Leicester City – Match Report vs Wolverhampton Wanderers 08/11/20

Leicester came into this game against Wolves off the back of five wins in the row in all competitions. Comparatively, Wolves have struggled scoring this season and have been branded very conservative in their style of play, with a defensive approach to games, and when they do they have the ball they tend to move it very slowly creating little chances. This was the story of this game, Leicester dominated the possession in the first half in a 3-4-3 formation, but with Denis Praet and James Maddison playing as inverted forwards, it was practically a 3-4-2-1 formation. Leicester’s wingbacks kept their width very well which enabled the Leicester centre-backs to always have an outlet ball, and this also created lots of space in the middle of the park for Leicester to exploit which helped them keep possession for long periods of time.

Vardy opened the scoring from the penalty spot after a harsh VAR call (you can probably guess it was for handball), and he had the chance to double Leicester’s lead at the end of the first half from the penalty spot again, however this time it was saved. After the break it was Wolves’ time to control possession, however they failed to create any clear cut chances; partially due to a lack of creativity and poor movement up top, but also due to Leicester’s effective low block who didn’t allow any time on the ball for the Wolves attackers. Overall, it was a fairly dull game with a non-penalty xG of 0.49-0.74. But the three points went to Leicester, who climbed top of the league whilst a disappointing Wolves languish in 9th.

Ratings:

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

Wesley Fofana

Player Profile

  • Nationality: French
  • Age: 19
  • Date of Birth: 17/12/2000
  • Current Club: Leicester City
  • Career: St. Etienne, Leicester City
  • Position: Centre Back
  • Preferred foot: Right

Fofana has a very physical appearance, he is 6’2 and is very well built with a broad figure for a teenager. Fofana got involved in physical tussles, including a 50/50 shoulder challenge where both players bounced off each other and fell to the ground. Fofana lined up on the right side of the back three, but he almost played as a right back in possession which allowed James Justin to push up higher like a winger. One of Fofana’s most impressive attribute was his ball playing ability; Fofana’s ground passes were very crisp and hard so the receiver had no trouble controlling it. Fofana was very confident on the ball and liked to drive with the ball down the right-hand side flank with good pace and intent. After he plays the ball down the line, he sometimes followed this up with an overlapping run which shows his attacking nature and confidence on the ball and he seemed relatively quick on and off the ball, however his attacking overlaps could leave his team vulnerable to the counterattack. The young centre-back was also capable of playing long diagonal balls when the switch was on which showed good technical ability and awareness of where the space was on the pitch.

The Frenchman also played very well defensively, he showed great intelligence and positioning to defend a 3v2 when he cleverly blocked off the pass to the spare man whilst closing down the man on the ball and he eventually got close enough to make a clean sliding tackle, regaining possession. Fofana continued to read the game well and he seems to anticipate where the ball is going to be played, getting to the ball a second quicker than the opposition, whether this was winning a header or making an interception. Fofana was comfortable in the air and he had a great leap on him, as he easily beat a tall Willy Boly in an aerial duel. The 19 year old’s high defensive standards fell a bit in the second half when he picked up a yellow card for a late challenge, and he also stood up to Adama Traore with poor body positioning as Adama was able to easily dribble around him, although this may have been because he was unaware of Traore’s capabilities.

Fofana continued his fine run of form on just his fourth Premier League start, after he joined Leicester from St. Etienne in the summer for £30 million. He’s fitted into the side seamlessly, especially as Fofana wasn’t brought in to be a starter straight away. Overall, Fofana had a great reading of the game and his physicality was an asset when challenging for duels. His ability on the ball was summed up in the second half when he went on a brilliant 30-yard run bursting past players with his pace.

Rating – A1

James Justin

  • 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

Justin played right wing back today but was positioned as a right winger when Leicester were in possession, he was the main outlet and was found in lots of space at times. His first time passing was very good and was utilised well when playing first time passes down the line which were weighted perfectly which happened to lead to the first goal. Justin got the better of his opposite man, Rayan Aït-Nouri, throughout the whole game. The Englishman pressed well and was always close when Aït-Nouri had the ball, and he capitalised on any loose touch and blocked off the pass down the line well.

Justin’s great first half was summed up when he won the second penalty after getting to the ball a second quicker than Aït-Nouri. Justin switched flanks after the break to left wing back to accommodate for other players which shows great versatility. However, Justin struggled to adapt in the second half and he was a second slower to the ball; committing a few fouls. He was also caught slightly high up the pitch and out of position.  Justin had to deal with the threat of Adama Traore towards the latter stages of the game, and he dealt very well with him. He showed good pace to keep up with him and wasn’t afraid to engage physically with him.

Overall, it was a very good performance from Justin, especially playing in his more comfortable position on the right. He was defensively solid and changed his defensive approach depending on who he was up against which showed good awareness and intelligence. He didn’t get forward much but did complete a good dribble on the counterattack and picked out a nice pass. Justin just needs to play like this more regularly and improve his consistency.

Rating – A2

Luke Thomas

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

Thomas was a bit rusty on just his second outing of the season so far. He is average height for a left back and has a slim figure, but I expect him to bulk out as he gets older as he is already slightly broader than he was last season. Thomas wasn’t involved much in the first half as James Justin was the outlet ball on the other side of the pitch. When Thomas did get on the ball, he had a poor first touch and lost the ball on several occasions when there was a slight bit of pressure on him. Thomas’s first instincts was to always go backwards even when there was a forward pass on, which suggests he wanted to play safe and was afraid to take risks on the ball.

The 19-year old tried to take on his man once but didn’t succeed in his take-on due a lack of pace and physicality. He was being bypassed way too easily around the outside of him and beaten in 1v1s and he was unsurprisingly taken off at half time due to his defensive vulnerabilities and lack of attacking quality. One positive of Thomas’s game was his communication, he was always talking to teammates and talking generally throughout the game to help organise, e.g. when defending a throw in, but this was the only positive aspect of his game today.

Rating – D

Written by Andrew Hunter – @HunterAnalysis on Twitter

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