Leicester City’s top four hopes hitting a rocky patch
Although Leicester made the scoreline close against West Ham, the reality is their 3-2 defeat didnt tell the tale of how dominant their opponents were
Although Leicester City made the scoreline close against West Ham United, the reality is that their 3-2 defeat did not tell the true tale of how dominant their opponents were throughout the game. In a fixture that had huge implications in the race for Champions League qualification, Leicester put up a meek display and allowed West Ham to walk all over them, establishing a 3-0 lead after just 48 minutes. Kelechi Iheanacho’s late double made the result more respectable for Leicester, but in truth the game was over after Jesse Lingard’s first-half brace.
There is plenty of head-scratching for Brendan Rodgers to do following that disappointing defeat, with Leicester’s position in the Premier League top 4 odds now under threat, with Chelsea and Liverpool having both picked up three points at the weekend. The Foxes only just missed out on Champions League qualification last season – could there be more heartache on the way for Rodgers’ side?
The Leicester boss certainly wasn’t helped by the actions of James Maddison, Ayoze Perez and Hamza Choudhury, who were left out of the squad for the West Ham game after breaching covid-19 restrictions by attending a house party. It was irresponsible behaviour, and it’s fair to say that the trio let their team down in the build-up to the West Ham game.
“We’re a club that has a set of values. If we fall below that, then there is always a consequence,” Rodgers explained. “There is no animosity, nothing like that, but we have a value to how we work on a daily basis and how we prepare for games. If anyone falls short of that, then we have to move on without them.”
It’s clear that Leicester missed those players, and the controversy it created clearly had an effect on the team. However, Rodgers’ job is to ensure his players are in the right frame of mind for each match, and it’s clear that Leicester were completely off the boil from the first whistle at the London Stadium on Sunday.
Maddison in particular was a big miss, as the 24-year-old has the ability to change games. If he had been on the field, then Rodgers would have believed that his team had a route back into the match, even at 2-0 down, but his side looked toothless and lacked creativity in attacking areas.
Leicester have won just two of their last six league matches, and there is a familiar pattern emerging in terms of the team losing their way slightly as the season reaches the final stretch. The Foxes ran out of legs slightly last term having once looked a dead-cert to finish in the top four, and Rodgers will be wary of the same thing happening again this season.
It’s up to the Northern Irishman to foster a strong sense of togetherness within the squad as they gear up for the home straight of this Premier League campaign. It’s going to be a hard-fought battle for those top four places, with plenty of teams still in contention. For supporters of the Midlands club, they’ll be hoping that Rodgers and his players have learned the lessons of last season – that the high standards set earlier in the campaign must be maintained all the way through. Otherwise they risk yet more disappointment when push comes to shove in the Premier League.