3 Talking points from Leicester City’s start to the season
Leicester City claimed their first three points of the season with a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Sheffield United at Bramall Lane as the Foxes finished Round 3 of the Premier League placed 4th in the standings, just a point below third-placed Arsenal.
Jamie Vardy opened his account for the new campaign but it was academy wonderkid Harvey Barnes who grabbed the headlines with his stunning half-volley in the second half, which ultimately proved to be the winner.
Having played out draws against Wolves and Chelsea in their first couple of fixtures, Leicester went into the game looking for their first victory in the ongoing campaign, and Rodgers should be pleased with his team’s efforts after that result.
Leicester City have been tipped by many to break the top-six lock and challenge for a European spot this season under Rodgers following a summer of heavy investment. With that in mind, however, the Foxes are yet to live up to the hype.
Indeed, their position in the standings suggest that they are currently keeping pace with the top-six sides, but it is still very early in the season and Leicester would need to step up their game if they are really serious about achieving big things.
Rodgers has the likes of Man United, Liverpool and Spurs to contend with in his next six Premier League fixtures, so the Foxes need to put the foot on the accelerator sooner than later.
Going by what we have seen from them so far this season, the Foxes are yet to hit top gear. Nevertheless, let us jot down 3 key talking points from Leicester’s start to the campaign.
1. New signings yet to make a difference
Leicester splashed the cash to bring in Ayoze Perez from Newcastle United this summer, whilst Youri Tielemans’ loan deal from Monaco was also made permanent for a club-record fee after the Belgian’s stellar run of form in the second half of the previous campaign.
However, neither of them has hit the ground running yet. Tielemans, who was ripping defences apart for fun last season, is yet to pull out his dissecting knife, while Perez has offered next to nothing so far despite starting each of the three games.
Tielemans hasn’t been poor but going by what he showed last season, he is certainly capable of doing a lot more than just moving the ball around.
Perez, though, looks suspect and though it might be too early to write him off, he apparently doesn’t fit into Leicester’s style of play, particularly with the emphasis being on how to bring Jamie Vardy into play.
Dennis Praet was handed his first Premier League start away at Bramall Lane after playing a brief cameo against Chelsea and the Belgian, just like his compatriot Tielemans, was never close to making any telling difference.
Well, this is just the start of the season and the fans will be hoping for the new signings to acclimatise to the new surroundings eventually.
2. Vardy and Maddison could once again be the duo to watch out for
Jamie Vardy’s first goal of the Premier League this season coincided with Leicester registering their first victory of the campaign, which is a reminder of the fact that the Foxes end up as the winners more often than not when their talismanic No.9 finds the net.
Vardy lighting up the scenes with his clinical finishing has become a sight to savour for the Leicester fans since the club’s promotion to the Premier League and the Englishman, though already 32, might once again have to play a key role if they Foxes are to secure a top-six finish this term.
Despite putting in a lot of effort, the 32-year-old struggled to find his feet in the first two games and the difference was in front of everyone when he did manage to hit the ground running, albeit with a bit of help from James Maddison.
Maddison, who was one of the best creative players in the Premier League last season, has continued from where he left last season and the former Norwich City man set up Vardy with a sensational through ball on Sunday.
No longer a newbie in the top-flight, Maddison is now very much an established player in the Premier League and Leicester have every reason to look forward to some fireworks from him this season.
3. There could be some new heroes
While the new signings are yet to come to life for the Foxes, academy graduates like Hamza Choudhury and Harvey Barnes, and young centre-back Caglar Soyuncu, have already made a strong start to the campaign.
Choudhury, who has started each of Leicester’s three games so far, has looked rock-solid in central midfield, whilst also impressing with his work rate, distribution, ability to break up the play and carry the ball forward with intent.
The industrious midfielder found himself on the periphery of the first-team in the last couple of seasons but this might as well prove to be the campaign where he really comes of age under Brendan Rodgers.
Barnes, on the other hand, is yet to start a game but his net-bursting winner on Sunday is likely to have impressed Rodgers, who has looked to use the talented youngster as a game-changer off the bench since taking over at Leicester in February.
However, given his early-season heroics, Barnes might as well assume a more substantial role later on in the season.
The biggest revelation so far this term has been centre-back Caglar Soyuncu, who has looked a lot better than he did in the few games that he featured last season.
Leicester didn’t invest in a new centre-back following Harry Maguire’s sale to Man United because they apparently believed Soyuncu could do the job for them at the back.
And the Turk hasn’t disappointed the manager so far, looking calm and comfortable alongside the more experienced Jonny Evans. Assured with the ball at his feet and adept at imposing himself with his physicality and aerial prowess, Soyuncu seems to have a nice turn of pace as well.
There will be tougher tests for him over the next six games or so but Rodgers should be happy with whatever progress he has shown so far.