In case you missed it, the Foxes earned a 0-0 draw on Saturday versus Arsenal (If you have not, check out the match recap from Saturday’s events). The match was marked by overwhelming possession by Arsenal, while the Foxes looked to utilize the counter to provide their chances on offense, but ultimately, neither side was able to find a goal over the course of the match (though, perhaps the Foxes should have seen two thanks to penalties in the box that were not called by Mark Clattenberg).
What can we take away from the match this weekend? Here are a few things:
1. Huth. The man. The myth. The rock
Much like Batman and James Bond, he’s back. Robert Huth returned from his three-match suspension following the events that unfolded between Huth and Marouane Fellaini in last seasons clash with Manchester United. His return could not have come at a better time. Arsenal held on to the ball 61% of the match, finding the opportunity to fire off thirteen shots. It was a busy day for the defense. Lucky for us, we had Robert Huth.
His presence was immediately felt back in the lineup. His return reunited the dream team pairing with Wes Morgan, providing a consistency we all grew used to from the center of our backline last season. With Morgan and the German back together, Arsenal struggled to get many scoring opportunities from the air. Meanwhile, Huth also brought a calming presence to Leicester, and helped to dictate the game for the Foxes. Bottom line – it’s good to have you back, number six.
2. Working on the attack
Another week into the season, and the attack is still working to have the same fervor that we saw last season, as Leicester’s only goal of the season came off a penalty kick. However, it is not that the Foxes are not getting shots off, but they have not converted on these chances they have created in the manner they did last season. That said, Rihyad Mahrez looks to be getting back to his old ways. As the match progressed, Mahrez magician-like abilities began springing back to life, showing great footwork and movement to get around the Arsenal defense. I expect Mahrez to grow into the season further and to continue to influence the matches increasingly as the magician we all know him to be.
Up front, Jamie Vardy is still searching for his first goal of the season. Vardy is still attacking the box with the same tenacity of last season, but the shots have not gone in (though this week a great deal of that should be credited to the effort by the Arsenal center backs of Laurent Koscielny and Rob Holding). Will Vardy score at the same rate of last season as we get further into the campaign? Only time will tell, but this much is true – it is only a matter of time until the Englishman finds the back of the net.
3. Back to basics
The biggest change that the Arsenal match brought was the return of familiar names to the starting eleven. Huth, Marc Albrighton and Shinji Okazaki all made their first starts of the season. Meanwhile, taking over N’Golo Kante’s spot this week was Nempalys Mendy, who had a good showing up until he left the match in the 53rd minute with an ankle injury.
Overall, the return to this lineup brought the Foxes back to the consistency and rhythm that we saw last season. They were content to play defense and stay in front of the ball, then attempt to strike on the counter attack. It was the right change for Claudio Ranieri to make after the defeat to Hull City and with the Gunners coming in. Here’s to seeing more of the style that we have grown to know and love.
4. All the familiar feelings
There were two things that brought me comfort from the match this past weekend. First, the Foxes’ drive was back. They looked more organized, confident and unified, which was good to seeing following last week’s result. That same confidence and energy is part of what makes this squad special and helped push them to the glorious finish to the season back in May. If they hold on to that quality as the season continues, they have some strong performances ahead of them.
The second item of comfort? There was nothing more comforting than the return of the sound of plastic clackers coming from the stands in the KP Stadium. It brought joy to my heart. Almost as much joy as Andrea Bocelli serenading the fans on the day we lifted the trophy. (KEYWORD: Almost.)
UP NEXT: The Foxes have a busy week ahead, as they will learn their draw for their Champions League group later this week, and then face Swansea City on Saturday.