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Match Report: AFC Bournemouth 2 - 1 Leicester City

Foxes have no answer for the imperious Dominic Solanke

AFC Bournemouth v Leicester City - Premier League Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images

Leicester City came from ahead to fall to Bournemouth by a score of 2-1 on the south coast on Saturday afternoon. Patson Daka gave the Foxes the lead after just ten minutes, but the Cherries responded with two goals in four minutes in the second period to doom City to their (approximately) ten millionth away defeat on the trot.

Siri, show me a tweet that aged badly. Or, perhaps, show me a tweet that aged all too well.

Manager Brendan Rodgers made two changes to the side that throttled Nottingham Forest on Monday. Wilfred Ndidi missed out due to an injury, and goal scorer Patson Daka was preferred to Jamie Vardy in attack: Danny Ward, Timothy Castagne, Johnny Evans (C), Wout Faes, James Justin, Youri Tielemans, Boubakary Soumare, Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall, James Maddison, Harvey Barnes, Daka.

The early going made for scrappy watching, which wasn't a surprise given the recent form of these two clubs. Both sides struggled to string passes together while looking a little shaky at the back. It promised to be a matchup of the moveable object vs. the resistible force.

The Foxes took the lead on ten minutes through the rampant Daka. Castagne received the ball in hectares of space on the right. His cross was cut out, but it came back to the Belgian fullback. He found Tielemans who had ages to line up his cross. It curled towards Daka, but was cleared to Barnes on the edge of the area. The winger attempted a snapshot which failed to find its way through the forest of bodies in the area, but it landed at Daka’s feet. The Zambia striker turned smartly and smashed the ball inside the near post to give the Foxes the lead.

Dunno why I described it in such detail when there was video available.

The Cherries attempted to respond quickly and, honestly, they probably should have reaped a reward for their efforts. The hosts carved out several good chances but, puzzlingly, they chose one more pass when a shot would have been the better option. Ryan Christie had several opportunities but when he did get his shot off, it was invariably directly at Ward.

Near the end of the half, Ryan Fredericks received the ball in the area and went over under pressure from Evans. The defender appealed for a penalty and the whistle blew, but it was for simulation. What looked a penalty in real time was instead Fredericks going down even though Evans pulled out of the challenge. The referee gave the Bournemouth man a yellow for his efforts.

The Foxes weren’t exactly comfortable, but the Evans/Faes partnership held firm and Leicester were able to launch to occasional counter from the back. Castagne was finding space every time on the right, but Madders and Barnes were finding it tough going in the centre and on the left. City were in control when the halftime whistle blew, but not exactly threatening to extend their lead.

Neither manager saw fit to make any changes at the half. Unchanged personnel meant an unchanged run of play. The Cherries won a series of set pieces in the first quarter-hour of the half, none of which produced anything threatening. This was both a mark of how much more secure we look on set pieces and how poor Bournemouth were at delivering them.

Just after the hour, Rodgers made a double substitution, withdrawing Daka and Castagne in favour of Jamie Vardy and Daniel Amartey. In less than one minute, the hosts had an equaliser. Dominic Solanke absolutely skinned Faes following a throw-in. The former Liverpool striker ran in behind the defence, drifted across the area, and fired a shot that came off Faes. It bounced straight to the onrushing Philip Billing who smashed home from close range.

AFC Bournemouth v Leicester City - Premier League - Vitality Stadium
Not pictured: A defensive midfielder tracking Billing’s run.
Photo by Adam Davy/PA Images via Getty Images

Three minutes later, the Cherries were on top. The hosts broke down the left following a saved Barnes effort. Billing looped in a cross towards Solanke, who out-muscled Amartey and nodded it into the path of Christie. The former Celtic man just had to direct the ball into the net, which he did, and the Foxes found themselves on the wrong end of the scoreline for the first time in the match.

AFC Bournemouth v Leicester City - Premier League
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Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images

With a quarter-hour to go, Kelechi Iheanacho came on for Soumare. The Foxes went into their “patient desperation” mode we’ve grown accustomed to seeing where they faff about for a bit and then when they try to turn up the pace, the players involved aren’t on the same page and give the ball away cheaply.

With five minutes of regular time remaining, Rodgers withdrew Justin and threw Ayoze Perez into the fray. The formation looked very much like something Eric Cantona might have devised in a fever dream, or, at least, it might have had the Foxes been able to get their feet to the ball. The Cherries managed to hold on to the ball for the remaining regular time and well into injury time.

Bournemouth had the ball in the back of the net deep into injury time, but both players involved in the attack were a good two yards offside. Iheanacho finally got his first touch in the 95th minute, but it was his only touch as he immediately gave the ball away. It was very much that kind of afternoon.

I cannot tell you how much it pains me to say this, but Bournemouth were the better side today. Watching their defence fall back into two organised banks every time we brought the ball forward was a thing of beauty. We were a bit fortunate to score given the paucity of chances and the Cherries were unfortunate not of have scored more often.

The really disappointing thing is that both goals were down to Faes and Amartey losing individual battles with...Dominic Solanke. If your defence can’t handle Dominic Solanke, your defence just isn’t very good. Not only did we lose the individual battles, but there was no cover. It was just a poor, poor outing. We created next to nothing and we were caught out way too easily.

If you’re a glutton for punishment like I am, I’m sure you’ll enjoy this as-it-stands table from the 65’ mark.

The defeat leaves us on 4 points from 9 matches, 19th on the table and ahead of Forest on goal differential. Next Saturday morning, we host Jeff Schlupp and Crystal Palace at the King Power. After that, Leeds United visit on the following Thursday.

The table after the 90’. Not quite as pleasant to look at.