After yet another collapse, Leicester City find themselves looking for help from West Ham United if they want to keep their Champions League qualification. There are worse teams to count on, but not many.
It’s even more frustrating for fans that the Foxes were out of touch, at one point 9 points clear of Chelsea and 14 ahead of Manchester United.
Leicester didn’t lose Top 4 today, it was lost at Burnley, at Norwich, at Watford, v Brighton, at Bournemouth etc. No complaints ♂️. #LCFC— Arlo White (@arlowhite) July 19, 2020
The team’s fate is still technically in their own hands regardless of tomorrow night’s result, but that doesn’t feel like a very safe place for our hopes to be right now.
I understand that a lot of fans find catharsis in complaining and calling for managers to be sacked, but I just can’t get my fun that way. Call me naive, but I can’t help but look for the positives, and there have been plenty, even since the restart.
The young fullbacks
Boy does this team miss Ricardo Pereira. Does it count as a positive that he was one of the league’s best players before his injury and hopefully still will be?
No? Well just like Brendan Rodgers, we’ll have to rely on his young back up instead.
James Justin made more tackles and more ball recoveries than any other player against Watford— The LCFC Stat Man (@TheLCFCStatMan) June 21, 2020
11 Ball Recoveries #lcfc #WATLEI @jamesjustin98 pic.twitter.com/47R1FVZSmA
After some very impressive cameos and cup minutes, Justin James has been given a full time opportunity and continued to play well. There were some defensive wobbles at times, as there have been from the whole team, but I’ve been impressed by how he’s bounced back from those. He looks like a Premier League defender already.
On the other side, you probably can’t say the same about Luke Thomas, but nor should you expect him to. At just 19, the academy product has shown plenty in his first two starts at any level. Both surely have good futures ahead.
Gray finding a role
What is Demarai Gray? Does anyone really know?
If you ask resident super fan Michael Franca, he’ll tell you a star in the making. Ask any other City fan and you’re just as likely to hear that he’s nothing but wasted potential.
As a whole, this hasn’t been his best season and his minutes have dropped off to the point where he’s exclusively an impact substitute.
Since the restart though, he really has been making an impact. He came up with assists at key moments against Watford and Arsenal and iced the Sheffield United game with a finish that no one else could seem to find.
Who knows what the future holds for the still-young winger. It may not even be here, but if it is, there’s still plenty of room to believe he can be a significant contributor to a team with European aspirations.
Last year Youri Tielemans played so well in his brief loan stint that we really had no choice but to drop the £40m required to bring him in permanently.
He’s been fantastic at times this season, particularly during our 9 game winning run, but he seemed to run out of energy over Christmas and was losing his place to Dennis Praet before the break.
If there were reasons to be concerned about his long term outlook in the Premier League, I’d say he’s comfortably answered them since the restart.
Youri Tielemans and Wilfred Ndidi vs. Sheffield United— The Tactical Times (@Tactical_Times) July 16, 2020
90% Pass accuracy (90/99)
7/10 Accurate long passes
2 Chances created
2/2 Dribbles completed
23/30 Duels won
14/16 Tackles won
Just give it up. They're immovable. pic.twitter.com/cQQLABPZSk
He looks fitter and stronger than before, which might have been the catalyst to his improvements all over the pitch. He’s winning the ball more, looks harder to dispossess and is still picking out some fantastic passes.
The Foxes are really struggling with some of their best players out injured, but the midfield partnership between the Belgian and Wilfred Ndidi have been holding this piecemeal team together. When James Maddison returns next season, they should be a force to be contended with.
If the above isn’t enough for you, I prescribe the following video on repeat until you feel good about football again.
Goalscoring - it's all just a game to @Vardy7 #VardyPL100 pic.twitter.com/dMcg9oawGR— Leicester City (@LCFC) July 4, 2020