Leicester City beat Burnley by a score of 2-0 at Turf Moor on Tuesday evening. The Foxes dominated the first half but couldn’t find a way past Burnley keeper Nick Pope. Substitutes James Maddison and Jamie Vardy scored late to give the Foxes their first league win of 2022.
Praise be the clean sheet!!!!— Helen Nutter (@helsy33) March 1, 2022
Finally, a religion I can get behind.
There weren’t many surprises in manager Brendan Rodgers’ starting XI, but there was a welcome one on the bench as Jamie Vardy made the squad for the first time since December. The starters: Kasper Schmeichel (C), Ricardo Pereira, Daniel Amartey, Çağlar Söyüncü, Luke Thomas, Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall, Youri Tielemans, Wilfred Ndidi, Marc Albrighton, Harvey Barnes, Patson Daka.
The opening ten minutes were frantic and wide-open, seeing a great deal of effort from both sides but not a lot of quality. The one except was a marvelous one-two between Ricardo and Tielemans. Normally, that move gives Ricardo a free run into the area, but fully six defenders stayed home. This had surprisingly little impact on the Portugal defender’s move, as he beat all six of them and fired in a low drive that Nick Pope did well to parry wide of the net.
The Clarets had the ball in the back of the net on the 20’ mark when a rare Burnley foray forward saw Maxwel Cornet run onto a cross and shoot from short range. The entire Leicester defence, the bench and coaches, all the City supporters, and, most importantly, the assistant referee shot their arms up as one to indicate offside. VAR took a look at it and their lines confirmed what our eyes already knew and it was chalked off.
The Foxes were literally millimetres from taking the lead on 37’. Barnes tore down the left behind the defence before pulling up to look for support. He tried to cut inside and, in a very Harvey Barnesian fashion, retrieved the ball after bouncing it off a defender. His close-range snap-shot was bound for the back of the net, but Pope swung his arm up at the last moment and, by sheer chance, it happened to be where the ball was and he turned it over. He fell over backwards in relief as he knew next to nothing about it.
The whistle blew with City well on top but unable to find a breakthrough. Leicester outshot their hosts 11-3, leading in shots on target 3-0. It wasn’t quite as comfortable as that looks, but the Foxes were clearly the better side and looking more likely to break the deadlock. As my mum used to say, “That and fifty cents will get you a cup of coffee.”
There was one change at the half as Ricardo picked up a knock and was unable to continue. Ademola came on for him, with Albrighton moving to right back. This had no appreciable impact on the run of play as the Foxes continued to boss the match in every respect other than “goals”.
As time wore on, City were looking a little winded and less incisive going forward. Burnley were still content to let Leicester have the possession, but the Clarets counterattacks were more threatening. Cornet ran on to a beautiful through ball, but he poked the ball wide when he looked as though he might get the opener.
On 70’, Rodgers went to the bench, hauling off Tielemans and Daka for James Maddison and Jamie Vardy. After a brief burst of Burnley pressure, the Foxes began to turn the screw. Vardy put a scissor kick over the bar. The former England man had a strong penalty shout turned down when a defender kicked him in the foot, and Barnes saw a rasping drive just turned around the post by Pope.
The breakthrough finally came with ten minutes to play. Schmeichel was very, very late coming for a backpass that sold him short, but he just beat Jay Rodriguez to the ball and lofted the ball into the Burnley half. Three Leicester players were in offside positions, but they left it for Vardy. He tapped it to Madders, who drifted in from the right and curled a shot past Pope, giving Leicester a deserved 1-0 lead.
Five minutes later, the match was settled in the most poetic and appropriate fashion one could imagine. Dewsbury-Hall found Barnes on the left and, instead of shooting with his right, he curled a perfect ball across the six-yard box. Who should be waiting at the far post but one Jamie Vardy? The striker nodded home and that was that.
You could say that the gaffer showed a golden touch with his substitutes, but when you have James Maddison and Jamie Vardy available on the bench, I’d wager that most managers could have pressed the right buttons in this one. The scoreline was a reasonably fair reflection of the run of play even if we left it late, so no shade on Youri and Patson; it just didn't quite happen when they were on.
Jamie Vardy will continue to score goals and talk immense shit to opposing crowds until the whole world is a nuclear wasteland— michael (@mef_57) March 1, 2022
Here’s hoping that this is both true and very, very distant.
Oh, and let’s not forget: We got an away clean sheet. Burnley are not the most cultured attacking side, but they have a directness and physicality to them that has caused us trouble all season. Not today. The hosts managed just 9 shots, only 2 of which were on frame.
The victory gives us 30 points from 24 matches, which means we remain in 12th place on the table, but with 2-3 games in hand relative to the teams above us. We host Bielsa-free Leeds United on Saturday and then we journey to Brittany to face Stade Rennes in the first leg of our historic round of 16 Europa Conference League tie.