Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Festive Conclusions from Leeds and the New Den

Boxing Day, Sunday, 26th December 2010

Leeds United
(HT 0-1)
Gallagher (pen) 72
King 76
Gradel 19
Snodgrass 55

Tuesday, 28th December 2010


(HT 2-0)
Morrison 12
Puncheon 25

Firstly, to the Boxing Day clash and Leeds United, whose good form generally in the league looked to remain as they went ahead before twenty minutes with former Leicester youngster Max Gradel nodding home the opener. It got much worse after the break as Robert Snodgrass netted a spectacular second with the outside of his foot from an acute angle. The Foxes were left reeling as yet again Sven Goran Eriksson's side had failed to start well and paid the price.

Booked: Schmeichel sees only yellow
after fouling Vassell to give away a penalty
for Leicester's first
It took a bit of luck for the Foxes to get back in the game, and once more it was Paul Gallagher who thumped home a penalty to stir the game into life after the Whites' keeper Kasper Schmeichel hauled-down the advancing Darius Vassell. Controversially, Schmeichel - clearly last man - failed to be sent-off by referee Anthony Bates who came in for much derision from blue-shirted fans in the latter half of the match.

And if luck saw the Foxes grab a goal back, it was pure class that saw Andy King steal an equaliser as he half-volleyed the ball from long range to score emphatically off the underside of the crossbar. From then, Leeds doggedly pressed forwards and prompted Chris Kirkland into two excellent saves - somewhat redeeming himself after a dire début at Ipswich before Christmas.

It was not Leicester City's finest moment, but the 30,000-strong crowd could go home for a Boxing Day tea perfectly satisfied after an entertaining fixture that sees Eriksson remain unbeaten at the Walkers Stadium.

Millwall were ahead after twelve minutes after Stephen Morrison beat Greg Cunningham to fire home and after Jack Hobbs' error, Jason Puncheon made no mistake to poach a second. Those defenders' mistakes cost their team in terms of two goals, but at the other end of the pitch Roman Bednar again failed to shine, seemingly lacking dedication to his increasingly frustrated team mates. The second-half dismissal of Alan Dunne for an horrific challenge on Richie Wellens allowed the Foxes back into the game, but aside from chances for Steve Howard and Lloyd Dyer, Lions' keeper David Forde was rarely threatened and Leicester limped to their fourth successive away defeat.

What remains crystal clear after the first half of this season - a season in which the future looks so bright under Eriksson, Derek Fazackerley and new ownership - is that Leicester need to get out of the blocks faster and get results away from home. Taking chances is crucial, of course, with none of the forward players in the squad regularly scoring goals. Indeed, Gallagher's six goals are the most scored by a registered striker in the Foxes' ranks, and half of those are from penalty kicks.

Captain fantastic: King scored again against Leeds

Some could argue that at least there are a greater range of goals coming throughout the team - fourteen players have scored this season - but nobody seems to be taking a lead as a centre-forward, leaving Andy King, undoubtedly the club's brightest prospect in years, to pick-up the slack. Indeed without King's contributions, Leicester would have scored just 32 times this term.

At home, the Foxes are a classy team. Free-flowing football abounds with a swagger some Premier League teams could be proud of. At Fortress Filbert Way, Leicester City are a team that battle and fight, scrapping for the equaliser. Away from home, however, it is a different story. We start slowly, make errors to concede silly goals and do not have the finesse to claw back and claim a point. Eriksson needs to find some new ideas if we are to get into the Premier League as the owners - and more importantly the fans - desire.

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Pearson Chasing Former Charge

After rumours last month that Foxes striker Matt Fryatt might be on his way to East Midlands rivals Forest on loan, it has now emerged that former Leicester City boss Nigel Pearson could be tempted to lure the Nuneaton-born forward to Hull City.

Pearson has made no attempt to hide his admiration for Fryatt, who scored two hat-tricks in succession as the Foxes won promotion back to the Championship under the Tigers manager two seasons ago. With Fryatt seemingly out of favour with now-Leicester boss Sven Goran Eriksson, it seems likely he may well be looking for a new challenge when the transfer window opens in a fortnight's time.

Fryatt is one of two strikers on the radar of ex-Newcastle caretaker manager Pearson, with Leicester apparently rejecting bids in the region of £2-3million for the ex-Walsall striker.

Meanwhile Eriksson's efforts to strengthen his Foxes squad have taken a turn for the worse as LA Galaxy have blocked the former England coach's efforts to lure David Beckham back to England. Eriksson has stated he is unlikely to continue chasing Beckham, who has said he would like a loan move back to England but would not play in the Premier League except for former club Manchester United. 

