The Foxes go marching on. An eighth successive victory. But what hard work it was. Sunderland matched Leicester City and were the better team for the last twenty minutes or so, some woeful shooting letting them down. But, as someone in the crowd said after the victory, ‘It’s a sign of a good team that they still win even when not playing too well’.
Three Leicester City talking points:
1. The sternest test yet for Enzoball
Not since the Foxes played Liverpool at Anfield earlier this season have they had to cope with a team intent on pressing high up the pitch and doing it effectively. The wily old campaigner Tony Mowbray stuck to his word and didn’t just order his team to sit back waiting to be attacked. Leicester didn’t cope particularly well with a more adventurous opponent. A high press team should give their opponents the opportunity to break through into space. It forces the central defenders to distribute the ball quicker. Instead, there were far too many misplaced passes by Foxes and far too much resort to aimless long balls. As one person in the crowd said, ‘Hermansen kicked the ball long in this game more than all of the matches combined this season’.
Sunderland play in a similar way to Enzo Maresca’s men and they made good use of the wide players, Patrick Roberts and Jack Clarke, who caused a lot of problems for the Foxes rearguard. A good indicator of the state of a game is the possession statistics and it is no surprise that it was close, LCFC edging it 51.6% to 48.4%.
Having said all that, had the Foxes taken their chances they would have been out of sight. Kelechi Iheanacho hit the post in the first half and it is a mystery how Cesare Casedei didn’t score at least one of the two chances he had early in the second half. After that, Sunderland had the bulk of the possession and threatened an equaliser. It was like watching Brendan Rodger’s team from last year with the Foxes camped in their own half giving the ball back to the Black Cats at every opportunity.