Leicester City's Rampant Second Half
The Italian head coach took a gamble with the line-up: resting all but Hamza Choudhury and putting out a completely different side. Nevertheless, the gamble paid off; although, the outcome was hardly determined early on. The first half was for Birmingham to win, yet they did not get passed Jakub Stolarczyk.
The second half saw all three goals, starting off with Jamie Vardy assisted by Marc Albrighton, before Tom Cannon was subbed on for the legendary striker. Yunus Akgun and Dennis Praet rounded off the tie, showing they can contribute where the usual starting XI may not perform.
Three standout performers
I argue that three players offered the most for the Foxes, allowing Leicester City to stay in the game in the first half, then dominate and control the second half. The three performers were - of course - Polish goalkeeper Stolarczyk, young defender Ben Nelson, and goalscorer Vardy.
1. Jakub Stolarczyk
Six saves, five of those shot from within his box, and a 74% passing accuracy. The young 'keeper was only let down by his lack of long ball accuracy, although that is understandable given the lack of game time. He saved the King Power side multiple times in the first half, and ensured Leicester the best chance of winning the game in the second.
2. Ben Nelson
Winning all nine of his duels with opponents, the English defender was a beast at the back alongside Conor Coady and youth teammate (and debutant) Brandon Cover. The player made plenty of tackles and clearances to be considered a strong contender to be our default sub in the Championship.
3. Jamie Vardy
What can I realistically not say about 'Vards'?! He scored, he terrorised defenders, he was involved in defence, and he was involved in midfield. Essentially, Maresca utilised the striker as a creative forward who would drop back to support a less experienced team throughout the tough match.
There can be little doubt that Cover and the Belgian midfielder Praet were unlucky not to be included in this list. Cover is homegrown talent making a breakout in the side. Usually, he performs his duties in midfield and it seems the head coach has decided the player suits that Ricardo Pereira role well.
I suppose in the next campaign Mads Hermansen and Stolarczyk will be our two main goalkeepers again - I see little need for improvements there - and Nelson should see himself in the senior XI bar any major changes. Another win will be a welcome sight after recent performances in the Championship.