Leicester City overcame a stubborn Birmingham outfit in the much-billed 'El Grasico' derby. Although the main protagonist, Jamie Vardy, was absent, the game did not disappoint. Though Birmingham came into the game in poor form, it was the home side who dominated early proceedings. Mads Hermansen was forced into several smart saves before James Justin nearly converted into his own net. On the subsequent break, Leicester punished the Blues , something that would happen twice in the first half.
Although it was the Foxes who controlled much of the game, a late goal from Jordan James set up a grandstand finish. Fortunately, Leicester City never came under severe pressure and probably should have added a fourth. It was of no consequence, however, as LCFC held out for another precious three points on the road.
The spirit of Jamie Vardy lives on
Though Jamie Vardy was absent through injury, preventing 'El Grasico' between Vardy and Wayne Rooney, his penchant to wind up the opposition certainly has been picked up by some of his team-mates. Stephy Mavididi emphasised this with his impudent celebration in front of the Tilton Road end, which earned him a booking and the ire of Enzo Maresca and the Birmingham City fans. On the one hand, it was somewhat unwise to provoke so early on, but the arrogance was delightful from a Leicester City perspective.
Similarly, Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall celebrated provocatively in front of the same fans, celebrating by pretending to stir a pot. In his post-match interview, the homegrown star admitted he was trying to add fuel to a fire, started by Mavididi. Such a revelation will be welcome news to many Leicester City fans who can now be assured that Vardy's habit of infuriating the opposition will live on. After all, nothing is sweeter than the sight of angry opposition fans falling hook, line, and sinker for a celebration.
Foxes performance does not match up to the result
Despite creating a plethora of opportunities, Leicester City once again made hard work of securing the three points. Although LCFC's first goal was against the run of play, the Foxes largely controlled the rest of the match and Birmingham had few clear-cut opportunities to speak of. Nevertheless, the final 15 minutes after Birmingham's second goal were unnecessarily tense, simply because Leicester City had failed to put the game to bed.
Though the Birmingham pressure amounted to little in the end, a game where the Foxes should have been out of sight was ultimately just decided by one goal. Hopefully, this ceases to be an issue soon, as otherwise results like Sheffield Wednesday could easily happen more often than not.
'We don't like to score goals on the counter attack'
Enzo Maresca has made no attempt to hide his preferences, and his desire to stick to his methodology at all costs. Thus, lightning-fast counter-attacks are usually discouraged since they reduce the ability to control a football match. Instead, Leicester City fans have to watch a methodical and intricate style which, despite its undisputed success, has met resistance from some fans. After all, counter-attacking football will always be engrained in Leicester City's DNA due to the triumph of 2016.
Though it is clear such a style is working well, it is encouraging that the Foxes have shown they still have the ability and the license to exploit the transition when the opportunity is there. The first two goals against Birmingham City exemplified this, rapid breakaways finished off ruthlessly. This is especially important as upcoming opponents may be caught in two minds in how to stop Leicester City. Such indecision could be to the Foxes' advantage both defensively and offensively.