Wolves fell to a 1-0 defeat away to Leicester in what was a muted and disappointing performance, with VAR yet again taking centre-stage in this fixture. Mix Kilman was adjudged to have handballed inside the penalty area despite the ball striking from a close distance, Jamie Vardy converting the resulting penalty for his first goal against Wolves.
This was always going to be a tricky game with the strong form Leicester have been in, but after a very impressive win over Crystal Palace and 4 games unbeaten, Wolves felt confident going into this one.
As most games between these two sides have always been close many were expecting a tightly fought contest – and that was exactly what we got. It almost feels like we should copy and paste the first half reviews as they have followed the same trend for quite a few years now.
Wolves started slowly with no real forward movement and the midfield struggling to get anything going with a static forward line. Whilst resolute in defence we saw the theme we have seen far too often this year – a lack of creativity. Pedro Neto and Daniel Podence barely had a kick in the first half with Leicester looking very comfortable and playing around Wolves with ease due to our low block.
The pressure told on 15 minutes when Max Kilman had the ball struck against his arm from close distance inside his own box. VAR ruled it to be handball (which in fairness it was) but many will debate whether Kilman had time to get his arms out the way – such was the marginal distance between him and the Leicester player. Jamie Vardy took the penalty cooly and gave the home side what was a deserved lead.
With the momentum firmly in their grasp, the Foxes continued to push for a second with Wolves dropping deeper and deeper, Ruben Neves tried countless times to get passes forward but Raul Jimenez, Pedro Neto and Daniel Podence couldn’t get any sort of fluidity going.
Once again, however, it was Wolves’ own naivety that caused them issues. Last week’s star man Rayan Ait-Nouri lost control of the ball in the box and wiped out James Justin as he tried to recover, giving away a second penalty of the half. This time Rui Patricio kept Wolves in the game with a superb save, Vardy spurned the rebound which flew at him quickly.
Even after the second penalty Wolves did not look like creating anything substantial. They ended the half with a corner which was cleared, but apart from that, it was another drab and lifeless showing.
The second half began with Wolves picking up the pace, whilst still struggling to create much in the way of clear-cut chances. Substitute Adama Traore was marked out of the game and struggled to find any space on the right-hand side with Leicester showing brutal defensive resilience which we are used to seeing from our boys.
They continued to dictate the play from midfield and attacked fairly well in transition. Whilst the recycling of the ball became more efficient the attack was nonetheless nullified. The energy looked to be gone from the side that looked so vibrant and energetic against Crystal Palace.
As is the case with a Nuno Wolves it can be hard to watch, and the second petered out around the 70-minute mark, where Leicester truly shut up shop. The best chance Wolves could muster was a superb effort from Neves which looked destined for the top corner – only for Kasper Schmeichel to pull out a world-class save.
Leicester should have made it two 10 minutes from time as Harvey Barnes saw his 12-yard effort thwarted by Max Kilman and despite Fabio Silva coming on in an attempt to get more going forward, Wolves couldn’t find a way through and their awful record in Leicester continues.
Man of the Match – Ruben Neves
It is always a tough one finding a bright spark in what was a very average performance, but Ruben Neves is probably the only player that stuck out to me. He constantly chased the ball and tried his luck with passes in the first and second half. He was the player keeping the team ticking (or at least attempting to) and could have almost salvaged a point if not for the heroics of Schmeichel. A decent performance in what was an ineffective team one.
What is the issue with this team? One minute we look brilliant, the next we look distinctly average. The lack of goals reared its ugly head again today as we offered virtually nothing going forward, there was a distinct lack of positive chasing and we looked to defend with a low block for the majority of the game. It is a shame we didn’t go for the game a bit more in the second half, or at least shown some quick passing and movement. This team needs to find consistency otherwise top 6 will be very difficult to achieve.