Assessing Leicester’s decline by the dwindling form of four key players

Leicester City It’s been a team on the decline for the past year at least, but the decline this season has been troubling.

away from James MadisonThere are a few players who have been at the club over the past two seasons who have improved.

While there have been slight changes to the performances of some of the key players and the roles they play in the team, some of Brendan Rodgers’ men are shadows of their former self.

It’s clear to those who have watched Leicester regularly this season that the team as a whole – and some of the most reliable players in the squad – are struggling with form and confidence.

Using four of the club’s most important players from previous seasons and essentially comparing their stats smarterscout, A website that uses matchmaking data and algorithms to produce metrics and ratings that assess players’ performance in various aspects of the game, the athlete Rates the players who experienced the biggest loss in form in 2022-23.


Wilfried Ndidi’s defensive contribution has dipped significantly this season. The Nigerian was once among the leading defensive midfielders in Europe’s top five leagues in terms of tackles and recoveries, but there has been a significant decline in his effectiveness over the past 18 months.

In 2020-21, his Defending Quantity, which measures the number of chances per minute a player has to disrupt an attack, was as high as 96 out of 99, with his Quality Rating, which measures a player’s contribution to blocking conceding chances, reaching 87 out of 99. 99.

Last season, his Quantity Defending was above 97 out of 99, but his Quality rating dropped to 62.

This season, its quantity rating is down to 47 and its quality rating is as low as 16 out of 99. Something is amiss.

In terms of disrupting opposition moves, Ndidi was rated 99 out of 99 two seasons ago, making him the best in Premier LeagueLast season, it dropped slightly to 96, but in 2022-23 it dropped to 86. Meanwhile, his ball recovery rating in open play rose from 79 out of 99 two seasons ago to 92 last season before. It dropped to a very average 54 this campaign.

It should be noted that Ndidi has also been used on occasion as a centre-back this season, a positional switch that will affect any player’s output.

However, his ability to win aerial duels – forever important for a defender – has fallen from 94 last season to 54, a clear sign that he is not as effective as before, and by a very large margin, which explains why Rodgers tends to take advantage. Of which Boubakary Soumare In a defensive midfield role before being injured.

Defensively, Youri Tielemans is already where he was two seasons ago, when his Smarterscout Defensive Quantity Rating was 43 out of 99 but his Quality Rating was as high as 74. While last season’s ratings were 60 for Quantity and 40 for Quality, this During the season they returned 49 and 72, respectively.

However, his ability to disrupt an opponent’s tackles rating has fallen from 80 last season to just 51 this season, while his recovery rating — which assesses how often a player intercepts passes or catches loose balls per minute — has dropped from 37 to just 26. .

Despite this, Tielemans still contributed with the ball. His offensive output rating, which measures his contribution to Leicester’s expected xG per minute they own it, stands at 86 compared to last season’s rating of 58 and his rating of 73 two seasons ago.

His pass towards goals rating, which measures a pass that brings the ball at least 10 meters from the center of the opposition goal on each attacking touch, is 97 compared to his peers in the Premier League. That’s up from 69 last season and 75 the previous season.

Tielemans prefers to advance the ball with his assertive distribution, but he was forced to carry the ball forward more, and his dribbling rating subsequently rose from 21 to 35. As a result, he frequently enters the opponent’s penalty area to obtain the ball, with a rating of 55 compared to just 26 last season, but he He shoots less as his shooting percentage has dropped from 88 to 68.

Overall, Tielemans has been one of Leicester’s most effective attacking players this season. His xG rate per 90 without a penalty has increased, and his participation in moves that end in a goal has gone up from 39 to 66. In fact, his participation in the team’s overall xG rating has gone up from 48 to 79 out of 99, which means Tielemans contributes more to the offense. And he needed it due to the sharp decline in the production of …

Jamie Vardy’s goal drop is evident by just one Premier League goal so far this season, despite his xG of 2.4, but there are some explainable reasons for this drop. For starters, Vardy receives the ball less frequently in the penalty area, 4.11 times per 90 compared to his average of 5.4 last season, which sees his offensive rating drop from 89 to 78, and when he does receive the ball in the penalty area. He shoots at a lower rate, from 2.69 per 90 minutes last season to just 1.29 per 90 minutes.

This has seen his shooting rating from last season, when he scored 15 Premier League goals, shrink from a maximum of 99 to just 11 this season, a significant drop for one of the Premier League’s greatest goalscorers.

The table below shows Vardy’s total goals after 19 matches in each Premier League season in which he has played:

Vardy is back where he started…

season Goals after 19 games

2014-15

1

2015-16

15

2016-17

5

2017-18

8

2018-19

7

2019-20

17

2020-21

11

2021-22

10

2022-23

1

Looking at the Smarterscout ratings, Vardy has played a slightly different role this season – that of provider. He has a club-leading four assists this season, level with James Maddison, and his assists rating has risen from 44 to an above average of 53 out of 99, while his assists towards goals rating, which measures his pass passing rating, has gone from 65 to 91.

Overall, his offensive production rate has dropped from 47 to just 7 but defensively, Vardy has been more involved this season. His failure rate on opposition moves has doubled from 7 to 14 out of 99 and his recovery rate has risen from 8 to 46, but is this the kind of work Vardy should be doing?

Nobody can argue that Vardy is still working incredibly hard for the team but that seems to have come at the expense of his goal-scoring effectiveness, and when he does get a chance to score, he is not as clinical as in the past.

Leicester City is statistically the most wasteful team in the Premier League. They’ve scored 26 goals this season with an expected goal rating of 22.03, which isn’t bad. But they created 31 big chances and scored just eight of them, a big chance conversion ratio of just 25.8, the lowest in the division (a big chance was defined by Opta as a situation where a player could reasonably be expected to score). It’s just a little less than Liverpool – A team that has a lot of offensive issues announced – and has a conversion rate of 26.7.

Harvey Barnes has already equaled his league goals total over the entirety of last season with six and has an xG of 5.1, the highest of any Leicester player, although top scorer Maddison, with seven goals, is well overtaken. With a modest 2.6 xG thanks to some excellent long range shots.

Leicester City Forwards attacking metrics 2022-23

player expected goals expected aid Total great opportunity missed a great opportunity Score a big chance convert big chance % helpers

5.06

0.81

10

7

3

30

0

2.55

2.7

1

1

0

0

4

2.42

0.39

6

5

1

16.67

4

2.41

1.17

4

3

1

25

3

Barnes’ big chance conversion rate is also the best among Leicester players at 30 per cent, although he has so far had the most chances with 10 and missed seven. Vardy had six great chances and missed five Batson Dhaka He had four and missed three. Only one of Madison’s goals was rated as a big chance and he converted it. Teams and players have to look to score at a rate of one in two, so Leicester is clearly falling short.

Smarterscout confirms that Barnes attack output has decreased overall. He has yet to deliver an assist and his rating of 29 is down from 60 last season, when he assisted ten times, a total beaten only by Mohamed Salah And Trent Alexander Arnold across the entire English Premier League.

Rather than being part of the supply chain for a key striker in Rodgers’ system, be that Daka or Vardy, Barnes has become a focal point and main goal threat, but like the rest of his teammates, he needs to up his conversion rate to reflect his newfound fame.

It would also explain why Rodgers was reluctant to change to a two-man attack rather than a system that would include Barnes as a key winger, even though such a change could help Vardy and Daka return to their best form. Someone needs to. Before Leicester went into a relegation battle they looked like they pulled out a few months ago.

(Photo: George Wood/Getty Images)

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