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Vague Conclusions from Portman Road

Ipswich Town3-0Leicester
(HT 3-0)
Norris 6
Scotland 27
Scotland 39

If that was football, I'm Dutch. That this game even went ahead is a question of some debate and, bearing in mind the atrocious conditions it is a wonder that after a seventeen minute second-half delay the game reached its dire conclusion.

Inspection: Referee Attwell discusses conditions pre-match
Referee Stuart Attwell, the youngest to ever officiate a Premier League fixture, has come in for harsh criticism by Foxes fans and manager Sven Goran Eriksson, the Swede branding this match "bad PR for football". Indeed, with the game beamed live around the country by Sky Sports, it seems the referee was under intense pressure to allow the game to go ahead. Certainly that is the view of most Leicester supporters.

Attwell deemed conditions bad enough for a yellow ball (bought on not at kick-off but part-way through the first half) and blue painted lines to be required and, despite four potential injuries to Leicester City players, still thought conditions safe enough for the match to go-ahead.

It was Ipswich who took advantage of the conditions as Leicester - wearing for the first time their King-Power emblazoned black strip - struggled to initiate their usual pacey, passing style. Instead the home side's strength and adaptation to the poor conditions saw them take the initiative, David Norris opening the scoring just six minutes in before a brace from Jason Scotland put the game beyond reach of the Foxes.

Whiteout: Paul Gallagher battles through thick snow at Portman Road
Many will praise the referee's decision to suspend play for over a quarter of an hour midway through the second forty-five minutes, but his indecision and lack of authority was made plain as he was bullied into continuing the game by Tractor Boys' manager Roy Keane, himself under pressure after a run of six straight defeats before this fixture sees him teetering towards losing his job.

Perhaps criticism should instead be aimed at Eriksson, whose Foxes side have failed to shine away from home this season as they have once more built the Walkers Stadium into a fortress, symbolised by an epic 5-1 hammering of Doncaster Rovers last weekend. This was Leicester's third humiliating away defeat on the trot, still just six points from a possible eighteen collected by the Foxes away from home under the Swede.

Ipswich, in fairness, adapted much better than Leicester to what were truly atrocious conditions, the only winners on a very wintry afternoon in Suffolk. But the very fact that four other Championship games were postponed, due to much lighter conditions than those that suspended play at Portman Road, firmly places the spotlight over referee Attwell and pressure from Sky Sports that made this game reach its conclusion in farcical circumstances.

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Conclusions from Doncaster Rovers

Leicester5-1Doncaster Rovers
(HT 1-1)
Gallagher 45 pen
Wellens 61
Naughton 68
Vassell 74
Waghorn 90+3
Sharp 7

  • If we could only defend better... Doncaster's opener was more down to poor defending on behalf of the Foxes than it was to Doncaster's positive start to the game. Cunningham was well beaten and Miguel Vitor stepped back to allow Billy Sharp the time and space he needed to finish on the volley. Perhaps Vitor's error here was down to his lack of match fitness - he hadn't played for six weeks until today - or is just another example of the Foxes being beaten early on as we fail to start matches well. But enough of the negatives, we won five goals to one for crying out loud...
  • We are a good, attacking team. If only we could get out of the blocks faster and defend better we would never be in the position where a defeat is threatened. We were a class above Doncaster in the second half, a truly astonishing fact considering the dire performance of the opening twenty minutes. If we carry on like we did after four o'clock, the only way is up.
  • Swings and roundabouts. The referee gifted to us a penalty that most believe was never a foul. On another day, it would have most likely been given against us. Today, for whatever reason, the luck went in our favour and we put in a fabulous second half showing to seal an outstanding victory.
  • We nearly scored from a corner. But Andy King hit the bar. Next time, maybe.

Yuki Abe
The Japanese midfielder had a strong game today, as he continues to become accustomed to English football. Abe tracked-back as well as progressing forward, showing at times some impressive turns of pace that saw the Foxes able to build on movements that seemed to be fizzling-out. Another sound game - and he waved.

Wellens: Put the Foxes ahead
Paul Gallagher
A player who seems to dip in and out of form, at the moment Gallagher is exactly where Leicester need him - playing skilful football and mucking-in to aid his team mates. At least twice in the first twenty minutes the ex-Blackburn man saved Greg Cunningham from embarrassment on the left wing, as he showed maturity that is needed from a senior member of the squad. And he scored the penalty that put us back in the game.

