Calamity at the Vitality

AFC Bournemouth (0)   4  v  1   (1) Leicester City

Stanislas (66’ pen)                                           Vardy (23’)

Solanke (67, 87)

Evans (o.g. 83’)

Vitality Stadium, Sunday 12 July, 7 p.m. kick-off

Report by Steve Moulds

With Bournemouth in the bottom three and the day’s fixtures going in favour of the teams above them, this looked like a must win match for them. Leicester too were in need of the points. Their restart had been very much a Curat’s Egg – good in parts – and Champion’s League hopes would be bolstered by a win. A pivotal match for both clubs.

Chilwell and Maddison were both still on the injury list and City brought in Fuchs for Bennett. The Blues stuck with the back three that looked uncomfortable at times at Arsenal on Tuesday, with Justin dropping back to replace Bennett on the right.  City set-up in a 3-4-1-2 formation, with Pérez in the hole behind Vardy and Iheanacho.

The Cherries had a brighter first five minutes, with City not making their usual high tempo start. But as Leicester gained more of the ball and came forward, the Bournemouth defence looked tentative, resulting in early attempts from Pérez and Iheanacho.

With 14 minutes on the clock, Albrighton, who had been finding plenty of space down the right, hobbled off following what looked like an innocuous challenge, to be replaced by Bennett, moving Justin up to right wingback.

Following good work by Pérez to rob the ball from Gosling on halfway, a swift move forward to Iheanacho, a one-two with Pérez and Kelechi chipped the on-rushing Ramsdale – Kelly made a complete hash of a goal mouth clearance and Vardy bundled the ball in from about half a metre. One-nil Leicester and reward for having the bulk of possession and control of the game.

City were looking fluent, transitioning the ball quickly through midfield, out to the wings, up to the front two, where Iheanacho was looking sharp. The Blues looked dangerous every time they went forward and were often helped by slack and imprecise defending by Bournemouth. Vardy could have easily had a second on 37 minutes bar a last ditch challenge from Aké that left the defender limping off.

Bournemouth offered little given their perilous league position and score line. City were untroubled until the 45th minute when Schmeichel had to make a good save from Brooks. Three corners in quick succession, in additional time at the end of the half, could have yielded another for City. At half-time, with City having 67% of the possession, they were looking good for the three points.

At the beginning of the second half, Praet replaced Iheanacho with City moving to a more conventional 3-5-2.  For Bournemouth, Billing replaced Gosling and Danjuma Groeneveld was replaced by Stanislas. Both sides set off at a good pace and Pérez had a good early chance. Bournemouth’s changes gave them more impetus.

On 59 minutes, a hesitant City defence failed to clear and the ball nearly fell to Wilson after Cook miscued his shot. City needed to be more positive and Vardy had hardly got a touch in the second half moving into the last half-hour. The half-time changes were not working.

Then chaos struck. Schmeichel’s goalkick struck Ndidi on the back, rebounding into the box. Ndidi fouled Wilson in a lunge for the ball – penalty awarded and a yellow card for Ndidi – which could easily have been red. Stanislas scored from the spot and Leicester had shot themselves in the foot when the Cherries had not looked like scoring.

Two minutes later, disaster struck. Evans missed a header, Solanke was clean through and slotted under Schmeichel. There followed a scuffle in the net as Wilson tried to retrieve the ball and Söyüncü kicked-out having retaliated for being pushed into the net. Red card for Söyüncü, not the best way to mark his 50th appearance – City were down to 10 men and 2-1 down. The self-destruct button had truly been pushed.

City now looked rattled and Bournemouth sniffed blood. I swear I could hear a crowd singing “Champions League your having a laugh”!! Down to 10 men and looking like they had never played together, City never got back into the second half. Bournemouth easily snuffed out any threat. Just to cap off a disastrous evening, on 83 minutes, Stanislas found space on the right, cut inside and his shot deflected off of Evans legs and passed Schmeichel – own goal, 3-1.

To rub salt into the wounds, more calamity in the City defence followed. Solanke stole in on a poor back pass into City’s box from a Leicester throw-in and it was now 4-1. A complete shambles and quite frankly, embarrassing.

Bournemouth had only picked up one point since the restart and, having not won since February, were looking dead and buried. City’s form had them in 14th place for the five games since the restart. No win on the road since New Year’s Day – not the credentials of a team aiming for a European place.

The changes at half-time may have been due to an injury to Iheanacho but Rodgers needs to shoulder some blame for the shape he played in the second half. A massive improvement will be required if City are to make the top six, let alone the top four. Not being the masters of your own downfall would be a start. For Bournemouth, a glimmer of hope.

Leicester City: Schmeichel, Justin, Evans, Söyüncü (Red card), Albrighton (Bennett 16 mins), Ndidi (Yellow card), Tielemans, Fuchs, Pérez (Barnes 71 mins), Iheanacho (Praet 46 mins), Vardy. Subs unused: Morgan, Gray, Ward, Choudhury, James, Mendy

AFC Bournemouth: Ramsdale, Stacey, Aké (S Cook 40 mins), Kelly, Rico, Brooks (L Cook 80 mins), Gosling (Billing 46 mins), Lerma, Danjuma Groeneveld (Stanislas 46 mins), Solanke, C Wilson (Surridge 90 mins) Subs unused: Boruc, Surman, H Wilson, Simpson

Referee: Stuart Attwell

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