LEICESTER CITY 1 BURNLEY 0
Match Report by Paul Weston
Can you remember when, in our Premiership winning year, we went to the KP stadium in full expectation of a victory? Well, whisper it quietly, but under the calm leadership of Claude Puel, the feel good factor is starting to return to the KP.
A match against Burnley, riding high in the table, was never going to match the excitement and tension of the Spurs match and so it transpired. Puel surprisingly brought in Gray instead of Okazaki. Chilwell kept his place even though Fuchs had returned to the fold. Mahrez sported a rather ridiculous peroxide rinse, just to make it easier for the Burnley defenders to spot him in the crowd. The Burnley away following was pitiful considering their successful run this season.
City scored very early. Mahrez got a good ball from midfield, jinked inside and curled an inviting cross into goal. Pope could only palm it out and Gray knocked it in the goal, and also collided with the goal post for his troubles. Thankfully he was able to recover despite a bang on the head.
Burnley looked well organised and, with Wood leading the line, won many corners which all posed a problem to Kasper. Brady’s deliveries were excellent and he looked to be the main threat. It was therefore unfortunate for Burnley, but good for City, when Brady injured himself badly with a foul tackle on Maguire and had to be stretchered off. Burnley were never the same team again in the match and it was quite staggering to imagine how such an ordinary side had managed to climb so high in the table.
The rest of the first half was fairly uneventful with Vardy looking sharp but isolated in attack and Gray uncertain of his role and position at times. It was a game where no-one excelled but no-one was playing badly. Mahrez flitted in and out of the first half but brought a good save from the keeper with a left foot shot from the centre.
The second half was much better with City pressing forward more and displaying more of the pass and move and ball control demanded by Puel. The only problem was that City missed a hatful of chances and one was fearful that a late Burnley corner or freekick routine could undo all the good work. As the game opened up more quite early in the second half Morgan tripped over his own feet when looking certain to score, Gray hit the post and Mahrez missed with at least two shots.
Burnley had only chance when Morgan was outpaced through the middle and Kasper came to the rescue with a strong save. Okazaki was brought on quite late on for Gray and made an immediate impact, adding much more energy to the side just when it was needed.
City played out the injury time relatively comfortably and a hard earned 1-0 victory was secured, further strengthening City’s progress and position in the table.
It is clear that Puel is slowly imposing his style of play on the team and the team is responding. The aimless hoofball down the line is less of an option. The worry is that Vardy, even when playing at home, is often a lone forward with supporting team members slow to pick up the pieces and move forward. Although Gray got the goal and had a more prominent role in the second half, I do not think he was worthy of the rave reviews in the Sunday papers.
My man of the match would be Albrighton who continued to energise the team with his play, even if some mistakes were made. Yet again we often seemed to be outnumbered in defence, despite the efforts of Iborra and Ndidi, and the count down begins for when the elusive Mr Silva starts a game. Let us hope that he is not injured in his first match! Nevertheless it is good for a City fan to start the new week with a smile as we cement our place in the top half of the table. Let’s keep it going!
Leicester: Schmeichel, Simpson, Maguire, Morgan (c), Chilwell, Iborra, Ndidi, Gray, Albrighton, Mahrez, Vardy. Subs: Fuchs, Hamer, Ulloa, King, Dragovic, Okazaki, Iheanacho
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