Leicester in the Champions League: Still doing it differently
Last Updated: 02/11/16 6:28pm
The stats that show how the style of Premier League champions Leicester City is now confounding the Champions League too…
The Foxes top Champions League Group G at the halfway stage but they've not compromised on their approach.
In fact, Claudio Ranieri's side have shown that they can flourish in Europe in strikingly similar fashion to how they triumphed in England last season.
Comparing them to the other Champions League group leaders at the same stage reveals that they remain very different to other successful sides…
Six of the other seven teams that led their respective groups at the halfway stage enjoyed the majority of possession in their games overall. In particular, Barcelona (62.9 per cent) and Juventus (61.9 per cent) dominated the ball.
Champions League group leaders after three games - Possession
Even the seventh side, Monaco, had almost half of the ball with 49.5 per cent of possession. Leicester, meanwhile, saw just 39.6 per cent of it - but won all three matches. In fact, only four of the 32 sides had less of the ball with all of them lying bottom of their groups.
The differences were even more noticeable when it came to the passing game. Only FC Rostov, CSKA Moscow and Dinamo Zagreb attempted fewer passes and, in stark contrast to the Foxes' perfect record, none of them won any of their first three matches.
Champions League group leaders after three games - Passes
Leicester's total of 1068 passes was 235 fewer than any other group leader after three games. Juventus made 1851 passes with Barcelona making 1955. Others passed even more with Bayern Munich's players attempting to find a team-mate 2308 times in their first three Champions League matches.
What Leicester do well is get the ball away from the danger zone at the other end of the pitch. They were one of only four teams not to concede a Champions League goal in the first three games with Atletico Madrid the only other side to couple that with three victories.
Champions League group leaders after three games - Clearances
Leicester made 118 clearances in their three matches - more than anyone else and far more than any of the other teams that topped their group at the midway point. In fact, it's more than Barcelona, Real Madrid and Juventus made between them.
Leicester got a very winnable group in their first Champions League season but it's interesting to note that this hasn't meant a change of approach - they did not seek to dominate possession or pass their way to victory. Instead, they've stuck to their principles.
Whether it was Jamie Vardy's driving run to win a penalty at Club Brugge or the dogged defending to hold on to the points against Porto, Leicester's Champions League run has seen them at their characteristic best. Opponents still cannot cope with it, but it seems they can't successfully mimic it either.