Leicester’s form turnaround ironically coincides with veteran’s absence

Jonny Evans of Leicester City (Photo by Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images)
Jonny Evans of Leicester City (Photo by Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images) /
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Leicester City
Patson Daka (L) of Leicester City celebrates with Jonny Evans and teammates (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images) /

What’s changed?

The first obvious change is in personnel. Excluding the Manchester City fixture, the team has largely speaking been identical each match: Danny Ward, James Justin, Wout Faes, Daniel Amartey, Timothy Castagne, Boubakary Soumare, Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall, Youri Tielemans, Harvey Barnes, James Maddison, and Patson Daka. Consistency.

This is a team minus both the captain and Wilfred Ndidi. Something has clicked with this set up, and I think we can look towards the midfield for a clue. As some supporters have noted, the Belgian Starman has started from much deeper in recent matches, this is to provide a progressive bounce and quality to the initiation of attacks, and offer additional cover with Soumare for the backline.

These characters have provided an opportunity for either Amartey or the brilliant Faes to either progress or be a little more aggressive in defence: the Belgian defender likes to rush into a challenge. Although less balanced than before, the midfield can shield, press, progress, and score. Especially with the lively ‘KDH’ Leicester control the centre.

Lars Knudsen joined the Foxes as set piece coach, and the positive impact has been clear to see. To be blunt, Ward has come to punch or claim more often, and defenders have been more proactive in searching for danger and snuffing it out. There has also been a more reckless ‘kick it out’ strategy to minimise chances and regain composure or structure after set pieces.