What’s gone wrong for Leicester City this season?

By Liam Harris

Leicester City fans watched on nervously as their side took on Italian footballing giants AS Roma at the Stadio Olimpico on Thursday night.

A tough test awaited Rodgers and his side who had to try and better footballing genius Jose Mourinho in the second leg.

Leicester’s King Power Stadium

Following a 1-1 draw at the King Power Stadium a week prior, it was always going to be a challenge.

Unfortunately, on what was the Foxes’ first ever European Semi-Final, they came up short when Tammy Abraham headed the Romans into the lead in the 11th minute.

Despite going 2-1 down on aggregate, City looked to fight back with a stronger second half performance but it wasn’t to be. Thus, missing out on the Conference League Final and all but confirming another year without European football for the blues following an underwhelming domestic campaign.

Any cup exit is disappointing, but when you pin all of your hopes onto the only remaining route into it for the next season, going out becomes all the more bitter.

Many Leicester fans can’t help but feel deflated at what they have seen this season with many calling it a ‘write off’. Questions have been asked for many reasons by Foxes fans. So what has gone wrong? Why has it been such a challenging season? Let’s break it down.

Injuries

Ah yes, injuries. Let’s just get this one out of the way. After all, we were all thinking it. One thing we can all agree on is that Leicester may have had one of the most abysmal seasons ever on the injury front.

There have simply been too many to count for City this season with seemingly every matchday squad being plagued with absentees. This crisis seemingly peaked around the turn of the year and has slowly improved since.

However, it has certainly left damaging effects on the side’s league position, sitting 14th at the time of writing this. Re-injuries have been a regular occurrence with players such as Castagne and Maddison falling victim.

Possibly more crucially though, a number of City’s key figures have missed out throughout the campaign with Vardy, Barnes, Fofana and Ndidi all repeatedly being unavailable, among others.

With this sort of constant burden forced upon Rodgers, it has to be said that he’s done the best he can with what he’s had at his disposal.

With the end of the season nearing, many will feel relieved at the chance for some much needed rest for the team.

We can only hope that when the 2022-23 Premier League season kicks off in August, a fully fit squad will be available for the first time in almost 3 years.

Tactics

A common opinion felt by Leicester fans this season has been that at times, perhaps too often, tactical decisions have not paid off.

In fact, many of Rodgers’ decisions have been rather puzzling to some, especially when they have backfired. Strange substitutions and tactical mishaps have happened all too often this season.

Sitting back on a one goal lead and bringing on defenders despite no pressure from the opposition has cost City many points.

One example that comes to mind is substituting on Vestergaard and Bertrand at Liverpool despite a 2 goal lead back in December. As many will remember, Liverpool went on to win on penalties despite a considerably weakened lineup.

That isn’t even the worst example as many will recall Leicester threw away a 2-1 lead against Spurs back in January to lose 3-2 in stoppage time. Something that should never happen when your side is ahead with 2 minutes to play.

Another common criticism from City fans has been the style of football that Rodgers has had his side playing. Many believe the tempo has been too slow and performances have been passive.

November’s 1-1 draw to Leeds, December’s 2-1 loss to Aston Villa and more recently the 2-1 defeat to Everton are just some of the games that many believe City had played with a lacklustre style.

Corners and Stoppage Time

Two of the biggest talking points from Leicester’s season has been their inability to defend set pieces, more so corners.

What began seemingly as bad luck began to be exposed as a bad tactical set up for Rodgers’ side.

Fans picked up that Brendan was assigning zonal marking to his side which left many puzzled. Why were players leaving the opposition’s best headers of the ball free?

Of course, this didn’t work and following Abraham’s winner on Thursday night, the marking came under more scrutiny, with Rodgers seemingly suggesting after the game that he ran out of taller players to mark Abraham and so assigned 5’9 Ricardo to do so.

With one of the worst goals conceded from corners rates in the league, this issue urgently has to be sorted out in pre-season season once and for all.

Finally, stoppage time. Leicester’s other biggest problem has come in the final stages of games, with stoppage time being a nightmare for the Foxes.

