Sunday’s 3-1 defeat to Arsenal was a disappointing result for Leicester City, who, after taking the lead early on, were outplayed by the Gunners. Injuries to Harvey Barnes and Jonny Evans rubbed salt in the wound, with the former now expected to miss up to 6 weeks with a knee injury. He will be tough to replace for this Leicester side having been fantastic for them this season.
There are still plenty of Premier League fixtures left and the Foxes have a long way to go if they are to finish in the top four. However, injuries have started to disrupt their performances. Barnes is now added to an absentee list that includes eight senior players, and with the race for the top four hotting up, Brenden Rogers’ men will be desperate to get back to winning ways and secure Champions League qualification for next season.
Leicester City Enduring an Injury Crisis
Injuries to Key Players
Out of the 8 players currently sidelined, 5 of them are starters. Perhaps most notably is maverick star James Maddison. A hip injury has kept him on the sidelines, but there are fears that the England international has aggravated the injury and could be out for longer.
Maddison’s importance to this Leicester team is huge. He’s capable of providing magic out of nothing and had been scoring regularly before the injury. If Leicester are to finish in the top four, they will need Maddison back sooner rather than later.
Although Maddison’s individual brilliance is a miss for the Foxes, injuries to several first-team defenders could hurt them more. Wesley Fofana, James Justin, and now Jonny Evans are all out. That is 3 of Leicester’s back four on the sidelines. It has been their resilient defence that has provided the foundations of their great from this campaign, and without Evans’ experience, Justin’s pace, and Fofana’s athleticism, Leicester could struggle to pick up points.
History Could Repeat Itself
Leicester were in a similar position last season. They were several points ahead of both Chelsea and Manchester United before the restart. However, a run of poor results and injuries to key players meant they missed out on a top-four finish. Brenden Rodgers’ men will be desperate not to repeat this in the 2020/21 campaign, and will be determined to qualify this time around.
The Foxes’ exit from the Europa League could also be a blessing in disguise. Playing regularly on Thursday nights and then on the weekend can often create fatigue. The lightened workload may help in preventing the injuries that are starting to plague Leicester’s season.
One player who Leicester simply cannot afford to see injured is Jamie Vardy. His goals are vital and Leicester look a completely different team when he does not play. Vardy has proven over the years that he is capable of scoring against the best in the league. If he can continue to do so, it will go a long way to securing a top-four finish.
Leicester are now turning into a team that can regularly compete with the traditional ‘big six’-they have taken points off every such side this season. Is it now time to add The Foxes to that list? They are a great side and have played some wonderful attacking football this season. If Leicester can keep their key players fit, there is no reason as to why they can’t qualify for the Champions League.