City 0 Brighton 0
Report by Kate Thompson
Yesterday’s bore draw was nicely summed up when the television cameras showed Ricardo yawning his head off! It has to go down as one of the poorest displays we have seen under Rodgers and things have to improve drastically if we are to progress to the semi-final of the FA Cup. Talking of Chelsea, if they see off Manchester City, they will only be a point behind us.
Because I was watching at home, I was able to make notes as the game progressed, so the following is my chronological account. The first surprise was the team selection; I was expecting Gray to start, but Mendy and Iheanacho were complete surprises. In the event, having two holding midfielders didn’t seem to work, but I guess Rodgers has to try some different combinations.
Brighton started the brighter side and could have gone ahead in the first few minutes. As it was, they had the first chance when a clumsy challenge from Justin led to a penalty. VAR confirmed the referee’s decision and Maupay stepped up in the 13th minute to take it.
But Schmeichel again demonstrated what a good penalty stopper he is by going the right way and smothering the ball. Justin was booked for his challenge. Brighton had the first corner and made an early substitution in the 24th minute, when the injured Webster was replaced by the experienced Duffy.
Brighton kept the pressure on City and in the 25th minute the television screen showed that they had had four shots on target, but we had none; I don’t remember seeing any Leicester shots on target during the whole match and in today’s report in The Times it says that there were no shots on target from either side in the second half!
Ndidi picked up a booking in 27th minute but Brighton players also had two yellow cards, Stephens and Duffy. Maddison came in for particular attention, which is a bit surprising as he was rarely dangerous. Poor little Mendy also seemed to get a lot of rough treatment.
I have my frequent gripe – too many sideways and backwards passes, which may keep possession but are hardly threatening and deadly dull to watch. In the 29th minute Vardy, who had been largely anonymous, nearly capitalised on a mistake by Ryan, the Brighton goalkeeper, but the latter was able to retrieve the ball without giving away a penalty.
Gray was working hard, particularly in defence, but did not show the forward momentum he did on Saturday against Watford – perhaps he should always be a sub and never start a game!
There were no changes at half-time from either side and City looked a bit brighter, but that isn’t saying much! The first substitutions came in the 69th minute – Barnes for Iheanacho and Tielemans for Mendy; Perez replaced Gray four minutes later.
By contrast, Brighton used all five subs. City had one or two free kicks in promising positions, but Maddison failed to strike the target on any occasion, putting the ball well over the bar each time.
We had to wait for the 87th minute before Schmeichel put the ball out for a throw-in, so he is getting better! There was a late appeal for handball against Dunk, which looked obvious on the television, but neither the referee nor the VAR referee gave it. In all fairness, it would have been a travesty if it had been given, as City deserved nothing from this game and were lucky to get a point.
Nobody put in a good performance, apart from Schmeichel – but then he had very little to do after saving the penalty. The defence pretty well stood firm, although Justin still has a lot to learn, but the rest were pretty dire. Vardy was anonymous again and his wait for his 100th Premier League goal continues. At this rate, he can forget the golden boot this season.
Leicester: Schmeichel; Justin, Evans, Soyuncu, Chilwell; Ndidi, Mendy, Maddison, Gray; Vardy, Iheanacho. Subs: Ward, Morgan, Tielemans, Albrighton, Barnes, Perez, Choudhury, Praet, Fuchs
Brighton: Ryan; Lamptey, Webster, Dunk, Burn; Stephens, Bissouma, Mac Allister, Connolly, Mooy; Maupay Subs: Button, Duffy, Trossard, Gross, Murray, March, Schelotto, Montoya, Propper
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