Post-Match Thoughts: Leicester City

In one of Town’s most entertaining Premier League matches to date, Town earned their eighth point of the season and extended their unbeaten record at home to three games.

Against a low confidence Leicester City side, Town smelt blood from the off and dominated the first half without converting that dominance into goals.

Immediately after half-time, Town’s pressure tolled as Laurent Depoitre scored his first Premier League goal of the season.

Following the goal, Town suffered from a five minute spell of madness as Leicester searched for an immediate equaliser. The goal did come in the form of a penalty which from a Town perspective was soft and needless.

Jamie Vardy emphatically smashed the penalty home to seal a point for Leicester City but Town had many positives to take from the game.

After another impressive performance at home, in this piece, I give my post-match thoughts and run through some of the major talking points to discuss from this hard earned draw.

Players in focus

Danny Williams – A full Premier League debut to remember

After a number of impressive cameo performances off the bench, I was pleased to see Danny Williams had been handed his first start in the Premier League.

In a game where the midfield battle would be the determining factor in the outcome of the game, Danny Williams didn’t disappoint.

Both Wilfred N’Didi and Andy King struggled to deal with Williams’ raw physicality and aggression in the centre of the park.

Danny Williams also demonstrated other skills in his skill-set including his willingness and ability to carry the ball out of midfield and drive Town further up the pitch.

Notably, Danny Williams’ performance brought the best out of Aaron Mooy as Williams played an excellent supporting role for Mooy to be at his influential best.

The relationship between Aaron Mooy and Danny Williams will no doubt blossom into a midfield partnership that has the tenacity, guile and technique to be perfectly suited for the Premier League.

For me, it was a Premier League debut to remember and I can see Danny Williams cementing his place in Town’s starting line-up if he can continue to put in performances like that.

Laurent Depoitre – Throwback to a different age

Some may have thought Steve Mounié’s omission would be a major loss for Town, when in fact, it became a blessing in disguise.

In his place came Laurent Depoitre who in recent weeks has looked increasingly sharp. Leading from the front, Laurent Depoitre’s performance was very different to that of the typical modern day centre-forward.

The Belgian powerhouse was a constant nuisance buzzing around Wes Morgan and Harry Maguire with the sheer power and physicality to make life extremely difficult for Leicester’s defence.

In the 46th minute, it was Depoitre’s tenacity that led to Town’s goal as he turned Maguire and fended him off with ease before squirming a shot past Kasper Schmeichel. It was nothing less than Depoitre had deserved after a superb performance leading the line.

Whereas many modern day centre-forwards would drop into midfield to get on the ball, Depoitre remained high up the field as a constant focal point for Town to turn to.

In what to me was a performance which was a throwback to a different age, Laurent Depoitre showed that he is an excellent option for Town to have at their disposal.

Elias Kachunga – back to his best

In some aspects, Town went back to basics in their clash against Leicester City and this was epitomised by Elias Kachunga.

Following the news that Christian Fuchs would be missing after a bizarre training ground injury, Ben Chilwell was tasked with the difficult task of dealing with Elias Kachunga.

After a few frustrating outings, it was clear from the beginning that Kachunga had a re-found tenacity to press and defend from the front which unsettled Leicester’s defence.

In possession, Kachunga held up the ball well and linked up with Tommy Smith. It was an excellent performance, particularly in the first half when Town were undoubtedly on top.

The only thing missing from Kachunga’s performance was a goal and it seemed that he had got it when he nodded Zanka’s errand shot into an empty net, unfortunately he was on the wrong side of a marginal offside call.

Despite that disappointment, Elias Kachunga was almost definitely back to his best and I hope he can carry that level of performance into the Burnley game next week.

Lessons Learned

Wagner got the response he demanded

After such an underwhelming performance against West Ham United, David Wagner did not hold back in his post-match presser.

Speaking with brutal honesty, Wagner conceded that Town did not deserve anything from the game and they did not show the confidence or bravery needed when in possession.

One positive Wagner did take was that Town had this opportunity against Leicester City to bounce back and show a positive response.

From the very first whistle, Wagner got the response he demanded.

It was expected that Town would dominate possession but it was the manner in which Town pushed forward and penned Leicester City back that will have impressed David Wagner.

Even though Town couldn’t convert that sustained pressure into a much deserved goal in that first half, it showed that Town won’t be affected by disappointing defeats.

Whilst Town may not have got the three points that they deserved, there was a positive reaction which was reflected in the performance yesterday which for me was one of the best so far this season.

The perfect balance

In recent weeks, the balance of Town’s side particularly in midfield just hasn’t seemed right. However, yesterday I think we saw a perfect balance.

The introduction of both Danny Williams and Abdelhamid Sabiri for their full Premier League debuts seemed to take Town to another level.

As well as putting in notable individual performances, the duo also helped to create the perfect balance that I speak about above.

Following the news that Kasey Palmer would be sidelined for at least a month, David Wagner’s options for the number 10 position were severely limited.

These circumstances saw Sabiri handed his debut. It was the inclusion of Sabiri which provided the attack balance as it freed up Tom Ince to play in his more natural wide position.

The other major inclusion in the midfield was Danny Williams who came into the side to partner Aaron Mooy in place of Philip Billing.

Playing in a deeper anchoring role, Danny Williams offered Aaron Mooy the security needed to allow the Australian playmaker to dictate the pace and tempo of the match.

It is now a matter of maintaining this perfect balance within the side which proved to be so effective against a vastly experienced Leicester City side.

Home form will provide the platform for success

Following Town’s first defeat of the season, it was important that Town didn’t dwell too long on an equally disappointing performance and result.

It was opportune that Town’s next game was a return to the John Smith Stadium. In their previous two matches, they accumulated four points which included an impressive win against Newcastle United and an impressive draw against Southampton.

The arrival of a Leicester City side who were clearly dangerous on the break could’ve been Town’s biggest challenge to date.

However, Town showed that they will not make life easy for anyone at home and if it wasn’t for a marginal offside decision, Town would’ve taken all three points.

It is these resolute spirited performances at home that will see Town pick up points on a regular basis at home, even against sides on paper that should have too much for Town.

Last season, the John Smith stadium was a fortress for David Wagner and it seems that this season, home form will be crucial once again.

What David Wagner will be hoping his side can take is confidence from these impressive home performances and use them as a platform for success, both at home and away.

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *