Youri Tielemans

Leicester City - Crystal Palace recap
Photo by JASON CAIRNDUFF/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Leicester City snaps out of funk to pound Palace

Leave a comment

Leicester City is in the win column for the first time since the Premier League came back from the coronavirus pause.

The Foxes beat Crystal Palace 3-0 on Saturday at the King Power Stadium, the club and its star striker getting out of respective and collective ruts.

LEICESTER CITY – CRYSTAL PALACE FULL MATCH REPLAY

Jamie Vardy had a rough day for 76 minutes but, as good strikers do, made the most of two late chances off Harvey Barnes passes after Kelechi Iheanacho broke the deadlock just after halftime.

Leicester keeps hold of third place in moving onto 58 points, while Palace’s 42 points and three-goal loss sends it behind 12th place Newcastle on goal differential.

Leicester visits Arsenal on Tuesday before running for the finish line versus Bournemouth, Sheffield United, Tottenham Hotspur, and Manchester United.


Three things we learned

1. Brendan Rodgers needed that: Leicester still may fall out of the top four but they have it all in front of them to defend the house. Part of that battle is beating the two lowest challengers on the schedule — Bournemouth and Palace — and they did that well on Saturday despite the absence of James Maddison. The other part of the equation is four top seven challengers. Can they get enough points to return to the UCL?

2. Vardy’s sleepy party still a success: Jamie Vardy did not have a great game despite getting into a number of glorious positions. He did, however, retake sole possession of first place the Golden Boot race when he scored his 20th and 21st goals of the season late at the KP (Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has 19 and plays later Saturday).

Vardy reaches the 20-goal mark for the third time in his Premier League career, the marker his 100th in the competition. Can the 33-year-old find enough magic to hold off all comers?

3. Palace prepared for vacation: Safe and deprived of European hopes by their big loss to Liverpool, Roy Hodgson’s Eagles just didn’t have much fire on Saturday. Perhaps it’s unfair to say they didn’t have the desperation of Leicester, but that’s how it looked on the pitch in Leicester.

Man of the Match

Youri Tielemans — Barnes was very good with two assists but Tielemans deserved better than his lone assist for another tidy and occasionally spectacular day in the heart of the action. He was credited with two key passes, four tackles, and the drawing of three fouls (SofaScore).


Leicester City – Crystal Palace recap

Kelechi Iheanacho couldn’t quite get on the end of an eighth-minute cross as the Foxes looked better than the visitors at the outset.

Leicester City’s James Justin saw a deflected shot pound the crossbar and fired wide with a second chance moments later.

Jamie Vardy was played into the box by Youri Tielemans’ fine pass in the 17th minute, but the Premier League Golden Boot race leader’s pass back into the mix was blocked by Mamadou Sakho.

Ayoze Perez nearly had it 1-0 when Christian Benteke did a poor job clearing a corner kick, but Sakho made a terrific block near the penalty spot.

Luka Milivojevic spun a free kick just wide of the upper 90 in the 32nd minute, Palace edging into the match.

Vardy’s difficult run of form continued with a poor first touch while turning into the box, a chance he often turns into a goal.

[ MORE: Premier League stats ]

Leicester went ahead through Iheanacho. Tielemans got a rightful assist when Iheanacho took advantage of a sleeping Vicente Guaita to poke the ball home in the 49th minute.

Vardy missed a glorious chance to make it 2-0 but then got the job done moments later when Sakho slipped and allowed Harvey Barnes to feed the 20-goal man on the doorstep.

Wilfried Zaha blew a chance to make it interesting late when he popped a terrific Andros Townsend cross over the frame.

Barnes slipped a delightful pass to Vardy for a trademark cutting run and finish for 3-0.

Jamie Vardy: ‘I’m playing the best that I ever have’

1 Comment

If you thought you had seen the best of Jamie Vardy, you are dead wrong.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Sure, Vardy has put up sensational numbers throughout his peculiar career. A 31-goal season with Fleetwood Town during the 2011-2012 campaign of England’s fifth-tier, which is his most productive to date. Then there’s Leicester City’s historic title-winning season in 2015-2016, one that saw Vardy make a name for himself world wide, scoring 24 goals in 36 appearances.

