How well did Leicester play last night against Sevilla, a side 3rd in La Liga just 3 points off Barcelona. It was like watching them last season, the intensity of their play both on and off the ball was great to see something that this season has been unnoticeable without the ever-running N’Golo Kante chasing down every ball. It seems like this Leicester side have finally gained confidence and some momentum and at the right time as they look to push away from relegation and also progress further into the Champions League where many people had written them off before a ball was kicked in the competition. Now they are facing a Quarter Final tie against some of the biggest clubs in Europe and could be the only British side left in the competition if Manchester City slip up to Monaco this evening.
I thought Leicester was going to be unlucky last night and go out on the away goal as I saw a lot of talent in the Sevilla team and saw them just about scraping through but you could see in the first 20 minutes that they seemed a little rattled by the strong crowd in attendance and the intensity of Leicester especially Jamie Vardy who was chasing down every ball and not giving the defence any time to play as many Spanish teams try to. The one thing that stood out to me from the game was that the Leicester players were getting to the Sevilla players. Leicester were playing Sevilla at their own game, something many British teams and England’s national team have struggled with for many years. Foreign teams always seemed to get to British players whether that be going down easy, feigning injury or looking for ways to get players carded and many fans would moan saying that referees would fall for this and British sides would be on the wrong side of many game changing decisions. Vardy showed 2 examples of this last night; winning the free kick for the opening goal there wasn’t much contact, he bought the foul off the defender and winding up Samir Nasri to the point he leans his head in giving the referee no option but to give him his second yellow. Although not the greatest example of sportsmanship you will see, it was quite refreshing seeing an Englishman do it against another European side.
Under Craig Shakespeare, the players seem revitalised and want to fight for their places, a contrast to what we saw under Claudio Ranieri in his final months when results were poor and the pressure was mounting. After seeing last nights game and how well they played since the taking over of Shakespeare, they are a real threat to teams. Some of the legs in Champions League games can go anyway and with the tactics they played last night and having to play at the King Power which was rocking, I can see a lot of teams finding it hard to break down this Leicester side.