Leicester were knocked out at the semifinal stage of the Carabao Cup by Aston Villa bringing to light their worst fears
Losing a semi final always hurts. Even worse is losing one on a stoppage time goal and watching the other team’s fans storm their home field in front of you. If that doesn’t satisfy your pain fetish, Leicester City’s League Cup semifinal second leg loss to Aston Villa 2-1, and 3-2 on aggregate, will.
Despite peppering Villa’s keeper Orjand Nylon throughout the first half, Leicester couldn’t convert. However, the loss was more than just a frustrating, devastating, tragic, last-second semifinal loss. I’ll call and raise you, it confirmed the team’s and fans’ worst nightmare – Leicester’s second half slide is real.
Leicester’s biggest strength through the first half of the year was their rock solid defense. One of the best in the league in terms of clean sheets, goals allowed, and wins.
Jonny Evans was enjoying the best spell of his career, and doing it in his early 30s. Caglar Soyuncu was developing into one of the best center backs in the league and at 23, certainly the best young central defender. Together, the two were arguably the best center back pairing in the league all season.
However, these losses have seen an about-face. Against Southampton, Danny Ings‘ 81st minute winner came to fruition after Soyuncu’s poor decision-making left him caught out and the back line vulnerable. Burnley’s winner on 79 minutes from Ashley Westwood followed an uncharacteristically poor clearance from Evans.
And in the Carabao Cup semifinal second leg, the defense let them down late once again. This time, Ricardo Pereira got caught ball watching and let the runner in behind at the back post for a stoppage time winner.
In the first half of the year, Leicester’s defense was one of the best and so was the team, reaching as high as second in the table. But as the defense goes, so goes the team. The recent dip in form has directly correlated with the defensive issues.
But why has the defense struggled as of late?