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Match Report: Rotherham United 1 - 2 Leicester City

Strikers? We don’t need no stinkin’ strikers.

Rotherham United v Leicester City - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Plumb Images/Leicester City FC via Getty Images


Leicester City came away from a hard-fought 2-1 victory against Rotherham United at the New York Stadium on Saturday afternoon. The Foxes carried a 1-0 lead into the tunnel at the half courtesy of Kasey McAteer’s first senior goal for the club. The Millers levelled early in the second half through a Fred Onyedinma header. McAteer struck again minutes from the end of normal time to continue the Foxes’ perfect start to the season.

This match saw the Foxes executing Maresca’s vision of quick passing and playing the ball out of the back and through the midfield. The final third remains a bit of a problem, and we are still being exposed too often in defence, but you can see the progress. This was Ricardo’s best match as a hybrid midfielder/defender, and Callum Doyle was absolutely brilliant with the ball at his feet. McAteer is obviously the man of the match, but the key takeaway from this match is that the entire team is starting to come together in this new system.

“Siri, show me a tweet that makes me smile and cry at the same time.”

The victory gives City 12 points from 4 matches, which places us alone at the top of the table, 2 points ahead of Norwich City. Next on the agenda is a visit to Merseyside to face Tranmere Rovers in the League Cup. Next Saturday, we return to league action, hosting Hull City at the King Power.


Leicester City: Mads Hermanesen, Ricardo Pereira (C), Wout Faes, Jannik Vestergaard, Callum Doyle, Wilfred Ndidi (Casadei 67’), Harry Winks, Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall (Choudhury 89’), Kasey McAteer (Justin 89’), Stephy Mavididi, Kelechi Iheanacho (Vardy 59’)

Rotherham United: Viktor Johansson, Tyler Blackett, Cameron Humphreys, Cohen Bramall, Dexter Lembikisa, Christ Tiehi, Cafu, Oliver Rathbone, Jordan Hugill, Andre Green, Fred Onyedinma

Key Moments and Notes

1’ - Is that Tyler Blackett starting for Rotherham? It is! For those of you who don’t recognize the name, he is the unfortunate lad who was the victim of one of the greatest Vardy parties, the 5-3 comeback victory against Manchester United in 2014. Small world.

11’ - Rotherham appear to take the lead from a brilliant inswinging corner. It’s nodded on to Hugill at the far post and he puts it into the back of the net. The entire Leicester squad surround the referee in protest and the ref consults the linesman. No goal! It came off Hugill’s elbow. Oh, and he was offside too. Good call.

12’ - Leicester City do take the lead. Iheanacho appears to be stranded alone on the left side of the box, but he turns and stands up a brilliant cross to the far post. Kasey McAteer rises unmarked and nods it into the net.

OK, he can score once. But can he do it again?

23’ - Hugill’s elbow is called back into action. This time, he chucks into Harry Winks’ chin. There wasn’t a lot in it; it was just the sort of cheap shot some players take when the referee’s back was turned. There’s no VAR, so he gets away with it.

27’ - Massive save from Hermansen. The ball is pinging around and takes a massive deflection. It’s going to loop over the keeper’s head and into the net, but the Dane shows terrific reactions to get back and make the save.

33’ - Decent penalty shout for Rotherham. Onyedinma’s first touch in the box is heavy but he’s still going to beat Vestergaard to it. The Dane engages in what one might generously describe as a “shoulder barge” and sends the striker sprawling. No call.

41’ - The seas part for Ricardo, who finds himself 20 yards out and with no defender to mar his beautiful view of the goal. It’s on target but couldn’t be more directly at the keeper.

44’ - The Foxes break at pace, 3 on 2, with KDH carrying it down the centre of the park. He finds Mavididi all alone on the right. The Derby-born winger bears down on goal but gets it all wrong, tapping the ball into the 6-yard box. Was it a shot? Was it a pass? We will never know.

That was a wide-open half. Rotherham poured forward every time they won the ball and they had some decent chances. The statistics make it look a good deal more dominant for Leicester than it really was.

53’ - A period of Rotherham pressure finally pays off for the hosts. A diagonal cross from Green goes over Vestergaard. Onyedinma gets in front of Doyle and nods it down just inside the base of the far post. Nothing Hermansen could do. He thought about coming for it but he wasn’t going to get there.

59’ - Jamie Vardy comes on for Iheanacho. Can’t imagine Blackett is looking forward to the last half hour.

67’ - Nothing much has changed, so now it’s Cesare Casadei for Ndidi. Makes sense. It worked pretty well the last time. Rotherham are playing a very high line. That seems...questionable.

74’ - Faes drops his shoulder, beats a defender, and charges forward. He plays a give-and-go with McAteer and finds himself 15 yards from goal. Is he going to shoot? Absolutely! It’s deflected out for a throw, but that was a legit chance.

Rotherham United v Leicester City - Sky Bet Championship
Of all the Foxes who could be described as “too good for this level,” Faes might legitimately be at the top of that list.
Photo by Plumb Images/Leicester City FC via Getty Images

79’ - So much for the “high line.” The Millers have dropped back and look to be satisfied with a draw. Do we have the guile to break down a packed defence late?

84’ - Leicester work a brilliant move, going from side to side several times. It ends with Coady playing a rasping ball across the pitch to McAteer. His first touch his great, his second isn’t, but he sells Bramall on a move outside before cutting inside and blasting it with his left peg. The keeper gets a finger to it, but there’s no keeping that one out.

86’ - Chaos in the Leicester box. A free header comes off of Ricardo’s face. The Millers scream for handball but, if it did hit his arm, it was in a natural position and at extremely close range. Both Faes and Vestergaard go down. Faes requires treatment and has to come off for a short time, but Jannik is allowed to stay on.

89’ - Hamza Choudhury and James Justin come on for McAteer and KDH. 8 minutes of time added on.

91’ - Vardy gets on the end of one over the top and Humphries drags him down. There was a covering defender so it’s only a yellow. Somehow, that’s the first caution of a pretty contentious match. It was feeling very CONCACAF there for a while.

94’ - We nearly get the most Jamie Vardy of all goals. A dangerous backpass sees the ball get back to Johansson with the Leicester legend closing him down. His hurried clearance hits the striker and deflects wide of the net. It could have gone anywhere.

FULL TIME - Rotherham United 1 - 2 Leicester City

Too soon? Nah. It’s never too soon.