Leicester City beat Sheffield United 2-1 at Bramall Lane on Saturday, with Harvey Barnes scoring an outrageous volley to win the game after strikes from Jamie Vardy and Ollie McBurnie.
It was a sloppy start to the game from both sides, but the Foxes were able to dominate possession. However, they were unable to create any real chances and were struggling to find a way through a resolute Blades defence.
Chris Wilder's men grew into the game, with a gloriously struck George Baldock strike hit straight at Kasper Schmeichel. However, they were made to pay as Ayoze Perez nipped in to steal the ball on the halfway line, allowing James Maddison to collect and play a perfectly weighted pass through to Jamie Vardy, who ruthlessly fired home on 38 minutes.
It's a W— Leicester City (@LCFC) August 24, 2019
United started the second half promisingly and were rewarded with an equaliser around the hour mark. Second half substitute Oliver McBurnie latched on to a Baldock cross to head home from six yards. The score remained level for a short while, until Leicester retook the lead with a truly sensational volley from Barnes into the roof of the net.
The Blades pushed for an equaliser, but they were unable to find one.
Key Talking Point
United were perhaps somewhat written off on their return to the Premier League, with many unsure if they would be able to compete at the highest level. However, they have proven in their first three games that they are not a side to be taken lightly.
Wilder's side went toe-to-toe with Leicester in the first half, with both sides carving out half chances. The defence looked solid and although Vardy was able to find the net, the Blades limited Rodgers' men to mainly midfield play.
The worry for United fans is the lack of potency in front of goal, as they came into the game having only scored two goals in their first two matches. The Leicester defence was comfortable and Schmeichel wasn't worked as much as Wilder would have liked in the first half.
Club-record signing Oli McBurnie came on and changed the flow of the game with a brilliant header, and the home side began to create more aerial chances. However, they failed to take them and ultimately paid the price.
Starting XI: Henderson (6), Basham (6), Egan (5), O’Connell (6), Baldock (7), Lundstram (6), Norwood (6), Freeman (5), Stevens (6), Robinson (5), McGoldrick (5).
Substitutes: McBurnie (7), Sharp (5), Morrison (5).
STAR MAN - Following his club-record £20m move to Sheffield United, McBurnie has struggled to make a real impact in the early stages of the season. However, he became an instant hero when he came off the bench.
His towering header drew the hosts level and Bramall Lane erupted - with the crowd instantly forming a song for him. The Scotland international provided a focal point for the team, allowing other players to work off him and form attacks from there. Wilder will be more than pleased with the performance of his new forward, and will be hoping he can maintain this form.
Key Talking Point
Rodgers has made a point of trying to trim his Leicester squad, with Adrien Silva the latest player to head out of the exit door. It seems clear that the manager has an idea of what his preferred starting lineup looks like - and it was once again shown against Sheffield United.
However, the decision to play Hamza Choudhury, Dennis Praet, Ayoze Perez, Youri Tielemans and James Maddison all in one team proved to be detrimental. There was a clear lack of width, with Maddison unable to spread the game in the way he would have liked. Christian Fuchs is reaching the twilight of his career, but it was clear to see the massively important role Ben Chilwell plays.
Rodgers made the change and it immediately paid dividends, with Barnes scoring a wonder goal from the edge of the area to restore their lead. All of a sudden, the Foxes began to have an avenue down the left hand side.
Elsewhere, there was also the small matter of Jamie Vardy - a Sheffield-born Sheffield Wednesday fan - scoring against United.
Starting XI: Schmeichel (5), Pereira (6), Evans (6), Soyuncu (6), Fuchs (6), Perez (6), Tielemans (6), Praet (4), Choudhury (6), Maddison (8), Vardy (7).
Substitutes: Morgan (5) Barnes (7), Mendy (N/A).
STAR MAN - It was a sloppy first half display by Leicester, often playing sideways and taking the easy options. But James Maddison was constantly looking to play forward and bring Vardy into the game. He was clever in his work and was certainly the biggest danger to the Blades defence.
It was a perfectly weighted pass that put Vardy through on goal towards the end of the half - it gave the striker the chance to take it in his stride and rifle home. The Foxes mainly played on the counter attack in the second half, but the number nine had opportunities to extend the lead thanks to the excellent link-up play with Maddison.
The attacking midfielder has made a fine start to the new season, and he was once again the main danger.
Sheffield United next play host to Blackburn on Tuesday in the Carabao Cup second round, before travelling to London to take on Chelsea in the league on Saturday.
Leicester face a trip to Newcastle on Wednesday, as they take on Steve Bruce's men in the second round of the Carabao Cup. They then return to Premier League action the following Saturday, when they host Bournemouth.