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Player ratings vs. Tottenham

A case of "there's nothing new under the sun" at the King Power stadium yesterday. Or at least, there's nothing new under the manager.

Here are my ratings:

Schmeichel: 6 - Didn't really get the chance to do much other than pick the ball out of the back of the net. Some highly questions pieces of distribution however.
Ricardo: 7 - Lively down the right hand side, combining well with Gray in the first half and Albrighton toward the end. Probably needs to bulk up a bit defensively though as he looks like he can be bullied.
Morgan: 8 - Made a number of important interceptions and challenges. Didn't have Spurs' first choice front line to deal with but kept the opposition at bay. My choice for our MOTM.
Evans: 7 - Makes a decent partnership with Morgan and was generally solid. Improving on the ball.
Chilwell: 7 - Not his most influential game but still an effective part of the team in both defence and attack.
Gray: 6 - Looked to have the beating of Davies but didn't take him on enough. Still the same old problem of requiring end product, although he is getting involved in games more these days.
Ndidi: 7 - Better game than recently as he got through plenty of action across the midfield. Shooting not up to standard though.
Iborra: 6 - Good in the first half an hour and his ability on the ball helped us be more effective at launching attacks, even if we couldn't turn those attacks into actual chances. Waned as the match went on.
Mendy: 5 - His early booking caused a problem and stifled his normal style. I believe he would have been closer to Son for the first Spurs goal had he not been on a tightrope.
Maddison: 6 - Got into some useful positions but I'd like to start seeing some of his attempted through balls actually get through.
Iheanacho: 5 - Doing what many unconfident players do and playing the ball backwards rather than trusting his ability and really testing the opposing defenders. Often quite good at build-up play in the middle third but as soon as he gets near the box he looks to play it safe. That combined with the ironic cheering when he got subbed yesterday make a big problem, that can only be solved by him giving it his absolute all on the pitch time after time, almost in an Ade Akinbiyi kind of way but hopefully with better results. Whether he has the capacity to do that, I don't know. Needs some skilful managing from here.

Albrighton: 6 - Had some success as the match went on but took a little while to get into it.
Ghezzal: 6 - Similar to Albrighton, came into the match only when Spurs had taken their foot off the gas.
Okazaki: 7 - Provided good impetus. Making a strong case for starting with Vardy once both are ready.


There have to be two big talking points from our point of view yesterday. The first one is the initial tactics, playing a 4-5-1 and looking to contain the opposition. In a sense it worked for a while, the first half was mostly two teams cancelling each other out with the occasional foray forward for each threatening to open gaps but leading to nothing. However, as the half went on it became clear that Spurs were starting to win the tactical battle and eventually we dropped deep enough and gave enough openings for them to make one count. It was frustrating for that to happen just before half time, but each minute that went by after the half-hour it looked more likely. Were we too defensive? Should we have pressed Spurs more? We don't press at all under Puel anyway, so maybe that was a missed opportunity as neither team really started quickly.

The second talking point has to be the bizarre substitution at around 55 minutes. There was nothing per se wrong about bringing on either Albrighton or Ghezzal to change the match, but hauling off our most influential midfield passer in Iborra and - bafflingly - our striker in Iheanacho makes it very hard to defend. At 1-0 down, we revert to having no strikers on the pitch. Gray gets put up front - he hasn't really got a clue what he's doing there an yesterday was no different - while we still have a recognised striker on the bench. It was like we were protecting a 1-0 loss, which we quickly lost anyway when Morgan and Evans were left to mark about 4 players on their own with nobody getting back to help.

I often feel that Puel tries to outsmart himself with these substitutions, making overcomplicated changes that neither players nor fans understand. A far more sensible thing to do at 55 minutes might have been to hook Mendy (on a yellow card and a defensive midfielder) for one of Albrighton, Ghezal or Okazaki, try to push up the pitch a bit more, change shape and play more expansively. Instead we end up with 6 midfielders on the pitch with often nobody in the box because Gray doesn't train in that position to be there. Sometimes the KISS acronym has to come into play: Keep It Simple, Stupid.

posted on 9/12/18

I’m not making out Mendy is world class. He isn’t. But he’s done well this season, no doubt about that for me. He works hard, tries to press and makes important interceptions. He’s certainly been playing better than N’didi as of late.

posted on 9/12/18

Incidentally, I thought there was one significant thing about the team selection yesterday: Choudhury getting on the bench ahead of Silva. Now maybe I've missed something that Silva has a knock from training or something, but if not then that can't be good news in terms of his Leicester career. Surely he must be looking for a move in January.

posted on 9/12/18

Agree with what you've written Dunge. Morgan MoM for me too.

Puel tactics/subs against a weakened Spurs team were really poor.

The reaction of some muppets in the crowd to Ian getting subbed was a disgrace - do they think that's going to help him or the team?

posted on 9/12/18

nuneaton - There's definitely talk around of people seeing Iheanacho as not working hard enough. Whether they're right or wrong in that - and I wasn't at the Fulham match where a lot of the complaints seem to stem from - he now has a job on to win them back over. Essentially he's got to demonstrate to them that he's running himself into the ground, which isn't easy when the opposition for his position is Vardy and Okazaki.

posted on 9/12/18

The question is though whether they are asked to run themselves into the ground up front, we have done it for a considerable time now and it could be against the Managers' instructions, hold your line and be patient seems to be prevalent these days.

Vardy can't help himself, the same with Oki but it's no longer a team ethic.

posted on 9/12/18

"we haven't done it for a considerable time."

posted on 9/12/18

TB - I'm convinced they're not. As you say, some players can't help themselves, particularly Okazaki and Albrighton. But Puel doesn't value that and has never been particularly keen to play them.

Pressing is only ever implemented as plan F or later. I think Puel doesn't want his players running themselves out, which is particularly frustrating given the likes of Maddison and Iheanacho usually have to be hooked after an hour anyway.

posted on 10/12/18

comment by The_Dungeon_Master (U4830)
posted 8 hours, 49 minutes ago
nuneaton - There's definitely talk around of people seeing Iheanacho as not working hard enough. Whether they're right or wrong in that - and I wasn't at the Fulham match where a lot of the complaints seem to stem from - he now has a job on to win them back over. Essentially he's got to demonstrate to them that he's running himself into the ground, which isn't easy when the opposition for his position is Vardy and Okazaki.
----------------------------------------------------------------------
My view on Ian is that he isn't a £25M player. I can see why Man City sold him rather than loaned. He's still young so may improve but his ball control, which is usually poor, is not likely to. He doesn't work hard enough usually. Playing in the Puel style as a single striker up front with no service doesn't suit him at all.

Having said that, it's not my point, how does the morons giving him a hard time help him or the team?

posted on 10/12/18

Booing a player at 21 for not being Vardy will shatter his confidence. the sort of player the fans want is going to cost £50m plus in the January window and whos going to come to play second fiddle for that.

Bringing back the lad from WBA and he has a bad couple of games and we are in the same position.

posted on 10/12/18

nuneaton - Obviously it doesn't, and they shouldn't. I've never found frustration to be an excuse for not applying self-control.

But the fact remains that sections of our support have labelled him that most terrible of all words for a footballer: "Lazy". It's a word that, once applied, tends to stick. And that's going to be very difficult for him to turn around.

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