Foxes falter as Billing boosts Bournemouth

The King Power Stadium played host to a classic relegation six-pointer as Leicester City took on Bournemouth. Heading into this game, the Foxes were winless in their last seven games – but if they could end that unwanted streak against the Cherries, they could rise out of the drop zone.

LEI: Iversen; Kristiansen, Faes, Amartey, Castagne; Barnes, Soumare, Ndidi, Pereira; Maddison, Vardy

BOU: Neto; Kelly, Mepham, Stephens, Smith; Lerma, Rothwell; Ouattara, Billing, Christie; Solanke.

Caretaker manager Adam Sadler set his Leicester side up in a classic 4-4-2 – but from the off, the tactical differences between his style and former manager Brendan Rodgers were apparent. The Foxes seemed to have ditched their slow build up play, instead looking to play quick with an emphasis on trying to get in behind the Bournemouth defence with longer passes.

Even with those tactical changes for Leicester, it was Phillip Billing that came close to drawing first blood for Bournemouth. In the 5th minute, his free-kick struck the outside of post, and that prompted an avalanche of Bournemouth attacks.

Prior to kick-off, both teams had been woeful at the back with Bournemouth conceding the most goals in the league this year with 57, while Leicester are not too far off with a dismal 51. Despite this fixture starring two of the worst defensive sides in the league, the game was quiet on the goal front for majority of the first half. That was until nightmares struck for the hosts in the 40th minute.

Star man James Maddison’s horrific back pass was misjudged, allowed Billing to open the scoring after the Cherries top scorer tucked in the resulting one-on-one against Iversen. Bournemouth were ahead at the half time break, and Adam Sadler’s men had a lot of work to do if they wanted to overcome the deficit.

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It was clear that the Foxes still hadn’t woken up, as the Bournemouth onslaught continued right from the restart – though Daniel Iversen denied Dominic Solanke from inside the box brilliantly to prevent the Cherries from putting this game to bed.

Up until the 60th minute, it was all Bournemouth as Leicester still hadn’t managed to get out of first gear. Adam Sadler had seen enough, and brought on Kelechi Iheanacho and Patson Daka for Jamie Vardy and Ricardo Pereira. The substitutes were impactful, and suddenly it was Leicester launching wave after wave of attacks.

James Maddison saw his effort turned over by the Bournemouth shot stopper in the 60th minute, shortly before Iheanacho found himself unmarked in the box – but his snapshot was directly at Neto who held on comfortably.

In spite of their barrage of attacks, the Foxes were unable to create any real chances. As the final whistle rang out around the King Power, chants of disbelief, anger and upset were directed at the players and the board – the Foxes are now winless in ten games, having lost nine of those.

Bournemouth have shot up to 15th place – three points clear of the drop zone ahead of their trip to Tottenham next week. It’s by far an uglier picture in the Midlands though, as managerless Leicester face a tough away trip to the Etihad Stadium next time out.