clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

What we learned from Leicester City’s festive fixtures

New, comments

A bad start, a good finish

Leicester City v Wigan Athletic - FA Cup Third Round Photo by Jon Hobley/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Over Christmas, the games came a little too thick and fast to break down individually, with matches against Everton, Manchester City, Liverpool, West Ham United, Newcastle United and Wigan. Now that that frantic period is over, here are some things we can take from those performances.

1. 2nd would still be an incredible finish

The Foxes never really looked to be at the races early in the Christmas period, as they struggled for any form against Man City and were comfortably brushed aside by a fantastic Liverpool performance.

We’re at the start of our journey...we can look back at the halfway point and be happy where we are and now it’s about trying maintain the form we’ve shown over a long period of time - James Maddison found some positivity after the Liverpool defeat

The two games together in such short time really left the feeling that maybe Leicester aren’t quite ready to compete with the best teams yet - our league position is more of a sign of consistency against weak teams than it is of overall quality.

And there’s nothing really wrong with that. This is a really young team, and they’re still less than a year into Brendan Rodgers’ project here. Remember that we were all hopeful of fighting our way into the top 6 this year.

Our last 2 games have been against the two outstanding teams in the Premier League. They’re great games for us to learn and develop in and we can’t be disappointed for too long - Brendan Rodgers was unhappy but fairly philosophical after back-to-back defeats

As frustrating as it was to not quite be where we thought we were, the team is still way ahead of expectations. Champions League qualification should still be the target and right now we’re looking great for it.

2. Getting by without Vardy

Leicester’s best run of the season (and ever in the Premier League) coincided exactly with Jamie Vardy’s run of 11 goals in 8 games. It was great to watch, but didn’t help the feeling that this is a team over-reliant on one man to score.

And then the former England striker missed the last 3 games and the Foxes hardly skipped a beat. They scored seven, all from different scorers (including an own goal) - an impressive team effort.

Kelechi Iheancho, whose time at the club appeared to be waning not long ago, had an excellent December, providing 5 goal contributions in 4 games and showed that we may have a little more depth than we though.

Ayoze Perez also got back into the goals - he’s traditionally been stronger in the 2nd half of the season and could still provide a good scoring outlet. Even Harvey Barnes got in on the act, playing as a lone striker against Wigan at looking very at home in the position.

3. We could do with a CB

The 2nd team sent out against Wigan in the FA Cup featured an ageing Wes Morgan and apparently injury-prone Filip Benkovic at CB. Both were forced off before the end of the game.

While we await the severity of those injuries, the Foxes could be down to just Christian Fuchs (the only backup LB) as the only depth left at the position. The club certainly could do with another option at the position.

So far, the main January transfer rumour (outside of wild Manchester United speculation) has been the potential arrival of Merih Demiral from Juventus. The international defender could re-form the impressive Turkish Wall with his countryman Çağlar Söyüncü.

The idea is exciting but doesn’t make perfect sense. He reportedly wants out of the Italian side due to a lack of first team opportunities - would he find any more here? Söyüncü has been flying so far, while Jonny Evans is regularly picked out as the key to the Foxes defence.

Instead, the club may return to Lewis Dunk, Nathan Aké, or some of the other options they had eyed up in the summer.