Home Opinion and Features OPINION: Foxes reeling in top four finish

OPINION: Foxes reeling in top four finish

79
SHARE

With games against Aston Villa, Arsenal, Brighton, and Sheffield United coming up, Leicester have a good opportunity to firmly grasp a top-four finish.

UNVEILED: Brendan Rodgers. Photo: LEE SMITH/REUTERS

BRENDAN Rodgers has truly established himself as a top manager and Leicester are truly a top-four side. The Foxes outplayed Liverpool last weekend and the win would have been a good relief for Rodgers as he was outplayed in his other three tussles against Jurgen Klopp as Leicester boss.

Though Liverpool went into the game with an injury crisis, with Virgil Van Dijk, Joe Gomez, Joel Matip, and Diogo Jota absent, the Foxes had their own injury concerns and had to make do without James Justin, Timothy Castagne, Dennis Praet, and Wesley Fofana.

Rather than complain about his injury problems, Rodgers has maintained consistent results by tweaking his side and tactics depending on the opposition that he comes up against.

Leicester also have one of the best player recruitment systems in England, though they have had their fair share of flops. After they won the league in the 2015/16 season, many would have expected them to fade away, to be honest.

The most recent star who they have successfully replaced is Ben Chilwell who joined Chelsea prior to the start of this season. The latest star that they have created and who has replaced Chilwell is James Justin, brought in from Luton Town in 2019.

Bar the names of Jamie Vardy and goalkeeper Kaspar Schmeichel, the Leicester teams for most key games are virtually unrecognisable from their teams which started in their Premier League title-winning season.

One of Rodgers’ aims should be to find a long-term successor to Vardy, now 34. Under Rodgers, the Foxes are a possession-based team who play the ball from the back and combine it with counter-attacking play which is dependent on Vardy’s movement.

Brendan Rodgers. Photo: JUAN MEDINA/REUTERS

This movement of Vardy’s will start to decline over the coming years and someone young and more agile must be brought in to succeed him. While Kelechi Iheanacho is a decent squad rotation option, the Nigerian has not proved that he is good enough to lead the line consistently for a top club, neither at the King Power Stadium nor at previous club Manchester City.

Leicester are in good form and are capable of beating any side in the league. However, one of their weaknesses is that they are often guilty of gifting opponents too much space which is why they have lost against the likes of Leeds United and Fulham.

Another failing of theirs’ is defensive lapses which make them vulnerable to set-pieces and early goals. We saw this last season when they looked destined for a top-four finish before a paltry run of three wins from their last 10 games allowed Manchester United to sneak into the top four at the last minute.

Rodgers’ side’s lack of size was made quite evident towards the end of last season but he looks to have worked around it this season.

With games against Aston Villa, Arsenal, Brighton, and Sheffield United coming up, Leicester have a good opportunity to firmly grasp a top-four finish this season.