In recent weeks Leicester have thrown away points against Everton, Newcastle, Tottenham, Brighton and West Ham in the closing moments of games.

Whether it is down to tactical issues or simply a mental problem is something that can be up for debate but it is clear that hanging onto leads has been a major challenge for City this season.


So what next?

Fear not though Foxes, for the summer is almost upon us. This means a chance for the players to get that well needed rest after a long gruelling campaign. For Rodgers, it is a chance to sort his squad out and get it back to where he wants it to be. He certainly needs to address some issues such as the corners and defending as a whole. That alongside fixing his side’s mentality is a must in the coming months. He will have the summer transfer window to do what he feels he needs to in order to strengthen and one can only assume that Khun Top will allow him to do so following the last 12 months.

A fresh start is something that everyone connected with Leicester City will be keen on and it is certainly needed. A chance to put this campaign in the past and put full focus into the 2022-23 season. A fresh mentality with a fresh squad is to be desired. Rodgers will seemingly look to trim his squad down for the upcoming campaign with the absence of mid-week football for the first time in 2 years. Fresh faces are a must for City come July.

Despite everything though, there have been some positives. The emergence of Dewsbury-Hall in the midfield and Luke Thomas improving spring to mind. This alongside Maddison’s great return on goal contributions has given fans some optimism for the future. Every team goes through bad spells and Leicester are no different. One off season does not define a club. They will bounce back from this and there is no doubt about it. The summer will prove crucial for City, but one thing that won’t change is the belief from the stands. The club prides itself on doing the unimaginable and they will look to do it once more next season. Be optimistic City fans, things will get better. In the words of Jersey Budd, ‘When you’re smiling’.

Record votes counted in De Montfort University student elections

By Liam Harris

With the De Montfort University Elections coming to an end once more, it has been a record breaking year for student participation, according to De Monfort’s Student Voice Coordinator, Alex Scown.

Mr Scown said that engagement is in a ‘good spot’ compared to previous years, with 3,133 individual votes in and a total of over 23,465 votes, a record high.

DMU Student Voice: Alex Scown

“The elections are held every year around the second term,” he said. “Tomorrow (March 16th) between 6-8pm, the results will be announced live on Instagram and Twitter.”

He added: “The elections bring a lot of opportunities for students with their own goals and beliefs. It is for those that see problems and gives them the opportunity to address them.

“Every candidate has their own manifesto, ideas and objectives. They will put them forward and try to convince the voters that they are worth addressing and they are capable of doing so.”

Mr Scown also spoke on the voting process and how a DMU student can vote, as well as how one could run for a position.

“Every DMU student is automatically enrolled as a member of DSU,” he explained. “As long as you are a member of DSU, have a student ID and a student account, you can vote.

“You can vote at the polling stations or on the DSU website. Any interested candidate can put themselves forward on the website, then upload a photo and a manifesto. This year, nominations were open from January 17 to February 14, so just over two weeks.

“Anyone can run, even first years. We care more about passion and how involved you want to be, in comparison to experience. Any students (including PhD, and Postgraduates) can apply.”

He said there were five Executive Officer positions included in the elections, each representing a specific zone from Academic, Equality and Diversity, Welfare, Opportunity and Open zone.  

There were also seven Liberation Officer roles available. Each Liberation Officer represents an underrepresented group such as LGBTQ+, Women, BAME and Disabled groups. 

Following the recent elections, the winners were as follows: 

NUS Reps: Amir Iqbal, Chidera Echedom, Charu Somani, Hamida Arif, Aliya Amin Khan 

Opportunities and Engagement Exec: Aashni Sawjani 

Welfare Exec: Aliya Amin Khan 

Equality and Diversity Exec: Meera Dasani 

Academic Exec: Nyashadzashe Nguwo 

Union Dev Exec: Amir Iqbal 

Some notable upcoming dates include: 

Course Rep Elections: 28th March – 19th April (Nomination Period), 22nd April – 2nd May Voting Period. Results on 6th May. Zone Elections 11th May – 25th May 30th May – 13th June. Results on the 17th June.

