MATCH REPORT: Leicester City 4 Fleetwood 0

Conor McAleny in action at Leicester
Conor McAleny in action at Leicester

Just days after dodging crisps at the Valley, Fleetwood Town were taught about bite in the box at the home of Walker’s crisps as the Foxes tore up Fleetwood’s blank blueprint.

Just days after dodging crisps at the Valley, Fleetwood Town were taught about bite in the box at the home of Walker’s crisps as the Foxes tore up Fleetwood’s blank blueprint.
From the minute the teamsheets were scattered around the Press box at the King Power, you could sense it was going to be a long night for Fleetwood Town.
While many of the Town XI would walk into any League One starting line-up, it was definitely a second string for Joey Barton as he made 11 changes from Saturday’s 0-0 draw at Charlton.
He spoke about his desire to give youth a chance when he first arrived and Barton opted for a central midfield with an average age of 22, Harrison Biggins and Nathan Sheron getting an experience they could only have dreamed of this time last year.
That showed on the bench too, Town’s U18 skipper, 16-year-old centre-half James Hill given a spot.
Claude Puel smelled blood. While ex-Town hero Jamie Vardy might have been unavailable due to suspension it was still a team littered with that Premier League title-winning class of 2015/16.
From Shinji Okazaki to Wes Morgan, Marc Albrighton to Christian Fuchs, it was a line-up that would be feared by many in the top tier, not just a League One outfit.
It said Puel was serious about the League Cup, while Barton had an eye on a visit of regular League One high-flyers Bradford City at the weekend.
It was Biggins who adapted to the limelight, pouncing on Chris Long’s work and forcing debutant Danny Ward into a smart save.
But after that early spark, any hopes of a cup upset were soon washed away as the hosts showed their Premier League pedigree.
For keeper Paul Jones it was a baptism of fire, with Town’s two defence torn apart by the Foxes in the first half.
Even without Vardy they were lightning quick and as soon as they broke the deadlock those chips over Town’s defence and sprints became regular occurrences.
Jones could do nothing about the opener as Fuchs showed his brilliance. The set-piece fragility of last term appears to have been shored up in the league, back-to-back clean sheets proving that point.
But against elite opposition Town’s failure to deal with the second phase from a corner was seized upon, Fuchs nearly breaking the net with a fierce strike from the edge of the box.
Kelechi Iheanacho had scored the first VAR-awarded goal last time the clubs met in last season’s FA Cup and he was determined to get on the scoresheet again. He stole into the box but clattered the ball into the post, Jones jumping on the rebound.
Ex-Foxes youth product Cian Bolger had his hands full with Iheanacho, pulling off a fine block before the duo were involved in another VAR referral. The forward had nodded the ball wide of the near post but Jon Moss was asked to check for shouts of a penalty, though the system found Bolger not guilty.
Barton’s men grew into the half and did enjoy a spell of possession as they tried to play football, though this often left them on the back foot as Leicester’s superior pressing ability caused trouble.
It did look like Town would head into the break having restricted the Foxes to just a one-goal lead but a lapse of concentration saw Leicester get the second.
Fuchs whipped in a cross that was nodded home by Vincente Iborra in the 38th minute.
From then on you sensed there was no way back for Fleetwood but there was still time for Jones to impress.
Brought in to push Alex Cairns for the No.1 spot, he showed just why he was recruited this summer with a fine double save at the death.
He tipped away Okazaki’s volley before jumping up to tip Iheanacho’s effort on to the post. Iheanacho must have been kicking himself at the break for not opening his account for the new term and he came out with a point to prove.
It was just minutes into the new half that he strolled one-on-one with Jones and put those wasted chances behind him, sliding the ball home with the coolness of the man he is trying to pip to a regular starting spot, a certain Mr Vardy.
Albrighton ran the show and it was a chance for Barton to give more debuts.
James Hill was given one heck of a baptism of fire, thrown on in defence to handle a man who was plucked from the lower leagues years ago, Demarai Gray.
And the teenager did not look out of place as Tommy Spurr was moved to left-back and midfielder James Wallace finally made his bow.
Town’s biggest chance of the second half nearly led to another goal for Leicester as Dempsey and McAleny found themselves with rare time and space in the Foxes’ half. But McAleny lost the ball, Leicester countered and Jones thwarted Gray one-on-one.
The Foxes wrapped the game up in the closing stages as Rachid Ghezzal whipped the ball into the top corner to cap a fine night for the Foxes.
This time last week we were about to witness Fleetwood at their five-star finest at Scunthorpe.
This was an altogether different experience.
and a showcase for Leicester and their Premier League class.
This was a much stronger side than Town faced in the FA Cup last season and that showed in the scoreline.

Leicester: Ward, Morgan (Benkovicat, 62) Evans, Iheancacho (Gray, 50), Albrighton, Amartey, Okazaki, Iborra, Silva, Fuchs, Ghezzal (Diabaté, 67). Subs: Gray, Maddison, Jakupovic, Mendy, Knight.

Fleetwood: P Jones, G Jones, Spurr, Bolger, Maguire (Hill, 61), Grant (Wallace, 67), Biggins, Sheron, Dempsey, McAleny, Long (Madden, 61). Subs: Cairns, Holt, Eastham, Burns.