Leicester City traveled to Selhurst Park to take on a sturdy Crystal Palace side on Sunday and came away with a convincing 2-0 win. The Foxes have had trouble with Palace and Roy Hodgson teams in recent years, but that didn’t seem to phase the team this time around. Most of City’s players lived up to the standards they have been setting this season.
Kasper Schmeichel - 7
Forced into three (easy) saves on the day but handled them all with confidence. He never seemed likely to concede and delivered the ball to teammates with consistency and accuracy.
Ricardo Pereira - 7.5
Not the most visibly dominant as he often is, but still quietly effective. He produced two tackles, two interceptions, and six clearances. Pereira was occasionally too loose with his passes, but otherwise still a positive presence going forward.
Jonny Evans - 8.5
One of his best performances of the season. He was called upon time and time again to step up and intervene defensively and did so with strength and confidence. He may have only officially registered two clearances and two blocked shots (one of which was crucial), but it felt like more. Evans dominated in the air, winning five aerial duels and threatening goal with four dangerous headers. He also passed well, completing 90% of his attempts, including several cross-field switches.
Çağlar Söyüncü - 9
Paired with Evans to completely stifle Palace’s attack. He tallied two tackles, eight clearances, and one blocked shot in addition to seven aerial duels won and a 57th minute headed goal - his first for the club - from a corner. He wasn’t as brave with his passing as in previous weeks, but it wasn’t necessary as Evans was distributing switches from the back.
Ben Chilwell - 7.5
Nearly got himself a second goal in two weeks in the late stages of the match, but hit the inside of the far post from an extremely tight angle instead. Chilwell ran up and down the left flank well and connected with James Maddison on occasion.
Wilfred Ndidi - 7.5
Started the game in shaky fashion with a few cheap giveaways but recovered with a remarkable (and somehow typical) defensive output of eight tackles and three clearances. Ndidi also hit an inspired volley that flew just wide and almost convinced me to reconsider my stance on his shots from outside of the box.
Youri Tielemans - 8
Continued an impressive run of form with another strong performance. He contributed on the defensive end with three tackles and one interception in addition to his creative influential offensive presence. Tielemans drifted from the game on occasion, notably early in the second half, but in the moments where he was involved he was effective. He completed 90% of his passes, including five of six long balls and one key pass. He also completed two dribbles, drew four fouls, and was instrumental to the buildup to Vardy’s goal.
James Maddison - 9
The heartbeat of City’s attack. Madders pulled all the right strings with incredible regularity in this one, creating chance after chance with his precise passing from set-pieces. He totaled eight key passes, the most by a player in an away Premier League game this season, and that doesn’t even include his delivery from a corner that resulted in Söyüncü’s goal (the slightest of touches by a Palace player robbed him of an assist). Maddison also completed one dribble, drew three fouls, and completed 32 of his 33 passes. He added defensive work as well with three tackles and two interceptions.
Ayoze Perez - 7
Looked confident in the early going coming off the back of his hat-trick against Southampton. He controlled the ball well in tight spaces, completed three dribbles, and found himself in dangerous areas. Perez also added a healthy amount of defensive cover with three tackles, two interceptions, and one clearance. The downside of his performance was that he was occasionally loose in possession and with some of his passes.
Jamie Vardy - 8
Hard to say anything different about this performance as he seems to be accomplishing the same thing in each game: make good runs to move the defense, rarely receive the ball, and come away with a goal from one of his chances anyway. His goal in this game, however, came from an impressive combination with Demarai Gray and a left-footed finish. It was followed by a classic Vardy celebration mocking the Palace fans.
Flying high in third - goodnight! pic.twitter.com/XJST6l4Hgt— Leicester City (@LCFC) November 3, 2019
Harvey Barnes - 5
It was a disappointingly subdued performance from the young winger. He did have one moment in the first half where he cut in and took a shot from the top of the box, but was otherwise quiet on both ends. He was subbed off in the 84th minute.
Demarai Gray - 8
Came on for Perez in the 73rd minute and impacted the game. He continued his hot streak with a brilliant moment of combination with Vardy for the team’s second goal. Gray brilliantly dummied a pass and continued his run off the shoulder of the defender, received a pass from Vardy, and sent it back in to him for an assist.
【How to score a team goal】 pic.twitter.com/rDo7bXYzfd— Leicester City (@LCFC) November 4, 2019
Wes Morgan - 6
Brought in for Barnes in the 84th minute to secure the backline. This seems to be a regular pattern for Brendan Rodgers that doesn’t always work, but this time it made sense in response to Palace bringing on Christian Benteke. He wasn’t actually called on much, but he did make one clearance.
Dennis Praet - N/A
Subbed on in the 90th minute and didn’t have much to do, but he did add one tackle.
*all stats courtesy of whoscored.com
The Foxes took home three points against an opponent in good form who had given the team trouble in recent matchups. The win also put City back in third and created a six-point gap between the club and fifth-place Arsenal. This should reassure those who were skeptical that a top-four finish is truly achievable.
Aside from Harvey Barnes, each of Leicester’s players had a positive performance. Jonny Evans was immense defensively and in the air, Youri Tielemans was decisive in spurts, Jamie Vardy was clinical (duh), and Demarai Gray’s energy off the bench helped seal the game. Still, the top two performers were Çağlar Söyüncü and James Maddison, and not just because of their combination on the team’s first goal. Both players were spectacular overall, but the Fosse Posse Man of the Match was James Maddison. His contributions were the life of City’s attack.