For the second league game in a row, Brendan Rodgers absolutely nailed his tactics and as a result, Leicester find themselves second in the table, early goals from Harvey Barnes and Youri Tielemans, then a second-half clincher from Jamie Vardy plus a late Tielemans penalty were enough to account for a disappointing Leeds – for whom Stuart Dallas bagged.
The game was effectively settled inside three minutes, when Patrick Bamford plopped a free header directly into Kasper Schmeichel’s arms and Leicester immediately countered, Christian Fuchs’ pass and Barnes’ pace electing an error from Robin Koch, allowing Vardy to tee-up Barnes for a tap-in. And on 21 minutes Leicester increased their lead, Illan Meslier saving Vardy’s diving header, only for Tielemans to punch home the loose ball.
Leeds were much improved after half-time and pinned Leicester back following Dallas’ livener on 47 minutes. But they struggled to create, and were eventually punished on the counter, Vardy gleefully converting after a clever pass from Cengiz Under, one of the substitutes. Then after Vardy went off, Mateusz Klich fouled James Maddison, and Tielemans swept home from the spot. Leicester are coming.
There was a brief period last season when people wondered, without any serious conviction, whether or not Leicester could challenge for the title. But this season that looks a far more sensible conversation, because the two teams who ultimately fought it out have both dropped, and they have strengthened; they now have five wins from seven games, and four on the spin away from home.
Wesley Fofana looks a terrific acquisition, likewise Timothy Castagne, and both give not only quality, but options. Fofana’s presence allows for a back three, while Ricardo will be back shortly to challenge Castagne for his place – likewise Jonny Evans and Caglar Soyuncu. Meanwhile, James Justin and Luke Thomas are improving all the time, and suddenly their defence – previously the weakness in all Brendan Rodgers sides – looks in decent shape.
And ahead of that, Jamie Vardy is as lethal as ever, Dennis Praet is showing why he was bought, James Maddison is slowly regaining fitness and Harvey Barnes is fulfilling his obvious potential. At the moment, they’re allowing the team to sit in, but with Praet, Mendy and Youri Tielemans in midfield, plus Wilfred Ndidi to come back, they are just as able to dominate in that area.