Despite a first half that looked lacklustre at times, Leicester City rode a comfortable home victory into the 4th round of the FA Cup. The Foxes dominated with 77% possession as their distinguished midfield pair of Vicente Iborra and Adrien Silva ran the game between them.
Still, there was only one performer to talk about today: Kelechi Iheanacho finally ended a disappointing run of form since his arrival, bagging both of the game’s goals. The young Nigerian, already the first ever 4th substitute in the competition, set another first, as his 2nd goal was awarded by VAR.
When he first signed from Man City, I asserted that all he does is score goals. Since then we’ve seen the negative side of that statement. When he’s not scoring, he’s not doing much.
When he gets chances though, they wind up in the back of the net and we finally saw that on Tuesday night. With four touches and three shots inside the box, Iheanacho beat the keeper all three times, though he was twice thwarted by the linesman (and then once unthwarted).
I was very excited when the signing was finalised, so it was great to get a chance to see such a promising talent in his element. The 21 year old won't be pushing Jamie Vardy out of the lineup soon, but if he can settle in now, he could be a strong replacement option, and an eventual replacement down the line.
Having said that, Iheanacho wasn't actually playing in the “Vardy” role, but instead the “Shinji” to primary striker Islam Slimani.
As the above touch maps show, he was regularly dropping deep to get involved in the build up play. 9 of his 49 touches were actually inside his own half.
It was an usual match of course, considering the possession split, but it shows he was involved. In fact, he completed more than 90% of his passes, including two key passes so he did so very successfully.
Even so, he also found his way into the box much more regularly than his Algerian partner and was in lethal form when he did.
As we’ve seen from Shinji this year, it takes a lot of pressure of the Foxes’ leading man when his partner is able to step up and contribute in the goals column.
In all, this was a really promising performance from a very promising young talent, albeit against Fleetwood Town. It certainly wasn't just the goals, but also the goals were really really nice to see.