Norwich 1 City 0
Report by Colin Hall
Leicester City crashed to a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Premier League bottom club Norwich on a rainy, windswept evening at Carrow Road.
The result completed a miserable month in which the Foxes managed just TWO points from a possible 12.
Although Brendan Rodgers’ side remains in third place, there seems little confidence or expectation within the fanbase that such a position will be maintained for much longer.
Too many recent displays, including this one, have seen City perform far closer to Championship standards than Champions League ones.
As the Blue Army arrived in Norfolk, they were greeted by mixed team news. Jamie Vardy was absent with what Rodgers described as a “calf injury” but Kelechi Iheanacho was declared fit after recovering from the knock which had curtailed his involvement in the previous fixture.
Meanwhile, Hamza Choudhury returned from suspension to replace Youri Tielemans, while Ayoze Perez and Harvey Barnes came in for Vardy and Christian Fuchs.
The visitors began the match in confident mood, with James Maddison particularly prominent against his former club. Indeed, he created the first clear chance of the night, with a pinpoint corner which Choudhury could only head wastefully over.
Nevertheless, the Foxes continued to make superior quality tell during the rest of the first half – except, crucially, in the home penalty area.
A Dennis Praet effort struck the outside of a post, while Iheanacho blazed over from close range after wrongfooting the home defence.
At the other end, Jonny Evans and Caglar Söyüncü dealt comfortably with sporadic raids from a home attack which had failed to find the net from open play since New Year’s Day.
It looked a question of when, rather than if, the Foxes would take the lead, and the visitors thought that moment had arrived early in the second half.
Iheanacho won a tussle with home defender Godfrey before firing home a fine 20-yard drive.
However, as so often in recent games, the verdict in the VAR studio went against Leicester, and the goal was disallowed.
Despite extensive efforts by the Sky TV commentators to persuade us otherwise, replays showed it was far from clear whether Iheanacho’s hand had been the one to strike the ball.
And given the fact that neither the referee nor his assistant saw any offence occur, the grounds for intervention appeared particularly flimsy.
Sadly, when the team needed resilience, character and leadership to deal with this setback, none of these qualities were forthcoming. Heads dropped, rhythm disappeared, and the hosts were allowed a foothold back into the game.
Kasper Schmeichel, hitherto rarely troubled, was forced to turn away two fierce efforts from Duda as the Canaries grew in confidence.
But the City skipper was left helpless as home left-back Lewis found the net with an angled left-foot drive from the edge of the area with 20 minutes remaining.
Despite the introduction of Tielemans, Wilfrid Ndidi and Marc Albrighton from the bench, the visitors rarely threatened the home goal in the closing stages. Indeed, only action from Schmeichel prevented Norwich sub Drmic from increasing the margin of defeat.
The home fans greeted the final whistle as if it heralded a trophy win, although subsequent results over the weekend would actually leave them further from safety than they were before this match.
As Rodgers acknowledged after the game, the Foxes need to recover form very quickly in order to prevent our season from becoming derailed.
With three of the next four games at home, there will be ample opportunities for that to happen. It is to be hoped that the manager and his side will prove capable of taking them.
Norwich (4-2-3-1): Krul; Aarons, Hanley, Godfrey, Lewis; Tettey, McLean; Buendia, Duda (Stiepermann 87), Cantwell (Rupp 68); Pukki (Drmic 81).
Subs not used: McGovern, Trybull, Vrancic, Idah.
Goal: Lewis 70
Leicester (4-1-4-1): Schmeichel; Ricardo, Evans, Söyüncü, Chilwell; Choudhury (Ndidi 70); Perez (Albrighton 78), Praet (Tielemans 73), Barnes; Iheanacho.
Subs not used: Ward, Justin, Morgan, Gray.
Booked: Schmeichel, Praet.
Referee: Craig Pawson (VAR: Graham Scott) Attendance: 27010
The views expressed in this report are the opinions of the Trust member nominated to file the report only and do not represent the views of the Foxes Trust organisation