clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

5 things we learned from Leicester v Brighton

If you fell asleep, you missed out on the joy of a last second goal

Leicester City v Brighton And Hove Albion: The Emirates FA Cup Fifth Round Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images

1)Kelechi Iheanacho hates extra time more than us, pass it on

As much as we all wish fans were at games, a fairly drab outing in sub zero temperatures would have anybody slightly thankful we weren’t actually there and praying it didn’t go to extra time. Luckily Kelechi Iheanacho loves the FA Cup but hates extra time (or at least the thought of playing it in -4 temperatures). Last minute goals never feel anything but sweet, regardless of the manner in which they come.

Not sure what the point is but...I mean, all the letters are there. And Kel does love firsts in the FA Cup

This was not a vintage performance from the Foxes, despite a slightly stronger starting side than expected. Brighton had the best of the first half but it summed up their overall struggles that they didn’t manage to force one single save out of Danny Ward. Not that we managed a shot on target either. This wasn’t a game for the neutral fans! Presuming they hadn’t fallen asleep, I imagine they moved onto the goal fest of Everton v Tottenham.

For the Foxes, we were too slow, too indecisive and there was too much empty space in the middle for us. When Brighton are always going to defend quite rigidly, it was probably always going to be tough to break them down. Between a lack of service to Vardy and a weird insistence on high balls against a 6ft 7 opposition player, it wasn’t happening. It took the triple change from Brendan Rodgers to help inspire us. Hamza Choudhury, James Maddison and Iheanacho came on and it did make a difference.

Maddison’s creativity certainly seemed to help. It’s a little crazy that we ended up with more shots both on goal and on target than Brighton for all their pressure. The fight on three fronts continues as we progress into the quarterfinals.

2) We all just love Youri Tielemans and - oh hey that was from a corner!

Roses are red, violets are blue, please forgive me boys, for doubting you. Figure after my snarky pre-Valentine’s rhyme about set prices before, I owe them an apology given tonight’s goal makes it a huge FOUR corners scored this season!

Leicester and set pieces seems to be a bit of an enigma. The Maddison assist against Fulham was an outstanding cross into Iheanacho. Tonight’s assist from Youri is very much the same. Yet neither had much success in beating the first man from the corner spot. Then despite our wobbles defending set pieces and yet another different backline (I’ve lost count of just how many different lineups we’ve had but I’m sure we’re close to 15 now), we looked ok tonight. Despite Brighton’s height. Go figure.

In terms of finally scoring one, variety seemed to be the key. Not just doing the same try to put it into the box routine that hadn’t exactly worked out with Brighton’s basketball-height players. Just as I was thinking, for the umpteenth time, how much I love Captain Youri Tielemans as he received the ball, he lifted it and crossed in perfectly for Iheanacho to tuck it away. A combination of surprise for the Brighton defence and the pinpoint nature of Youri’s cross did the job.

On the one hand, I was a little disheartened to see Tielemans on the team sheet. We have so few options to rest him, and nobody who can really fill his boots while Praet is injured, so tonight felt like the only chance for a few weeks. That said, he is so good and consistently on song for us that it’s never a negative to have him in the side. Plus the novelty of him wearing the captain’s armband and the realisation that this could be the future norm is so lovely.

In May he’ll be preparing for the Euros, but this did make me chuckle

3) The pursuit of Daley-Campbell looks worth it on a first viewing

The Foxes were pretty dogged in the pursuit of Vontae Daley-Campbell when it looked like he was being released by Arsenal. This might be the first time we’ve seen him on the senior stage, but the early signs are encouraging. It perhaps wasn’t ideal that we had so much defending to do but it did give us an excellent preview of his skills.

Billed as a right-back, this was very much a wingback role from the off, though he was kept pretty busy in his defensive duties. He seemed to take them largely in his stride. Not lacking in pace and seemingly strong, you wouldn’t necessarily know he’s not operated at this senior level before.

As seems to be a theme with fullbacks in our side, he isn’t shy at getting forward and looking to create. I was impressed by a couple of those moves, two in which he was able to force corners in the first half and his tidy work to earn the corner from which the goal came, working well with Youri. Having the likes of Castagne, Ricardo and Justin to learn from won’t be doing him any harm either.

A very impressive debut and easily one of the few bright points for Leicester on the night. We already looked pretty stacked at right-back and at just nineteen it’s likely to be an introduction similar to Luke Thomas, you won’t see Daley-Campbell every game but Rodgers will give him a chance at the right moment.

4) Valuable minutes in the tank for the likes of Ndidi and Vardy

While there was very little by way of entertainment, we can at least be grateful that it’s more minutes towards full match fitness for both Vardy and Ndidi. The talk of us competing on three fronts is a little daunting with the injuries we already have making any new ones potentially very painful. Not too many of us would have been overjoyed at these two starting but it was pretty clear neither would play for the full match.

It wasn’t a team performance where picking a man of the match was too challenging (Daley-Campbell easily) but it was pleasing to see a solid ninety minutes for Daniel Amartey. We can’t forget that he too is still on the comeback from a lengthy absence. Asked to drop in at centre back due to our issues there and settling into it pretty quickly alongside Soyuncu. There was nothing outstanding but he quietly went about his business and it’s just great to see him back.

The same can be said for Luke Thomas, who’s only issue is just that we have a lot of good fullbacks who are a little older and more experienced. The beauty of having Thomas in the side is the width he brings. Like against Wolves, we can look too narrow but he’s great at keeping the left open and pressing forward. We didn’t get to utilise it too much against Brighton but it’s a reminder of why having him behind Barnes in a different game can be useful.

5) Better start praying to your chosen injury deity again just in case

There were two things Leicester City really didn’t need from this FA Cup tie. One was extra time, avoided thanks to our determination to stop Brighton from enjoying themselves. The other was no injuries. Not quite so lucky then. Ayoze Perez seemed to knock his shin in a collision with the goalkeeper and despite trying to run it off was substituted. The more worrying injury happened to James Justin who had been having another fine game in a somewhat makeshift role of a back three centre back.

While we’re hearing the stretcher off was a precaution and it’s not so bad, it sure looked it in the way he went down. The fact that Justin, who’s only had one game of rest the entire season started again is either testament to his fitness and efforts or a sign that defensively we’re still somewhat short and Jonny Evans is the bigger priority to rest.

While Rodgers was optimistic after the game, it may take a little more time to understand the full extent. We can only hope it’s a minor injury. Justin has been essential for us so far this season and it would be heartbreaking if this dented his chance in the England Euros squad. It would also be incredibly bad timing as Europa League football resumes and the season starts to reach its decisive stage. Here’s hoping bad luck hasn’t struck us yet again.

Bonus Learn: Well this is easy in a game where so little happened. We are blessed with so many players who give good post match interviews for various reasons. Kelechi may not have as many words as the likes of Kasper or Madders, but who needs a lot when he uses them so efficiently? His talk of just not wanting to play more in the cold and talking up our chances was entertaining. He’s got form though as this clip from his Man City days shows: