Brighton 1, Leicester 1, positives and negatives, player ratings and match report

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As we predicted in the preview this game was no walk in the park, and we also warned about Glenn Murray who again became a difficult opponent for Leicester. The fact that a goal was conceded after just 15 minutes shows a bit of uncertainty.

Wilfred Ndidi, Jamie Vardy and also Kelechi Iheanacho were all placed on the bench, because of uncertainty about fitness and maybe give players such as Shinji Okazaki, Vicente Iborra and Marc Albrighton a real chance to shine.

The move to use Shinji Okazaki up front alone was very strange, he is not used to play as a front man, and to see especially Kelechi rested must be as with Vardy an uncertainty about fitness.

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Brighton put clear pressure on Leicester and also Kasper Schmeichel made his saves to keep Leicester in the game in the first half. The fact that James Maddison got his second yellow after just 25 minutes shows his lack of self control, and Claude Puel addressed it in his post match comments.

Puel also said he was pleased with the 2nd half performance, introducing Jamie Vardy for Demarai Gray after 56 minutes and a few minutes later Kelechi Iheanacho came in for Shinji Okazaki, and the team changed completely.

Ndidi also had to step in, he did that at the 32nd minute, coming on for Vicente Iborra who had to leave the field with an injury problem.

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Leicester with Vardy, Ndidi and Iheanacho is a totally different team, and of course strengthening everything at once, but we will not blame Claude Puel this time for being cautious, but would have risked Kelechi Iheanacho from start.

The 2nd half, with 10 men was great to watch, and to pressure on the Brighton defense resultat in a penalty reward after 79 minutes. Vardy placed the ball greatly in the top right corner, and to see the 1-1 sign on the board was fantastic.

To get anything with 10 men  is always a bonus and credit to all the players for their great fighting spirit in the 2nd half and showing the Leicester fans that they really can go out and win battles even with one man down.

In the end a lot of positives to be taken out of the 2nd half performance and always to get anything out of an away win is always a bonus.

  • Positives:
    • Great goalkeeping from Kasper Schmeichel
    • 2nd half spirit and performance
    • Jamie Vardy’s performance, hopefully more to come
    • Getting a point, in a very difficult situation
  • Negatives:
    • Fielding Okazaki as top forward, surely a mistake
    • Maddison not able to control his act and his importance
    • Iborra not lasting longer than 32 minutes, getting injured
    • Four red cards picked up so far, Puel needs to work on this
    • Starting to attack and play when you are allready one goal down
    • Not being 100% sharp from start, the team is not always settled
    • Too many changes and surprises in team selection
  • Player Ratings: Schmeichel 7. Pereira 7, Chilwell 7, Evans 6, Morgan 6, Mendy 6, Iborra, Okazaki 5, Maddison, Albrighton 6, Gray 5, Subs: Ndidi 6, Vardy 8, Iheanacho 7

Match Stats: H/A

  • Possession: 54 / 46
  • Corners: 6 / 1
  • Shots on target: 2 / 2
  • Shots wide: 6 / 2
  • Fouls: 10 / 7
  • Offsides: 5 / 1


Big Question? Is Puel getting the best out of his most important player?

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Most fans were all in favor of a team playing with more ball possession and few could see a future with only sitting back and counter attack. Ranieri slightly started to change to more possession, Craig Shakespeare reversed it, introduced it again and under Claude Puel the team are no longer a counter attacking team, using the midfield as the ground for building up their attacks with more patience.

You can see from time to time that Iheanacho and Vardy are both getting a run, but more of a coincidence than as part of a plan. Players in the center of midfield at the moment is used to the way Claude Puel would like to play his game and as a romantic approach this style is fine, but as a cynical point chaser, will it work long term.

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The counter attack style was there to see in the “great escape” season, with Nigel Pearson playing a 3-4-3, with great pacy players and really grabbing points. Ranieri just let it flow and with the addition of Okazaki and Kante, this worked as a rocket.

The players in the team were perfect for the way of playing, getting Vardy set up in the best way possible giving him a chance to chase and run, which is his “pre” and what makes him so unique. Okazaki is also a perfect player in that role in between.

Tcf would say that Ranieri made a fool of himself with the signing of Islam Slimani who in no way could replace Okazaki, because they are so different, and that change in the start of the season also introducing Ahmed Musa, made this a terrible nightmare situation.

