The season’s Premier League football kicked off this weekend with the first game seeing champions Leicester City beat by Hull City 2 goals to 1.
With unexpected changes to Leicester City’s starting 11, we saw Gray come in for Albrighton as well as record signing Ahmed Musa replace Shinji Okazaki to partner last seasons top goalscorer Jamie Vardy.
Leicester City were odds on favourites going into this match, especially with Hull’s injury concerns which see’s them with just 13 fit senior players going into their first game of the season.
Throughout the game we saw a display of how not to retain the ball, at times looking like a lower table Championship game, similar to the Hull vs Leicester games of years past.
It is clear to see that Leicester City are going to miss midfield engine N’Golo Kante this season. Whilst Drinkwater is great at distribution and bossing his midfield, he doesn’t have the tenacity or the drive to be everywhere at once in the same way as Kante.
The first 70 minutes saw him partner with Wales international Andy King, who is Leicester City’s top all time goalscorer from midfield.
A great player going forward but Claudio Ranieri’s team had a case of too many cooks this week and the end result at 90 minutes showed the broth was in fact spoiled.
Despite Hull City’s injury woes, their makeshift back 4 was set up very well and coped with the relentless pressure from Jamie Vardy, Musa, Mahrez and Gray. While they understandably looked shaky, they held their own.
Should Hull City continue to play the way that they played today, they may find themselves way out of sight of the relegation zone
I’m sure many Tigers fans will be more than happy with 17th place come the end of the season. Foxes fans, I’m not so sure.
The first half an hour was a sloppy affair, with misplaced passes by both sides.
Gray came close to testing Hull City’s goalkeeper Jakupovic during the opening minutes after a deflected shot landed on top of the net, ending in a Leicester City corner.
Leicester City boss Claudio Ranieri looked to set up his team similar to last season with the front line of Mahrez, Vardy, Musa and Gray all pressing the Hull defence high up the pitch, giving their defenders little time on the ball which leads to mistakes early on.
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The mistakes began to show as Hull City has 75% of their possession in their own half as they were hoofing the ball up the pitch as they had little time to place passes due to the relentless pressure.
Drinkwater came close after 27 minutes after Mahrez confused two Hull City defenders after doing his signature stepovers, creating himself for Drinkwater to drift in and after a layoff from Riyad, he curved the ball just past the far post.
At this point in the game Leicester City looked to getting a foothold in the game and in the 43rd minute they would have been disappointed not to be 1 – 0 up with Fuchs linking up with Musa on the left flank.
Fuchs looking to score his first Premier League goal for Leicester City he gots his shot saved by Jakupovic and the rebound got blocked after a powerful strike from Vardy.
The ball eventually found it’s way back out to Mahrez who after creating some space in the box saw his shot fly past the far post.
It looked as though Leicester City were going to go into half time in a stalemate if not for Abel Hernandez’ fantastic overhead kick following Hull City’s corner.
Schmeichel saw the the ball hit the roof of the net after pulling off a fantastic diving save, only to see the ball head Hernandez’ way and after controlling the ball with his chest, he turned and leaped, a goal worthy of conceding.
Leicester City’s second half couldn’t have kicked off the half any better.
Within a minute of the whistle being blown, Demarai Gray was brought down in the box. A cool finish from Mahrez saw him grab his first goal of the season and set the score straight.
Defensive mistakes saw to Hull’s Snodgrass drive a left footed into the bottom right corner just 10 minutes later. Defensively throughout the whole game Leicester City have been all over the place and they’ve paid the price twice.
Going forward at this point Hull City have looked more dangerous, testing the new centre-back pairing of Wes Morgan and Luis Hernandez, the latter of which had a horrid game.
At the 68 minute mark we saw Gray, who had a good game and veteran Andy King, who didn’t have such a great game come on for Okazaki and Amartey respectively.
Throughout the second half Leicester City had decent chances but failed to capitalise, something that they were clinical in doing last season when it mattered.
Should they continue to play in this manner they’ll find themselves in trouble similar to how Chelsea failed to defend the title last season.
All in all it was a shaky start to the season from Leicester City, looking positives in short patches, they failed to capitalise on several key chances, ending in a 2 – 1 loss to newly promoted Hull City.
New signing Luis Hernandez looked to be a fish out of water when paired with captain Wes Morgan.
This is to be expected of a new centre back pairing but with Robert Huth having now finished his suspension, it begs the question of how much playing time Hernandez will get when partnered with the towering Jamaican.
Foxes fans will be rightly disappointed with the result, going into next weeks game against Arsenal at the King Power stadium, fixtures are only going to get tougher.
They can only hope that the Leicester City squad step it up come next week.
Schmeichel – 7
Conceded two goals but was not at fault for either goal, a great diving save saw him concede his first goal as the ball fell to Hernandez, the second goal was such a powerful strike with Snodgrass’ left foot that there’s little he could do.
Simpson – 6
Was neither here nor there, an early booking meant he had to be cautious throughout the remaining hour of play.
Hernandez – 4
A shocking debut for the 27 year old Spaniard, he’ll be looking to drastically improve his form for the coming games or may not see himself in Ranieri’s plans going forward should he continue to perform at today’s level.
Morgan – 4
At fault for many of the mistakes in todays game, the usual rock at the back failed to organise his defence. It’s clear he’s missing the protection of N’Golo Kante.
Fuchs – 6
Again, neither here nor there. Had a tough game against Elmohamady and held his own well. Going forward he failed to make an impact however.
Gray – 7
Looked great going forward, making defences nervous with his quick feet. His finishing left a lot to be desired however he won Leicester City their penalty, leading to the only goal of the game.
King – 5
The Leicester City veteran failed to have an impact in the midfield again just like in the Community Shield against Manchester United. Having to play a more defensive game he looked a fish out of water, should he continue to play he should be encouraged to go further up the field, which may cause defensive issues as Drinkwater lacks that defensive edge.
Drinkwater – 6
Looks to be Leicester’s leader in the midfield, he organised it well however his sloppy passing in the first half slowed play down giving Hull City time to reorganise.
Musa – 7
A good league debut from the Nigerian. When running at the defence he look dangerous and his darting runs constantly put Hull on the back foot, he still needs to work on his link-up play with Jamie Vardy however.
Vardy – 5
An unusual off day for the striker. He failed to make runs in behind that we’re so used to seeing and didn’t have any meaningful impact on the game.
Mahrez – 8
When on the ball Mahrez looked fired up, he was Leicester City’s biggest threat this afternoon and kept a cool head when taking the penalty.