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Talking Tactics

Belgian duo breathing new life into Leicester

Adrian Clarke 24 Sep 2020
Praet and Castagne

Adrian Clarke looks at how Dennis Praet and Timothy Castagne have shone for the Foxes in the absence of key players

Adrian Clarke looks at key tactical points in Matchweek 3.

Dennis Praet and Timothy Castagne are likely to be handed key roles for Leicester City's trip to Manchester City this Sunday.

The Belgium internationals have been excellent across the Foxes' opening two fixtures.

In the absence of James Maddison, Praet, who made 12 Premier League starts last term, has been highly influential so far.

His cross allowed Castagne to mark his debut with a headed effort at West Bromwich Albion before netting a brilliant fourth in a 4-2 win against Burnley.

Castagne, who joined from Atalanta this summer, has also made an instant impact with two adventurous displays of his own.

Castagne scores on Leicester debut 

Taking his chance

With Maddison recovering from injury, Praet knew he needed to grasp his opportunity to shine.

He has done just that with back-to-back impressive displays.

Praet's willingness to push himself into the opposition penalty area is a far cry from last season when he often held back from doing so.

But in both matches thus far, he has had five touches in those advanced positions.

As a consequence of that tactical tweak, Praet now looks like an attacking midfielder who can get among the goals.

Praet's PL stats
  BUR (H) WBA (A) 2019/20 per 90
Touches in Opp box 5 5 1.51
Shots 3 2 1.27
Key passes 2 1 0.72
Goals 1 0 0.08
Assists 0 1 0.16

While it will be tougher for Praet to exert his influence going forward at the Etihad Stadium, he does have the technical quality to hurt Pep Guardiola's side.

He will hope the hosts opt against starting with a defensive double pivot of Fernandinho and Rodri at the heart of their midfield.

It will be easier for Praet to receive the ball in space, if City use two attacking midfielders either side of one holding player.

Filling the void

Castagne's positive full-back play has breathed fresh life into the Foxes and help fill the void left by the injured Ricardo Pereira.

In his first two matches, the 24-year-old had six touches inside the opposition box and produced the same number of open-play crosses.

He scored with a header at The Hawthorns, teed up Harvey Barnes for a goal against Burnley, and his low cross forced an own goal to make it 2-1.

Against Man City, Castagne's defensive qualities will be severely tested when he faces the lively Raheem Sterling and Benjamin Mendy.

The last time he appeared against them was for Atalanta in a 5-1 UEFA Champions League defeat in 2019/20, with Sterling hitting a hat-trick.

Castagne will be keen to avoid a repeat as he and Praet aim to enhance their reputations even further.

Also in this series

Part 1: Spurs need plan B for Son to shine against Newcastle

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