As Jamie Vardy goes, it seems, so do Leicester City. Last year’s talisman has had a difficult start to the season, and so have his team, as the rest of the league had adapted to their style and prevented them for playing their natural game. Except for Pep Guardiola, who had presumably never seen the Foxes play before and played exactly into their hands at every opportunity.
Not all the credit goes to the opposition manager, of course. Their truly was a spark of the old Leicester present. The side that used to catch opposition off guard by blowing out of the gates with fantastic intensity. By the time Manchester City had settled, they were 2-0 down and the game was all but over.
Leicester haven’t played with many leads this year, but their counter attacking style means they’re deadly when they get one, especially when they play as quickly from back to front as they did on Saturday. If they can replicate the frenetic start more often, we might yet see more of these performances.
Ron-Robert Zieler - 6
I have a hard time ever giving him much more than this. He’s fine, he doesn’t seem to make calamitous blunders and he’s asked to play it as long as he can every time, so his distribution will always be a bit spotty.
Danny Simpson - 6
Let’s be fair, De Bruyne is not an easy draw for any defender in the world, but he did have a lot of time on the ball and it didn’t seem like there was much Simpson could do about that. That said, not much particularly dangerous came in from that side until Nolito’s late consolation goal.
That's more like it. Atmosphere was immense. Well done boys, lets kick on now #lcfc— Danny Simpson (@dannysimpson) December 10, 2016
Wes Morgan - 7
I thought the captain held up well against a team that makes life very difficult for even the most mobile of defenders. As always, his uncanny ability to get his body in the way of shots made his goalkeepers job much easier.
Robert Huth - 8
Solid as a rock, Big Bob looked unbeatable in the air all day. The defence was under heavy pressure for the whole second half, and their opposition had the ball for 78% of the match, but they didn’t crack until it was for too late to make a difference. Yes they eventually conceded, but City were throwing absolutely everything forward by then. A very good defensive display.
Christian Fuchs - 9
This performance had last year’s success written all over it. Solid and stoic defensively, spreading the ball downfield as quickly as possible in possession. He played some very good long balls and launched the attack for the 3rd goal, as well as the throw for the second.
11 - Derby collected the fewest points in a Premier League season, 11 in 2007/08. Catastrophe. #OptaAdvent— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 11, 2016
Unrelated but always funny. Every team already has at least 11 points this year.
Riyad Mahrez - 8
For some reason, Man City decided to give him some room to operate and he made the most of it. At times, he almost looked like the star of last year, confident on the ball and direct in his play. Let’s hope this helps him to build confidence and put together some more good games.
Andy King - 8
Honestly, I think he’s better in these kinds of game. While we had so little of the ball, there isn’t as much chasing, because the opposition are just passing it around, looking for opening. That allows King to sit deep, stay in formation and use his great positioning to pick off passes as they come by. He also scores some beautiful goals.
Leicester completed just 115 passes vs. Man City; the fewest in the Premier League today.— Squawka Football (@Squawka) December 10, 2016
Man City completed the most (623).
Daniel Amartey - 6
Just wasn’t around the ball enough. Though Man City were in possession for over 70 minutes, he won the ball just twice, and did very little when he had it.
Marc Albrighton - 7
If this game has proven anything, it’s that completion % isn't all it’s cracked up to be. Still, when it drops below 50, that’s worrying. When you play as few passes as Leicester did, though, a bit of bad luck can make a big change, and he put a lot of balls into dangerous areas and worked hard defensively, as always.
Islam Slimani - 9
Finally some attacking players other than Shinji started playing with each other again. Slimani was exactly what we needed: a big strong presence who could go up and win the ball, but also capable of using it to play in those around him.
Jamie Vardy - 10
Remember when he didn’t score for a while? Me neither. This performance is exactly what we’ve been missing this year. The speed, the finishing, the tenacity that forces mistakes at the back, all of it. Once teams fall behind it’s impossible to push on and defend Vardy properly.
Shinji Okazaki - 5
Came on with the game over to try and add some more numbers in the middle. He put the effort it, but with very little to show for it except a booking.
Demarai Gray - N/A
Came on with too little time to make any impact at all, and certainly too little to judge on.
Matty James - 10
Yeah, he came on in injury time and never touched the ball. This ones more a grade for coming back at all, 20 months after his initial injury.
Can you call it vintage Leicester if it only refers back to last season? I’m going for it anyway. Vintage Leicester. The Man of the Match is Jamie Vardy, and anyone who disagrees can come up with a really good argument in the comments or, preferably, fight me. I’ll be in the car park, waiting.