Leicester City cruised by Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park by a score of 4-1 in the early Sunday match. First-half goals from Wout Faes and Jamie Vardy on either side of a Sammie Szmodics strike gave City a 2-1 lead at the break. After a mostly-quiet second period, the Foxes added a Kelechi Iheanacho penalty and a Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall strike to provide the final margin.
This performance was nowhere near as dominant as the scoreline suggests. The ruthless Foxes saw all four of their shots on target find the back of the net. The defence got away with a lot of sloppy play in the first half as they struggled to deal with Rovers’ press. It was a satisfying and ultimately comfortable victory, but it wasn’t the complete performance Maresca has been craving.
The one dark lining to this silver cloud was the injury to Kasey McAteer. We don’t know how much time he’ll miss, but given the way he pulled up, it might well be measured in months as opposed to weeks. Add that to the fact that Callum Doyle had surgery on his knee and...let’s just say it’s a good thing we have a deep squad. We’re going to need it.
The victory means the Foxes are on 8 wins and 24 points from 9 matches. It also means we start October on the top of the Championship table, 2 points ahead of Ipswich Town. We host 3rd placed Preston North End on Wednesday and then Stoke City visit the King Power next Saturday.
Finally, Wout Faes has achieved a net scoring record of 0 again— Mike (@lcfc_mike) October 1, 2023
I feel like this information should have come up in the broadcast.
Leicester City: Mads Hermansen, Ricardo Pereira, Wout Faes, Jannik Vestergaard, James Justin, Wilfred Ndidi, Harry Winks, Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall, Abdul Fatawu, Stephy Mavididi, Jamie Vardy (C)
Blackburn Rovers: Aynsley Pears, Callum Brittain, Hayden Carter, Dominic Hyam, Harry Pickering, Adam Wharton, Lewis Travis, Andy Moran, Dilan Markanday, Arnor Sigurdsson, Sammie Szmodics
Key Moments and Notes
1’ - It’s 6:00 a.m. in Texas, so this is our first match of the year to start in complete darkness. You will excuse me if I’m a little slow this morning, despite the strong tea and the vibrant third kit we’re wearing.
4’ - GOAL! Pears needlessly tipped over a poor Fatawu cross. KDH taps the ensuing corner to the Ghanaian winger, who gets it right this time. The ball finds Faes at the far post and the defender plants a header across the keeper and into the net.
9’ - GOAL! Winks attempts to gift Rovers a goal with a terrible pass in the box. Szmodics’ header is directly at Hermansen, who calmly collects. The keeper then plays a pass that Winks was never going to collect. Moran is on it in a flash. He squares to Szmodics who finds the net from close range.
15’ - The commentators describe us as “casual” at the back. They’re being generous. It’s been very, very sloppy. In other news, Rovers right back Callum Brittain is a dead ringing for Luke Wilson in The Royal Tenenbaums. Note: This was a terrible comparison. I’d forgotten about Richie Tenenbaums’ beard.
25’ - Close x 2! Vardy picks up the ball from a KDH flick and rattles the crossbar from the edge of the area. Moments later, Dewsbury-Hall blasts over from a considerably shorter range.
27’ - GOAL! Fatawu plays a ball into Ndidi’s path from inside the Leicester half. The Nigeria man curls in a cross first-time and finds Vardy’s run on the far side of the area. He’s going away from goal and on his left peg, but this is Jamie Vardy we’re talking about. He blasts it into the roof of the net to restore the Leicester lead. He then spends a moment with the home fans to the delight of the travelling supporters.
It’s a Sky Sports clip, so you won’t see it in the U.S. Just close your eyes and imagine “Vardy winding up the opposition supporters” and I am sure you’ll get 90% of it right.
34’ - It was just a few weeks ago that Winks completed one million out of one million passes (note: it was 83 for 83) isn’t going to be equalled today. He’s had some shockingly loose touches for a player as tidy as he is.
45’ - Not unlike The Police in 1986, the match lost its sting in the last 10 minutes of the first half. Things got “casual” again and that’s worrying; this match is very far from over.
HALF-TIME: Blackburn Rovers 1 - 2 Leicester City
46’ - Vestergaard goes into the book for fouling Moran on the edge of the box. His protests fall on unhearing ears even though he appears to have a point. That’s his fifth booking, so he’ll miss next week’s match at the King Power.
55’ - The Foxes get a rare chance to get out of their half. Ndidi finds Vardy behind the defence and he gets to it at the same time as the keeper. The ball caroms off to the left side of the area and the former England man gets there first. He pulls it back for Wilf but Pickering does well to deflect it wide for a corner.
58’ - Kasey McAteer comes on for Fatawu. Rovers are forced to withdraw Pears, who injured himself trying to beat Vardy to that through ball. He’s replaced by Leopold Wahlstedt. It’s probably unprofessional to say this, but he looks like he just stepped off the runway in Paris.
67’ - A through ball finds Ndidi in the left channel. Friends, I don’t know how to tell you this, but the midfield destroyer performed a series of 3 or 4 stepovers before passing it back to Mavididi. Who is this man in the #25 shirt this year? Also, Mavididi has been really quiet today.
70’ - Quiet he will remain as Maresca replaces Ricardo and Mavididi with Hamza Choudhury and Yunus Akgun. For those of you keeping track at home, Yunus goes to the right with McAteer switching to the left.
74’ - Oh no! McAteer latches on to a Justin pass and is bearing down on goal. He pulls up before the defence arrives. His hamstring’s gone. Leicester’s leading scorer is going to be out of action for a while. Maresca makes an immediate double switch, introducing Kelechi Iheanacho and Cesare Casadei for Vardy and McAteer.
78’ - Double chance for Rovers! Travis cuts across the area and finds a little space near the penalty spot. Hermansen gets down well to parry it, but it’s only as far as Szmodics. He looks like he’s going to score, but Vestergaard throws himself in front of it.
82’ - GOAL! - Yunus centres for Iheanacho when he probably should have shot. It’s knocked behind for a corner. It’s a poor one, but the referee points to the spot. The replays make it clear why: Carter has a fist full of Vestergaard’s shirt and has it pulled almost a full behind the Dane. Iheanacho sends the keeper the wrong way to double the City advantage.
85’ - I almost forgot to mention that KDH is now playing as an inverted right-winger. Do all of my dreams come true?
87’ - GOAL! Iheanacho finds Yunus in space and the Galatasaray loanee is off to the races. Dewsbury-Hall cuts into the middle and points to where he wants the ball. Yunus obliges and the ersatz winger clips the ball over the keeper. Lovely finish.
90’ - We’ll get nine minutes of time added thanks to a couple of injuries. I doubt either manager is thrilled with that number.
FULL TIME: Blackburn Rovers 1 - 4 Leicester City