The East Midlands team achieved a 0-2 victory against Cardiff City as they saw themselves utterly dominate the flow of the ball. With over 60% possession once more, clearly something went right this time. Much can be attributed to the star performers from the fixture.
Before going into too much depth of detail around individuals, here is what happened. The first 10 minutes were rather dull, No shots, and very little action either side. The match came alive as Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall took an on-target header which was saved, before following that up at the 18th minute with a well-placed goal assisted by Abdul Fatawu. It was at the 55th minute - again assisted by Fatawu - that James Justin put in a contender for goal of the season following a dead-ball scenario.
Leicester City's Top Three
As much as I would love to defy expectations and form a list well-informed, my list must include those aforementioned due to their direct contributions to the team. We can of course provide some honourable mentions: which I shall do after a brief mention of the stand-outs, followed by a more thorough analysis of why.
3. James Justin
A goal of the season contender, certainly goal of the month. JJ was out of the side for our previous tie, and returned in stunning fashion. On top of this, Justin performed his progressive duties and defensive chores well. Nothing to complain about.
2. Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall
Our star boy creative midfielder. KDH once again illustrated why he is the best midfielder in the EFL Championship. Remaining high in the charts for goals and assists, as well as pulling all the attacking strings.
1. Abdul Fatawu
Being on a loan with option to buy, I think it is safe to say we are keeping this one. Fatawu may not have scored, but he created both goal-scored opportunities as well as a couple others. He did miss a chance narrowly, and Maresca will find it hard after this performance to ever drop the player.
The King Power side will be feeling a sigh of relief as the curtains fall on 2023. An abyssal fall from the Premier League, to riding the summit of the Championship with a moat building between us and the rest of the pack. With an exciting winter transfer window to come, all eyes turn to those who performed well before January comes.
The English fullback has been given his role and performed it to perfection. A majority of Justin's challenges were successful, almost all of his passes were retentive (95% accuracy), and we can always count on the player to position himself well for defensive situations. Leicester found themselves untroubled on Justin's flank, and the player supported midfield in pressing attackers and trying to win the ball. A solid outing.
The academy graduate midfielder is the dynamo of Maresca's team. The Foxes' star boy did not touch the ball anywhere near as much as his defenders and some other players. However, KDH does not need as many touches. The player won all of his ground duels, made several successful dribbles and key passes, and continued his goal scoring form. The best midfielder in the league.
Abdul Fatawu. What a part of the team he is. Leicester City have found their Riyad Mahrez replacement. He has the second most assists (behind Dewsbury-Hall), constantly constructs chances on goal, and just needs to improve his finishing to become an irreplaceable component of the side. The winger actually made more active defensive actions than Justin, and helped Hamza Choudhury lock down the right wing. Clearly, Fatawu does much more than create - which he created the most today - the player also helped to prevent chances for Cardiff.
Leicester City end the calendar year of 2023 eight points clear of Ipswich Town thanks to the fantastic performances of key individuals across the 23/24 campaign thus far. KDH and Fatwau are obvious inclusions as the best players so far. Of course, as in prior matches, Jannik Vestergaard and Wout Faes have been excellent. Arguably, against Cardiff City they held the ball most, defended competently, and again showed why they are the best centre-backs in the league.