Leicester City supporters have been pretty downbeat in recent times after seeing their side suffer defeat in their final match prior to the international break.
Claude Puel’s men went into their clash with early pace-setters Liverpool last time out off the back of successive victories over Wolves and Southampton, and thus full of confidence heading into their meeting with the Merseyside giants. Yet first half goals from Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino set the visitors on their way to all three points, and while Rachid Ghezzal got one back for the Foxes after the break, it wasn’t enough to inspire a Leicester comeback at the King Power Stadium.
As such, there have been many quiet Foxes fans up and down the country in recent times, several of whom are wondering what changes, if any, Puel should seek to make for their side’s trip to Bournemouth this afternoon.
And having served a three-match suspension following his red card against Wolves, the Frenchman absolutely must bring £18 million-rated striker Jamie Vardy (as per Transfermarkt) back into the starting eleven.
The 31-year-old netted the Foxes’ first goal of the new season in their 2-1 defeat at Manchester United, but more significantly he carried the goal-scoring threat at Old Trafford that night when he came off the substitute’s bench – they were a different side going forward when he led the line.
And while they managed to net twice against Southampton without Vardy a few weeks ago, they again struggled to create too many clear-cut opportunities against Liverpool last time out – this all despite having much of the ball and getting into some good positions.
Thus, it’s clear that they have been missing the instinct and presence of Vardy upfront, as although Kelechi Iheanacho is clearly a very talented striker, he doesn’t cause as many problems as his Leicester teammate, be it tenacity in chasing down lost causes, or indeed pace to help stretch backlines.
And against a Bournemouth side that haven’t always convinced defensively during their time in the Premier League, the former England international could flourish – in fact, he has netted three times against the Cherries in eight appearances so far in his career.
As such, despite playing well against Liverpool, the Foxes looked blunt in the final third and simply didn’t convert their territorial advantage into meaningful opportunities – they clearly missed Vardy.
And that is why, with the 31-year-old back from suspension, Puel simply must throw him straight back into the side to get the three points at the Vitality Stadium this afternoon.
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