Leicester’s Newarke Point construction disrupts traffic at De Montfort University

By Thomas Dye

Construction on Newarke Points A and B Blocks
A and B blocks of Newarke Point with scaffold erected

Newarke Point student accommodation is undergoing serious disruptive building works that will restrict traffic and student parking until the end of summer. 

Letting agent Unite Students’ Newarke Point building, on the De Montfort University Campus, is undergoing a complete cladding overhaul following annual safety checks.

The construction works have included the raising of multiple scaffold towers after the safety check stated that whilst the results were good, there was a recommendation “To change the exterior façade to improve beyond what is required.”

A statement from Unite Students said that student and staff parking have both been removed to allow construction traffic.

Students are being advised to park further away from the entrance to prevent damage by moving plant equipment. 

Specific rooms are also having windows removed to be replaced, with residents being offered both temporary and permanent places in alternative accommodation and are being asked to “remove all belongings from around the window area.” 

UoL sharpshooter puts on scoring clinic in convincing Varsity netball win

by Ada White

The De Montfort University (DMU) netball team took on Varsity rivals University of Leicester (UoL) and despite a valiant effort were beaten in a hard fought and entertaining game.

Katie Littlewood, 22, holding all three netball trophies

Goal attack and UoL captain Katie Littlewood, 22, a third year Criminology student, led the team in scoring and seemed to have an inability to miss at times, only failing to convert on four shots all game, putting up more than 30 of their 59 points with poise and finesse.

Littlewood began playing netball at the age of 11 and formerly played at regional level, with her experience showing on the court and making it clear why she was made captain.

The rest of the team played terrific offence and defence, moving the ball around quickly as a well-drilled unit, showing the results of clear extensive training.

This game was a part of the week-long Varsity competitions which have returned after two years’ absence due to Covid and the crowd loved every minute of it, cheering both their teams on and showing great support.

It is clear that this was a well missed part of the university calendar and students are glad to see it back.

The UoL half of the crowd erupted into cheers when the final whistle sounded and celebrated with the players as the team lifted the trophy.

This game completed the team’s three wins out of the three games and showed just how dominant they had been in the series of games.

Littlewood expressed pride in her team after the win and said: “It’s a nice way to finish the year.”

Varsity games in many different sports will continue until today (TUE,MARCH29) – details and fixture times and venues can be found on the DMU website.

Leicester literary festival returns

By Courtney Stevens

An annual literary festival is set to return to Leicester between from today(WED,MARCH23) until Saturday and will include events with best-selling authors, award-winning writers, poets and much more at different locations across the city.

The free to attend festival is run by the University of Leicester and events will take place at the university, and in cinemas, theatres, community halls and schools across the city.

The festival will showcase a diverse range of voices on different topics such as diversity, inclusivity and accessibility.

Harry Whitehead, the Director of the Festival, said: “The festival is all about diversity and inclusivity.

“It brings great literature to Leicester and makes it available to a wider audience whilst celebrating local authors.”

The festival has been running since 2008 and attracts more than 5,000 visitors each year.

This year the festival will be part of the university’s centenary celebrations.

Events include talks from best-selling author and Leicester alumni, Adele Parks,  and talks from Booker-Prize winner Howard Jacobson and 2021 Costa prize winner Monique Roffey.

Mr Whitehead said: “We have a mix of local and international talent coming to the event.

“We have best-selling novelists, Costa prize winners, and poets coming. We have Colin Thurbon, who has been described as one of the best travel writers in the world, and we have a whole raft of the best known living local authors celebrating the lives of Leicester greats like Sue Townsend and loads more.”

This year the festival will be back in person after being held online last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Mr Whitehead said he was excited to be back, adding: “It feels absolutely fantastic to be back. I think it’s the right thing to do – to get up and running with our lives again and be in the same room as great novelists, poets, thinkers, spoken word artists and musicians, with all the excitement and joy that can offer.”