Brendan Rodgers cites Leicester City concern ahead of Leeds United trip

Leeds United will face a Leicester City side full of talent but with boss Brendan Rodgers citing recent concern ahead of Sunday's Premier League clash at Elland Road.

Wednesday, 3rd November 2021, 3:52 pm
Updated Wednesday, 3rd November 2021, 3:54 pm

Leicester only missed out on qualification for the Champions League by a single point last season, back to back defeats at Chelsea and at home to Tottenham meaning the Foxes had to settle for fifth.

The new season then began with Rodgers' second piece of silverware at Leicester as the Foxes defeated Premier League champions Manchester City in the Community Shield via a late Kelechi Iheanacho penalty.

Talisman striker Jamie Vardy then netted the only goal of the game as the new Premier League campaign began with a 1-0 victory at home to Wolves and Vardy is already on seven goals for the new season.

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CONCERN: For Leicester City boss Brendan Rodgers, above, during Saturday's 2-0 defeat at home to Arsenal, pictured. Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images.

But Leicester have been largely inconsistent so far this term and Rodgers admitted concern at his side's habit of starting slowly after last weekend's 2-0 defeat at Arsenal.

The Foxes were 2-0 down after just 18 minutes as Gabriel and Emile Smith Rowe both struck and, unlike in previous games this season, this time there was no way back.

Leicester managed to fight back to beat both Premier League visitors Manchester United Europa League hosts Spartak Moscow last month but not against Arsenal and the issue is clearly at the forefront of Rodgers' mind, his side now 11th in the table, only four points and six places above Leeds.

"A poor start cost us," the Leicester boss told LCFC TV at the weekend after the defeat to the Gunners.

"It's a lack of concentration and then you’re chasing the game against a good side.

"We’ve been able to do it in a few games recently where we’ve not had a great start and come back, but you can’t give teams a 2-0 start, especially a good team like Arsenal.

"We were too passive, so it is a concern.

"When you have players finding the level and the constant mentality, if you don’t start the game well, then it can cost you and today it cost us.

"In the second half, we can’t have any complaints. I thought we were excellent.

"We had to make changes to shift the dynamic of the game, but we got punished for that opening 20 minutes."

Rodgers then quickly looked at the opportunity for his side to bounce back just five days after the defeat to Arsenal in Thursday's Europa League clash at home to Spartak Moscow.

The Foxes sit third in their group, level on points with second-placed Napoli and just two points behind leaders Legia Warsaw.

Spartak have three points and Leicester's final group stage game is at home to Legia at the end of this month.

The importance of a victory on Thursday night is obvious and the Foxes will then be in action less than three days later with the trip to Elland Road.

Rodgers' side romped to a 4-1 win in West Yorkshire last November but Marcelo Bielsa's side turned the tables with an impressive 3-1 triumph at the King Power on the final day of January.

Ten months on, Leicester lined up with both Vardy and Ihenacho upfront against Arsenal in a 3-4-1-2 formation, James Maddison playing just behind the front two, Luke Thomas and Timothy Castagne acting as wing backs.

Boubakary Soumare and Youri Tielemans sat in the middle of the park, in front of a back three of Daniel Amartey, Jonny Evans and Caglar Soyuncu.

Harvey Barnes and Ademola Lookman were then introduced at the break and both impressed, Ihenacho and Amartey the players making way.

Key holding midfielder Wilfred Ndidi also returned to the bench having missed the last seven games in all competitions with a hamstring injury and Leicester have conceded 13 goals since he has been out.

Barnes, Lookman, the returning Ndidi and also Zambian striker Patson Daka will likely be giving Rodgers food for thought this week ahead of Sunday's clash at Leeds.

Daka bagged a brilliant four-timer in last month's 4-3 win in Moscow and replaced Maddison with 20 minutes left against Arsenal.

But in the league, other than Vardy, Tielemans is the only other Foxes player to have netted more than once so far this season, the classy Belgian international midfielder having bagged three for a side who have scored 15 but conceded 17 from their ten games so far.

There's plenty for Rodgers to ponder but whoever lines up at Leeds, expect the Foxes boss to be demanding a fast start upon a quick return to action at Elland Road.

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Thank you Laura Collins