Sunday 25 June 2017

Five things we learned as Leicester close in on Mission Impossible Two

Leicester's players celebrate after the Champions League round of 16
Leicester's players celebrate after the Champions League round of 16

Jack Austin

Leicester City continued their miraculous story in Europe thanks to goals from captain Wes Morgan and Marc Albrighton - but what did we learn?

Schmeichel takes after his father in Europe

Peter Schmeichel was a monster in goal for Manchester United in Europe, with memories of his star-jump save against Juventus in 1999 still fresh in the memory – and it appears that Kasper has taken after his dad on the European stage. The Leicester stopper’s penalty save last week, along with a string of others, kept the Foxes in the tie and they could have been out of it as early as the fourth minute on Tuesday night. He made a number of key saves but the way he got up and saved Steven N’Zonzi’s weak penalty after conceding it was heroic.

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Leicester City's Kasper Schmeichel celebrates with Wes Morgan after saving a penalty. Photo: Reuters

Life in the King Power yet

What an atmosphere! The King Power has been noticeably flat at times this season as the Foxes has failed to live up to the heights of last season. However, from the cringe-worthy banner of Craig Shakespeare with what appeared to be a pack of hounds, to the thousands of flags being waved, it created a scene that couldn’t not inspire the players. The crowd played their part as best they could and it looked like it brought out the fight in Leicester’s players.

Vardy is relentless

Vardy was Leicester’s best player in the first half as he ran and ran and ran at Sevilla’s defence. He never gave them a moment rest and was extremely clever in the way he won fouls to give his teammates a breather. For the opening goal he smartly played the ball back into the path of where Shinji Okazaki would have run if he wasn’t upended. He put his body on the line and allowed himself to get clattered by Sevilla’s centre-halves in the hunt for free-kicks, even if the referee controversially ignored most of his claims around the area.

Nasri still hasn’t grown up

Samir Nasri looked like he was getting back to his best at times during the tie and drew a couple of good saves from Schmeichel on the night. But no, his juvenile, selfish side is still at the forefront as his idiocy in getting sent off gave Leicester a get out of jail free card at a time when Sevilla looked certain to score. Vardy may have exaggerated the strength of the headbutt as the pair came together but the sheer stupidity to put yourself in that position in the first place, having already picked up a yellow card, is unforgivable. The way he refused to leave the field and continue to chase after Vardy could see him receive further punishment though.

Leicester compound Arsenal miseries

Arsenal have spent the last seven years trying to get past the last 16 of the Champions League and haven't managed it, even when facing lesser teams that Sevilla. During that period of time, the Foxes have gone from League One to the depths of Europe's elite competition. If a club who have had the struggles of Leicester this season – begrudgingly sacking a much-loved manager and battling relegation – can do it, then why are Arsenal so unable to do so? Arsene Wenger will have more questions to answer after this.

Independent News Service

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