1) Buckle up, this is going to be another weird Premier League season
This one picked itself. Especially that after beating Man City last week and looking so weak against West Ham, we were still one of the least interesting talking points of the weekend. I mean we all know it’s the Leicester way to look entirely Jekyll and Hyde from one week to the next. Luckily between Manchester United and Liverpool, the media had more than enough to focus on and leave us alone.
It poses an interesting season ahead though if things continue the way they’ve begun. Everton are the only team to win all four opening games [editor’s note: no, Villa don’t count]. The traditional big boys have all struggled at least once, maybe with Halloween coming up somebody hexed every Premier League defence? Lots of teams haven’t recruited the way they’ve wanted, most would have preferred a longer break and no manager can be excited about yet another poorly timed international break?
What I’m getting at is that it’s a little frustrating that we picked this game week to be lacklustre. Yes, Brendan Rodgers’ hands were tied somewhat in terms of team selection, but in what looks like yet another unpredictable season, it would have been nice to stamp our mark on it and pull ahead of the teams we’d expect to be fighting for positions with. Foxes fans are used to a rollercoaster ride for our own team, but the whole league has had a fun-fair feel to it so far. And it’s probably not stopping any time soon!
2) Football is cruel; aka Daniel Amartey really has no luck
What the Foxes really didn’t need was any more injuries. Nobody deserved to pick one up less than Daniel Amartey either. Football can be so cruel, particularly given Amartey has only just really got back to it after the last, horrific injury. This one looks to be a more simple hamstring injury and hopefully won’t cost him too much time.
It looks like his hamstring, but we’ll get confirmation in the next couple of days - the manager didn’t have a lot of details to give
It was particularly untimely when Amartey was probably the best of the defensive bunch for Leicester. This was not an assured defensive display. Caught napping, making silly mistakes and generally not doing enough to take the obvious threat of Antonio out of the game, we paid the price with three goals, all of which demonstrated some unforgivable marking, or cover. Amartey played a bit of centre-back and a bit of right-back prior to his injury. It’s going to be an anxious wait to find out the extent of the injury.
Every player is entitled to a bad game, it’s just bad luck that all back-line decided to have one at the same time. After so perfectly executing tactics against Manchester City, we had the tables turned by a fairly entertaining West Ham side.
3) The new boys are in town and the timing is perfect
Hopefully this display showed both Wesley Fofana and Cengiz Ünder that there are places still up for grabs in this team. It would have been too early to drop Fofana in, though really he probably wouldn’t have done a worse job, but with this defensive set-up not working for us, it’ll be interesting to see if Fofana is the long-term partner that Çağlar Söyüncü needs.
We got to see a cameo though from Cengiz Ünder, who replaced the injured Amartey. The Turkish winger hadn’t featured for Roma in their season start, so it’s not a huge surprise that he doesn’t look 100% match-fit yet, but it was a glimpse for those who didn’t see much of him in Serie A.
There was one misstep that Rodgers can hopefully iron out. Under pressure from Ogbonna, Ünder went down a little too easily and was rightly ignored by the referee. He’ll need to adjust to the more physical side of the Premier League, in a similar way to James Maddison early on. It’s early days, but you can see why Rodgers went for the Turkish international. He’s different to our other wingers, that much was clear despite the Foxes generally struggling creatively against West Ham. Although that’s precisely the reason we’ve brought somebody like Ünder in.
4) Calm and composed passing was in short supply
Anybody else miss Dennis Praet? It felt pretty glaringly obvious from where I was sitting. Yes, not having Maddison available either when we’re still without Wilfred Ndidi and Ricardo is painful, but it was Praet we missed most against a side like West Ham.
The Belgian has been a standout so far. His calm, composed and pretty much always forward passing has helped us get goals and formed part of the impressive attacking threat. One we definitely didn’t have yesterday until too late on. Praet couldn’t shake the knee injury that forced him off at Manchester City and boy, it showed that we missed him. Ayoze Perez was touted as his replacement but struggled yesterday for sure. It’s never a lack of effort from him but it’s really not working this campaign. He’s also definitely not a Praet-like player, like putting a square peg in a round hole.
Youri Tielemans has also had a great start for Leicester, but perhaps more of that should be attributed to having Mendy and Praet around him to free him up. He wasn’t as influential against the Hammers either. The Foxes lacked the killer passing in the final third and another body to break up the West Ham play. International breaks tend to cause more injury problems than they resolve, but this should be just a one game absence for Praet, thankfully.
5) VAR be damned, that Barnes goal was worked perfectly
Hampered for a few minutes by our general creative struggles, when he did break into it, Harvey Barnes was a positive point in an otherwise challenging game. He did look a danger when he got forward and while he will rue one misplaced shot, he’s unlucky that he didn’t finish the game with another goal to his tally.
It was a gorgeous piece of play between Barnes and a few of our players before he converted. It’s just unfortunate that one of those players was Jamie Vardy, whose arm was not onside. It was far too little, too late, but it was nice to see such nice interplay even if it didn’t count.
Bonus Learn: I presume we mostly got a photo of James Maddison in the stand to help stamp out, or fuel, those resurrected Manchester United transfer rumours. However, it did prove that Maddison and Wes Morgan might be going halves on red tracksuits, but that more importantly, even at Sunday football, Dennis Praet is catwalk ready. Friendly reminder to the Foxes media team, you still haven’t utilised this man in a photoshoot!