LEICESTER 2 WOLVES 0
Report by Eddie Blount
Even the most ardent City fan would surely admit that City had more than their fair share of good fortune in recording their first win of the new Premiership campaign. Wolves hit the woodwork three times and conceded an own goal and a deflected goal which is more than enough to convince a manager that this was not to be their day.
The opening minutes took me back many years to when newly-promoted Bolton were the first visitors (to the old Filbert Street). We were confident that they were there for the taking yet they overran us from the start and put five past us! Wolves began in similar style, hitting the bar after two minutes and squandering a simple chance after four when full back, Doherty (more of him to come) mishit a chance from ‘my mother’ distance which struck Chilwell virtually on the line rather than crashing into the net as it should have done. After 10 minutes a shot from Jimenez cannoned off Schmeichel’s right-hand post so we could have been three down at that point!
The threat came from a single source! City’s back four set up narrowly across the pitch leaving space out wide. Wolves ignored their right side and concentrated solely on the left. Ricardo positioned himself relatively high up the pitch leaving a wide space behind and Evans, making his home debut clearly lacked the pace to get across to fill the gap behind Ricardo.
Consequently Wolves chipped the ball into the empty space and got in behind our back four on numerous occasions. All the dangerous Wolves attacking play came down their left flank yet we seemed powerless to prevent its constant repetition. Ricardo went on to have a creditable game especially when going forward; Evans struggled in the first half but was better suited to the change of tactics necessarily employed in the second when City were reduced to ten men.
As we all know a side that fails to take its chances almost invariably pays the penalty and thus it came to pass. City managed to get a foothold in the game after Wolves’ blistering start and managed some attacking moves of their own, especially down the flanks. A fine Albrighton cross to Gray at the far post was comprehensively headed into his own net by the unfortunate Doherty (he’s not finished yet). Amazing that with limited aerial threat up front our first two goals of the season have come from headers!
This changed the complexion of the game with City growing in confidence and none more so than new signing Maddison who showed the priceless ability to receive, control and turn in an instant which marks out a player to watch. Receiving from Ricardo he did all of these things in a flash on the edge of the box getting away a shot which deflected slightly but enough to wrong-foot their keeper and give City a cushion.
This was to prove crucial after 66 minutes when Vardy was over-competitive in pursuing a loose ball, his tackle winning the ball but taking the man – inevitably Doherty – in his follow-through. These days you simply cannot do this and especially when the referee is Mike Dean, with a reputation for courting controversy second only to John Moss!
At least Vardy left the pitch without hesitation but faces a three match ban which we could do without. Doherty was injured in the tackle and played no further part in the game, probably somewhat relieved given all that had happened. I could not support the abuse hurled at him by a section of the crowd as Doherty in no way tried to influence Dean’s decision and the tackle ended his match. Besides with his luck he would probably have conceded a penalty if he had stayed on!
Strangely City were tighter with ten men than eleven, reorganising into a back three with Ricardo and Chilwell as wing-backs and often looking the better side. Evans and Maguire swopped places with sub, Amartey, to the right of Maguire, now even more a crowd favourite. Wolves had odd moments, Jonny hit the post from an impossible angle and Schmeichel saved well from Neves long shot, but in truth City never looked like conceding and finished comfortably in control
My MOM was Mendy who showed speed and energy and a willingness to get the ball forward quickly. He looks like a muscular Kante and could be a force this season if he stays injury-free. His midfield partner, Ndidi, also put in his usual good stint. At the back Maguire was the pick of the defenders
So we weathered a major storm and brought the ship safely into port. However the captain needs to get more wind into the sails at the start to avoid being blown on to some serious rocks in future outings
City: Schmeichel, Ricardo, Evans, Maguire, Chilwell, Mendy, Ndidi, Albrighton (Amartey60), Maddison (Iheanacho 82), Gray (Silva 82), Vardy
Wolves: Patricio, Bennett, Coady, Boly, Doherty (Gibbs-White 69), Moutinho, Neves, Jonny, Costa (Triore), Jimenez, Jota (Bonatini 45)
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