Original article published 23 September 2022
Leicester City have conceded more after seven games than Derby County did during that ill-fated campaign of 2007/08 with bet365 chalking up 50/1 about the Foxes breaking the Rams’ record of letting in 89 Premier League goals in a season.
Leicester have made a wretched start with their defence all over the place, but as bad as it’s been, they’ll have to get an awful lot worse to replace Derby in the record books.
East Midlands rivals Nottingham Forest sit just one place above Leicester in 19th and with the pair set to play each other after the international break, bet365 are asking how many of the duo will be relegated – with both of them quoted at 4/1.
There was a sense that Forest could be competitive under Steve Cooper and the early signs were positive. However, just like their rivals, they’ve conceded 14 in their last four games and their fans won’t need reminding that, the last time they played Leicester in the Premier League, despite winning 1-0, they finished rock bottom.
Almost everything that could’ve gone wrong for Brendan Rodgers this season has gone wrong. A lack of additions over the summer was compounded by star defender Wesley Fofana leaving for Chelsea and Ricardo Pereira suffering an Achilles injury, while age may finally be catching up to Jamie Vardy, who’s yet to score in seven appearances.
There wasn’t even much reprieve in the EFL Cup, where Leicester were held to a 1-1 draw by Stockport, needing penalties to overcome the League Two side.
While the Foxes’ start has certainly been alarming, it’s not quite all doom and gloom at the King Power.
After the thrashing at Brighton, they more than held their own at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, going in level at the break, but a mistake from Wilfried Ndidi saw them fall behind, with a 15-minute blitz from super-sub Son Heung-min made the score look worse than the performance deserved.
Their goals against column reading 22 is cause for concern, but their xGA tally of 10.8 isn’t as bad as Fulham’s (12.0), Bournemouth’s (12.2) or Everton’s (11.5), though keeper Danny Ward’s performances will need to improve for that balance to be redressed, as he sits rock bottom in the xG Prevented chart.
The picture is perhaps more bleak for their rivals Forest, whose 22 signings haven’t gelled as quickly as Cooper would’ve liked, and while time is on their side, and they’ll have six weeks during the World Cup to work on the training pitch, vast improvement is needed.
They look a far cry from the side who stormed up the Championship table after Cooper’s arrival, even losing to fellow newly-promoted sides Fulham and Bournemouth, both after taking the lead.
They also took one point away from Everton at Goodison Park despite leading late on, though they were perhaps fortunate to leave Merseyside with that many.
They’ll have to improve quickly if they are to avoid a swift return to the Championship, with tightening up the defence and holding on to leads Cooper’s top priority.