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Leicester’s Ricardo Pereira impresses again to throw name into elite conversation

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This article is part of Football FanCast’s The Chalkboard series, which provides a tactical insight into teams, players, managers, potential signings and more… 

Leicester have now picked up two points from their opening matches in the Premier League after they drew with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Sunday afternoon.

Wilfred Ndidi was the villain-turned-hero after his first-half defensive blunder allowed young star Mason Mount to open the scoring on his home debut before atoning for his error by heading home a James Maddison corner.

It was Maddison who could have won it for the Foxes with less than 20 minutes left on the clock after he drilled a close-range effort well over the bar.

Last season’s Player of the Year, Ricardo Pereira, continued his rich vein of form with an 8.02 match rating which was only bettered by Chelsea’s goalscorer.

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On the Chalkboard

It may have only been two games into the new Premier League season but it’s time we discuss Pereira as one of the best in his position in the league.

His performance against the league’s third-placed side last season was ultimately impressive – even if they have an Eden Hazard-shaped void on the flank.

Brendan Rodgers’ new system allows Ayoze Perez to drift in from the right side of attacking midfield, which enables the 25-year-old right-back to have much more of an influence on the game, as seen in his heat map below, courtesy of WhoScored.

He recorded a team-high 72 passes against Chelsea with only Caglar Soyuncu anywhere near at 66. He also managed more dribbles than any other player, including Maddison, with seven in the game.

Defensively he was ace too, recording a game-high nine tackles attempted with 88.8% of them being successful – on top of five clearances, three interceptions and three blocks.

This one game is just a microcosm of his entire time at Leicester since joining from Porto. Last season he picked up four man of the match awards, two goals and six assists, averaging a rating of 7.34.

Check out all the live reaction to Chelsea 1-1 Leicester in the video below…

And when you look at him in comparison to PFA Team of the Year right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold and Manchester City’s Kyle Walker, you wonder why he isn’t widely regarded as one of the top full backs in English football.

Pereira has averaged 6.5 tackles across two Premier League games whereas the Reds’ star is averaging a lowly 0.5 with Walker in between the two at 1.5 tackles per game, though it must be considered that Leicester typically spend more time defending than the likes of City and Liverpool.

In attack, only Alexander-Arnold rates better for key passes per game at 2.5, while the Portugal international on top for dribbles at 4.5 per game.

Walker averages 2 key passes per game and just 2 dribbles per game.

Pereira must be close to being in the same bracket now.

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Article title: Leicester’s Ricardo Pereira impresses again to throw name into elite conversation

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