Leicester City – Match Report vs Sheffield United 16/07/20

Leicester changed formation from their usual 4-3-3 to play a 3-4-3 in the absence of James Maddison. Soyuncu being suspended brought veteran Wes Morgan back into the side, meanwhile Luke Thomas got his Leicester debut on the left flank due to Chilwell’s injury after a successful season with their U23 side. Leicester were excellent on the counter, able to create some great chances and 1v1s, coming out as 2-0 victors. They limited the Blades by taking James Norwood out the game, he was pressured straight away and unable to play his normal game and orchestrate the Sheffield United’s attack.

Ratings

  • A1 – Very good, could play higher
  • A2 – Strong potential to play higher
  • B1 – Good, strong player at level
  • B2 – Potential to be strong player at level
  • C – Average for the level, rewatch
  • D – Below average in this match

Harvey Barnes

Player profile:

  • Nationality: English
  • Age: 22
  • Date of birth: 09/12/1997
  • Current Club: Leicester City
  • Career: Leicester City, MK Dons (L), Barnsley (L), West Brom (L)
  • Position: Left Wing
  • Preferred foot: Right

Barnes started on the left wing of their 3-4-3 but as the game progressed often moved centrally, often acting as a second striker to Vardy and making runs through the middle and in behind on the counter. He was able to get on the end of some great chances and into some good positions with good movement and great pace but his finishing was poor and too often straight into the feet of Henderson. He does have a powerful shot but struggled to keep his balance at times and to place the shot in the corners.

He has quick reactions on the ball with good, controlled touches under pressure. He worked hard throughout the game with good off the ball movement. On the counter he supported the attack well with good runs and when he was out wide he linked with Thomas to under and overlap into space, trying to get into crossing situations. He wasn’t able to cross much this game, with a few efforts being blocked, often using Thomas as an outlet instead. He can vary his actions in the final third though, able to drive to the byline or cut onto his stronger right foot. He’s patient and read the play fairly well.

He was a good dribbler and could travel at speed with the ball. He’s 5’11” with a bit of a stocky build and excellent explosiveness and quick reactions to knock the ball past defenders in tight spaces and carry the ball. Off the ball his positioning was decent and worked hard to press the ball, with good acceleration and stamina.

Rating – B1

A good player who was unlucky not to score on the day but needed to be more clinical. Note that a B rating is in line with Leicester’s level as a top 4 challenger.

Luke Thomas

Player profile:

  • Nationality: English
  • Age: 19
  • Date of birth: 10/06/2001
  • Current Club: Leicester City
  • Career: Leicester City
  • Position: Left Back
  • Preferred foot: Left

On his senior debut, Thomas had a game to remember. He played as the left wing back, able to push forward often. He hugged the touchline and linked with Barnes to progress the ball down the wing. In the final third he stayed wide and offered an outlet for Barnes, patiently waiting in space. Barnes would go back to Thomas if he couldn’t penetrate the box, allowing Thomas to put in first time crosses into the box. He didn’t try much 1v1 and could have done more to create space for himself to cross.

He created some good chances though and got the assist for the opening goal with a good pass into Ayoze Perez in the centre of the box, showing good vision and decision making. He was unselfish and didn’t try to rush play around the box. His passing was good at times, with good technique to progress the ball into the striker or Barnes in the half space. A few of his passes lacked precision and could lose possession but was fairly tidy overall.

Defensively he was quick to get tight to his man with decent athleticism to close down and apply pressure to the ball. He showed decent footwork and was on his toes when defending 1v1 but didn’t have that much to do 1v1 overall. He was calm on the ball and made good clearances without panicking but nor did he take risks and also did well at the back post when needed.

Rating – B2

A promising debut for the youth prospect and with Chilwell constantly being linked to Chelsea and Manchester City, Leicester could already have their replacement ready without spending any money.

James Justin

Player profile:

  • Nationality: English
  • Age: 22
  • Date of birth: 23/02/1998
  • Current Club: Leicester City
  • Career: Luton Town, Leicester City
  • Position: Right Back
  • Secondary Position: Left Back
  • Preferred foot: Right

Standing at 6’0″ the right back had an okay game. He made an important block and had good acceleration and reactions. In defence he scanned inconsistently and could have been more aware at times. He showed some strength at times but wasn’t physical or aggressive in his play. He was unfairly tasked with marking John Egan on a set piece which he was beaten on and fortunate not to concede. He pressed out wide well and jockeyed patiently in 1v1s without overcommitting and was quite passive and could have been more aggressive with more intensity.

He’s elegant on the ball with clean ball control and able to knock the ball into space. He used his body well and used feints to protect the ball but wasn’t able to turn under pressure that well and rushed player, especially in the final third and could have done more to dominate 1v1s. He put in a few good crosses in space but was less effective in tight space. His first touch was mostly good but could have been cleaner a few times.

He had decent work rate and speed but didn’t play with a high intensity overall. He made some good forward runs into space and found some good positions, able to push high as Perez was often quite narrow. He provided width but was fairly isolated on his wing and was less influential in the opposition half.

Rating – B2

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