The West Ham defeat did not show any lessons learned

There have been an incredibly high number of cases of history that have repeated themselves at King Power Stadium in recent seasons.

Whether it’s Leicester City losing their place in the Champions League on the final day two years in a row, a midfielder tormenting them at the start of this campaign as they did at the start of the last, or the same player linked to the same clubs in the last two the summers.

Fox’s faithful would also have felt a disappointing sense of deja vu leaving London Stadium on Monday night. West Ham were the only team to beat Leicester at home and away in the Premier League last season.

None of their victories last season, however, were so humiliating at the one inflicted on Monday night. Ayoze Perez’s ruthless red card may have left Leicester in the lurch, but even before he was dismissed halfway through the first half, his team’s performance had been tough.

Caglar Soyuncu and Daniel Amartey seemed to be focusing their attacks down the middle. Wilfred Ndidi and Youri Tielemans must take some of the blame for this.

Usually the pair are among the Premier League’s best at creating space to receive the ball. On Monday, a lack of energy and deceit left their defenses at odds with ideas.

When they eventually broke the lines, it was not long before West Ham’s well-organized and aggressive midfield forced Leicester to a careless mistake or goalless point up to Jamie Vardy. The Hammers’ first goal in their 4-1 win perfectly summed up the pointless Leicester approach.

After an eternity of sterile possession, Soyuncu finally managed to dart a ball into Vardy but his touch was terrible which allowed Declan Rice to knock the ball away. Rice then passed it on to Jarrod Bowen and four hands later Pablo Fornals had swept the ball past Kasper Schmeichel.

West Ham’s counterattack was impressive and was only stopped by a shocking foul. Michail Antonio then set up an exhibition with mid-forward mastery to ensure that defeat crossed the threshold of humiliation.

It was one of the worst shows of the Rodgers era. And what was most frustrating was that Leicester did not seem to have learned a single lesson from their failed duels with the Hammers last season.

In the first match – a 3-0 defeat at King Power Stadium – Leicester held 69%. But just like on Monday, the vast majority of the obsolete variety was with Leicester posting an xG value of just 0.4.

The goals they conceded were as avoidable as the goals on Monday as well; the first an Antonio header, the second a long ball over the top finished by the Fornals and the third a sharp counterattack.

Further similarities can be found when analyzing the return game, a 3-2 defeat that only looked respectable after a stoppage time goal from Kelechi Iheanacho. Once again, Leicester dominated possession but did not move the ball at a high enough pace or purpose to unlock Hammer’s defense.

They were penalized by a clinical West Ham, which surpassed their xG by 1.9. Analyzing the three goals, defensive mistakes and a terrifying inability to defend their opponents’ passing threats appear as a sore thumb, as well as a lack of chances – Leicester recorded an xG of just 0.9 that afternoon.

James Maddison did not get much service / Craig Mercer / MB Media / Getty Images

So if Rodgers knew what problems Leicester could face the Hammers – lack of creativity in midfield and the threat of counterattacks – why did he seem to do nothing about it?

It seems like Monday night may have been the perfect time to introduce Boubakary Soumare, who is brilliant at catching the ball in deep areas and finding the killer pass. Again, Leicester’s problems were not just in the staff they exhibited. Kasper Schmeichel aside, every Leicester player showed fuzzy thinking and seriously lacked ideas.

It was an out-of-sorts and naive display and Rodger’s fees – as well as the coach himself – should be expected to offer much better when West Ham return to King Power Stadium on February 12 next year.

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More