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What we learned from Crystal Palace vs Leicester City

You can’t win ‘em all by 9

Crystal Palace v Leicester City - Premier League Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images

Crystal Palace put up a stern defensive effort, but were eventually overcome by a fairly comfortable looking Leicester City. It was another solid all around performance from the Foxes, and here are some lessons we can from it.

1. Patience is a Virtue

When Claude Puel took over, he made a point of overhauling the team’s style of play. Gone were the lightning-fast breaks, and the new word was patience. It...didn’t go over well, with fans or players and the results didn’t help.

Brendan Rodgers came in and announced an intention to stick to the new patient build up style, though admitted that while the team still needed to keep the ball moving quickly.

This is exactly what he was talking about. They aren’t looking for the killer pass every time are happy to just move the ball sideways and even backwards if necessary, as long as it keeps moving. When you pass the ball at that kind of speed, the spaces will open up and the chance was created and well taken.

The longer this group plays together, and under this manager and his system, the more confident they should all get in playing this way. Being able to move the ball at this pace keeps the Foxes in control if the ball while also making it much easier to break down good, organised defences.

2. Ricardo’s Defending

When Ricardo Pereria burst into the team, he was too much of a defensive liability to stay at RB. Even after settling in it was his impressive attacking skills which won him the Player of the Season, but this year his defending has stood out.

Of course, we want to [concede] as few goals as possible. That’s our job, but not only the defenders, the whole team, it’s important for that. If we don’t take goals, we closer to winning the game - Ricardo Pereira talked to about defensive responsibilities

His speed and stamina are key to our transition defence and his league-leading tackles have been excellent for snuffing out attacks and creating excellent counter opportunities.

Against Crystal Palace I was particularly caught by a couple of strong far post clearances to deal with dangerous crosses from the left. It used to be a particular speciality of Danny Simpson, and it was very reassuring to see the same from Ricardo.

He’s contributing to a full defensive unit that’s conceded the joint fewest in the league. Jonny Evans was as calm and assured as ever on Sunday, Soyuncu put in several more excellent tackles, Ben Chilwell continued to improve and Wilfred Ndidi was as immense as ever. This is a very strong group, and I expect to see them stay in or around the top spot.

3. Don’t Forget Maddison

It was almost easy to forget James Maddison in the 9-goal hubbub of Southampton. After all, his only contribution was to win and score a fantastic free kick, while five other players had 2+ goal contributions. He was a little more involved against Palace.

Maddison is still 2nd on the team in goals and, while the assists haven’t come for him yet this year, he’s maintained an impressive ability to create chances.

Playing alongside Tielemans and Ndidi has given him freedom to pop up wherever is required to keep the ball the moving. His ability to turn while receiving the ball, keep his head up and find the next pass right away are key to the new patient-but-fast approach.

Demarai Gray has also impressed over his last few appearances. His defensive work is much improved and, while he still has the ability to attempt the spectacular on his own, he’s really shown a desire to take what’s given to him and work for the team, netting him an assist for Vardy’s goal. He looks like a very useful impact sub at the moment.