Leeds 1 – 4 Leicester: Foxes destroy media darlings to go second

Leicester City players (Photo by PETER POWELL/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Leicester City players (Photo by PETER POWELL/POOL/AFP via Getty Images) /
Leicester City
Leicester City players (Photo by PETER POWELL/POOL/AFP via Getty Images) /

Leicester City continued their 100% away record with an astonishing demolition of Leeds United. All this whilst Brendan Rodgers continues to cope with an ever growing injury list with different players used and tactics employed. Its now four wins in a row and only Liverpool ahead of them in the league.

When Leeds United smashed through Aston Villa 3-0, they were safe in the knowledge of a 10-day break whilst watching their next opponents, Leicester City, travel to London and Athens before turning up on their doorstep.

The Foxes arrived missing Jonny Evans and Timothy Castagne to further add to their ever growing injury list of Wilfred Ndidi, Caglar Soyuncu and Ricardo Pereira. Even before the game it was going to be a tall ask and only optimistic Leicester fans were going to predict a comfortable win. But a comfortable win is exactly what they got – in the end.

Seeming to line up with a deep block and a rough 5-4-1 formation without the ball, it appeared that Brendan Rodgers was trying to replicate the style that worked so well at the Emirates and Etihad stadia.

The personnel was again tested meaning he only had one out and out centre back in 19 year old Wesley Fofana who was supported by James Justin and Christian Fuchs. That meant drafting in the ever reliable Marc Albrighton at right wing back and young Luke Thomas at Left wing back. Papy Mendy and Youri Tielemans sat in the centre of midfield, whilst Dennis Praet and Harvey Barnes concentrated on breaking from wide areas to support Jamie Vardy.

Leeds attempted to stamp their authority on the game early and nearly started emphatically with hot-off-a-hat-trick Patrick Bamford heading a simple header straight at Kasper Schmeichel. As Bamford was cursing his missed chance, the foxes raced up the other end initiating an attack with Vardy seizing on a poor backpass by Robin Koch to lay it on a plate for the hungry Barnes.

That incident set the tone for the first half an hour with a high energy press, constantly pinching the ball from loose passes, attacking key areas of space between the lines and staying tight to their high octane opponents. Leeds just couldn’t cope with the King Power side and looked shocked at how energetic, strong and aggressive the foxes were being. The Whites were bullied.

Barnes had another shot and Leicester City were finding several openings. On the 21st minute Vardy stooped for a header that Illan Meslier Meslier saved before the hungry Tielemans followed in for a tap in. It was no more than the Foxes deserved and Leeds, for the first half an hour, were shell shocked as they were teased by their opponents to come out of position and be comfortably played around into space.

Bamford had a chance on the 37th minute but a poor first touch was thwarted by The Danish No.1. After Luke Thomas had a good close down and shot, the tempo of the game drifted more calmly to half time.

The second half started very differently with Leeds upping their own tempo and forcing Leicester back towards their own goal. On the 47th minute Stuart Dallas teased an excellent whipped cross into the box that evaded everyone and bounced into the net. Leeds’ tails were up and Leicester were not ready for the onslaught with their efforts around Europe starting to catch up with them. A pivotal moment of the game saw Hernandez deliciously drop his shoulder before caressing a fierce shot against the woodwork. It was to be the closest that Leeds would go for the rest of the match.

James Maddison entered the field for Praet on the 62nd minute and it was much needed, as the east Midlanders finally started to get on the ball and dictated play again. One final scare came when Kasper Schmeichel meekly dealt with a long ball that the hapless Bamford once again couldn’t react to quickly enough as it bounced away to safety.

Cengiz Under also entered the game on the 70th minute for Barnes to keep the intensity high. Five minutes later it was to prove key as he followed up his Arsenal assist with another unselfish lay off for a Vardy tap-in, when he could easily have been tempted to be greedy for his first Leicester goal. Under then expertly threaded a pass through to set Vardy away for a one-on-one that the former England uncharacteristically fluffed wide.

As the game neared its end Maddison was fouled on the edge on the box by Klich; it took a good few minutes of both VAR and the referee viewing the monitor to award. Youri Tielemans stepped up to the penalty spot for the second time this season and coolly placed the ball into the top corner, completing a job well done and confirming a fifth away win of the season.

Trending. Positive injury update on Soyuncu. light

Rodgers suggested in his post match interview that he potentially doesn’t get the credit he deserves for his tactical nous with his efforts dismissed as lucky. This probably being a snide kick back at the petty Mikel Arteta comments of a week ago. But with half a team missing, two games a week and seven wins in ten from all competitions, Rodgers and Leicester City’s impressive start to the season is even more of a surprise than a year ago.