Leicester CIty’s top of the table clash with promotion rivals Ipswich Town ended in a draw with the newly promoted side equalizing in the 93rd minute with an unfortunate deflection of Jannik Vestergaard at Portman Road.
Leicester dominated the first half with Stephy Mavididi scoring a wonderful curler after he was found unmarked with some smart play by Patson Daka. The Zambian then had a one on one chance saved towards the closing stages of the first half.
Ipswich piled on the pressure in the second half but the Foxes were resolute in their defense. Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall was unlucky not to get a penalty after being bundled over in the opposition box after being sent through one on one.
A Leicester win seemed imminent which would extend their lead at the top of the EFL Championship table to 9 points. However, a hopeful Sam Morsy shot from outside the box deflected off both Ricardo Pereira and Vestergaard and ended up in the back of the net, securing a point for the home side.
Notable Statistical Insights from the game
While Leicester looked fairly comfortable for the majority of the game, Ipswich had a much superior xG of 1.07 compared to Leicester’s xG of 0.3. Ipswich also had 19 shots compared to Leicester’s measly five.
While both teams only had two shots on target, Ipswich’s vast amount of shots led to many corners, with the home side winning 11 corners in the game. With Leicester always a bit uneasy with set pieces, Ipswich aggressive shot taking was not wasteful. A quality team like Leicester should prevent a team from having so many shots on their goal.
Ipswich were aggressive and dominated the game from a physical aspect. The Tractor Boys won 51 duels compared to Leicester’s 35, and won 15 of the 19 aerial duels in the game.
The home side seemed to be aware of their physical superiority and attempted a whopping 26 crosses (Leicester attempted seven) but the Foxes defended well, allowing only six of them to come in contact with an Ipswich player.
Both Wilfred Ndidi and KDH had good games but Leicester lost momentum when they were taken off in the 56th and 80th minute respectively.
With a grueling schedule, Enzo Maresca was forced to take them off to protect them from injuries but there was a huge gap in Leicester’s performance with them and without them.
Before Ndidi’s withdrawal, Leicester’s pass completion was 88%. For the ten minutes after, it decreased sharply to 76%. KDH’s withdrawal had similar implications. In the two minutes before he was withdrawn, Leicester completed 49 passes. In the final ten minutes plus stoppage time, they completed just 41 passes.
It’s becoming a worrisome habit for Cesare Casadei to struggle getting involved in the game. While the talent is there, he’s just not up to the mark presently. Yunus Akgun also is not entirely confident playing out of position in the midfield. He is immensely hard working but lacks the concentration and strength to be fully effective.
With Dennis Praet struggling for fitness, Hamza Choudhury is the obvious option to come in and add some aggression. However, his play with the ball needs improvement so Leicester should target a box to box midfielder who’s good in possession and works hard off it in the January transfer window.
While Mavidid had a good game in which he scored a wonderful goal and almost set up a goal for Daka, Maresca wasn’t too happy with the winger, stating that he lost the ball too many times leading to dangerous counterattacks for Ipswich.
Maresca wasn’t wrong, Mavididi lost the ball 20 times in the match, significantly more than any other Leicester player. His habit of trying to dribble into trouble in his own half put Leicester under unnecessary pressure.
While this criticism may seem harsh considering his good performance, in a tight game such as this with such fine margins, mistakes like this can have a big impact.
Stats via Sofascore and Leicestershire Live