Scunthorpe United 0 v Leicester City 1
Glanford Park – 16 July 2019
Match Report by Colin Murrant
Pre-season friendlies can often be disjointed affairs, with nine changes at half time this was in part the case. However, there was a lot to admire in the first half with lots of possession and some excellent link up play.
A less experienced line up in the second half failed to build on the dominance of the first half.
The team for the first half was Jakupovic, Ricardo, Evans, Soyuncu, Fuchs, Mendy, Tielemans, Albrighton, Leshabela, Perez and Vardy. The surprise was central midfielder Thakgalo Leshabela, a South Africa U20 international. The side started in a 4-1-4-1 formation with Mendy being the holding midfield player.
City quickly got into their stride in a game that was played at a good tempo, on a warm night that would certainly test the early season fitness levels. The passing was a bit loose at times but as City got into their stride, there was some excellent interplay. As early as the 2nd minute, the excellent Albrighton fed Vardy who played it back to Fuchs, his cross was just intercepted before it reached Perez.
Perez’s first real chance came in the 10th minute a good ball from Ricardo found Perez, his good first touch allowed him to turn and shoot but early season rustiness saw the ball clear the bar. It was all City now and Vardy did well to win and then retain the ball in the corner, his cross to the far corner of the box found Ricardo who fed Leshabela, the midfielder got his shot away but straight at the Scunthorpe keeper. Down the City end, Perch found himself in space and running at the Leicester goal, his shot from the edge of the box was weak though and was wide of the post. This was to be the only attack of any substance that The Iron had in the first half.
At this stage City were playing some good first touch football, the link up play between Ricardo and Perez developing, Perez seemed to have a free role: he was looking lively and tenacious whilst delivering ample skills.
City piled on the pressure with shots from Tielemans, Albrighton before the goal came in the 35th minute. A wonderful cross field pass from Albrighton to Ricardo in space, the full-back advanced then played a firm ball into the box which was hit first time by Perez past Eastwood in The Iron’s goal. Three minutes later and Perez could have had a second when he headed another Ricardo cross which this time Edwards managed to divert over the bar.
At half time there were nine changes for City as Jakupovic, Justin, Morgan, Maguire, Elder, King, Ghezzal, Amartey, Leshabela (60), Muskwe, Iheanacho lined up: sub Knight (60). The big surprise was Harry Maguire, an enormous statement from Rodgers, showing he is in his plans and any suitor will have to pay that world record fee if they want him.
The second half was less flowing although there was plenty of endeavour. Justin was fast and using both his feet, he showed this to good effect on 51 minutes when he raced down the wing using his right foot, cut back inside of the defender and curled a left foot shot inches wide of the far post. On 82 minutes a great ball in from Justin found King in space near the penalty spot but his first-time volley was wide of the goal.
Scunthorpe caused a little pressure from two set pieces and had a hand ball penalty claim turned down. They also had a corner on 90 minutes which was taken short with Leicester switched off, the ball was chipped in but headed straight at Jakupovic.
Too early to make any assessments as this outing was about game time and increasing fitness levels. The Ricardo/Perez combination looks exciting, Justin looked everything we have heard about him, Tielemans grew into the game, Albrighton was very bright and Leshabela put in a good show: Rodgers must have had good reason to start him both halves. On the injury side it was pleasing to see Amartey back in the side. Playing a Second Division side it is difficult to tell, but Soyuncu looked assured alongside Evans and might save City a lot of money.
The City fans amongst the 3,142 crowd would no doubt return from North Lincolnshire happy with what they saw, particularly with the first half performance.
The views expressed in this report are the opinions of the Trust member nominated to file the report only and do not represent the views of the Foxes Trust organisation