Leicester City overcame a spirited Millwall side to progress into the fourth round of the FA Cup. Enzo Maresca had promised to make changes and was true to his word, making eight changes from the previous match against Huddersfield.
The Foxes had to weather early Millwall pressure with the hosts buoyed by three straight wins. However, the Foxes were the first to break the deadlock, with Cesare Casadei heading in from a Marc Albrighton cross. Just before half-time, Ricardo Pereira doubled the Foxes' lead, with a fine finish after a lovely passage of play.
Despite Leicester starting the second half stronger, slack defending from a set piece saw Millwall halve the deficit, no less than the hosts deserved. Five minutes later, LCFC's two-goal cushion had been restored; a long ball by Callum Doyle found Tom Cannon's intelligent run and he showed great composure to round the keeper and finish.
As the game opened up, Cannon continued to be a threat, being denied twice by the Millwall goalkeeper Matija Sarkic. Nevertheless, Millwall pulled a goal back with five minutes to spare, courtesy of some non-existent marking from yet another corner. Although this set up a grandstand finish, Leicester City managed the remainder of the game relatively well to hold out for a victory.
Much-changed Leicester City side repay Maresca's faith
Unlike their hosts, Leicester City's team was a much-changed outfit to the side that has torn up the Championship. With eight changes, many fans may have been forgiven for thinking that LCFC would serve up a disjointed display. The reality was much better than this, even if Millwall were able to put the Foxes under considerable pressure at times. A few players stood out in particular. Ben Nelson put in a strong display on his debut coupled with the reliable Marc Albrighton who still has great quality in his right boot.
Perhaps the star player today was Cesare Casadei, who has come under considerable criticism from Leicester City fans at times. Admittedly, there were times when the Italian looked clumsy, but he was much more effective and purposeful in his play. This endeavour was rewarded by a powerful headed goal and a delicate assist, setting him up well to stake a claim for a starting position, especially since Wilfried Ndidi is out injured.
Tom Cannon continues to deliver what he promised
When Tom Cannon was signed on deadline day, many Leicester City fans were sceptical over how necessary this signing was, especially when it turned out he was carrying an injury. Despite this setback, the young striker was positive and confident about what he believed he would bring to the team. Cannon promised Leicester fans goals and Vardy-like movement, a high bar to set himself.
Fast-forward to the New Year and these promises are starting to be fulfilled as injuries and AFCON have opened the door. After a two-goal display against Huddersfield, Cannon followed up with another threatening display, His goal was exceptionally well-taken, with clever movement and composure a hallmark of his game. Although he probably should have scored more than one goal, the ability to get into those positions bodes very well.
Set-piece defending still leaves a lot to be desired
As ever, there can never be a flawless display, especially when it comes to Leicester City. Both of Millwall's goals came from corners, increasing the proportion of goals that the Foxes have conceded from set plays. Both were quite preventable, coming from a failure to get the first contact or to effectively mark the opposition players. After the nightmares of defending corners under Brendan Rodgers, Maresca will want to make sure this weakness is quickly remedied.