Leicester City ran out comprehensive winners against Luton Town by a score of 4-0 on Tuesday evening in the League Cup. First half goals from Demarai Gray and James Justin and in the second by Youri Tielemans and Kelechi Iheanacho gave the Foxes a comfortable margin of victory in what was a very comfortable match.
As expected, manager Brendan Rodgers rang in the changes after Saturday’s win against Tottenham Hotspur. Danny Ward got the nod in goal behind a back four of former Luton fullback James Justin, Wes Morgan, Jonny Evans, and Christian Fuchs. Demarai Gray, Marc Albrighton, Youri Tielemans, and Dennis Praet started in midfield ahead of defensive anchor Wilfred Ndidi. Ayoze Perez got the start up top to spearhead the attack.
Gray and Perez were a constant menace in the early going, but the first good chance of the match fell to Albrighton, whose rasping drive stung the palms of Hatters’ goalkeeper James Shea. The shot was bound for the back of the net, but Shea did will to keep his side level.
The hosts had a good spell over the next quarter hour, forcing Fuchs and Tielemans to make some important interventions. However, Ward’s goal was never threatened and the Foxes quickly regained the initiative.
Albrighton and Gray continued to torment the Championship side from wide areas, stretching the defense and forcing increasingly frantic interventions. It was the former Birmingham City man who finally made the breakthrough just after the half-hour mark, slotting home from a short corner routine. It was no more than Gray or Leicester deserved as the Premier League side were beginning to turn the screws.
Leicester thought they had doubled their lead just five minutes later. Ayoze got behind the Luton defense and chipped Shea from inside the box. However, the linesman’s flag was up, denying Perez his maiden City goal.
Leicester were not to be denied a second, and it came from a fitting source. Tielemans spotted Justin’s run and threaded through a perfect ball, putting the ball on a platter for former Hatters’ star Justin to turn the ball into the back of the net. Leicester went into the break thoroughly on top, with 14 shots to Luton’s none.
The second half started in much the same fashion as the first one ended. Leicester laid siege to the Luton goal but struggled to find what would surely be a decisive third goal. Morgan went close with an effort five minutes after the restart, but Shea did well to keep out his shot as well as Ndidi’s follow up. Albrighton was the next Fox to test the Luton keeper with a low drive that was easily held.
The Hatters finally got a shot off on 70’. Isaiah Brown tested Ward with a fine effort, but the former Liverpool stopper was able to parry it and then collect Callum McManaman’s follow-up effort.
Rodgers made his first change with a quarter-hour to go, introducing Kelechi Iheanacho for Perez. The Spaniard didn’t have any goals to show for it, but he ran himself into the ground and made life miserable for the Luton back line. A second change was made just minutes later, with Ndidi giving way for Hamza Choudhury.
Going in to the last ten minutes, the Foxes put the game beyond doubt. Iheanacho’s effort was well saved, but the rebound fell to Gray, who lifted the ball to Tielemans at the back post. The Belgium international made no mistake from close range, giving Leicester a comfortable 3-0 lead.
Iheanacho nearly made it four just moments later. He met an Albrighton cross at the near post, but his shot was well saved by the busy Shea. He wouldn’t be denied moments later, as he again paired with Albrighton, this time beating Shea with a chip from the edge of the area.
Luton nearly pulled one back at the death as Kazenga Lualua beat Ward one-on-one. However, the man with one of the greatest names in the history of football was offside and the goal chalked off.
The match went very much by the script for Brendan Rodgers. James Justin got a goal on his debut against his old club, his team ran out 4-0 winners, and there were no injuries. You couldn’t really ask for anything else except maybe for Spurs to have to go to penalties against Colchester...wait, they did? It was a perfect day at the office then.
Youri Tielemans was the standout performer for my money. He made one goal, scored another, and brought an element of class to a match that could have been a really banana peel for the Foxes. Leicester out-shot the Hatters 28-3 and that was in no small part due to Youri keeping things ticking in the midfield.
The win has no effect on the table, obviously, but it does get us into the hat for the next round of the League Cup and one gets the sense we could make some noise in the competition. The only concern would be if we got Spurs in the next round and...what? They lost to Colchester on penalties? Never mind, we’re going all the way!