James Maddison ‘low’ again for Leicester? They’d be entirely f***ed without him

Will Ford
Maddison Leicester

We can only hope James Maddison isn’t so “low” after this latest mistake. He was the best player on the pitch *again*.

It’s two in two for Jamie Vardy, who rolled back the year (he got 15 in 25 last term) with a goal we’ve had the pleasure of seeing him score time and again every season – except the current campaign – for nigh-on a decade.

A perfectly timed run, speed to get away from the centre-back, before rounding the goalkeeper and slotting home. It was a goal to make us question whether he is indeed finished at the top level, as everyone seems now to assume.

This Vardy is little different to the one who scored 24 goals in their Premier League-winning campaign, dashing in behind and terrorising defenders. And his Everton counterpart also looked as close to his old self as he has done for a while.

Sean Dyche said before kick off that “it’s not all on Dom”, aware of the goalscoring pressure on his striker at Everton, who have scored the fewest goals of any team in the Premier League and had managed just two in their last four heading into this relegation dogfight.

They haven’t scored first in a game since their win over Brentford on March 11, but put that right at the King Power Stadium having dominated the opening stages. They had six shots before Calvert-Lewin won and dispatched a penalty in the 15th minute.

His goal, like Vardy’s equaliser against Leeds last time out, ended a six-month goal drought, and like Vardy, that appeared to breathe some life into the injury-ravaged striker, who ran the channels, won headers and linked the play, managing four further shots after his penalty.

Calvert-Lewin Everton

Mind you, one of those was an awful miss, as he contrived to heel the ball from about three yards out straight at Daniel Iversen, who produced several stunning saves in this game, but wasn’t required to do much at all on that occasion.

Seconds later Vardy turned Michael Keane inside out before dinking the ball on to the bar. And that end-to-end moment was typical of a predictably frantic game between two sides fighting for their Premier League lives.

Before Vardy did his best Vardy impression, Caglar Soyuncu drew Leicester level, sweeping the ball past Jordan Pickford after Wout Faes’ header.

Alex Iwobi, who gifted Leicester possession for Vardy’s goal, made amends shortly after half-time, smartly side-footing past Iversen.

It was a tiring game to watch let alone play in, and you get the sense all the players will sleep well. Except perhaps for James Maddison, who effectively cost his side another two points.

After his mistake led to defeat against Bournemouth last month, in an apology to the fans, Maddison said: “I made a sloppy mistake and it cost us. I am very low.”

We can only hope that a) he doesn’t feel the need to apologise to the fans after his penalty miss on Monday, and b) he doesn’t feel so “low” this time around (though the pictures of him after the game don’t bode well). Because he was brilliant again, and Leicester would be entirely f***ed without him.

Despite Everton having the best of the game, Maddison was the best player on the pitch by some distance: taking the ball in tight spaces; creating chances for himself and others; pressing and winning the ball back; his through ball for Vardy’s goal was perfect.

If Maddison’s teammates had performed at his level this season Leicester would be pushing for Champions League football – which Maddison will surely be doing next season – not fighting to stay in the top flight.

The point is enough to see Leicester out of a relegation zone they would be well clear of without Maddison’s two recent mistakes, but deep into – to the point of no return – had he not been around to make them.