Leicester Metropolis have made a behavior of defying the chances of their latest historical past.
For as soon as although, their sport in opposition to Manchester Metropolis on Saturday went precisely as anticipated, with the Foxes slumping to a 2-0 defeat.
In fact, the guests’ profitable margin might and maybe ought to have been extra as properly. Within the first half alone Kevin de Bruyne struck the bar with a depraved free kick and Riyad Mahrez was denied a objective in opposition to his former membership by Kasper Schmeichel’s proper boot.
In addition to having the higher possibilities, Metropolis additionally loved intervals of comedian dominance, not giving Leicester a single contact throughout one significantly jarring 5 minute spell. The largest downside of all for the house aspect was their lack of effectivity in possession, although.
Of their 5-2 victory within the return fixture again in September, they barely wasted a contact, having fun with simply 28% possession and registering seven makes an attempt on objective. This ruthlessness was sorely missing on Sunday with traditional tempo setters Wilfred Ndidi and Youri Tielemans visibly drained following an intense worldwide break.
Ayoze Perez – working because the hyperlink between midfield and striker pairing Kelechi Iheanacho and Jamie Vardy – did the most effective he might along with his meagre time on the ball, however with the Spaniard starved of service, feeding the entrance two on the counter proved troublesome.
After all, there have been a couple of extenuating circumstances that assist clarify Leicester’s ropey show. The dearth of preparation time as a result of worldwide break can be dangerous information in opposition to any aspect, nevertheless it was significantly damaging on Saturday as Metropolis are such a tactically demanding staff to play in opposition to.
The late withdrawal of star centre-back Caglar Soyuncu, who continues to self-isolate in Turkey following a constructive coronavirus check, was additionally an irritation. Whereas his substitute Daniel Amartey was stable sufficient defensively, Soyuncu’s assertiveness and contribution in possession was misplaced.
Though the consequence was disappointing, its impression on Leicester’s season could possibly be confined to a footnote if the Foxes can bounce again within the two doubtlessly season defining video games to come back.
The primary of those is in opposition to West Ham, one other staff who’ve defied expectations this season. Relying on how the Hammers’ journey to Wolves goes on Monday, the pair might go into the sport separated by as little as 4 factors and one place.
Final time they met, David Moyes’ aspect ‘did a Leicester’ on their opponents, registering 30% possession however nonetheless popping out properly deserved 3-0 winners. It was Rodgers’ aspect’s worst consequence and efficiency of the season and so they should keep away from a repeat of it on Saturday with the race for the European locations heating as much as Scotch bonnet ranges.
The return of James Maddison – who loved a short and rusty cameo on Saturday – to the beginning lineup could possibly be essential in turning the tide in Leicester’s favour. West Ham’s cussed defensive form is notoriously exhausting to penetrate and Maddison’s skill to interrupt the traces with each his passing and dribbling will probably be a useful asset.
After dealing with the Hammers, Leicester set their sat nav for Wembley for his or her FA Cup semi-final in opposition to Southampton. Maybe the one factor that has been lacking from Rodgers’ footballing revolution has been a chunk of silverware. The membership’s first ever FA Cup triumph would characterize precisely that and as they’ve already overwhelmed the Saints as soon as this marketing campaign, confidence will probably be excessive.
Wins in every of their subsequent two video games would characterize an announcement of intent from Leicester. It might be a constructive step in difficult the ‘bottlers’ narrative and set them up completely for what is about to be a really mad climax to the season.