After an international break, we find ourselves right back into the regular course of events with plenty of football to digest. For Leicester City, they found themselves on the losing end last Saturday in a 3-0 loss against Chelsea. Quite predictably, the Foxes responded with a strong performance in a midweek 1-0 victory over FC Copenhagen in the Champions League on Tuesday.
Premier League form
Let’s just get this out of the way first and recognize this – the form of the Foxes has looked dramatically different between the Premier League and Champions League. Over the weeks, many questions of what could be done to help remedy the changes have been postulated, but thus far, the Foxes continue to struggle to find the electric form of last season.
Numerically, if we take a look at what we see in results, we can see their struggles. The Foxes have conceded thirteen goals away from home thus far. Comparatively, Leicester City did not reach this point last season until their January 16th match against Aston Villa. Granted – the competition faced over that span was not as high a caliber as seen this season, though matches against Tottenham (twice), Liverpool and Everton were scattered amongst the results. Additionally, through eight total matches, the Foxes have seen almost sixty-six percent decrease in goals scored – six goals vs. 17 comparatively.
We can theorize all that we want as to the root of the issue – midfield changes, everyone wanting to give the reigning champions their best shot, etc. We could go on and on. The bottom line is that numbers do not lie. The decrease in goals scored is less concerning – the Foxes can score goals, and at the very least, are quite good at working out 1-0 wins. What is concerning is the goals allowed this season – that is something that needs to be worked out, particularly away from home. The side must find a way to strengthen defensively away from the friendly confines of the KP Stadium. It is essential that the Foxes rediscover their road form.
What to do when on the road?
That leads to the follow up question: how does the problem get resolved? The answer is simple – it is time for the Tinkerman to tinker. Probably the greatest thing that Raneiri did last season was developing a strong consistent lineup for the side. The side gelled together, became a model of consistency and played exciting football. However, all things considered, the utopian state of the lineup has passed.
There are many ways that we could see changes made, but the biggest area where something needs to give comes on the defensive side of the ball. Changes such as players on the pitch, adjustments to responsibilities for particular players while in the side, or even an overhaul to the formation entirely. All possibilities need be considered, as something needs to be adjusted to solidified the Foxes’ defense.
Plenty still to be happy about
Enough doom and gloom, as there is still plenty to celebrate this week. Look at the warm and loving moment in the photo above. With the 1-0 victory over FC Copenhagen, the Foxes find themselves at the top of their group with nine points out of nine. Not only are they undefeated in the Champions League, but are yet to concede a goal. It has been a brilliant performance for the Foxes so far, and one that all supporters should be wildly happy about.
There are those out there that have been attributing the Foxes success to the group they are in. Is this group the strongest in the Champions League this season? No. That being said, that is no reason to diminish what the Foxes have done. As we all know, this is the club’s first trip to the Champions League, and to be top of the group with all nine points and no goals conceded is remarkable. It should be celebrated and cherished.
Simply put, opportunity knocked and the Foxes opened that door. They have been remarkable in their play and results in the Champions League. Even with this competition being the sides main priority right now (an assertion that Ranieri has made), the Champions League could have another important role to play, and serve as inspiration for their play in the Premier League. At the end of the day, let us not forget that with a bit more hard work and persistence in upcoming fixtures, the Foxes are ever so close to moving into the round of sixteen. How about that?
Up Next: The Foxes will host the Eagles, as Crystal Palace visits the KP Stadium on Saturday.