Leicester City’s poor start to the season looked to be turned around by another decent FA Cup run, with a local derby against Nottingham Forest before a home tie against Championship opposition Huddersfield.
However, the game got off to an electric start with both sides putting themselves about, the tie changed when two goals in 90 seconds saw the FA Cup holders two behind. Goals from loanee Philip Zinckernagel and Welsh youngster Brennan Johnson.
City’s misery was deeper compiled by a Joe Worrall header seven minutes later to put the hosts three-nil up.
Leicester’s Kelechi Iheanacho pulled one back after Brice Samba’s moment of madness just before the break, however young right back Djed Spence would put the game to bed with a neat finish on the hour mark.
The result means holders Leicester fail to make the fifth round of the competition, whilst their opposition will be there for the first time in eight years.
More defensive worries for the foxes
A problem still yet to be addressed by Foxes boss Brendan Rodgers, as more goals were shipped very easily.
All four goals were avoidable for the away side, with poor defending by Daniel Amartey for the first and a dodgy back pass for the second. Once again, another corner as well for the third and a simple one-two for the final goal.
The Ghanaian looked a shadow of how he performed in the Premier League against Brighton two weeks ago, alongside that of another very poor performance from Caglar Söyüncü leaves Leicester with questions of who starts away at Anfield on Thursday.
Many Foxes fans are calling for the Turk to be dropped from the side for Hamza Choudhury who performed well in that position in January, also news was announced that Wesley Fofana will return to full training in a week’s time after sustaining a leg break in pre-season.
This was the eighth time this season Leicester has conceded three or more goals, including six against Man City and four against West Ham and now Forest.
Leicester also top the charts for goals conceded from corners this season, despite Rodgers stating it’s a concern he is looking into. There seem to be no changes in this department for the Foxes, and a quiet January transfer window seems to suggest the problems defensively as a whole are here to stay.
No fight, no passion, no determination
Did Leicester have a natural leader out on the pitch? No.
Who was out there to pick the team up after conceding two quick goals? No one.
Youri Tielemans was selected as City’s captain for the game despite recent news about him not committing his long-term future to the club and looks set for a summer move away from the midlands. Fans were quick to point out this on social media and how they thought he couldn’t lead the side.
Who else could’ve stepped in?
Well, to be fair, in the starting XI no one stands out as a prime contender, no one with previous captain experience or someone who showed leadership qualities week in week out.
Leicester’s injuries have a part to play as players like Jamie Vardy and Jonny Evans spend time on the sidelines and Danny Ward the preferred keeper in the cup competitions leaves all natural leaders out of the matchday squad.
This was clear to see in the stands as the players looked depleted, unsure of what to do and had no one around them to get them firing again, and it goes back to the old age saying of whoever wants it more will win the game.
Foxes struggling to transition from back to front
Despite having 62% possession and 190 more completed passes, Leicester struggled to pose any great danger to the Forest goal. Söyüncü (72), Wilfred Ndidi (60) and Amartey (55) racked up the most passes for the Foxes, showing the ball was being played around the defensive areas rather than progressing forwards.
In contrast, Leicester’s four attacking players on the day only accumulated 61 passes in total and were unable to register one big chance in the whole game. (All stats via FotMob).
A key player in this transition is normally James Maddison, who has registered six goals and three assists this season (via Premier League). Despite his delightful outside the foot pass to assist Leicester’s only goal, he was subdued by the Forest midfield.
This isn’t the first time this season either, when Leicester are not at their best chance creation becomes a real problem, with no Vardy in the side who could develop a change from nothing they are always going to struggle.
And with Tielemans looking set for a summer exit and Rodgers hinting at a summer overhaul, a midfielder with great attacking creativity seems a must for the Foxes to avoid more disappointing defeats.