Interestingly enough, however, we are finally witnessing the best of Vardy, at least according to the goalscorer himself. At 32 years of age, he leads the Premier League with 11 goals after 12 matches. From the BBC:

“I’m playing probably the best that I ever have but there’s a long way to go,” Vardy said following Leicester’s 2-0 win over a struggling Arsenal. “I’m always willing to learn, there’s new tactics with the gaffer and I’m always trying to give 100% and it’s paying dividends for myself.”

In their first, full season under experienced manager Brendan Rodgers, the Foxes are currently second in the table, five points behind unbeaten Liverpool. Rodgers, too, is a believer that his frenetic, yet skilled forward is currently experiencing a season to remember. To be exact, the 46-year-old is convinced that Vardy is in the elite echelon of strikers the world has to offer.

“It’s firstly about giving him confidence,” Rodgers said following his club’s eighth win of the season. “He is up there with the very, very top strikers in European football with what he brings to a team, his pressing.”

“We’ve allowed him to do essentially what he wants to do – he’s so honest, he’d press he whole back four if he could,” he added. “How we play, being aggressive and playing quickly obviously suits him. But his finishing ability, how clinical he is, is absolutely phenomenal. That’s a big testament to his concentration – when the opportunities come he’s always ready.”

Against Arsenal on Saturday, Vardy scored and assisted the second goal of the game. Coming up to the one-third mark of the season, Leicester pride themselves on an exceedingly fluid attack, built around James Maddison, Youri Tielemans, Ayoze Pérez, Harvey Barnes and spearheaded by Vardy himself.

With 29 goals scored throughout 12 games, only Manchester City (34) has tallied more this season. The call from the dugout for the Foxes’ attacking line to press and play to pass is paying dividends.

“The creativity we’ve got in the side is going to benefit the team massively,” added Vardy. “We’ve got to take each game as they come. It’s still early on in the season – it’s a long slog.”

“There’s a lot of momentum round the club and everyone’s enjoying themselves. That enjoyment comes with winning.”

The best of Vardy is happening now, and you don’t want to miss it.

Leicester City punishes sorry Arsenal

1 Comment

Leicester City continued its fine home cooking with a straight-forward 2-0 defeat of unorganized Arsenal at the King Power Stadium on Saturday.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

The Foxes go second in the table with 26 points, a point more than Man City before the defending champs visit Liverpool on Sunday.

Arsenal is now eight points back of fourth place, sinking below fifth place Sheffield United on goal differential.


Three things we learned

1. Unai Emery‘s race is run: Yeah, it’s dangerous to make judgments on a week-to-week basis, but the Spaniard’s work at Arsenal has been tremendously disappointing. Opting for a 3-5-2 with Rob Holding, David Luiz, and Calum Chambers at the back, he demanded plenty from his midfield; Lucas Torreira and the usually strong Matteo Guendouzi failed to impress behind Mesut Ozil. He has no firm idea how to best deploy his talent, and again left Nicolas Pepe to rot on the bench while Leicester rang up a 2-0 lead.

2. Leicester onto something special, especially at home: There’s been luck along the way, but the Foxes have now taken 16 of 18 points at home during an unbeaten start to the season at King Power Stadium. Their proverbial tails are up and the style, freedom, and confidence of the opening goal tells you all you need to know about the vibe at KP this season. In the words of Arlo White… “Barnes… Tielemans… VARDY!!”

3. Leicester City built for style: If Rodgers’ Foxes are given room in the midfield, they are going to run through most teams. Arsenal opted to try and match the Foxes in fluidity and possession, and were unable to do so. Outdone in possession (52-48) and shots (19-8), Arsenal rarely looked prepared to challenge despite a couple early chances for Lacazette.

Man of the Match: Maddison will be the easy shout here, but Tielemans and Wilfred Ndidi were magnificent in the center of the park. Any of the three works for us.


[ MORE: Premier League stats ] 

Alexandre Lacazette missed an early chance for Arsenal, while James Maddison won a dangerous free kick for the Foxes. It came to nothing, bounding past the far post.

Lacazette stabbed wide after Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang cried for a handball off a prone Wilfred Ndidi.

James Maddison skimmed a free kick off the top of the bar in the 42nd minute, as a rain-soaked pitch saw increasing moments of opportunity.

Vardy sliced Leicester into a 68th minute lead with his 11th goal of the season, the clinical end of a clever bit of passing from Youri Tielemans and Harvey Barnes to set up the veteran Englishman.

