"We were in complete control of the game apart from 10-15 minutes of the first half... we completely deserved it"- Enzo Maresca, via LCFC
Enzo Maresca's comments echo the sentiment of supporters. In spite of a short period during the first half where the King Power side struggled to control the game and allowed a gluttony of chances for Plymouth, overall the team controlled the game and deserved the 4-0 win.
The result had an aura of controversy surrounding it as some decisions from the Italian head coach were questioned by supporters. The team selection completely dropped several key stars such as Jamie Vardy, Kelechi Iheanacho, and Ricardo Pereira. However, the victory likely drowns out any negative noise on that front - at least for now.
Leicester City's domination
The King Power side offer a glittering glimpse into the future of their club. Stylistically transformed from the weak possession-based side which sought to throw the ball around aimlessly while simultaneously forgetting how to move bodies, to one demanding of fluidity and progression in kind. This is 'MarescaBall' - the culmination of new players, a new style, and new league.
Leicester accumulated 2.97 in expected goals, which led to four actual goals. That was on the back of 64% possession, which is amongst the highest possession stats of any side in the division. So, the Foxes dominated the ball, controlled the game, and created the best chances, although they were lucky not to concede during the first half.
Maresca's men kept the ball mostly in Plymouth's half, with throw-ins and free kicks a constant feature of the game. Clearly, the domination offered by 'MarescaBall' is helping Leicester City to minimise critical chances on their goal while providing enough of a creative threat to develop our own chances through intelligent progression on the flanks.
It would seem with a couple of tweaks, the Italian head coach has found the players he ought to use in particular role when others are not able to play or simply not performing to standards. These include Hamza Choudhury who was in for Ricardo Pereira and finally Patson Daka in for Kelechi Iheanacho/Jamie Vardy as the Zambian at last gets an opportunity to take.
Despite the removal of Pereira, Choudhury was a rock for the side. 90% passing accuracy, and three out of four ground duels won during the fixture. The passionate midfielder was more composed than his usual self, and showed us what kind of high-pressing defensive midfielder we need when up against strong counter-attacking sides. I would still say a real Pereira replacement is needed in the winter window, but Choudhury does the job when needed.
On top of this, it is worth noting that the substitutions illustrate to us further the strength in rotation the Foxes have developed after the summer window closed. Dennis Praet - a soon to be rejuvenated star - Tom Cannon, Cesare Casedei, and even Ben Nelson came on to help Leicester see out the affair. Honestly, to see a new signing and our academy star defender come onto the pitch was a good feeling.
Fragile and stoppable
The first half gave a less cheery picture for Foxes supporters. After all, what we saw against Plymouth was that Leicester gave away more chances than they themselves created: 13 created versus 15 conceded, and that still includes five on target to our seven. Essentially, their goalkeeper was unable to bail them out, whereas Mads Hermansen bailed the Foxes out on multiple occasions.
Further, despite the victory, we could see how to stop the war-machine marching ceaselessly. A compact defensive team which can quickly overload the central defenders and use pace to beat the line will almost always create a chance. On top of that, our deep line when under intense pressure does tend to obscure the Danish goalkeeper's view and create long-shot opportunities for the opposition.
MarescaBall is succeeding but is not infallible. Changes are required for that system to develop and improve the number of chances we are giving away due to mistakes or the lack of personnel in the defensive half on a turnover. Too many players bomb it forward and struggle to get back. Only those such as Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall and Harry Winks offer that box-to-box pressure and threat.