Well that feels a lot better. It turns out there’s no better way to a get over a crushing loss at the weekend than a rousing midweek win in Europe. These are the kind of lessons we’ll be learning this year and it feels pretty good.
On paper, this might have been our 2nd or 3rd hardest group fixture, but the win, while incredibly impressive, was actually fairly straightforward. All they really had to do was sit back, defend carefully and wait for their opposition to make a mistake. And the mistakes kept coming. Bruges were pretty bad, actually.
My personal view is that anyone featuring in a 3-0 win, away from home on our Champions League debut deserves a perfect 10. I will admit that wouldn’t make a great article though, so I’ll try to be a bit harsher.
Kasper Schmeichel - 9.7
A mixture of good defending and poor finishing left the Keeper with not a lot to do, but when called upon he made all the saves he had to.
Great team performance. Delighted to start the @ChampionsLeague with a win #LCFC pic.twitter.com/voPuzvtTmZ— Kasper Schmeichel (@kschmeichel1) September 14, 2016
Luis Hernandez - 9.7
Still doesn’t look completely comfortable at right back and had some difficulty dealing with José Izquierdo, who looks a good player and was dangerous throughout. Picked up one assist with the long throw and nearly another. If he plays anything like regularly he’ll get plenty.
Wes Morgan - 9.7
Left in the dust by the pacey Izquierdo in the opening minutes, which could have changed the whole game. He recovered well and they never looked like conceding from there.
Robert Huth - 9.7
More of the same from the big man. When we can win the midfield and force the opposition out wide, this CB pairing is completely dominant. Didn’t score but is clearly the top threat from set pieces.
Christian Fuchs - 9.7
Never looked in trouble defensively, and his experience in this competition shone through whenever a level head was needed.
Riyad Mahrez - 9.9
So I might have said some rash things about dropping him. If we’re honest, he still wasn’t at his best creatively, but he put away that spectacular free kick and, shrugged off the pressure of his previous penalty misses to score an emphatic third.
“If he doesn’t score, I crush the neck!” - Ranieri jokes about the penalty
Danny Drinkwater - 9.8
Commanded the game again. The work he puts in keeps attackers from running directly at the defence, and stops the strikers from getting isolated up front. And then there was that volley. Inches away from one of the best you’ll ever see.
Daniel Amartey - 9.7
Much better than last time out. He’s probably not one of the world’s best midfielders right now, but he can be part of the solution to fill in for one. Should get better with more experience, too.
Marc Albrighton - 9.8
I’m not sure I would’ve ever guessed Marc Albrighton would be the team’s first ever Champions League goal scorer, but I couldn’t be happier for him. He puts in a great shift every week and capitalized well on poor defending.
“To score the goal was an unbelievable feeling. It was just how I'd seen it in my dreams.”
Also he has prophetic dreams, which seems important.
Islam Slimani - 9.8
A very impressive debut for our latest record signing. He has the energy and movement to fit into our style of play, while also playing the big man role as well, if not better than Ulloa. Prior international partnership with Mahrez was clear, and they already look an excellent combo.
Jamie Vardy - 9.9
No goal today, but he did everything else and Bruges looked terrified of him. The best they could do to stop him was to bring him down and Mahrez took care of the rest. And let’s not forget the real news of the day.
Jamie Vardy playing without his cast. #lcfc— Henry Winter (@henrywinter) September 14, 2016
Leonardo Ulloa - 9.7
Kept up Slimani’s good work after he started to tire. His role doesn’t seem to have changed, but interesting to see that Shinji wasn’t on the bench at all. Maybe we’ll see a horses for courses approach.
Ahmed Musa - 9.6
Not needed as an impact sub today, just to give Vardy’s legs some rest during a busy schedule.
Demarai Gray - 9.6
Good to see him get another run out, but the game was over before he came on.
A fantastic performance all around and great fun to watch. I could blame you for preferring either of the goal scorers, but in a game about pouncing on errors, one man stands out above the others: Jamie Vardy is man of the match, for turning any loose pass into a goal scoring opportunity.