Leicester’s defensive frailties exposed by Bournemouth

AFC Bournemouth 4:2 Leicester City

1819 bournemouth away a.jpg

City’s defensive set-up was unzipped by Bournemouth who won 4-2 at the Vitality Stadium on Saturday…

Claude Puel made one change for this trip to a sun-drenched south coast, with Vardy returning from suspension and Albrighton making way.
Vardy looked eager to be back in the action and Maddison set him up for a 4th minute chance which he sent wide. Four minutes later a fine through-ball from Ghezzal sent Vardy clear on goal but Begovic came swiftly off his line to block. Vardy’s penalty appeals, he’d poked the ball past the keeper before being brought down, did not move Craig Pawson.
Maguire then got an early yellow card for bringing Wilson down after giving the ball away.
There were penalty appeals at the other end, when Ricardo clipped Fraser as he made his way into the area, but he went down a little too easily and a goal-kick was awarded.
But the Cherries didn’t have long to wait for a goal. In the 19th minute they moved swiftly upfield on the break and with Ricardo caught out of position Fraser was given plenty of room to move to the edge of the area before clipping a fine finish just inside the right hand post.
City had a chance to strike back in the 25th minute when Maddison was brought down on the edge of the area, but his free-kick went straight into the wall.
Three minutes later City were lucky to have 11 men on the field when Maguire crashed into King in front of the dug-outs. It looked an obvious second yellow, as the home bench were demanding, but Pawson let the England defender off the hook.
City’s best chance of the half came in the 34th minute. A smart turn from Maddison gave him space to set up Vardy in the area. His fierce shot was well saved by Begovic and the ball rebounded to Maddison whose shot hit the keeper’s elbow, and bounced up onto the bar. It had looked for a moment like 1-1, but was soon 2-0.
Another fast break saw Wilson feed a ball to Fraser and Maguire could not keep pace with him as he slotted the ball past Schmeichel.
Three minutes later it was game over when the ball jumped up and hit Ricardo on the arm, Pawson not hesitating to point the spot. King sent Schmeichel the wrong way with his penalty to increase City’s misery.
In time-added-on, the centre-halves’ afternoon of struggle was underlined when Morgan was booked for wrestling with King.

Bournemouth applied some early second half pressure, with Ricardo presenting King with a shooting opportunity, but Maguire blocked.
Maddison was trying to make things happen at the other end, but Ndidi couldn’t get a head to his free-kick, and then his weak shot went straight at Begovic.
Something had to change and Puel brought on Iheanacho and Albrighton for Gray and Ghezzal on the hour.
There was an improvement with an attacking spell from City, but the best chance, a Maguire header, was tipped round the post by Begovic.
City were then reduced to ten men, and it looked very harsh. Morgan won a 50-50 contest with Smith but Pawson judged it to be dangerous and produced a second yellow.
Bournemouth added a fourth in the 81st minute when Fraser eased his way past Ricardo down the left and cut the ball back for Smith, who side-footed it home from 12 yards.
With the game lost, City then scored in the 88th and 89th minutes to reduce the sting of the scoreline a little.
Ricardo was bundled over in the box and Maddison sent Begovic the wrong way from 12 yards. The fairly ironic celebrations in the away section had hardly died down when Iheanacho crossed from the right and Albrighton timed his run to send a glancing header past Begovic.
In the dying seconds Chilwell sent a shot narrowly past the post but any thoughts of ‘what if?’ were snuffed out by the final whistle.
This late entertainment couldn’t disguise a poor outing for City, or the fact that Puel’s defensive system needs a fundamental re-think, with a wing-back mentality not working with a four-man back line.

Bournemouth: Begovic, A Smith, S Cook, Aké, Rico, Brooks (Francis 68), Lerma (L Cook 78), Gosling, Fraser, King (Mousset 85), Wilson.
Substitutes: Boruc, Surman, Ibe, Defoe.
Leicester: Schmeichel, Ricardo, Morgan, Maguire, Chilwell, Ndidi, Mendy, Ghezzal (Albrighton 61), Maddison, Gray (Iheanacho 61), Vardy (Evans 84).
Substitutes: Ward, Amartey, Iborra, Fuchs.

Referee: Craig Pawson. Attendance: 10,543.

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