Leicester 2-0 Sheffield United: Report, Ratings & Reaction as Foxes Win Keeps Champions League Dream Alive

Matt O'Connor-Simpson
Leicester beat Sheffield United 2-0 on Thursday night to strengthen their hopes of a top four finish
Leicester beat Sheffield United 2-0 on Thursday night to strengthen their hopes of a top four finish / Pool/Getty Images
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Leicester secured a vital 2-0 win over Sheffield United on Thursday evening to keep their Champions League dream alive.

The hosts started brightly and poked their noses in front just before the half hour mark. An intelligent pass by debutant Luke Thomas found an unmarked Ayoze Perez, who slotted the ball calmly past Dean Henderson.

The Foxes' ascendency continued after the break with Harvey Barnes spurning a shedload of chances to double their lead, while Jamie Vardy struck the post.

Ayoze Perez fired the Foxes in front with his 50th goal in English football
Ayoze Perez fired the Foxes in front with his 50th goal in English football / Pool/Getty Images

Though United did threaten from set pieces, Leicester put the game beyond all doubt with ten minutes left when substitute Demarai Gray finished well from close range.

Here's 90min's breakdown of the contest...


LEICESTER CITY

Key Talking Point

Leicester City's rotated squad got the job done against Chris Wilder's side
Leicester City's rotated squad got the job done against Chris Wilder's side / Michael Regan/Getty Images

A strong response was essential from Leicester, following their farcical collapse against relegation threatened Bournemouth last time out.

However, the Foxes faithful would have gone into the game with some trepidation due to their lengthy injury list. Stalwarts Ricardo Pereira, James Maddison, Ben Chilwell, Caglar Soyuncu and Marc Albrighton all missed out, forcing Brendan Rodgers to field a rotated team.

Those fringe players stepped up to the plate with the performance of veteran Wes Morgan - who marshalled the backline well - particularly impressing. 19-year-old Thomas was also brilliant on his debut, providing the assist for Perez's goal.

Leicester's victory over the Blades showed they are still able to pull three points out the bag in spite of their weakened squad. This self belief could prove vital as their season reaches a tense climax.


Leicester Player Ratings

Starting XI: Schmeichel (7); Justin (7), Evans (6), Morgan (7), Bennett (7), Thomas (8*); Ndidi (7), Tielemans (8); Perez (8), Vardy (7), Barnes (6).

Substitutes: Gray (8), Choudhury (7).


Luke Thomas

Luke Thomas made his senior debut against Sheffield United
Luke Thomas made his senior debut against Sheffield United / Michael Regan/Getty Images

Woah, what a debut from Luke Thomas. The 19-year-old did not even have a Wikipedia page before the game but he'll surely have one now.

As well as assisting Perez's opener, Thomas was spot on defensively and created a hatful more chances for his teammates. Watch out Ben Chilwell...


SHEFFIELD UNITED

Key Talking Point

Sheffield United were poor defensively at the King Power Stadium
Sheffield United were poor defensively at the King Power Stadium / Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

If you were watching Sheffield United for the first time this season on Thursday night, you would have been shocked to learn that they have one of the best defensive records in Europe.

Though they did manage to sporadically stifle Leicester's creativity, on the whole the hosts carved the Blades open with worrying frequency.

Barnes and Vardy had particular joy popping up in the half spaces behind United's two wing-backs who offered very little going forward themselves.

The Blades' success this season has been built on a rock solid foundation of discipline and organisation - traits that were sorely lacking against the Foxes. Their European hopes are now balanced on a knife edge.


Sheffield United Player Ratings

Starting XI: Henderson (8*); Baldock (4), Basham (5), Egan (5), O'Connell (5), Stevens (4); Berge (5), Norwood (5), Osborn (5); McBurnie (5), McGoldrick (5).

Substitutes: Mousset (6), Fleck (5), Lundstrum (5).


Dean Henderson

Dean Henderson sported a cap in the east Midlands sun on Thursday
Dean Henderson sported a cap in the east Midlands sun on Thursday / Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

Without Dean Henderson's goalkeeping heroics Leicester would have had this game sewn up on the hour mark.

It was another stoic performance by the Manchester United loanee who again strengthened his case to replace Jordan Pickford in the England team.


Looking Ahead

Next up, Leicester face a daunting trip to north London to take on Tottenham as both teams look to keep their European dreams alive. That game takes place on Sunday.

Sheffield United, meanwhile, are next in action against Everton on Monday night.


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