Slow to react to change the game
At half-time many of us in the ground were discussing whether it had been a good first half or not; some spectators credited the team’s containment strategy and others frustrated at the lack of attacking flair. Following the game, Brendan Rodgers made this admission about the first-half performance:
"“First half, defensively, we were too passive, which surprised me. Our idea, like it is most weeks, was to be really aggressive, but we were too passive, and that ended up us being passive when we had the ball.”"
The man that matters wasn’t happy, but sent the same players back out for the second half with nothing more than stern advice. Thirty seconds into the second period, a meek Leicester City had missed three opportunities to aggressively press and tackle before Gabriel Martinelli raced through and slotted home what turned out to be the winning goal. We then sat through 17 more minutes of the same passive football that Rodgers later bemoaned.
It’s increasingly baffling and predictable to see the Northern Irishman wait until the hour mark to make changes to the game when they are needed much sooner. To prove that point further, when Youri Tielemans and Jamie Vardy entered the pitch on 62 minutes, the Foxes pressed from the front and won the ball back in dangerous areas giving the home faithful a few moments of excitement. This quelled Arsenal’s attacking threat completely. Frequently Brendan Rodgers keeps to type and makes substitutions at exactly the same time in every match: he let Leicester go 3-0 down at Old Trafford before changing the side around the hour mark. Either he is worried about upsetting the players or wants to give them all 60 minutes for an unknown reason. There are five subs permitted now – there’s no reason to hold back.