinji Okazaki was a great goal, as it was played low on the near post. Great placement, and as always with an Okazaki goal, it was an example of the hard work he puts in and his effectiveness when in the side. However, while Okazaki provided a great goal for the side, it was perhaps that other two goals that stole the show on Saturday.
Enter the goals of Ahmed Musa and Christian Fuchs. Musa’s goal was fantastic, he took a great first touch and then fired the shot into the back of the net just outside the 18-yard box. All Steve Mandanda, in goal for Crystal Palace, could do was watch the ball race past him. He had no chance. Unfortunately for Mandanda, he would experience that feeling again later in the 80th minute, as Christian Fuchs fired in a beautiful half volley from about 19 yards out. Both goals were sensational, but Fuchs’ goal undoubtedly gets the nod for the iconic goal of the day. Not only did he have a brilliant day on the defensive side of the ball, but quite frankly, provided the goal of the weekend.
Excuse me while I go practice my volleys so I can be like the Austrian.
A break in the party
We were surprised with a change to the team sheet on Saturday when we found Jamie Vardy on the bench. Eventually, Vardy made in appearance as a substitute for Islam Slimani in the 75th minute, but there was a sense of dread prior to that. Many of us immediately drew concerns that Vardy was injured (let’s all be honest, there were many of us out there), and after the match, Claudio Ranieri further eased our nerves by confirming after the match that it was simply to provide Vardy an opportunity to rest.
While it is possible, albeit unlikely, that Vardy definitively needed the rest right now, it was still the right decision. We have discussed this – the Foxes are more than likely going to play more football than last year with another competition in the mix. Thus, using the opportunities to rest these key players should be utilized.
In addition, perhaps this break was not only an opportunity for a mental rest as well. Vardy has not scored in nine matches for the side, and knowing the type of the player that he is, it is likely weighing on him. This break may allow him to hit reset, and get that fire that we regularly see Vardy play with.
In the case of Saturday, the Foxes did not skip a beat and took care of business. Next week, expect the Englishman to be back in the starting eleven. The Vardy Party only took a quick break. It will resume shortly.
Use it as a stepping stone
Did the Foxes allow the Eagles to get off 27 seven shots? Yes. Did the back line allow Christian Benteke chances early on, particularly in the 12th minute? Yes. Did we eventually allow Crystal Palace to score? Yes. All that being said, this was a strong performance by Leicester City, and the timing could not have been better.
Next week, the Foxes will be making a trip down to North London to White Hart Lane to face off with Tottenham. The Spurs are coming of a strong performance last season, and have found that same form, allowing only 4 goals this season – the least amount by a team this season in the Premier League. If there was a moment that the Foxes needed to have a multi-goal scoring match, build some confidence and rest some players, it was that moment. Minus the goal conceded, it was a match that had a multitude of positive signs for the Foxes.
In other words, get ready for next weekend, everyone. It is an important one.
Up next: The Foxes travel to North London to face Tottenham at White Hart Lane on Saturday.