Harvey Barnes is The Man Behind Leicester City’s Success

Harvey Barnes is enjoying his most fertile season at Leicester City. This season, the Burnley-born young man has scored 13 goals in all competitions. He also contributed nine of The Foxes’ 44 goals in the Premier League. This achievement exceeded the player’s record two previous seasons. In the 2019/20 season, Barnes scored seven goals in 42 matches. Meanwhile, in 2018/19, when he was called up from West Bromwich Albion in mid-season, Barnes scored one goal for Leicester.

There are a number of reasons why Barnes has been much more prolific this season. From a technical point of view, the final completion of this Leicester academy dropout is indeed developing. Brendan Rodgers also said that Barnes had become a more mentally mature player. In addition, Rodgers’ tactical suit gave the player more flexibility in the opposing area and put him as one of the goalscorers.

On paper, Barnes is still often used as a left winger in a 4-2-3-1 or 3-4-3 formation. The former West Brom player has been in this position since he was young. The right foot is the strongest leg. Naturally, Barnes fits into the inside forward.

However, last season, Barnes played a supportive role. Rodgers took advantage of the player’s speed to create fast attack transitions. From this position, Barnes became the creator of opportunities serving the main striker (Jamie Vardy).

This season, the 23-year-old young man is more relied on to push into the penalty box. In the Premier League, Barnes recorded 108 touches in the opponent’s penalty box. If divided by the average, this figure is not much different and even decreased compared to last season. In 2019/20, Barnes recorded 5.76 touches in the opponent’s penalty box per match, compared to 5.16 this season. But the difference in the role of Barnes will only be seen if you compare his statistics with Jamie Vardy.

In recent seasons, Vardy is Leicester’s main goal scorer. The 34-year-old striker is the club’s all-time top scorer number four. The way the Foxes score goals often rests on Vardy’s movements in the penalty box. This made Vardy’s touch in the opponent’s penalty box far ahead of his colleagues.

This season, Leicester’s finishing patterns have begun to differ. Vardy is no longer too dominant as a target for the finisher in the opponent’s penalty box. Vardy’s touch statistics in the opponent’s penalty box almost matched Barnes. Vardy recorded 111 touches in the penalty box, only three points adrift of Barnes (108).

Barnes also often played parallel to Vardy and formed a striker duo. Rodgers’ tactical suit was seen when The Foxes silenced Liverpool on February 13. The Vardy-Barnes duet which was formed in the last 10 minutes of the match played a central role in the defeat of the Reds.

In the 85th minute of the match, the presence of Vardy and Barnes created a two-on-two situation in the Liverpool defense. Jordan Henderson, on the left of the defense, stuck to Vardy’s move. Meanwhile, Henderson’s tandem, Ozan Kabak, has two responsibilities, the ball from the hull moving towards him and Barnes on the right side of the defense. This dangerous situation resulted in a miscommunication between Kabak and Alisson which Vardy took advantage of to score.

After that, it was Barnes’ turn to score goals from this scheme. Acting as a striker, the former Barnsley man received a through ball from Wilfried Ndidi. Barnes then fired an accurate shot from the edge of the penalty box which Alisson was unable to block.

Barnes then scored again in the next game against Aston Villa. In the match won by Leicester 1-2, the player with the number 15 back scored one goal and one assist. “We see confidence in [Barnes] now. “He found that level, and when you look at him, he looks like the guy who will score in every game,” said Rodgers after the match against Aston Villa.

Rodgers’ trust in the player was completely paid off. In addition to scoring more goals, Barnes’ conversion opportunities have increased over the past two seasons. The final solution is more effective. Barnes recorded up to 23% chance conversion this season, compared to 13% in 2019/20 and 4% in 2018/19.

Barnes ‘own speed is still Rodgers’ powerful weapon from the left wing. This 1.82 m posture player can be relied on for ball progression and The Foxes counter attack. This season, Barnes is Leicester’s fastest player. He recorded a sprint with a top speed of 35.1 km / hour.

Barnes’ development has made him a figure who has set the difference in Leicester’s campaign this season. The player’s attack power is expected to be able to bring The Foxes to win Champions League tickets. After last season’s disappointment, Rodgers’ men are certainly looking forward to the 2020/21 top four post.

Leicester still has a great chance to qualify for the Champions League. They are currently in third place, pocketing the same points as interim runners-up, Manchester United. Rodgers troops must maintain consistency to tackle Red Devils and reach the runner up of Premier League. It is commonly believed that this will be the case if Leicester maintain their good performance throughout the season.


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