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Looking in the back mirror you would say that why chance a winning formula and believe that you cannot play the way you did just a few weeks before, and we all remember what happened when Craig Shakespeare just turned back the club and did it all over again a few months later.

Footballers are adaptable, but the set up at the moment is a possession orientated team, and they tend to like to cuddle with the ball, a bit too much. Ndidi is a wonderful winner of the ball and Mendy one doing the short one to one passes, going forward in steps.

But what really happens to Vardy, will he ever again be able to be the player he was and could we have seen the best of Jamie turning the way of playing totally in the opposite direction, despite having as little as 35% of the ball at The Emirates yesterday.

The way of playing football is up to the manager. He picks the team and decides how to play and what type of players he will play with, and of course what he tells his players to do, but again, Vardy in a possession orientated team, with no or little counter attacks, is not what Tcf would describe as ideal.

Jamie Vardy, striker, leader, legend … Three Lions will miss him

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Andy Dunn, Sunday Mirror’s chief sports writer, has made his comments about the recent retirement of Jamie Vardy, quitting England.

Claudio Ranieri and Claude Puel have also commented on the news about Vardy and believe it is a loss for England and for Vardy himself, deciding to step down, despite as Andy Dunn describes him, just five months older than Messi, younger than Ronaldo and Luca Modric.

We all remember a certain Alan Shearer who also decided to retire from international duty at the age of 30, a year younger than Vardy. This has happened before and with the lack of great strikers with an English passport, it is a strange act, but again both Shearer and Vardy are entitled to their own decision making.

Vardy has not said “no, never” but told Gareth Southgate a hint that if he is short and injuries happens, he can come in as emergency help. Personally Tcf, would have liked Vardy to be playing until the finals of the 2020 Euro’s.

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If England manage to get through to the Euro 2020final, it will be played at Wembley. England can reach that final, would be no surprise.

Dunn continues in his column to really say why he believe Jamie Vardy’s retirement has come too early. On the first day of pre-season training this summer, Vardy’s running speed was 9.4 metres per second.

That extrapolates to a 10.63 second 100 metres. Vardy scored 20 Premier League goals last season – only Mo Salah, Harry Kane and Sergio Aguero scored more.

In the top 10 scorers – only one was from a club outside the top six, Jamie Vardy. Since Vardy made his first appearance in the Premier League in 2014, he has scored against Manchester United four times, Arsenal six times, Chelsea twice, Spurs four times and Liverpool seven times.

He scored the 2017/18 Goal of the season. He was teh 2015-16 Footballer of the year. And to all intents and purposes, he is finished with England.

Dunn asks the question, was he pushed or did he jump?

His comments seem to make it abundantly clear it was his decision, but, in the England manager’s first media engangement since Russia 2018, Gareth Southgate seemed to suggest there was a mutuality about it.

Dunn continues, if that is the case it can only be described as bizarre. Vardy stepping down from England duty seem to have almost brushed over by many, including Southgate.

Yet to lose a player of his quality is a huge blow for England. The irony at St. George Park was stark on Thursday. Southgate arriving on a mission to highlight the dwindling number of English players starting in the top flight, while waving a cursory goodbye to one who will be an automatic choice for his Premier League club for several seasons to come.

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It is not as if Southgate is blessed with a plethora of striking options. Aside from Kane this squad has only Danny Welbeck, Marcus Rashford and, if you categorise Raheem Sterling as a forward.

One struggles to a get a start at Arsenal, one struggles to get a start at Manchester United and the others last England goal – against the mighty Estonia – was the one soon after Vardy’s debut.

And the youngsters are hardly knocking the England striking door down. Southgate is blameless if Vardy has indeed has made his own decision to quit. But, if that is the case, the decision was probably influenced by the player’s belief that he has not had a totally fair crack of the whip.

With such an immense amount of credit in the bank after unexpectedly reaching the World Cup semi-finals, Southgate is immune from negativity. Canning 33 year old wing-back Ashley Young a key figure during England’s campaign in Russia, has barely raised an eyebrow. But, self inflected or forced upon him, losing Vardy is a rare setback for sainted Gareth.

Tcf believe that Vardy should have been given more starting options from Gareth Southgate and follows Dunn 100 % in this article. This Retirement is probably worse for England than it is for Jamie Vardy. Gareth Southgate might pick up his phone if Vardy continues scoring 20 + goals season in and season out.

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