Leicester City suffered their second loss on the trot, falling to Middlesbrough by a score of 1-0 at the Riverside on Saturday afternoon. The hosts had the better chances in the first half, but neither side could find a breakthrough. A Sam Greenwood free kick finally broke the deadlock with less than ten minutes remaining as the Foxes couldn’t find a way through the Boro back line.
After a lousy first half, the Foxes seemed to be wearing Middlesbrough down in the second period. Leicester had multiple good chances and even hit the post before Greenwood’s strike turned the match on its head. After that, Michael Carrick’s side did very well to keep City at arm’s length for the last ten minutes of the match.
This match was a real head-scratcher. Boro were the better side in the first half but offered absolutely nothing after the break. The Foxes had a hatful of clear-cut chances but couldn’t finish a single one and a free kick from long-range gave the Teesiders the three points. It wasn’t a disastrous performance, but it certainly wasn’t the reaction we were (or the gaffer) expecting after losing to Leeds a week ago Friday.
If you’re a little concerned, you’re not alone. There’s a sense the league have sussed out Maresca’s system and we’re going to have to adjust. The attack was very static and the runs by the central midfield were ineffective. You’d expect the best chances to come from turnovers, which was the case. It’s just worrying that the only chances cames from turnover.
The defeat leaves us on 39 points from 16 matches. With Ipswich’s triumph over Swansea today, it’s only goal differential that’s keeping us top of the table. We go into the international break with a lot to work on, having lost the last two matches and looking far from invincible. After the break, we host Watford on 25 November. We wrap up the month’s schedule the following Wednesday with a visit to Hillsborough to face Sheffield Wednesday.
Leicester City: Mads Hermansen, Hamza Choudhury, Wout Faes, Jannik Vestergaard, James Justin, Ricardo Pereira (C), Harry Winks, Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall, Kasey McAteer, Stephy Mavididi, Kelechi Iheanacho
Middlesbrough: Seny Dieng, Paddy McNair, Dael Fry, Lukas Ahlefeld Engel, Rav van den Berg, Matt Crooks, Hayden Hackney, Jonathan Howson, Josh Coburn, Sam Greenwood. Isaiah Jones
Key Moments and Notes
1’- The teamsheet suggested that Ricardo might be the pivot with Winks slotting in as a #8, but the teamsheet was a dirty liar. Ricardo is playing alongside KDH with Winks screening the back line.
9’- Close! Boro come close to opening the scoring. Howson whips across goal from distance and Coburn has completely lost his marker. If he can get a boot to it, it’s in the net, but he just can’t get the footwork right and it rolls out of play.
10’- McAteer stands up a brilliant cross to the far post. KDH turns it back across the face of the goal, but Iheanacho is uncharacteristically slow to react and Boro clear. I’ve really missed McAteer.
17’- A loose back pass is picked off by Ricardo. He’s in the box but the covering defenders arrive before the run of any Leicester attacker. The Portugal man tries his luck with his left foot, but the keeper has it covered.
20’- How has the referee missed that? Dewsbury-Hall plays an incredible through ball for Justin to chase. van den Barg chases him down and slides into a challenge. He misses the ball by, and I am not exaggerating, a full yard and scythes down the fullback. The referee sees nothing wrong, which suggests strongly that he was blinded by light or something.
32’- Close! Mavididi’s run past van den Berg allows him to tee up KDH. The ball is deflected out for a corner which Dewsbury-Hall takes. Vestergaard gets great contact on it, but Dieng makes a fine, diving save to keep the match goalless. A prelude to the opening of the floodgates?
38’- It’s not happening for Iheanacho so far today. He looks off the pace in every sense.
43’- Winks brings down Jones from behind and picks up a yellow. That’s his fifth, so he’ll miss the Watford match after the break.
44’- Close! McAteer is dispossessed on the edge of his own box by Crooks. He gets the return ball from Coburn and he’s all alone in front of Hermansen. His shot is directly at the grateful keeper.
45’- Close! Boro are well on top now. Crooks gets a shot off from a difficult angle and Hermansen can only parry it. Vestergaard put it out for a corner and it’s Mads to the rescue again. He gets a strong hand to a near-post glancing header to keep the match level at the break.
Wow not sure what to say after that half it’s all a bit messy today,— Leicester Fan TV Tom (@Tom_LFTV) November 11, 2023
HALF-TIME: Middlesbrough 0 - 0 Leicester City
48’- No changes at the half, but the Foxes have regained control of the match. A loose back pass allows Iheanacho to tap the ball into the path of KDH. Unfortunately, it’s a dreadful effort from the midfielder who hoofs it to the veldt. He should have hit the target or squared for Mavididi.
56’- The referee is having a real shocker today. He’s calling some incredibly fussy fouls and missing some pretty obvious ones. I don’t get the sense either side have been favoured, it’s just wildly inconsistent.
58’- Abdul Fatawu comes on for McAteer, a change I’m certain we all expected. Kasey looked sharp in his return. Once Yunus returns, we’re going to have a real glut of options on the right.
70’- It’s very physical and very, very slopping. Yet another loose backpass is picked off by a Leicester attacker. This time it’s Mavididi, who only needs a good first touch to have an open net to shoot at. It’s not a good first touch and the chance is lost.
76’- Close! Diang gives the ball away to Fatawu. He finds Ricardo who puts it on a plate for Iheanacho. His first-time effort looks like it’s going to ripple the back of the net, but Diang just turns it out for a corner.
79’- Close! Justin makes a lung-busting run down the left and pulls it back for Ricardo. The captain shapes to shoot but instead plays a reverse ball to Iheanacho. The Seniorman chips it over the keeper, but it comes back off the upright.
82’- GOAL! Choudhury flies into a challenge 30 yards from the Leicester goal and gets the yellow card he’s been chasing all night. Greenwood lines up the free kick and it’s perfect: Over the wall, curling away from Hermansen, off the post, and in.
85’- Jamie Vardy comes on for Choudhury, giving the Foxes two strikers on the pitch. There’s a phantom forest of red shirts behind the ball now. Someone needs to stand up and take control of this match for City.
90’- Four minutes of time of stoppage time will be played. Jones wins the ball by grabbing Mavididi’s shirt and spinning him around, but the referee sees nothing wrong with it.
90+4- My father always said of me that I had patience when patience was called for, and patience when urgent action was called for. That’s Leicester right now, and the match just fizzles until the final whistle. I remain confident that we’ll trade the poppies of November for the roses of May, but we need to find another gear.
Again, let’s hold the meltdown.— Jamie Thorpe (@thorpie54) November 11, 2023
They’ve scored a world class free kick out of no where in a game where we created more than enough to win it.
Boro celebrate but know they’ve needed more than a stroke of luck to get 3 points.
That’s a little more optimistic than my take, Jamie.
FULL TIME: Middlesbrough 1 - 0 Leicester City