Leicester City emerged victorious against Norwich City in a hard-fought battle on Saturday at Carrow Road. An early Jamie Vardy strike was cancelled by a Teemu Pukki penalty at the end of the first half. Marc Albrighton got the late winner as Kenny McClean’s equaliser was disallowed for offside.
— James Sharpe (@TheSharpeEnd) August 28, 2021
If you know, you know.
In addition to the five defenders out through injury, manager Brendan Rodgers was without the services of Ayoze Perez through suspension. He made the expected move, inserting Marc Albrighton on the right in the former Newcastle man’s place. The starting XI: Kasper Schmeichel (C), Ricardo Pereira, Daniel Amartey, Çağlar Söyüncü, Luke Thomas, Youri Tielemans, Wilfred Ndidi, Albrighton, James Maddison, Harvey Barnes, and Jamie Vardy.
Things got off to the best possible start...sort of. Brandon Williams, on loan from Manchester United, got caught in possession on the right. Ricardo was on it in a flash, nicking it from the fullback and outpacing Ben Gibson. The Portugal man pulled it back and Vardy turned it into the far corner first time to give the Foxes the lead inside 10 minutes. Unfortunately, Ricardo was on the deck with a leg complaint. He was unable to carry on and Rodgers was forced to bring on the masked Timothy Castagne for his first action since picking up a horrific injury in the Euros.
After a sloppy quarter-hour of play which saw both sides giving the ball away needlessly, Vardy should have doubled his tally. The Foxes patiently broke down a stubborn Norwich press and worked the ball into their opponents’ area. Vardy was alert to the loose ball and was one on one with keeper Tim Krul. The striker tried to slip the ball under the former Newcastle keeper with the outside of his boot but Krul got down well and the chance was gone.
VAR was called into action for the first time on 40’ when Söyüncü slid in on Pierre Lees-Melou in the box. It was a weird one. Cags didn’t get the ball, but Lees-Melou, seeing the slide, ran past the ball and went over. That said, it was deep into “you’ve seen them given” territory and I think the referee got it right to give it. Pukki sent Schmeichel the wrong way and the match was level.
That proved the last goalmouth action of the half. Leicester were the better side, but Norwich were very much in it and the scoreline wasn’t wildly misleading.
The second half started in much the same fashion as the first one ended: Wide open, mistake-ridden, and the Foxes looking altogether out of sorts. Leicester were stringing passes together, but fully half of those passes were finding yellow shirts in space and putting the defense under a great deal of pressure.
Things started to look up around the hour mark as Madders finally started to get involved in the proceedings. His involvement consisted of putting two shots wide from close range, but it was involvement nonetheless. Tielemans had a go with the defenders backing off, but he was unable to recreate his Wembley magic and put the ball well over.
Rodgers made his first unforced substitution on 65’, withdrawing the frustrating Barnes and introducing Kelechi Iheanacho. The move worked, with the Foxes regaining the lead ten minutes later. Seniorman broke down the left and found Madders in the middle, who tapped it to Vardy. The former Stockbridge Park Steels man spotted Albrighton in acres of space on the right. Williams got a foot to it, but the deflection just sent the ball past Krul and inside the post at the far corner.
GOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAALLL!!! #NorLei pic.twitter.com/HC0ZwKLktb— Leicester City (@LCFC) August 28, 2021
I’ll spare you the celebratory dance. You can thank me later.
The lead appeared to have disappeared only four minutes later. A corner was nodded home by Kenny McClean with Schmeichel rooted to the spot. However, Todd Cantwell was standing directly in front of the Dane in an offside position and the linesman had his flag up. VAR confirmed the call and the goal was chalked off.
Rodgers withdrew Madders and handed Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall his debut on 85’ minutes. His first action was to win a crucial free kick off Cantwell after a corner to snuff out a Norwich attack. The Foxes had five minutes of added time to see out and they very nearly got a third. Vardy led a 3-on-2 break with runners on either side. He found Dewsbury-Hall on his left and the academy product pulled it back for Iheanacho. He recovered twice after miss-kicks but pulled his third effort wide.
KDH should've been on 85 minutes ago.— Canadian Foxes (@LCFC_Canada) August 28, 2021
I’m not gonna argue against this.
The Canaries had the opportunity to level at the death when Aarons got loose on the right and found Adam Idah’s run in the middle, but the substitute put his first-time effort wide and that was that.
Let’s be honest here: We were a bit fortunate to get the win. In the end, three points are all that matter. That’s fortunate because there were no style points to be gained from that match. Norwich City dictated the tempo and the style of play and some of the Foxes’ brightest stars were non-factors. Fortunately, the grifters were able to get the job done. Vardy, Albrighton, Ndidi and, Amartey did the hard work when the newly-promoted Canaries refused to roll over.
The win gives Leicester City 6 points from 3 matches, good enough for 8th on the table. Here’s hoping the international break allows some of our players to return from their injuries, because the next match sees us host Manchester City on 11 September. After that, we kick off our European campaign on the 16th, hosting Napoli at the King Power.