Leicester City juuuust kept their winning run alive with a late win over Everton. It was certainly the closest we’ve come to dropping points for a while, and here are some things we can take from the performance.
1. There’s a place for Iheanacho here
With Demarai Gray missing through illness and Leicester trailing 1-0, suddenly the attacking options available on the bench looked pretty thin. It felt more hopeful than helpful when Brendan Rogers introduced perpetual underperformer Kelechi Iheanacho.
It turned out to be an inspired move. The still-young Nigerian changed the course of the game, first providing an assist for the equaliser before bagging the late winner.
This one is for the fans the staff my team mates and my family thank you for been there for me ❤️❤️❤️ pic.twitter.com/BpnxF2iUkt— Kelechi Iheanacho (@67Kelechi) December 2, 2019
Along with the goal contributions, the former Manchester City striker’s touch really stood out. In particular he did well joining the intricate triangles with Ricardo and Tielemans that have become a staple down the right for us. Anyone who plays well with those two has a role to play for this team.
Confidence has also looked an issue in previous seasons. With goals in every appearance so far this year, including a very well taken finish on Sunday, Iheanacho should be ready to push on in his new role, if he gets more opportunities.
2. Turns out we’re not invulnerable
It had been so long since Leicester conceded their last league goal (October 19th) that Richarlison’s opener was mostly met with surprise. Oh yeah, I’d forgotten that could happen.
While Rogers’ side have pressed really well in recent weeks, there will always be gaps left behind and the clean sheet has been saved multiple times by impressive individual feats of defending, rather than an impassable wall.
He’s [Jonny Evans] the brain in the defence. He organises Çağs and the back four. He played for Manchester United so he understands the pressures. He’s really helped Çağs, as he did Harry - the manager has always been quick to credit Evans’ role
Everton were finally able to exploit one of those gaps and put their best chance away. The Foxes’ pressing in midfield actually won the first ball, but eventually the numbers won out and the Toffees could break.
It’s been a particular problem down the left hand side. Chilwell does great things getting forward, but without much defensive help from Harvey Barnes they are vulnerable to the counter attack. There’s not necessarily a fix for it, other than remembering that it’s totally normal for teams to concede every now and then.
3. Can Wilf do it all now?
We all know the value that Wilfred Ndidi brings to the team. He leads the Premier League in tackles made and any other team would be improved by adding his defensive qualities.
He has mostly been limited with the ball until now, except for the occasional shot picking out row Z. His range of passing had been slowly improving, but this was the first time we really saw him use it.
108 touches— The LCFC Stat Man (@TheLCFCStatMan) December 2, 2019
80/93 passes completed (86%)
4 chances created
Not just a defensive midfielder, our @Ndidi25 #lcfc #LEIEVE pic.twitter.com/vdcHEQjnAN
Wilf was given more freedom to move forwards as the game wore on and really took advantage of it, with 4 key passes and several more involvements in good build up play.
It’s unlikely that he’ll ever be the same kind of end-to-end contributor that Ricardo Pereira manages to be, but few players are. Wilf is already a star, but this kind of contribution could put him, and Leicester, over the top.