June 20, 2024

With a convincing 5-0 victory at Stoke to increase their advantage to a clear ELEVEN points, Leicester City reasserted their dominance at the top of the Championship following a string of mediocre games coupled with disappointments during the January transfer window.

The outcome, which was the Foxes’ largest victory outside of Leicester in lower divisions since 1970, served as a sobering reminder of the disparity in caliber between Enzo Maresca’s team and the majority of the other teams in their current league.

With a convincing 5-0 victory at Stoke to increase their advantage to a clear ELEVEN points, Leicester City reasserted their dominance at the top of the Championship following a string of mediocre games coupled with disappointments during the January transfer window.

The outcome, which was the Foxes’ largest victory outside of Leicester in lower divisions since 1970, served as a sobering reminder of the disparity in caliber between Enzo Maresca’s team and the majority of the other teams in their current league.

After 26 minutes, Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall and Fatawu paid off as Patson Daka scored the game’s first goal with the easiest of finishes thanks to their dominance of the play.The traveling throng’s worries that their team would be happy to sit on this advantage were quickly allayed by McAteer, who ended his four-month scoring drought with a deflected long-range drive.

The Potters occasionally put pressure on the City goal, forcing Mads Hermansen into action, but the visitors maintained control of the game throughout. Wout Faes put on another defensive masterclass and displayed the confidence that has made him his nation’s first-choice center-back.

City’s hold was unloosened even after Jannik Vestergaard was lost during the break due to what was later described as a “minor” muscle strain. Ben Nelson, an academy product, replaced him instead of the more seasoned Conor Coady, and Maresca’s choice to do so was validated. The young player once again displayed the qualities that have already had one local media outlet declare him to be “the next John Stones.”

When it appeared as though the visitors would cruise into the second half, a breakaway move by Faes resulted in a foul inside the Stoke area, setting Daka up for his second goal of the match with the most exquisite of spot penalties.

James Justin and Jamie Vardy were then brought in by Maresca, who has been noticeably more aggressive in his use of replacements in recent games, to test the worn-out home defense. They immediately took full advantage of the chance when Justin, a right-side midfielder, sent Vardy a beautiful cross to convert.

The veteran striker provided multiple reminders of his past glory during the remainder of the game, maybe motivated by the statue of Sir Stanley Matthews outside the stadium. He scored again with a penalty kick in stoppage time after Dewsbury-Hall was fouled. It remains to be seen, though, if the powerful people in the City will be forced to respond to the supporters’ demand for “Ten more years.”

For all the Foxes who were lucky enough to be there, it was a very fun afternoon overall. Nonetheless, it is impossible to ignore the several small flaws that occurred both on and off the field.

During a midfield altercation near the conclusion of the first half, McAteer foolishly swiped at home midfielder Burger. A more watchful referee, possibly with the help of a VAR, might have given a harsher punishment. Instead, he only received a yellow card. In order to prevent a recurrence of the events we witnessed at Coventry, discipline failures must be avoided as physical provocations are likely to be a regular element of upcoming contests.

Last but not least, it was upsetting to hear a strong and tiny group of Foxes jeering our own players for knelt before kickoff. As the recent incidents at Hillsborough and the Hawthorns have demonstrated, football is still rife with idiots who think it’s okay to treat people of color badly, even in 2024.

I would never, ever want to see a return to the terrible environment of the 1980s, when racism drove many talented players from City. I remember that time. There is no room for racism in the game, and we shouldn’t stop until it is permanently eradicated!

Stoke (4-3-3): Leris (Bae h/t), Campbell; Cundle, Pearson (Ennis h/t), Bonham; Hoever (McNally 70), Wilmot, Rose, and Thompson.

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