The Warm Down: Leicester and Fulham share the points in the 'Ranieri Derby'
(Photo: Getty Images/Plumb)

The Warm Down: Leicester and Fulham share the points in the 'Ranieri Derby'

Former Leicester City champion Claudio Ranieri had to share the spoils with his former side after the sides drew 1-1.

cbratu
Cristian Bratu

Former Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri was denied victory over his former side after James Maddison clinched a point for the Foxes.

Kelechi Iheanacho missed a golden opportunity within the first five minutes after Sergio Rico denied him a goal after the Nigerian striker tried to chip the keeper in a 1v1.

Fulham took the lead in the 42nd minute after Aboubakar Kamara finished from a tight angle between Kasper Schmeichel's legs after Caglar Soyuncu over committed in defence.

Maddison scored against the run of play in the second half after he latched onto a Shinji Okazaki cross to sweep in the equaliser with 15 minutes left to play.

It is Fulham who would feel the worse out of the two teams with the draw after Aleksander Mitrovic and Dennis Odoi both missed late chances to win the game for the Cottagers.

Leicester City need Vardy fit and firing 

Jamie Vardy is the living embodiment of what Leicester City has shown as a club in recent years. The never say never attitude, the ability to defy expectations and prove doubters wrong to achieve the impossible. His tenacious nature, tireless running and clinical finishing has dragged the club out of very difficult situations, not to mention propelling them into football folk law.

Without Vardy, Leicester are a completely different entity, almost like they lose part of their identity - and it showed against Fulham.

The game on Wednesday night against Fulham and the 2-0 victory against Watford in the previous game are polar opposites.

The Watford game showed glimpses of the title-winning Leicester, turning defence into attack with a hand full of passes and finishing in a cutthroat manner. The defence was resolute and the attack was pacy and direct, with Vardy spearheading at the top.

Fast forward to the game against Fulham and former manager, Ranieri, who masterminded the famous Leicester counter-attacking style perfectly, and the Foxes were unable to replicate that same performance.

The passing at times was laboured and inaccurate and the attack could not find that cutting edge that was needed to claim all three points.

Vardy was out with a groin injury and was replaced with Iheanacho, who boasts a completely different playing style to the former.

Iheanacho lacks the pace and the tireless running of Vardy and has missed those big chances of late that you would expect the former England striker to bury.

Other than Maddison (and Demarai Gray on his day), it is hard to see where the goals will come from in the team if Vardy isn't playing, putting an emphasis on the winter transfer window and the potential for an extra goal scorer to share the goal load with Vardy. 

Leicester have evolved since Ranieri's departure

Out of the main starting 11 that won the league under Ranieri, only four players started the match against Fulham: Kasper Schmeichel, Danny SimpsonWes Morgan and Marc Albrighton. Leicester City as a club is very different to the one that lifted the title a couple of seasons back.

Since the introduction of Claude Puel especially, a real earnest has been placed on developing Leicester's youth and lowering the average age of the squad.

City's spine of the team includes 21-year-old Ben Chilwell, 25-year-old Harry Maguire, 21-year-old Wilfred N'Didi and 22-year-old James Maddison, emphasising the youthful injection that the club has received in recent years.

Along with the personnel, the playing style has also shifted. The Foxes have adapted a more possession based approach to games under Puel, sacrificing their direct counter attacking style for a more calculated and steady approach. This has raised concerns amongst the fan base as this can promote slow build up play, allowing the opposition to settle in their defensive shape, but when the passing is in full flow and has a purpose, you can see why Puel has put such an emphasis on it during his tenure.

The Foxes recorded 54% possession against Fulham, which itself is 10% more possession than the average amount that they registered when they won the league with under Ranieri, showing the vast changes that Leicester underwent within the last two years.

Maddison is starting to fill the Mahrez shaped hole

James Maddison will be widely regarded as Leicester's best signing of the year after his second goal in two matches rescued a point for the East Midlands side.

His capture has come at a crucial for the club after the sale of the Algerian winger Riyad Mahrez for a club record £60 million.

Mahrez was a key player for Leicester in his time with the club, having a hand in the great escape, leading from the front with his four goals in the "European Tour" and most notably, his performances in the 15/16 season that earned Leicester the league and himself the PFA Player of the Year Award.

Many questioned where the moments of magic would come from after his departure, the flashes of brilliance and those match-winning contributions, but Maddison is starting to answer those questions.

He has become crucial in the way that Leicester attack, scoring crucial goals and displaying that creative spark that was much needed in the number 10 role.

At only 22, Maddison can only improve. Just a nice thought to end on for the Leicester fans.

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