Is there a blueprint forming on how to beat Leicester at home?

Leicester City's James Justin (L) James Maddison (R) (Photo by RUI VIEIRA/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Leicester City's James Justin (L) James Maddison (R) (Photo by RUI VIEIRA/POOL/AFP via Getty Images) /
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Leicester City
Dennis Praet of Leicester City, James Maddison (Photo by Jon Super – Pool/Getty Images) /

Nevertheless, accompanying Jamie Vardy in the forward line was Dennis Praet and James Maddison. This shifted the Leicester City formation, turning the 3-4-3 into more of a 3-4-2-1 – as both players naturally dropped into the central-attacking-midfield area behind Vardy, rather than playing alongside him on the opposition’s defensive line.

For me, this was one of the biggest issue for the Foxes. Leicester City’s attacking balance is better with a wing partnership that compliments each other, rather than two wingers playing the same role. An example of this was shown versus SC Braga earlier in the week, both Barnes and Cengiz Ünder have the same profile (on-the-shoulder, looking to connect play close to Vardy/Kelechi Iheanacho) and they started the UEFA Europa League game alongside Iheanacho. Throughout the first-half, they struggled to breakdown Braga’s defence, as the connecting option between the midfield and attacking line was vacant – a player like Maddison or Praet excels in this space.

What Rodgers has benefited from is tandem movements in the final third – i.e. when Maddison/Praet drops into the space between the lines, the opposing winger (Barnes/Ünder) makes an advancing run through the defensive line and gives the defence a movement to worry about. Instead, in the last two fixtures, Leicester City have played wing partnerships that offer identical movements and have made the Foxes linear and easy to defend against during their attacking sequences.

I understand why Rodgers wanted to experiment with playing Praet and Maddison together as both have played very well this season and have both excelled as focal points in a couple of Rodgers’ different systems. Against a Fulham side, that ordinarily plays a 4-2-3-1 (with two defensive-midfielders) this was always going to be redundant. All it required was for Fulham manager, Scott Parker to instruct André-Frank Zambo Anguissa and Harrison Reed to man-mark the two dropping midfielders, or just control the spaces they like to operate in, and Leicester City were limited in their attempts to progress the ball.