James Maddison was in his elements, setting up both the goals scored by Leicester City as they beat Fulham 2-0 at Craven Cottage on Wednesday.
Leicester City grabbed the game by the scruff of its neck right from the get-go, controlling the proceedings in an efficient manner. And, the Foxes were ahead in the 17th minute, when Kelechi Iheanacho headed in James Maddison’s cross with precision. Fulham did carry some threat, with Tosin Adarabioyo coming the closest to scoring for the hosts.
Heading into half-time, though, the game was put beyond the Cottagers, as Leicester doubled their advantage through James Justin, who started and finished off a fine move in the 44th minute. Post the interval, neither side really managed to threaten the goal, although Leicester were twice denied by offside calls. With the 2-0 win, though, the Foxes have climbed up to third on the table and The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Brendan Rodgers’s men.
Kasper Schmeichel: 7/10
There was not a lot that Schmeichel had to do against Fulham. However, the Leicester skipper made a big save to deny Tosin Adarabioyo when the score was still 1-0, making the stop all the more important. Decent enough with the ball at his feet.
Ricardo Pereira: 7/10
Benefitting from Timothy Castagne’s injury, Ricardo made a rare start this season and showed some signs of the domineering full-back of the old. He still has some way to go before he gets back to his best, but there were many promising signs, including a goal that was ruled out by an offside call. Baby steps to the top.
Jonny Evans: 7/10
Having been reunited with Caglar Soyuncu, Evans remained as comfortable as he has ever been in a Leicester shirt. Won 6 of the 8 duels he contested while also making a staggering 7 clearances and completing 3 interceptions. Showed good composure when playing out from the back.
Caglar Soyuncu: 7/10
With Wesley Fofana out injured, Soyuncu returned to the heart of the Leicester defence. And, the Turk was as solid as ever, winning 7 duels while making a number of critical clearances. Not quite tidy on the ball, but that was only a rare blip in an otherwise professional display.
James Justin: 8/10
Another top class performance in a strong campaign for Justin, who scored the goal that killed off the game for Leicester with some brilliant footwork and finish, but not before starting the fine move himself. There were some notable defensive moments as well, with Justin producing two big blocks to preserve the clean sheet.
James Justin’s goal epitomises his superb mix of intelligence & work rate
•Starts the move by passing into Kelechi
•Immediately identifies a weakness in Fulham’s back line & sets off on a 60 yard run into the box
•Still has the legs to put away a composed finish
£6m bargain👏 pic.twitter.com/tIuwJDfyzy
— Premier League Panel (@PremLeaguePanel) February 3, 2021
Youri Tielemans: 8/10
A solid season continues for Tielemans, who was in full flow while linking up in his tandem with Maddison through the central areas. The Belgian international hardly misplaced a pass while even creating one decent chance. Off the ball, Tielemans was incredibly solid, winning 8 duels while also completing 3 tackles and 2 interceptions. In fine touch.
Hamza Choudhury: 7/10
After being backed by Brendan Rodgers, Hamza Choudhury was given a chance to impress and that was exactly what he did. The young midfielder had the task of asserting Leicester’s dominance in the game and he ensured that Fulham hardly ever got on top during open play. Taken off at the hour mark for Nampalys Mendy, but the job was already done by then.
Ayoze Perez: 7/10
Moved from the central striker’s berth to the right wing, Perez was quite improved and looked at home in the position. The Spaniard played with more freedom and expressed himself appropriately as well, linking up superbly with Ricardo Pereira, who was another player eager to impress. Could be set for a run in the position now.
James Maddison: 9/10
The man who ran the show for Leicester. Maddison was all over the pitch whenever something was being created. The English international delivered 4 key passes in all, and went to grab the assist for each of the goals that Leicester scored. The first was a pinpoint cross for Kelechi Iheanacho while the other was a clever ball for Justin. In delightful touch right now.
This is the first time James Maddison has provided multiple assists in a Premier League game.
Picking up some serious form. pic.twitter.com/9lIkYxG2xo
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) February 3, 2021
Harvey Barnes: 7/10
The Player to Watch in our preview, Barnes was not as bright and sprightly as he has been in some of his recent performances. Indeed, the Englishman was not as involved as he would have liked to be, but he still managed to play in a key pass and came close to scoring once as well, only to be denied by Areola.
Kelechi Iheanacho: 8.5/10
Given a chance to impress while deputising for the injured Jamie Vardy, Iheanacho made a superb start to the game, placing his header smartly to open the scoring. Linked up well with the likes of Maddison, Barnes and Justin. The standout moment for him was the awareness he showed in the build-up to Justin’s goal, connecting with Maddison smartly. A timely confidence booster.
Marc Albrighton: 6/10
On for Perez, Albrighton put in the hard yards off the ball while keeping things simple to help Leicester see off the game.
Nampalys Mendy: 6/10
On for Choudhury, Mendy was typically professional in his display, making one crucial tackle while being neat and tidy in possession.
Daniel Amartey: N/A
Introduced in place of Barnes, Amartey helped see the game out without much of a fuss.