Leicester 0-0 Brighton
- Goals: None
- Assists: None
- Penalties saved: Kasper Schmeichel (£5.4m)
- Penalties missed: Neal Maupay (£5.7m)
- Bonus Points: Schmeichel x3, Ben Chilwell x2 (£5.5m), Çaglar Söyüncü x2 (£4.9m)
There was a missed penalty. The end.
That’s how the match report for this Tuesday evening encounter should have gone but, luckily for you, we are committed to at least trying to find a lesson for Fantasy managers to learn as they start preparing for Gameweek 32.
Owners of Jamie Vardy (£9.7m), still 29.7% of managers worldwide, will be the most frustrated as his troubles in front of goal dragged on.
The centre-forward’s latest blank is his eighth from a possible 10 since Gameweek 19, registering just three attacking returns in that time.
There was even some captaincy interest in Vardy for Gameweek 31+ but his virtually anonymous displays against Watford and Brighton will have his owners already worried about the next two matches.
Everton host Leicester in Gameweek 32+ having kept three clean sheets from six at Goodison Park under Carlo Ancelotti, only conceding more than once against Newcastle in Gameweek 24.
After that, Vardy will face a Crystal Palace defence that did not give up a single goal between Gameweeks 27 and 30+.
Particularly concerning for Vardy is the fact that he has not been all that unfortunate to blank in each of his Project Restart matches.
In the first 27 minutes of Tuesday’s meeting with Brighton, the forward touched the ball just once with his colleagues unable to get him on the ball up against the visitors’ defence.
With two matches of Project Restart chalked off already, it is easy to see the problem for Vardy is not just his own but with the entire Leicester team, which looked especially sluggish against Brighton. It will be particularly alarming for Brendan Rodgers that on both Saturday and Tuesday, his side enjoyed the lion’s share of possession, did very little with it, and gave up the bigger and better chances to their opponents. Perhaps that should not come as a massive surprise given the Foxes pre-lockdown form. Between Gameweeks 24 and 29, only Sheffield United, Norwich and Aston Villa registered few big chances than Leicester.
Largely out of necessity, Rodgers shuffled his pack following the draw at Watford. He benched Harvey Barnes (£6.2m), much to the chagrin of his 3.9% ownership, replacing him on the left-flank of attacking midfield with Kelechi Iheanacho (£5.7m).
Demarai Gray (£5.0m) came in for Ayoze Pérez (£6.2m) and, like Iheanacho on the other side, offered very little in the way of creativity. Even when Barnes and Pérez came on in the second half, they could not find a way to trouble Brighton’s defence.
“(The short turnaround) was one of the reasons (we rotated). It was Saturday/Tuesday for players just coming back. We wanted extra support in midfield with Papy Mendy, who has good legs. Dimi was very good at the weekend, and we wanted to put a striker in too. The two systems cancelled each other out, without scoring.” – Brendan Rodgers
James Maddison (£7.5m) also put in another disappointing performance, wasting his direct free-kicks and blazing over any efforts from open play too. He had one of Leicester’s best chances in the second half, receiving the ball on the edge of the box from a Vardy knock-down, only to fire it high and wide. It is particularly telling that, for all his set-piece duties, Maddison has not provided an assist since Gameweek 16.
In arguably one of the dullest games of the season so far, there was a silver lining for the neutrals in the display of Tariq Lamptey (£4.0m).
Coming in at right-back for Brighton, the budget defender should be handed credit for his role in ensuring Leicester struggled on Tuesday night, especially considering it was touch-and-go over whether he would need substituting in the first half because of a cut to the face.
A particular highlight for the youngster was when Vardy tried to burn him for pace out-wide, pushing the ball past the defender, only for Lamptey to match the forward and dispossess him easily.
“I think you could see (Lamptey’s) attributes. He has got great speed. I thought he competed well, showed great courage because he took a heavy smash to the face and needed stitches. He had a big hole on the side of his face. But he played against some good players out there and I thought he was magnificent.” – Graham Potter
This result did, admittedly, make for one or two happy souls in the FPL community, notably those invested in the Leicester defence. Çaglar Söyüncü (£4.9m) and Kasper Schmeichel (£5.4m) are still owned by 15.6% and 13.5% respectively, both keeping a clean sheet and the latter saving a Neal Maupay (£5.7m) penalty.
“(Schmeichel) is invaluable. He’s one of the best in the league. He studies the players’ penalties. He’s been very good in the two games back.” – Brendan Rodgers
“A clean sheet, fitness was good and subs tried to make an impact and we didn’t concede so we’ll take a point. We haven’t won the games, but we’ve showed a good mentality to not concede so much and hopefully, after more training, we can find the goals to get back to winning.” – Brendan Rodgers
Leicester City XI (4-2-3-1): Schmeichel; Chilwell, Söyüncü, Evans, Justin; Mendy (Tielemans 69′), Ndidi; Iheanacho (H Barnes 69′), Maddison, D Gray (Pérez 73′); Vardy.
Brighton and Hove Albion XI (4-4-2): Ryan; Burn, Webster (Duffy 24′), Dunk, Lamptey; Mac Allister (March 58′), D Stephens, Bissouma (Bissouma 58′), Mooy; Connolly (Murray 82′), Maupay (Trossard 57′).