Focusing upon the Champions League may have been an acceptable excuse for Leicester City’s poor form at the start of the season, but things are starting to look bleak for Claudio Ranieri at the ground where he worked miracles last season.
A listless 3-0 defeat to Manchester United leaves the Foxes just one point above the relegation zone, having now moved into February without scoring a Premier League goal in 2017.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored in a three-minute spell in the first-half which all-but ended the game as a contest before the break, with Juan Mata adding a third after the restart to pile more misery on a Leicester side who looked bereft of confidence, ideas and, most damningly, faith in their manager.
Truth be told, United were not pushed hard to claim all three points, despite a tense start to the match.
They came up against the hosts’ rigid defence in the opening stages, and aside from Rojo’s hopeful attempt from out wide, Schmeichel was largely untroubled in goal.
And if the Foxes were in free-scoring form, they may have made the most of one of the many chances recorded; Morgan, Musa and Mahrez all missing good opportunities to break the deadlock.
But with 10 minutes to go before the break, the Red Devils capitalised on some questionable defending to strike twice and kill off the game.
Firstly, Smalling’s flick-on fell to Mkhitaryan, who darted past Huth in the centre circle with ease, advancing towards goal and firing low past Schmeichel.
88 seconds later Ibrahimovic netted his 20th goal of the season, meeting Valencia’s cross with a first-time strike which the keeper could not react to quickly enough.
And four minutes after the break the final blow was dealt to Leicester, a superb move involving Mkhitaryan and Mata ending with the latter converting from close range.
United understandably eased off with the points already secured, and although the hosts tried to capitalise with a series of probing attacks, Mahrez’s free-kick which hit the side netting was the closest they came to finally scoring a league goal in 2017.
But Vardy’s continued struggles upfront saw the striker break down move after move, and the Foxes ended the game with a whimper.
If things don’t change soon, their season will be going the same way.