James Maddison

Matchday Live Talking Points: Shining Academy Stars & Showing Resilience

Leicester City’s Premier League win away to Aston Villa on Sunday was examined by former Foxes Simon Grayson, Matt Elliott and Gerry Taggart on Matchday Live following the full-time whistle at Villa Park.
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- Leicester City’s 2-1 win at Aston Villa was analysed on LCFC Radio’s Matchday Live at full-time
- The Foxes collected three Premier League points at Villa Park on Sunday
- James Maddison and Harvey Barnes found the net for the visitors
- City are now third in the table with 49 points from 25 games

The Foxes raced into a two-goal lead in Birmingham thanks to strikes from James Maddison and Harvey Barnes, but their advantage was sliced in half at the start of the second period when Bertrand Traoré converted from close range.

However, as they have done on numerous occasions this term, City stood strong and repelled much of the Villa attack to register their ninth away victory of the 2020/21 Premier League campaign.

Different sides to City’s game

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Kasper Schmeichel
Kasper Schmeichel

The Denmark international goalkeeper was largely untroubled during the triumph.

Matt Elliott said: “They showed different sides to their character, as we’ve seen numerous times already this season. They’ve showed different ways of winning games within one single game because in the first half, they were rampant, highly-impressive and by far the better of the two teams. I suppose the half-time interval, Leicester didn’t want it to come, such was how they were playing. Dean Smith got into his players a little bit, and they could only get better, but they never really, at any stage, caused Leicester too many problems.”

Hallmarks of a good team

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Brendan Rodgers
Brendan Rodgers

The Leicester City manager applauds his players after their ninth Premier League win on the road in 2020/21.

Simon Grayson said: “It’s the hallmark of a good team when you can play fantastic, free-flowing football in one half, and then suffer the disappointment of conceding a goal early in the second half, which gives the opposition a lift, but then you dig deep. You do whatever is required to see the game out and get a result. They defended as a team, they dropped deeper, and I think in the second half, they didn’t keep the ball as well as they have done.”

Electric Barnes

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Harvey Barnes
Harvey Barnes

The City winger slammed home his side's second of the afternoon at Villa Park.

Gerry Taggart said: “Certainly, the form that he’s in at the minute is electrifying. He started the game like a house on fire. His goal, I mean he was just so sharp to that dropped ball. The Villa defenders were just standing there looking at him as he just peeled off. The ‘keeper (Emiliano Martínez) has palmed it out to him and thank you very much – bang, see you later! That epitomises the form that he’s in at the minute and the confidence he’s playing with. The energy he puts into his football doesn’t go unnoticed.”

Thomas’ high standards

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Luke Thomas
Luke Thomas

Luke Thomas is the latest Academy graduate to excel in City's first team.

Matt Elliott said: “With that array of talent in front of Luke Thomas, there’s Timothy Castagne, Ricardo Pereira and James Justin, who can all play left-back if required, it can be quite a daunting proposition, can’t it? He’s featured regularly enough, probably more than he expected, and I can’t remember a time when he’s let the team down. More often than not, it’s quite the opposite because he’s been excellent. Today, he was more examined – he was asked and required to go forward and be a threat against a very capable Premier League team. Then, when the going got tougher and he had to do his defensive duties, he was more than up to the task.”

Defensively sound

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Jonny Evans
Jonny Evans

Jonny Evans was a major figure in City's defiant defensive line on Sunday.

Simon Grayson said: “The early goal gave Villa a lift at the start of the second half, but for all of their possession, Kasper [Schmeichel] wasn’t having to make any last-ditch saves or tackles. In the last 10 minutes, there were nine men behind the ball. They were trying to hit them on the counter-attack, but they defended it well. It was balls into the box, and Leicester defended it really well with the three centre-backs and wing-backs as they ended up.”

Creativity vs. resilience

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Timothy Castagne
Timothy Castagne

Timothy Castagne made a successful return to the XI after missing City's previous five matches with a hamstring issue.

Gerry Taggart said: “What you’re seeing here is the self-belief that the players have here as a unit and as a squad. I cast my mind back to two or three minutes to go when Papy Mendy is scampering back, putting in challenges and gaining free-kicks. That tells me that the belief in the camp is strong. There are two sides to football. One is the flair, the creativity, the passing moves, the rotational side of the moment, but probably a bigger and more important side of the game is that resilience to not be beaten – to not let teams get back in the game when you’ve done all of that hard work to get in front.”

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