Leicester City suffered their second defeat in three Premier League games against Manchester United at Old Trafford on Saturday, despite a spirited and disciplined performance against the league leaders.
They were compact and solid throughout, despite lacking any semblance of cutting edge on the rare opportunities that they had to counter-attack.
The Foxes tired in the final quarter of the game, as substitute Marcus Rashford swept home from Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s corner before Marouane Fellaini steered in a late clincher from Jesse Lingard’s low shot.
So how did Leicester’s players rate against the Red Devils? Let’s take a look:
Kasper Schmeichel – Returning to the ground where his father made such a name for himself in the 1990’s, Kasper Schmeichel delivered a superb display that Peter would have been proud of. The keeper made several excellent saves during the first-half in particular, while he also kept out Romelu Lukaku’s second-half penalty with an athletic dive to his right. The Dane also commanded his penalty area well, and could do little to prevent either of United’s two goals. 8
Danny Simpson – The former United right-back was solid throughout, defending well against the marauding threat of Anthony Martial and making a total of nine clearances over all. Despite this, he had little opportunity to use his pace or energy in attack, particularly with Manchester United’s left-back Daley Blind getting forward to support Martial at every opportunity. Simpson’s mood will hardly have improved with the introduction of Marcus Rashford from the bench, but he remained resolute throughout. 7
Wes Morgan – Leicester’s compact shape afforded Wes Morgan and Harry Maguire a great deal of protection, but they still had a job to do against United’s mobile attack. Morgan was the man tasked with marking the powerful Lukaku and did a superb job, winning 75% of both his tackles and aerial duels throughout the contest. He also completed 1o clearances, while managing to compete physically with Lukaku without giving away a single foul in the game. 8
Harry Maguire – In many ways, Maguire is the perfectly partner for Morgan. Blessed with a little more pace and an innate ability to read the game, Maguire was alert throughout and covered any space in behind his captain. He made a total of four interceptions during the game, while his matching his partner in making 10 clearances. Importantly, he also gave the Foxes an outlet in possession of the ball, completing an impressive 83% of his passes from the back and attempting two dribbles. 8
Christian Fuchs – The German arguably had a little more scope to attack down United’s right-hand side, with Juan Mata constantly drifting in to more central areas on the pitch. He was never really able to make any inroads against the excellent Antonio Valencia, completing just one cross and no dribbles during the game. Despite this, he was solid defensively and managed to win 100% of his tackles, so he contributed heavily to Leicester’s resilience at the back. 7
Matty James – Something of a forgotten man at the King Power Stadium prior to this season, James worked tirelessly in midfield and pressed Paul Pogba particularly well in the first-half. He tired as the game went on, winning just 17% of his tackles over the course of the 90 minutes while completing fewer accurate passes. However, his pass completion rate of 75% was higher than the team average, so he was more composed on the ball than most in blue. 6
Wilfred Ndidi – Ndidi was another willing runner in the Foxes midfield, and one also played a key role in the successful tactic of swarming Pogba early in the game. This simply afforded more space to Nemanja Matic and Henrikh Mkhitaryan, and over time Ndidi found himself increasingly overrun in the centre. He only managed to win 20% of his tackles, and clearly lost the midfield battle with United’s imposing Serbian Matic. 6
Riyad Mahrez – City’s brightest attacker in the second-half, Mahrez was increasingly dangerous while the score remained 0-0. He attempted the majority of Leicester’s attempts on goal too, with two of his four strikes forcing good saves from David De Gea. Despite this and his willingness to work hard defensively, he failed to create a single chance for his teammates and was unable to link successfully with his strikers. 6
Marc Albrighton – While Albrighton showcased the type of work-ethic and energy that he is renowned for, he was virtually anonymous as an attacking threat at Old Trafford. In fact, he completed just two crosses and one dribble during the game, while his pass completion rate meant that he failed to help Leicester retain possession and build attacks. Although it was a difficult day for Leicester’s attackers, he will be disappointed with this showing. 5
Shinji Okazaki – Okazaki also had a poor game in attack, managing just one off-target shot on De Gea’s goal and failing to create a chance for his colleagues. His lack of influence in attack is somewhat mitigated by his sterling defensive work, as he constantly sought to press Matic early on and prevent the Reds from launching attacks. One of the hardest-working attackers in the Premier League, Okazaki did himself credit with a non-stop display of running and energy. 6
Jamie Vardy – Vardy definitely wasn’t having a party at Old Trafford, as despite his persistent attempts to spin behind the United defence he lacked any kind of quality service. This undermined his game hugely, while the imposing presence of Eric Bailly was quick to challenge Vardy on the rare occasions that the striker received the ball into his feet and managed to turn. His ineffectiveness was reflected by the fact that he failed to register a single strike on goal, while his pass completion rate of 47% enabled the Reds to build pressure on the Foxes defence. 5
Demarai Gray – As ever, the talented Gray breathed some life into the Foxes attack, incredibly managing two shots and creating two chances during just 30 minutes of playing time. His direct running certainly forced Valencia to defend as United protected their lead, while a superb low cross in stoppage time enabled the on-rushing Andy King to force a smart save from De Gea. A ray of light for the visitors. 7
Andy King – While King should arguably have scored from Gray’s delivery late on, his willingness to break from midfield certainly added a different dimension to Leicester’s attack. He was also composed and impressive on the ball after entering the fray, completing 82% of his passes and creating a chance for his side. 7
Islam Slimani – Slimani had little chance to make an impact after replacing Vardy with less than 15 minutes to go, but his size and physical presence certainly improved the Foxes going forward. He even managed two shots and a 100% pass completion rate during his time on the pitch, while holding the ball when and allowing others to join in the attack. 6