After The Whistle : Leicester City 3–0 Burnley
“It was important to regain confidence after Liverpool. We won in Brugge, we won today and now we’re ready for Chelsea.”
— Claudio Ranieri
The Premier League Champions recorded back-to-back wins across all competitions for the first time this season. But in typical Ranieri fashion, he was quick to focus attention onto their next upcoming fixture rather than dwell in the present. It has taken fans much longer than they would have wanted but their recent performances suggest that the Foxes have finally shaken off their post-celebration stupor and punched their cards to this season’s title.
“The beginning was brilliant — brilliant from my side. We played football like hell. It was really nice to watch”
Islam Slimani made his first start for his new club and rewarded his managers faith by bagging a goal on either side of halftime. Leicester’s dual attacking threat, Vahrez was back in full force today with Vardy providing the assist for his Algerian strike partner’s 2nd half goal. Mahrez was back to to his imperious best on the right wing and despite failing to get on the scoresheet, was instrumental in getting the Foxes 3rd goal as it was his shot inside the Clarets 6-yard box that was caught the Burney CB, Ben Mee by surprise and he deflected it into his own goal. There was nothing much Heaton could have done as he had already dived to his right in anticipation of Mahrez’s shot.
For Sean Dyche, there are some early season concerns. They were generally poor in front of goal, recording 7 shots on goal with only two troubling the Leicester goalkeeper. For comparison, the Foxes had twice as many shots at goal, with 6 causing all sorts of problems for the Burnley defence. The last time Burnley got promoted two seasons ago, difficulty scoring goals and being leaky on the other end made for a poor Premier League survival fight and they duly got relegated. Despite playing attractive football. It sounds harsh but at the end of the day, it is all about where they stand in the league table and shock victories over Liverpool is nice and all but it is making sure they don’t walk away without a point in the bag when playing against team’s around them that will determine whether they return for a successive Premier League season.
A quick word about Leicester’s new target man. It is early days yet but there are encouraging signs for the Algerian. Ranieri has identified that his team will not be allowed to play on the counter as much as they did to great effect last season. They are no longer the underdogs, and as such, most teams will cede possession to them when they meet. Leonardo Ulloa adept at holding up the ball and laying it off to oncoming attackers into play which was helpful when Leicester’s main style of attack, especially late on when the Argentinian was usually introduced, was to opt for the long ball. Okazaki’s boundless energy made him the perfect partner for a team that planned on chasing for the ball for most of the game. The process isn’t complete but Leicester are successfully reinventing their style to suit a more possession based game, a style which maximizes their new signing’s ability on the ball.
The league champions meet a wounded United next week and will be keen to avenge their community shield defeat.