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Brendan Rodgers: A gem

Rodgers has transformed Leicester into a viable candidate for European berths and he has done it despite a large number of players missing most of the season due to injuries. We will look at the tactical part of Brendan’s game.

Last updated: 20.06.2021
Brendan Rodgers: A gem

Leicester City won the Premier League championship in a spectacular season in 2015/16, and nobody knew that the Foxes side will go down in the history books as one of the most unlikely winners ever, not only in English football history but in international football history as well. Since then, Leicester has finished in 12th, 9th, 9th, 5th and 5th place up until the 2020/21 season. But from the mess in the Premier League, they also managed to win the FA Cup by beating Chelsea, and that too is a feat in itself.

Few things have been made quite clear by Leicester here- One, the foxes have managed to establish themselves by winning the league, within 2 years of being promoted and Secondly, the improvement from 9th to 5th to FA Cup win, has been due to Brendan Rodgers. Rodgers took over at the King Power Stadium in February 2019 after Claude Puel was fired, and the 19/20 season was his first full season in command. He stood with the team during the lockdowns when football was suspended and over time, Rodgers has transformed Leicester into a viable candidate for European berths, if not the title, and he has done it despite a large number of players missing most of the season due to injuries.

We will look at the tactical part of Brendan’s game :

Statistical performance

Their defending outperformance, defined as the difference between goals allowed and xGA, is 8%, while their attacking underperformance is 14%. When contrasted to the likes of Manchester City, who already have won the league sport a 12% attacking underperformance, and Liverpool, who are failing defensively and offensively by 5% and 1%, respectively, this is incredibly favourable. The fact that City remains top of the league despite their goal-scoring woes is a worrying indicator for the entire league, but this graph does demonstrate Rodgers' great job of extracting every last bit of productivity from this group.

Not putting up with only the positive things, the foxes are the eighth-worst team in the league for creativity from open play, at least when measured through expected goals.

Defensively, Foxes have the fifth-best record for both goals conceded, as well as xGA. They also conceded just 9.01 shots/90 at the moment, which is the sixth-best in the league.

Defensive System

Brendan Rodgers has already established himself as a coach that has a general idea as to how he likes his team to play but is willing to adapt based on individual opposition and conditions, as well as other circumstances like injuries. As a result of this, Leicester has mostly played with a back three/back five this season, owing to several crucial defensive player injuries. Despite this, the Northern Irishman has managed to field a dynamic and sturdy team, with some players adjusting to different roles to help their side along the way. One of the main objectives has been to keep the lines tight and to protect the wide spaces properly, with wide midfielders and even central midfielders coming out to help the full-back or wing-back occasionally.

Attacking Focus

With this Leicester team, Rodgers has been able to effectively employ a mix of attacking tactics and methods, similar to their defensive effort. When challenged to break through low blocks, the Foxes are at ease, as well as when they can play on the refute. The focus on fast strikes is one of Leicester's primary tenets when it comes to attacking. This functions similarly to a spring, recoiling and then leaping forward when unleashed, which is why it fits well with their defensive system, as they can withstand pressure and then counter-attack into space swiftly. Even when they have the bulk of control, the focus is on moving the ball fast to create space in the opposition's vertical or horizontal spacing, which is then exploited with rapid one- and two-touch passing and creative movement.

Another aspect of their game has been their aggressiveness in regaining possession of the ball, particularly in the middle. Leicester might have not pushed as hard as they did last season, but they are striving to get the ball back along the halfway line and then rush forward quickly on the counterattack.

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