A much-changed Leicester City overcame a resurgent Birmingham City side 3-0 to march on to the fifth round of the FA Cup. Truthfully the scoreline did not tell the story of the game, with Birmingham out-shooting Leicester City in the first half by 14 shots to 2. Wholesale changes were made at half-time, bringing on more established first-team players which allowed LCFC to wrest control of the game. Eventually, the visitors ran out of steam and the Foxes scored two late goals, courtesy of Yunus Akgun and Dennis Praet to add some gloss to the scoreline.
Jakub Stolarcyzk saves the Foxes
Leicester City looked all over the place in the first half, allowing Birmingham to pepper their goal with 14 shots. The Foxes were only level at half-time thanks to a masterclass from their goalkeeper. Stolarcyzk was assured on the ball and displayed excellent reflexes to keep the visitors at bay, notably denying Keshi Anderson with an excellent tip around the post. Though Stolarcyzk remains firmly the deputy, it is greatly reassuring to see the quality that can step in if Mads Hermansen were to pick up any kind of injury.
Just like old times
As Leicester City move further away from their title-winning success, the players remaining from that magical time get fewer and fewer. Marc Albrighton and Jamie Vardy represent Leicester City’s last two title-winners, though with both ageing and out of contract this summer, they may not be here for much longer. It was fitting that Leicester City’s first goal was an all-too-familiar combination, Albrighton crossing onto Jamie Vardy to finish. LCFC fans ought to treasure these moments whilst they can, as there may not be too many more left. Though neither are the same player they once were, what a treat it has been to have them produce for so many years. Moments such as these just remind us of all those memories.
A game of two halves
Enzo Maresca may have regretted making so many changes to his squad, especially when watching the lacklustre first-half display. The Foxes struggled to create chances and gave away possession in dangerous areas time and time again. It seemed like every time Birmingham attacked, they were able to break through a sluggish LCFC press. Hamza Choudhury was particularly poor, frequently losing possession in his own third and failing to be the combative force that he has proven in the past. Clearly, the depth or lack of it is more noticeable in certain areas than others, namely the midfield.
On a more positive note, the second half saw a much more composed display with the Foxes much more fluid going forward and in possession. This was partly down to Birmingham tiring but players such as Yunus were so much more threatening, picking out pockets of space and driving LCFC forward. It also helped to have a greater number of first-team stars such as Ricardo, who as ever was excellent. Enzo Maresca will be pleased LCFC have got to the next round. but has food for thought in how he rotates his squad for the future.