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Leicester City’s inability to keep back door bolted hindering efforts to kick front one open

Leicester City were always going to find it difficult to repeat their Premier League title-winning heroics from 2015-16 in the years that followed, with odds upset in remarkable fashion by a side that claimed an unlikely domestic crown under Claudio Ranieri.

Brendan Rodgers has got as close as anybody to replicating that success at the King Power Stadium, with FA Cup and Community Shield triumphs enjoyed under his stewardship. The Foxes have, however, taken another alarming step backwards in 2022-23.

The Need for Continuous Cohesion

Rather than pushing themselves into contention for more major honours, Leicester are looking anxiously over collective shoulders at a congested relegation battle. They still have work to do in order to keep collective heads above water, and it won’t have gone unnoticed by those looking to make sports bets in Zambia that they are currently priced at 4/1 for the drop.

A Zambia international will be hoping to help them steer a course to safety, but Patson Daka has found the going tougher in English football than he did during a 68-goal stint in Austria with RB Salzburg.

Leicester really need him to find a spark, having only just ticked into double figures across all competitions last season, but his efforts in the final third rely on those at the opposite end of the field doing their job. On too many occasions of late, Rodgers’ men have been shooting themselves in the foot.

There is plenty of experience and height in their defensive ranks, but defending set-pieces has proved to be a serious issue. Whether favouring a zonal or man-to-man system, the ability to fend off the threat posed by corners and freekicks often tends to separate the best from the rest.

Through 26 games in the current campaign – two-thirds of the season – only two teams were breached on more occasions than the Foxes. They average more than two goals per game conceded on the road, with clean sheets also in short supply at the King Power Stadium.

Danny Ward has not been as steady between the sticks as predecessor Kasper Schmeichel, while those immediately in front of him have picked up an unfortunate habit of making costly errors that gift golden opportunities to opponents that are more than happy to snap up such presents.

Uncertainty at the back contributes to a lack of cohesion across the field, with the most reliable of teams built on sturdy foundations. If doubts creep in across the defensive line, then everybody drops a little deeper and it becomes difficult to get out.

Get Creative

Leicester have found that out the hard way, with the creative talents of James Maddison and Co being reined in. They have also been unable to get the likes of Daka into games as often as they would have liked, with proven finishers requiring time and space in which to work – preferably inside the penalty area.

The Foxes need to find a way of striking the right balance between defence and attack, cutting out the odd mistake along the way, with the inability to keep the back door bolted preventing them from kicking the front one open and welcoming in the kind of consistency and momentum that once guided them to the very top of English football.