Wilfred Ndidi delivers a masterclass in defensive midfield as Leicester City almost ruin Manchester City’s party title chances
Ndidi had 91% passing accuracy, completed all four of his take-on, won 100% of his aerial duels. two clearances, five interceptions and won five of his six tackles.
It’s been like this for a while. Last season, he was also the leading tackler in the whole of Europe and got a high tackling rate at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.
But calling him ‘world class’ has sounded like a cliche to many who believe he needed more - to be one of the best defensive midfielders in the world.
On Monday night, however, his doubters would have had a rethink following his masterclass in defensive midfield for Leicester City against Manchester City at the Etihad.
Manchester City needed a win to have any chance of winning the Premier League title but a stubborn Leicester City almost ruined it.
At the heart of that Leicester City team was Ndidi who was impenetrable from midfield on Monday night.
He was a mountain for Leicester City; blocking, tackling, intercepting and defending as the Foxes soaked in the press while trying to hit Manchester City on the counter-attack.
More impressively from Ndidi was the timing of his tackling especially inside the Leicester City box. Done with precision and confidence and without fear.
He was everywhere, making the inceptions in midfield, tackling in the penalty box and also kick off Leicester City’s moves upwards.
In possession, he also was impressive, making tidy passes after regaining possession for Leicester City. He ended the game with the most ball recoveries, tackles and was only second in interceptions.
He was near-perfect and his only mistake in the game was very costly. It isn’t easy to spot, but he did afford Vincent Kompany space and time to rifle a shot outside the penalty box for the only goal of the game.
But who could blame him, no one -not even Kompany's teammate and manager Pep Guardiola- expected the defender to shoot from that distance, but he did and scored.
Instead of closing City’s captain down, Ndidi chose to cover the spaces and help out his defence. That was the safest thing to do, Kompany didn’t have the reputation of shooting from distance but he did and his special moment won the game.
That moment didn’t ruin his night as he came out with his head high after a fantastic performance against the best team in England.
Twitter fete Ndidi
He was the talk of Twitter after the game as even Manchester United fans believe he would be a good signing for them.
Ndidi is gradually coming of age although a move to a bigger team might be too soon for him.
He has the opportunity of even improving more next season in one of the best teams outside of the Premier League’s top six and with nights like this, it’s only a matter of time before he joins the big boys.