If ever a performance typified the times we’re all struggling to navigate, then surely this was it.
You could call it a circuit-breaker, although soul-destroyer would be more appropriate for a depressing surrender that makes you wonder if this is how things have to be?
In the absence of a miracle vaccine to instil some positivity and intent, we’ll just have to accept first half no-shows like this as some sort of necessary evil towards a greater good, it would seem.
But on first glance, this 1-0 defeat was like lockdown at its worst. A suppressing of expression, freedom and any sort of aspiration because the environment was just too scary for such notions to exist in the first place.
Worse still, this painful submission bore the hallmarks of a side that never believed it stood a chance against a better opponent in the first place. It was more befitting of an FA Cup minnow against bigger fish, hoping to take the game deep to force some sort of replay.
Like lockdown, circuit breakers and tiered systems of local rules, first half performances like this can’t be the solution in the long-term, can they?
With or without another stinking VAR decision to aid the Foxes’ cause for a third successive game, a complete abdication of intent – with the players at our disposal – made for one of the most pathetic 45 minutes in recent memory, where momentum was frittered away with half-hearted abandon.
This isn’t a formation or personnel issue either; it is a perplexing lack of inclination to compete with any sense of purpose, other than to ride the storm and hope to stay in the game once the half time oranges have been sucked dry.
Ergo, the second half is a mild improvement, owing to the first half being so awful to begin with. Aside from Roy Hodgson’s 4-4-2 and a Steve Bruce anti-spectacle from the same playbook, this has been the trend against mobile sides with an extra man in the middle for some time now.
The net result is a first half deficit – in either scoreline or possession – and a sense of regret that we didn’t at least try to create chances from the get-go. The statistics don’t lie, nor will the league table in a few weeks’ time with much more reverential obedience like this.
This isn’t a case of knocking the lads for the sake of it, but in the absence of an explanation for such a surrender, I can only call it as I see it (whether or not I should be counting my blessings because we were losing at home to Barnsley under Walter Zenga a few years ago) and, despite a rally of sorts in the second half, it was still garbage.
It was a performance purpose-built for lockdown; a grim environment under dark, swollen skies which forces you back to bed, which is the only sanctuary to make the monotony of life less tedious than it already is.
Best to wash our hands with this one, muscle a swab stick past the gag-reflex and hope that a mouthful of sick doesn’t soil your single-use surgical mask.