The wheels have finally fallen off the Leicester City wagon after two consecutive defeats and alarm bells are ringing, or are they? As we enter the final international break of the year, fans are bracing themselves for a slow-down of the ‘Marescalator’. Many fans engaged on various social media platforms, will recognise the meltdowns from the last couple of seasons. In recognition of this sentiment, Ric Flair from the Big Strong Leicester Boys podcast said “We’ve got our Leicester back”.
Amidst all the moaning and relative meltdown, it is time to take a step back and really consider whether there is any cause for concern. If anyone saw #LCFC Twitter after the loss at Middlesbrough, you would be forgiven for thinking we were in another relegation battle. Some of the things I saw included comparisons of Enzo Maresca with season four Brendan Rodgers, as well as a couple of fans questioning whether he should be sacked.
To all the naysayers, I would just encourage you to look at the Championship table. Leicester City still lie top of the league, albeit with a smaller cushion than they had a couple of weeks ago. The points record may be harder to achieve, but that is still realistically possible, as is winning the league. Leicester City won nine games in a row, impressive given the gruelling nature of the Championship. It is simply unrealistic to expect such winning streaks to indefinitely continue, hence why an achievement such as Arsenal’s ‘Invincibles’ remains so impressive.
Whilst LCFC haven’t been brilliant for a few weeks, the performances in the last couple of games have probably not merited two defeats. Leicester City have played two of the toughest fixtures and lost due to a scrappy rebound and a brilliant free-kick. These things happen in the course of a season and must not be taken out of context. Equally, LCFC never look like conceding more than one goal or losing total control of games. Moreover, the goals conceded have been unfortunate but do not suggest any inherent tactical flaws that need radical change.
Perhaps more concerning is the lack of cutting-edge in attack. Since the Swansea City game, Leicester City have laboured in creating and finishing off clear-cut chances. Neither Jamie Vardy nor Kelechi Iheanacho have looked particularly convincing at leading the line, with Iheanacho dropping some especially poor performances recently. Other players such as Stephy Mavididi have also been inconsistent, but again humans are imperfect creatures. Footballers and managers are no different, despite how we may view some of them.
Yes, there can be concerns about how the squad might adapt at a higher level. That is something that still cannot be judged so early on in the season. Even so, the time for such forward-thinking must not overshadow the present demands of the Championship.
Leicester City are more than capable of getting out of this division at a canter. There has been little sustained evidence to suggest that this is not still the case. Whilst if any club were to royally mess up, it would be the Foxes, LCFC fans must trust in Enzo Maresca to deliver an instant return to the top flight.