During the first half, Ricardo Pereira was used in that midfield-moving outwide (usually towards the right wing) role, supported by Harry Winks, ‘KDH’ and Timothy Castagne. That was one progressive outlet, but we also saw an interesting pattern on the left flank.
Where a numerical advantage and overwhelm was generated on the right, a massive gap was left on the left. No fullback to progress the ball there. So, what the King Power club ended up doing was quite interesting.
Wanya Marcal-Madivadua came shorter being used as a pacy left-winger, KDH would often drift over to support, and centre-back Callum Doyle – later Victor Kristiansen – would tend towards moving into that massive gap, where he was often untroubled by opposition players focusing on the overwhelmed right flank. A quick pass to him could lead to a cross in to the box from the loanee star, a through ball from KDH for Madivadua, or a pass back into attacking midfield where Dennis Praet was often lurking.
When watching this I genuinely felt both impressed and interested. It was impressing to see the impact of the new signings, with Connor Coady, Doyle, and ‘Winksy’ being heavily involved in progressive plays and possession retention. Meanwhile, the link ups and possibilities for chance creation were myriad, so one could never quite predict the exact move that would be made: an issue prevalent in ‘Rodgersball’ by the end.
Trusting youngsters and stars
The Italian head coach would have been told by supporters to drain the swamp, clear out the weeds, and completely refresh the squad. Many fans simply do not trust using either our youngsters – who are seen as their own relegation failures – and the former stars who’s apparent lack of passion and quality led to the Foxes relegation from the Premier League. However, Maresca is not an overly zealous Leicester City supporter.
Instead, we saw some of the best stars from the youth setup – Madivadua and Kasey McAteer – brought into the fold to showcase their skills. Further, we saw Wout Faes, Castagne, Wilfred Ndidi, the ailing Jamie Vardy, and even the Danish centre-back Vestergaard. These are players who have been individually blamed for particular failures, lambasted by supporters, and called for to be sold.
Enzo Maresca has put his trust into them for the time they are with the Foxes. Honestly, most of them looked perfectly fine: certainly much greater intensity and passion to impress were evident. The only exception to this was the Belgian fullback, who’s head is not at the King Power. Otherwise, the Danish giant finally looked like the player he was meant to be – a tall defender to stop corners going in. I must commend the new manager for this trust in players.