It’s been a pretty woeful start for Leicester City in the Premier League this season after being the surprise package the past two. While both ended in final-day heartbreak, as they missed out on the Champions League at the final hurdle, they were still fun to watch as they sparred with and bloodied all the big scary monsters in England.
This year, they haven’t really been able to tie their shoes correctly. They snuck an opening day win against Wolves when they were heavily outplayed, got clubbed by both West Ham and Man City, and then took their free spot on the bingo card with a win against Norwich City. Their underlying numbers are no more encouraging, and they’ve actually managed the third-worst expected goal-difference in the league. Pixie dust only lasts so long, it seems.
It didn’t look any better for the first hour today against Brighton, as Leicester were massively outplayed by their hosts and were down 2-0. It could have, and probably should have, been more.
Maybe it was a sense of embarrassment, or professional pride, or just a team-wide “What the fuck are we doing?” but the last half hour saw The Foxes come to life and stage quite the fight back. Jamie Vardy struck to make it 2-1, and Leicester would have gotten a draw or even won it had Harvey Barnes had any idea where to stand.
First, Ademola Lookman stabbed home from a corner, but it was ruled out as Barnes was offside and ruled to be in the eyeline of the Brighton keeper.
That not being enough, or Barnes still not aware of any particular destination so just enjoying the scenery, he canceled out Wilfred Ndidi’s last minute equalizer for the same offense (the regrettable moments in the video linked below being at 9:31 and 11:51):
Now, obviously, it could be argued that both of these calls are pretty fishy. It doesn’t look like Barnes is in the sightline of Robert Sanchez on either. And even if the original call on the field was that he was, VAR is there with multiple angles to tell everyone Barnes was on walkabout on his own away from everyone.
Still, it’s a fine lesson to always have a purpose, people. And when you do just want to sit back and just soak it all in, pick your spots well.
The loss leaves Leicester in the bottom half of the Premier League. But once they get all 11 players aware of their surroundings, things should improve.