It was the 65th minute Sunday afternoon. Leicester City had a 1-0 lead on 19th place Bournemouth. They entered the match in fourth place and in position to jump Chelsea for third as Chelsea lost 3-0 to Sheffield United on Saturday. It looked like Leicester would win a huge game to keep their Champions League qualification hopes alive and stay ahead of red-hot Manchester United.
However, disaster struck as Bournemouth scored two goals in two minutes and Leicester picked up a red card as defender Caglar Soyuncu kicked Bournemouth striker Callum Wilson as they were tangled up in the net. By the 87th minute, Leicester was doomed as Bournemouth scored two more goals and achieved a jaw-dropping 4-1 victory. In a battle of UCL hopes vs Premier League survival, the club in danger of relegation achieved victory.
For Bournemouth, this was a huge victory as they jumped Aston Villa for 18th place (the top relegation spot) and now trail 17th place Watford by three points. They rebounded from a 0-0 draw Thursday against Tottenham Hotspur, a match that saw many missed chances for Bournemouth. Their four goals today were more than the previous five matches during “Project Restart” combined (three).
As for Leicester, this match was absolutely embarrassing. They had a 1-0 lead on a club in the relegation zone. That lead should never disappear for a club in the top four, especially in the way they blew it. Sloppy defending to concede a penalty, careless passing in their own zone and Soyuncu kicking Wilson was disgusting. For a club that spent the first half of the season dominating teams in a likable fashion, this was a horrendous result.
They have only notched six points in the six games during “Project Restart,” which includes only one victory (3-0 win over Crystal Palace). In their last match against Arsenal, they were outplayed by the Gunners but survived to draw in part due to a red card from Arsenal striker Eddie Nketiah. They have looked lifeless at times and are carried by the Golden Boot frontrunner Jamie Vardy. It is obvious that without him, Leicester would be a mid-table team at best. Yes, Leicester has missed their fullback duo in Ben Chillwell and Ricardo Pereira, but there is no excuse for their performance today. They better hope that Manchester City’s UCL ban is upheld or else Leicester will find themselves playing in the Europa League next season. Also, it doesn’t get any easier for Leicester as they finish against Sheffield United, Tottenham and Manchester United.