5 things we learnt from Leicester City’s opening day defeat
Hull City shocked the world when they managed to beat, reigning champions, Leicester, on the opening day of the 2016-17 English Premier League. Here are 5 key takeaways from Leicester City’s opening day defeat
1) Leicester need Huth
A key factor in Leicester’s title win last season was the centre back pairing of Robert Huth and Wes Morgan. Huth started 35 league matches last season, while Morgan started all 38.
This resulted in Leicester shipping in only 36 goals. Due to Huth being suspended, his place in the eleven was taken by Spanish import, Luis Hernandez.
With all respect to Hernandez, Leicester really missed Huth. This leaves manager, Raneiri, to ponder over his team’s densive backups. As of now, they have Amartey and Wasilewski who could play there.
Perhaps a late swoop in the transfer market beckons?
2) Phelan leaves a mark
Hull City’s preseason hasn’t exactly been smooth sailing. Their manager, Steve Bruce, was linked to the England’s manager’s job. He went for an interview before the Football Association handed the position to Sam Allardyce. However, Hull’s relief was short-lived as the 55-year-old left anyway through mutual consent.
The club’s owners have been in a scramble to find a replacement. Unable to secure an appointment, it left Mike Phelan in charge for the forseeable future. And the former Manchester United first team coach stepped up.
The club’s lack of activity in the market left him struggling to name a side. He named an attacking lineup, more out of necessity than choice.
His case was helped by a poor performance from the champions. He might not get too many similar oppurtunitites, but Phelan did his cv no harm.
3) King is no Kante
Leicester City’s only high profile departure has been N’Golo Kante. Vardy contemplated a move to Arsenal, while Mahrez continues to be linked to Chelsea. But, as of now, they are at the club.
Raneiri brought in French medio, Mendy, to replace his compatriot, Kante. However, it was Leicester’s own youth, Andy King, who took the field alongside Drinkwater.
From the beginning, the defending champions missed Kante’s physicality and strength off the ball. King’s only contribution was in the 45th minute when he defended a Hull City freekick.
He was later replaced by Amartey in the second half, after a largely anonymous performance.
4) Snodgrass steps up
Snodgrass was involved in the play throughout. Hull had the first decent sight of goal in the sixth minute, Curtis Davies heading wide from Snodgrass’s corner.
Snodgrass had a hand in the opener as well. Towards the end of the first half, a Snodgrass effort resulting in a corner. From which King’s defensive header almost went into his own net but resulted in another corner.
From the phase of play at that corner, Hernandez and Diomande launched their synchronised back flips and connected to take Hull ahead.
The Foxes were level early in the second half when Riyhad Mahrez converted a penalty awarded for a foul outside the area. Then Hull secured a winner to tip the prevailing narrative on its head when Robert Snodgrass lashed home from 18 yards.
Now if only, the Scot could manage some consistency.
5) Mahrez staying put?
There has been a lot of press spent on the possibly of Riyad Mahrez leaving the club. If true, this would represent a major blow to the champions.
Mahrez, arguably, could be said to have been the Foxes’ player of the year, last season. In fact, when Vardy spurned a proposed move to Arsenal, Mahrez was said to have had a hand in the decision.
In truth, the Algerian was one of the better performers for Leicester. Now, whether this was a sign of his commitment to the club? Or was this a pitch to potemtial new employers?
Only time will tell.
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