Leeds 3-1 Leicester: Three Foxes Talking Points

In front of a packed Elland Road in West Yorkshire on Friday night, the Foxes fell to their second successive defeat this time at the hands of second placed Leeds United. Here, we discuss the main talking points
A poor performance from the officials at Elland Road
A poor performance from the officials at Elland Road / ANP/GettyImages

The trip to Elland Road was always going to be a tough ask for the Foxes. Leeds had been on a terrific run having won all of their eight matches in the calendar year so far and remained unbeaten at home. As we predicted, Leicester kept virtually the same team that lost at home to Middlesborough last Saturday. The only change was that Dennis Praet dropped to the bench and Hamza Choudhury came in at full back allowing Ricardo Pereira to move into midfield. The biggest selection surprise was that Vardy didn't even make the bench. Presumably, that was the result of injury. Leeds ran out 3-1 winners scoring three goals late in the second half to cancel out Wout Faes’ early opener

Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory

A 3-1 scoreline sounds like a comprehensive victory. However, Leicester dominated large parts of the game and should have got something out of it. Indeed, they probably should have come away with all three points. That they didn’t can be easily explained. 

Firstly, the Foxes missed some really good chances in the second half that would have put them 2-0 up and coasting. Jannik Vestergaard hit the bar, Stephy Mavididi curled a shot round the post when he should have done better but that was nothing compared to Patson Daka who missed an absolute sitter a few minutes later. City’s familiar inability to see of their opponents when on top is costing them.

Secondly, Leeds were lucky. Added to Leicester's missed chances is the fact that two of their three goals took wicked deflections.

Thirdly, the officiating was poor. Craig Pawson, another distinctly average Premier League referee, missed a clear foul in the build up to the Yorkshire side’s second goal. Even worse, when Patson Daka turned the ball home after Vestergaard’s header had thumped off the woodwork, he was, incorrectly, given offside by the assistant referee. Unable to hide behind VAR in the second tier, the incompetence of the officials was there for all to see.

 The winning post

So where does this defeat leave the Foxes? Well, Leeds are now only six points behind the leaders as will Ipswich be if they win their game on Saturday. Leicester can get a maximum total of 114 points now compared to 108 for Ipswich and Leeds and 106 for Southampton. If City win 10 of their remaining 12 fixtures, they are certain of promotion. In practice, they will need fewer than this. But things are getting tight at the top.

 The computer says…yes!

Those Foxes fans of a nervous disposition will be consoled somewhat by the findings of the Opta supercomputer reported in the Athletic. Calculated before Friday night’s game, and taking into account all of the remaining fixtures, the computer predicts, remarkably, that Leicester have a 98% chance of automatic promotion and an 88% chance of winning the title. By contrast, Leeds have only a 9% chance of winning the title and a 50% chance of automatic promotion with Southampton and Ipswich as also-rans. The prediction is that City will finish with 103 points and Leeds 94. To get to 103 points, LCFC will have to win eight and draw one of their remaining 12 games. That looks possible although a Leeds total of 94 looks a conservative estimate.

The computer predictions of results in the remaining matches of the season are based, of course, on previous form. It can’t, that is, account for loss of form between now and the end of the campaign. Leicester fans will remember those two seasons in the Premier League when Champions League qualification seemed all but certain only for a calamitous loss of form in the run-in scuppering the Foxes’ hopes. Nevertheless, the prediction is also based on the respective difficulty of the clubs’ remaining fixtures. Here, it should be noted that Southampton still have to play Leeds (on the final day) and Ipswich. 

Computer predictions, of course, are not always right. Perhaps the biggest consolation I can give to Foxes fans is that the performance on Friday night was generally good. On another day, Leicester would have been convincing winners. There is no need for panic just yet.