Bernd Leno stopped a Vardy rocket moments later, but Maddison gave Leicester a cushion when he drilled a low shot through the legs of Bellerin for 2-0 in the 75th.

Leicester keeps flying with win at Crystal Palace

Leave a comment

Leicester City continues to surprise, collecting a 2-0 win over in-form Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on Sunday.

Caglar Soyuncu and Jamie Vardy scored for the Foxes, who go third with 23 points.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

The loss keeps Palace ninth, where they’ll stay unless Tottenham really punishes Everton late in the orning.

The Foxes are loving the Fortune, entering the day with 25 goals and 8 conceded despite an expected goals total of about 14 and 12!


Three things we learned

1. One bad moment punishes Palace: Roy Hodgson‘s well-drilled Eagles were doomed to defeat by a miscommunication on a set piece (their inability to score, obviously, also hurt). Gary Cahill and James Tomkins were out to lunch as Soyuncu into space and stooped to head a corner kick home. Maybe it was Soyuncu’s status as a true sleeper to score, but the chest high ball could’ve easily have been handled by either back had they moved with the Turkish center back.

2. Surprise scorer stoops to concur: Soyuncu entered the game with three club goals in almost 10,000 career minutes and none since scoring for Freiburg on Oct. 1, 2017 (He did score his lone Turkey goal against Tunisia in June 2018, for what it’s worth). One of five players to play all 990 minutes for the Foxes this season, he’s been a beast in defense especially in the air. Perhaps it’s a bit ironic that his winner came from his ducking to plant the ball in the goal, but you’d have to say it’s a richly-earned offensive reward from a man who does much of Leicester’s dirty work.

3. Black Swan Vardy delivers 10th goal: Clad in the black of Leicester City’s away strip, Jamie Vardy flapped his wings wildly after scoring the Foxes second goal. He is absolutely flying, turning back the clock to total 10 goals through 11 matches. It was a clever goal, too, a 1-2 with Demarai Gray hit cleanly with a left-foot. This wasn’t powerful Jamie Vardy having a party, rather a night at the opera. Good stuff.

Man of the Match: Soyuncu, with apologies to Guaita who kept it close.


Youri Tielemans led a robust rush down Palace’s left, setting up Harvey Barnes for a fifth minute shot that was collected by Vicente Guaita.

Wilfried Zaha did the same at the other end, but Jordan Ayew lashed wildly beyond the frame.

[ MORE: Premier League stats ] 

The edge of the 19th minute saw Vardy race onto a James Maddison pass, roasting James Tomkins only to find himself denied by Guaita (and Gary Cahill’s denial of a passing avenue). Evans headed over goal on a following corner.

Ayoze Perez made a terrific steal and run deep into the Palace half, but Patrick Van Aanholt‘s terrific run closed ground and sent the danger out for a corner.

The match was cagey and hectic, Zaha winning a free kick off Ricardo before halftime.

Palace had a good run in the first few minutes of the second half, with Zaha bounding a shot wide.

Leicester found some momentum after that, with Evans heading a corner toward goal that Guaita slapped over the bar.

The Foxes scored off the ensuing corner, Soyuncu ducking to adjust for a low corner when Palace’s center backs miscommunicated on their mark.

And the insurance goal arrived when Tielemans, who was fantastic, hit an incisive pass to Vardy to begin a 1-2 with Gray that ended in the back of the net.

At the half: Leicester scores 5 on ten-man Southampton

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Playing on the road, in rainy, windy conditions, appears to be no problem for Brendan Rodgers and Leicester City.

Through the first 20 minutes of its match against Southampton, Leicester City has absolutely mauled the hosts, scoring three times on Friday at St. Mary’s Stadium. To add insult to injury, Southampton left back Ryan Bertrand was shown a straight red card for a high boot into the shin of Leicester City’s Ayoze Perez. The tackle wasn’t noticed in the moment, but VAR caught it and referee Andre Mariner sent Bertrand for an early shower.

[WATCH LIVE: Leicester City v. Southampton]

Later in the first half, Leicester City scored again as Perez fired a strike in to add to Southampton’s misery. To add the icing on Leicester City’s cake, Jamie Vardy scored just a minute before halftime.

Heres a look at all the first half highlights, including goals from Ben Chilwell, Youri Tielemans, and Ayoze Perez, along with the red card.