An up and down week for Leicester City, to be sure. They hit their low point at Burnley with back-to-back losses (not against Manchester City and Liverpool), but bounced back with a dominant win over West Ham United. Here are some things we can take from those performances.
1. Amazing what some confidence can do
If there’s one thing Leicester City fans can agree on it’s that Harvey Barnes has all the talent you need, but he hasn’t been producing consistently enough. The academy product has looked bereft of confidence lately and it was really taking a toll on his performances.
And then, all of a sudden, he got his goal and looks unstoppable. In the last two games, the young winger has had 5 shots (4 on target), created 7 chances and bagged two goals and an assist. He’s already the player we knew he could become. Look at this pass!
(Yes, Ricardo was also incredible, but he always is.)
Barnes wasn’t alone in his slightly sallow period. After Burnley, most of the team could be classified as young, incredibly talented and struggling through a very difficult patch physically and mentally.
The turnaround for West Ham, even before the opening goal, was spectacular. Ben Chilwell and Youri Tielemans have particularly been lightning rods for complaints, but nether put even a foot wrong on Wednesday.
2. Defensive mistakes continue to cost
It was hard to judge the defenders after the debacle against Southampton - how can you hope to defend properly when the whole team just keeps giving the ball away in your own half?
In the past two games, they looked back to their very comfortable best, mostly. They controlled the game, made key interventions when necessary and prevented any good chances...and then suddenly just let them back into it.
It's a soft penalty, but that's an exceptionally dim challenge from Wilfried Ndidi with Haller going nowhere but away from goal.— Daniel Storey (@danielstorey85) January 22, 2020
Chris Wood got a bit lucky for the ball to fall for him for the Burnley opener, but no one thought to track where their top scorer was? Jonny Evans’ mistake for the second was uncharacteristic, but I’m afraid it still counts.
As incredible as it was to see Wilf back so soon after surgery, he nearly let the Hammers back into a very one-sided game. No, it wasn't a penalty, and Kasper is equally at fault for spilling the cross, but that doesn’t make it a good decision either. The Foxes need to keep their focus up for 90 minutes.
3. Jamie, are you ok?
The atmosphere at the final whistle was of course a positive one, but it was also clearly tempered by concerns over Jamie Vardy, after the talismanic striker was forced off in the first half (along with poor, unmentioned Nampalys Mendy).
Fortunately we didn’t have to wait long for Brendan Rodgers to offer some solace; it’s not a hamstring injury as most watching had feared, but instead a slightly spasm in his glute. He is still injured though, and that’s never a good thing.
@vardy7 due to have a scan on his glute injury later today, but #lcfc medical staff have assessed him, and don’t expect him to spend a lengthy time on the sidelines. Scan is a precaution, and will dictate rehab plan and period of rest.— Rob Dorsett (@RobDorsettSky) January 23, 2020
Ayoze Perez rounding into goalscoring form will help. The Spaniard scored 10 goals after Christmas last season, and seemed to be linking very well with Kelechi Iheancho, who has come on leaps and bounds of late.
I have no real concerns about the Foxes’ ability to score with him in the lineup - at least, against Brentford and Aston Villa. With huge games against Chelsea and Man City coming up, this result could be a lot more costly than it looked if Vardy isn’t ready to go.