We keep saying here that Leicester City are a hard team to pin down. They’re so changeable that it’s impossible to tell whether they’re even a good team. After another comfortable win I’ve come to a good method of deciding it for good though. All you have to do is follow one simple instruction: delete September-February from your memory.
If you follow straight on from last May to this March, it all makes perfect sense. It’s not just the results that match up, but the style and execution of the game plan. It looks almost exactly the same (although Kanté is a bit taller these days) and that really feels like it could never be a bad thing.
Kasper Schmeichel - 7
It’s amazing that, despite Kasper’s incredible form, this was just our third clean sheet of 2017. He really didn’t have much to do for most of the game, but kept his concentration up and made some good saves in the closing minutes.
Danny Simpson - 8
Two assists is a good haul for someone as defensively sound as Simpson was. The first was a cheap one, no doubt, but the second was well earned; a very smart cross that put the ball into a fantastic area and caught the defence napping.
Yohan Benalouane - 8
It’s only been a short audition, but I think we can buy one less defender in the summer. Hard to believe he didn't crack the 25 man squad for the first half of the season, but he looks assured and comfortable. Not a great finisher.
CS: "[Benalaoune] was assured. He's taken a while to settle in. He's got the opportunity now and should be pleased with his performances."— BBC Leicester Sport (@BBCRLSport) April 1, 2017
Robert Huth - 8
We hear about strikers playing better when confident all the time, not sure I’ve ever heard the same said for defenders. He’s become dominant in the air again.
Christian Fuchs - 7
A quietly solid “Danny Simpson 7” for Fuchs, who I don't ever remember being troubled defensively.
Riyad Mahrez - 8
He’s nearly there and it’s so frustrating. Could've had 2-3 goals but for an impressive display in the Stoke goal. Possibly trying a bit hard though, and chose not to lay off a simple pass to Vardy that would have guaranteed a third goal.
Danny Drinkwater - 7
A quiet, workmanlike performance to run the game, but left the creation up to those around him.
Wilfred Ndidi - 9
I don’t remember Kanté ever doing that. He put in a great all around performance to match, too. In fact, it’s pretty hard to pinpoint any real weaknesses in his game right now. He’s 20 and this is his first season in England. Scary good.
We're always reluctant to put too much pressure on young players, but he is tailor-made for the Premier League - it’s getting harder and harder for Shakespeare to be honest without hyping the kid up
Demarai Gray - 8
Given his first real chance in a while and took it well, looking fantastic on the ball and creating all kinds of openings. The final product was still never quite there but he’s also just 20, so it would be unfair to expect the finished product.
Shinji Okazaki - 7
Worked as hard as ever for the side and wins the ball when it looks like he has no chance at it. Did a better job at finding Mahrez or Vardy than they did with each other, but never in dangerous areas.
Jamie Vardy - 9
The goal was fantastically taken, but the standout Vardy moment for me came from a ball scrambled clear late on. Usually those balls are collected by a defender, brought forwards again and there’s no let up of pressure, but Vardy’s pace adds a completely different element. Instead, he beat the defender to the ball and turned up field. In the two-on-four attack that followed he was still able make space and get a great cross in. Something from nothing.
Daniel Amartey - 7
We should all be used to seeing Shinji subbed off, and to Amartey coming on in all sorts of positions. I still never expected to see him replace Shinji, but he did just fine there too. His versatility makes him an ideal bench player.
Islam Slimani - 7
Did ok in limited time, coming after his team had basically given up on scoring another. Looked much more effective in keeping hold of the ball than he has recently.
Ben Chilwell - 6
Came on to play safe for the last few minutes and did his job solidly enough.
I don’t want to jinx it, but with the right results on Tuesday, the Foxes could be up in the top half of the table again. They can only control one of those results, but with the way they’re playing right now, Sunderland really shouldn’t have a chance. My Man of the Match is Wilfred Ndidi and the rocket launcher of a right foot that he smuggled past security.