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Match Report: Leicester City 4 - 0 Plymouth Argyle

No Vardy? No Iheanacho? No problem. Welcome back, Patson Daka

Leicester City v Plymouth Argyle - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Plumb Images/Leicester City FC via Getty Images

Recap

Leicester City coasted past Plymouth Argyle by a score of 4-0 on Saturday afternoon at the King Power. A Stephy Mavididi penalty gave the Foxes a slim lead at the half. Quickfire goals from Patson Daka, Mavididi, and Wilfred Ndidi early in the second period put the match out of reach for the Pilgrims.

This was a huge victory for Marescaball. The manager is, for better or worse, a firm believer in the system (mostly “better”). No matter which players were on the pitch, the team shape looked the same. The way they played looked the same. If you liked seeing Jamie Vardy and Kelechi Iheanacho coming back to provide an outlet for the keeper, then you’ll love seeing Patson Daka and Tom Cannon doing the same thing. As Jack said, “... building your players to fit the system feels a bit like a big team luxury? Obviously, we are at this level.”

There were so many standout performances that it would be easier to list the players who weren’t great. Easier, perhaps, but I’m in no mood for negativity. Everyone was great. You could pick any player as your man of the match and I would just nod. I might say “I think I’d have gone with Fatawu,” but I’m not going to argue.

The ominous thing for the rest of the division is that there appears to be a “plan B” forming. Instead of just knocking it around and patiently trying to pick teams apart, we tried something different today. We knocked it around and then suddenly played balls over the top and Plymouth were not able to cope with it. With players like Fatawu, Mavididi, and Daka up top, I’m not sure many clubs will be able to.

The win gives the Foxes 49 points from 20 matches. We remain top of the table by a whisker (a “whisker” in this case meaning “one point”) as Ipswich cannot be stopped. We host Millwall on Wednesday evening. Next Monday, we travel to St. Andrews to square off against Birmingham City.

Lineups

Leicester City: Mads Hermansen, Hamza Choudhury (C), Wout Faes, Jannik Vestergaard, James Justin, Wilfred Ndidi, Harry Winks, Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall, Abdul Fatawu, Stephy Mavididi, Patson Daka

Plymouth Argyle: Michael Cooper, Julio Pleguezuelo, Matt Butcher, Joe Edwards, Morgan Whittaker, Callum Wright, Mickel Miller, Mustapha Bundu, Lewis Gibson, Finn Azaz, Adam Randell


Key Moments and Notes

8’- It’s not the slickest football you’ll ever see. The Foxes haven’t found a gear, any gear, yet. Most of the “action” has been passes played between Hermansen and whichever attacking player has come back to receive it. Do we call those “inverted runs” now? Yes. Let’s do that.

13’- GOAL! The Foxes start to work some passes in the Pilgrims’ area. KDH gets wiped out going for a ball in the area but the referee sees nothing in it. The ball falls to Mavididi, who drives forward after a little tricky footwork. Pleguezuelo sticks his leg out and trips the winger, making it very easy for the ref. The penalty is given and...who takes it? It’s Mavididi. His low effort isn’t great, the keeper gets a hand to it, but it’s just enough.

Leicester City v Plymouth Argyle - Sky Bet Championship
He might just be a little too good for this level
Photo by Plumb Images/Leicester City FC via Getty Images

17’- Close! Daka makes an...inverted run?...and it allows Ndidi to make a run into space. Winks finds him, and he’s one-on-one with the keeper. Honestly? He looks confident and you think he’s going to score, but with the ball on his left peg, it’s not the greatest shot. Good goalkeeping by Cooper.

18’- Close! Mavididi’s cross finds Daka alone at the back post. It’s a tight angle, but you’d expect him to hit the target. He doesn’t, but it sure feels like the floodgates are going to open. “When,” not “if.”

32’- Close! City are fortunate. The play has been horribly sloppy, with Vestergaard, Daka, and Faes all giving the ball away cheaply. Faes is the guilty party here, playing a dreadful pass that’s picked up. It’s played back to Bundu who has only Hermansen to beat, but that’s too much to ask of the striker for the Sierra Leone striker.

35’- Close! A brilliant break from the Foxes which sees a long diagonal ball find Fatawu behind the defence with runners on either side. He unselfishly slides it to Ndidi, but there’s too much pace on it and the Nigeria attacker can’t quite reach it to tap into an empty net.

40’- Close! Ndidi makes the underlapping run again and tries to lift a cross into the centre, but he can’t get it over the keeper. Wilf is this close to being one of the best attacking players at the level and it feels surreal to being saying that unironically.

45+1’- Close! Faes loses out in the Plymouth half and the Pilgrims are off to the races. Choudhury gets the angles all wrong and allows Callum Wright to advance unopposed. The former Fox has been getting into great positions all afternoon has yet to look like scoring. This time is no exception as Hermansen saves easily.

HALF TIME: Leicester City 1 - 0 Plymouth Argyle

46’- No changes at the half.

48’- GOAL! It’s as route one as it gets. Daka gets the goal, but it’s Hermansen’s ball over the top and an unbelievable ball with the outside of his boot from Fatawu to tee it up for the Zambian.

52’- GOAL! Fatawu is the provider again as his diagonal ball finds Mavididi in the corner of the area. He’s too clever for the defenders as he shifts the ball from foot to foot, makes a little space, and slots past the keeper. Game over.

54’- GOAL! The Pilgrims give it away and Choudhury pounces. He taps it to Daka, who slides it to Ndidi on the right. It’s a difficult angle...for normal players. This is Wilfred Ndidi. He fires it home off the inside of the far post.

Sorry to be a spoilsport, but...

60’- A double-substitution for the Foxes. With an eye to the upcoming fixture congestion, Daka and Mavididi come off for Tom Cannon and Marc Albrighton. It’s a debut for the former Everton striker who may suddenly be a key player given the absence of Vardy and Iheanacho.

67’- Close! Following a free kick, Dewsbury-Hall’s cross finds Vestergaard’s run at the far post. The defender meets it on the volley but the keeper does very well to keep it out.

69’- Another double change for Marseca. Dennis Praet and Cesare Casadei come on for KDH and Ndidi.

79’- The Foxes are cruising now. Ben Nelson makes his debut as Vestergaard gets to take a few minutes off.

90+4’- I’ve been in a daze the last 15 minutes. Football has definitely been happening, but...has it? There’s been a great deal of knocking the ball around but I couldn’t tell you about any key incidents. The whistle goes as the referee calls time on a match that ended 40 minutes ago.

FULL TIME: Leicester City 4 - 0 Plymouth Argyle

Leicester City v Plymouth Argyle - Sky Bet Championship
Somebody saw Pan’s Labyrinth this week...
Photo by Plumb Images/Leicester City FC via Getty Images