Leicester City were not at their best last time out against Manchester United. They’ll be looking to bounce back as they head home this weekend, to take on a strong Tottenham Hotspur side. Here are some areas the game could be decided.
1. James Maddison on the left
Accept it and move on with your life. Read the team sheet, breathe in, breathe out, count to 10, whatever you need. Against a team like Tottenham Hotspur, it’s time to assume that James Maddison will play on the left.
Brendan Rodgers:— Leicester Xtra (@LeicesterXtra) September 18, 2019
“By putting James (Maddison) out on the wing, we have a better link between the midfield and front-line. It helps us a lot, I think. He’s an inside winger - that’s what I’d call the role he’s been playing recently. Manchester United do it too.” pic.twitter.com/eaK2Yo75Ni
Clearly Brendan Rodgers thinks it’s working. How he can possibly look at Jamie Vardy’s lonely afternoon in Manchester and suggest the front line was well linked is a question for another day.
It’s happened before, it will happen again, probably on Saturday. That being the case, it’s time to see them make it work. A player of his quality should be able to stay involved, even when out on the left.
It should also create opportunities for Ben Chilwell to make more of an impression than he has so far. At his best we’ve seen him actually do better when asked to more, and if he can cover the whole left touchline and make an attacking impact, it should give the rest of the team a lot less to do.
2. Protect the box
At this early point in the season, Spurs have taken 49% of their shots from outside the box. That’s not a great proportion - only two teams are doing worse right now, including a league leading Leicester City on 61%.
Both teams have a few players who are very comfortable in their ability to score from that range, but that list does include Wilfred Ndidi, who is very wrong to think that way.
Regardless of the talent of the shooter, most teams would be happy to see their opposition resorting to long shots, especially with a strong shot stopper like Kasper Schmeichel in goal.
If the Foxes can make a serious effort to prevent the balls into the box and frustrate Spurs into taking those shots, they have a decent chance of keeping a clean sheet (outside of the obligatory Kane goal).
3. Fighting for possession
This new look Leicester City side like to play football with the ball. It’s weird, we’re all still getting used to it, but I think it could catch on.
One of the few teams doing better than that so far are Spurs, who are currently 3rd in the league in possession. That’s especially impressive considering they’ve already played away at Manchester City and Arsenal so far.
As all Leicester fans know, possession isn’t the be-all and end-all, but it is important to the game plan both teams will be trying to implement.
If there’s an area that the Foxes can win this battle right now, it’s their ability to win the ball back, rather than retaining possession. In particular, if Hamza Choudhury is playing, he and Wilfred Ndidi can be a potent force for disrupting Spurs attacks and, more importantly, giving our guys the ball back. The question will be which of our guys gets he ball, and if they have the ability to be creative with it, but that’s on Brendan.