Brendan Rodgers’ Leicester tactics: inverting full-backs and a defensive four

Leicester City's Brendan Rodgers (R), James Justin (L) (Photo by BEN STANSALL/AFP via Getty Images)
Leicester City's Brendan Rodgers (R), James Justin (L) (Photo by BEN STANSALL/AFP via Getty Images) /
2 of 3
Leicester City
Levi Garcia of AEK Athens and Luke Thomas of Leicester City (Photo by James Williamson – AMA/Getty Images) /

The versatility – and most importantly mobility – of Ndidi allows Rodgers to toy with this intriguing full-back setup. Depending on the side of play, the Nigerian would drop deep and operate in the full-backs natural positioning (either the left-back or right-back) creating a brief back three – with Evans and Fofana. This opened up the passing lane into the wingers, Harvey Barnes and Cengiz Ünder, whilst the full-backs would invert and play centrally – this caused problems for AEK Athens as their midfielders didn’t know whether to track the full-backs or press Ndidi. In turn, creating a lot of space in the centre of the pitch for Leicester.

In the final third, the Foxes found a lot of joy through the half-spaces. Dennis Praet, who I thought was fairly quiet throughout the proceedings, is very good at underlapping the wingers and receiving the ball at the byline. Unfortunately for Leicester City, Praet was deployed as the attacking-midfielder, just behind frontman, Kelechi Iheanacho, so with the Belgian operating in the wide half-spaces there was a lack of penetrative runs from midfield – into, or on the edge, of the box.

This resulted in a lot of the cut-backs from the byline being intercepted and cleared. The primary option in the box was Iheanacho, so whenever the opportunity arose for a cut-back, the ball would be aimed for inside the six-yard box, instead, had there of been an attack-minded run from the midfield (perhaps Youri Tielemans) the ball could’ve been dragged to the edge for a better shooting opportunity.

However, that’s being fairly pedantic as Leicester City played some exceptional, intricate football -particularly down the left, and were fully deserving of the win. There was also some moments from Turkish-international, Ünder, who highlighted his proficiency at dribbling and dazzling – even if his final-third decision-making did let him down.