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Talking Tactics

Lookman and Iheanacho can ease the burden on Vardy

Adrian Clarke 1 Oct 2021
Ademola Lookman and Kelechi Iheanacho, Leicester

Adrian Clarke says starting the attacking duo will rekindle Leicester's creativity at Crystal Palace

Adrian Clarke looks at key tactical points and players who can be decisive in Matchweek 7.

Leicester City

Finding a way to get Kelechi Iheanacho and Ademola Lookman into the same starting XI could be the key to unlocking Leicester City's potential at Crystal Palace this Sunday. 

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While Jamie Vardy has been in scintillating form, scoring five goals in the opening six matches, Brendan Rodgers has so far struggled to find the right balance around him.

Leicester started the last two matches in a 4-3-3 formation before their manager switched to a 4-2-3-1 as they sought to fight back from losing positions. 

Now, in order to secure a morale-boosting third win of the season, it must be under consideration to start in a more attack-minded shape at Selhurst Park.

Looking good

Lookman was Leicester's brightest spark during the 2-2 draw with Burnley last weekend.

The 23-year-old was deployed on the right of a front three but, given the freedom to drift infield, his sharp movement and creative output caught the eye.

Lookman set up four chances for his team-mates before being replaced by James Maddison in the 78th minute. 

Although he has only enjoyed limited game time so far, the summer signing has statistically been Leicester's most creative player. 

Leicester's most creative players*
2021/22 Mins played Chances created/90
Lookman 140 3.86
Perez 102 3.53
Iheanacho 110 2.45
Tielemans 540 1.50
Pereira 326 1.28

*Minimum 100 minutes

Like Harvey Barnes on the other flank, the on-loan forward is equally comfortable supporting Vardy either as a second striker or as a natural winger. 

This provides the team with a little more balance than when Maddison, Ayoze Perez or Marc Albrighton are used in the same right-sided role. 

None of those alternatives pose as significant a goal threat as Lookman, who is averaging more than 10 touches in the box and an impressive 2.57 shots from inside the area per 90 minutes. 

Leicester's top shooters
2021/22 Mins played Shots in box/90
Vardy 531 2.71
Lookman 140 2.57
Iheanacho 110 2.45
Barnes 456 1.58
Perez 102 0.88

*Minimum 100 minutes

Striker Iheanacho can consider himself unlucky not to have made a Premier League start this season. 

Prior to last weekend's 2-2 home draw with Burnley, the Nigeria international had averaged a goal or assist every 75 minutes in all competitions since March. 

Iheanacho improved on that stat further when, as a second-half substitute, he supplied a perfectly weighted through-ball for Vardy to run on to and score Leicester's late equaliser against the Clarets. 

Iheanacho's assist v Burnley


One way to include Iheanacho without disrupting Vardy's run of form up top on his own could be to use him in a No 10 role. 

It is a position he occupied off the bench last week. He has played there in the past and his end product has been higher than that of Maddison in recent times. 

This change would withdraw Youri Tielemans into a deeper central-midfield role alongside Wilfred Ndidi, but it would improve Leicester's goal threat markedly. 

An attacking unit featuring Barnes, Iheanacho and Lookman behind a red-hot Vardy represents an exciting proposition. 

Rodgers needs to find a way to ease the reliance on his talismanic striker, who has scored over 71 per cent of the team’s goals so far this season.

Also in this series

Part 1: Normann can pick out Pukki's runs at Burnley
Part 2: Can Man City handle Liverpool's in-form trio?
Part 3: Doucoure can dominate unsettled Man Utd midfield

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