Norwich City 1-0 Leicester
Goals: Jamal Lewis (£4.4m)
Assists: Maximillian Aarons (£4.3m)
Bonus Points: Lewis x3, Aarons, Tim Krul x1 (£4.5m)
Leicester City assets disappointed their hopeful owners on Friday night as Norwich escaped with a 1-0 win.
There was a flurry of late interest in their midfield options following the news that Jamie Vardy (£9.7m) was to miss the game with a calf problem. As things stand, there is a chance the striker could feature in Gameweek 29, according to Brendan Rodgers.
“Vardy just felt a slight pain in his calf so we had a scan. He’s got a low-grade issue. It’s not overly serious, he’ll be back next week but, obviously, means he misses out on this game.” – Brendan Rodgers
Harvey Barnes (£6.0m) and Ayoze Pérez (£6.2m) were among the favourites for inclusion but neither of them registered anything in a laboured Leicester performance on Friday.
The Foxes certainly had plenty of chances to break down Norwich’s supposedly fragile defence but struggled to carve out too many clear-cut opportunities.
That may be of some concern ahead of Gameweek 29’s meeting with Aston Villa at the King Power Stadium, although owners of Leicester assets can perhaps take some solace in the volume of chances they strung together at Carrow Road. Against an obliging Villa back-line, such endeavour could be more richly rewarded.
Barnes came close to an early assist in the first half. He cut inside from his left attacking midfield station in the 18th minute and squared to Dennis Praet (£5.3m), who fired straight down the throat of Norwich goalkeeper Tim Krul (£4.5m).
The Belgian came close to finding the net again later in the first half, this time in the 24th minute as Ricardo Pereira‘s (£6.3m) cross was met at the near-post, ricocheting off the player’s knee and onto the upright.
Then James Maddison‘s (£7.4m) whipped cross nearly found Kelechi Iheanacho (£5.7m), Vardy’s replacement, in the six-yard box, Krul doing his best to parry.
Pérez did a good job of holding up the ball in the penalty box, and nearly scored in the 35th minute as he ran through the middle and saw an effort stopped by Krul. Shortly after, the former Newcastle man arguably should have registered an assist, as he held off defensive pressure with some skill and squared to Iheanacho, who blazed over from six yards out.
The game might have turned out differently for Leicester were it not for a bit of misfortunate connected with Iheanacho’s second-half ruled-out goal.
He got through the Norwich defence after a clever forward-ball from Praet and placed a fierce effort into the bottom corner. However, VAR chalked off the goal for an unintentional handball on Iheanacho’s part.
Shortly after, Pérez had the chance to put Leicester in the lead for real, doing well to tower above Jamal Lewis (£4.4m) at to meet a Ben Chilwell (£5.6m) cross the back-post, nodding it wide of the mark.
Perhaps the only other encouragement to take from a Leicester perspective was a much-needed return for Wilfred Ndidi (£5.0m), who made his first appearance since Double Gameweek 24 at Carrow Road.
Incidentally, his 67th-minute arrival on the pitch came just before Norwich took the lead, but Rodgers will be very happy to have him back from injury as Leicester have generally looked better when he starts compared to when he doesn’t. The last time Ndidi featured in the starting line-up was the 3-0 win over Newcastle in Gameweek 21.
Meanwhile, Leicester’s lack of clinical edge led to a surprise clean sheet for Norwich, although there have still been steady improvements in their defence of late.
They have now registered three shut-outs since Gameweek 23, Liverpool (four) the only team with more in that time as of Friday evening.
However, despite frustrating Leicester, it is difficult to say that Norwich looked like they would ever emerge from their encounter with all three points.
Much like their visitors, the Canaries had some good approach play but still lacked quality in the final third. In the end, it took a spectacular finish from Lewis, in the side for the injured Sam Byram (£4.4m).
Teemu Pukki (£6.5m) had a decent chance in the first half but saw his effort well-blocked by Çaglar Söyüncü (£5.0m) before dragging wide under some pressure shortly before half-time.
Ondrej Duda (£4.8m) had two shots denied by Kasper Schmeichel (£5.3m) in the second period, the first would have provided an assist for Todd Cantwell (£4.8m), but Leicester’s goalkeeper was equal to both.
With Wildcards continue to activate across the Fantasy community, it is unlikely that any Norwich assets will remain, even with Cantwell’s price, as he has now gone seven matches without an attacking return.
Norwich City XI (4-2-3-1): Krul; Lewis, Godfrey, Hanley, Aarons; Tettey, McLean; Cantwell (Rupp 67′), Duda (Stiepermann 86′), Buendía; Pukki (Drmic 80′).
Leicester City XI (4-2-3-1): Schmeichel; Chilwell, Söyüncü, Evans, R Pereira; Choudhury (Ndidi 66′), Praet (Tielemans 72′); H Barnes, Maddison, Pérez (Albrighton 77′); Iheanacho.
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