Now, City have their top scorer back, and with the prospect of facing Ben Godfrey, pending Seamus Coleman’s fitness, Barnes will surely be licking his lips. He’ll have seen the way Alexander Isak jinked in an out of three Toffees defenders on that left-hand side on Thursday and thinking of all the opportunities for him to exploit.
When Dean Smith was managing Aston Villa to an unlikely survival, he had one player who he orientated everything around in fan-favourite Jack Grealish, and there’s already the impression that a similar theme might emerge with James Maddison. The midfielder starred against Leeds on Tuesday, and similarly to Grealish, thrived in an environment where he was portrayed as the pantomime villain.
After announcing this week that he and his partner are expecting twins, City fans can expect a topical celebration from the Foxes if Maddison was to bag an important goal. This could be expected with his prowess from range, with Monday’s opponents allowing Callum Wilson and Fabian Schar (the latter albeit disallowed) to score from outside the penalty area in their midweek defeat.
With nine league goals and seven assists this term, City’s MVP could be crucial in their survival efforts. Maximum focus is required for Maddison, however, any lapse in concentration akin to his inadvertent opponent assist against Bournemouth could be calamitous.