Richie Wellens
Capped-off another good display at the heart of the Foxes midfield with a stonking goal against his former club. A fine performance from a player in form.

Kyle Naughton
Finished-off a tremendous second half display from Leicester when he scored a textbook counter-attacking goal. His contributions to the change in Leicester's attitude will not have gone unnoticed by Sven Goran Eriksson as he looks to who he might sign on a permanent basis in January.

Pick your spot: Vassell lines-up to score Leicester's fourth.
Darius Vassell
Finally found his first goal in English football for three years after moving into the centre of the park gave him more freedom to run at the Doncaster defence. In the words of our favourite Swede, "the old, good Darius Vassell is back".

Martyn Waghorn
Answered the critics who have suggested he might make a loan move out of Leicester in January with a goal to cap a wonderful day for Leicester City Football Club.

The Club's Owners
Top and co. should be highly commended for their efforts in fixing prices for today's game at a tenner a pop. Having over 27,000 fans in the ground in bound to reflect on a team's success and sense of pride, as well as allowing the widest spectrum of supporters to attend. That said, the stadium atmosphere was not as good as it should have been today, but that should not detract from the so-far, so-good efforts of Top and his team of fellow investors.

Andy King
He didn't score?! He hit the post?! Shocking, really, that the man who is on fire this season was seemingly the only man on the pitch not to score.

Doncaster Rovers
To utterly capitulate in the way Doncaster did this afternoon is not a good sign. They took the early advantage to go ahead and only a rather dodgy refereeing decision saw them pegged-back at half time. For them to approach the second half in a way that left them so exposed was poor tactically, but the fact that for once we made a team pay wa beautiful to 

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Conclusions from Vicarage Road

(HT 2-0)
Eustace 15
Buckley 23
Graham 85
Gallagher (pen) 51, 69

  • Watford's tactics with the pitch paid-off (for them). There were questions before the match about the grass on the Vicarage Road pitch being left to grow long and it seemed, certainly in the first half, it was a tactic that worked well for the Hornets. The Foxes quick, fluid play was stifled as they were bogged-down and slipped over time and time again on the worst pitch so far visited this season, allowing Watford to capitalise early in the game. What it created in the first half was a scruffy stop-start affair not conducive to good attacking football.
  • This was definitely Sven's darkest hour. This first 45 minutes was certainly the worst performance from Sven Goran Eriksson's Leicester City side since he took over. Certainly, his team were not aided by conditions at Vicarage Road (see above), but they nonetheless put-in a poor performance today. A very frustrating afternoon for the 2,000-strong travelling Foxes fans, even with a ballsy fightback in the second half that just fell short.
  • Slow starting cost us... again. Too many times this season, Leicester have lost games in the first half after starting the game poorly. Today once more we were slow to respond to Watford's attacks.

Kyle Naughton
Naughton again proved a canny loan signing as he was able to attack the Watford wing in the second half and got the Foxes back in the game after his cunning ball into the hand of Andrew Taylor resulted in a penalty which Paul Gallagher duly converted. Another solid performance.

Paul Gallagher
Anonymous for most of the first half, Gallagher stepped-up to take the penalty and proved his selection valid when he fired home to give the Foxes a lifeline. That he followed that up with a fantastic free-kick to level the score is remarkable and he should be commended for his perseverance. His second half reliability should stand him in good stead.

The Fans of Leicester City
For a sixth of the crowd at a mid-season Championship clash in appalling weather to be from the away side is a great statistic for their club. That this game was not a local derby but a two-hour trek from home for most fans makes that astonishing. The commitment of the Leicester City supporters this term rightly deserves credit.

Watford F.C.
Used conditions to their advantage to nullify any possibility of the visitors taking points home, attacked well and defended equally admirably. A good performance from the Hornets.

Chris Weale
A farcical slide-over from the Bristolian after twenty minutes gifted McGinn an open target which he could not fail to hit. Whilst his decision to come out, attack the ball and lead his defensive line was the correct one, he did not deal with the threat and paid the price. A poor error from a keeper whose position will surely come under more pressure if and when Kirkland regains fitness.

Jack Hobbs
It was Hobbs' failure to deal with McGinn's attack that put Weale in the unenviable position that led to Watford's second. Hobbs' performance today was typical of the majority of those in blue shirts as Watford steamed through the heart of the Foxes defence time after time. If Vitor is to be fit for a sustained period of time, Hobbs will once again be finding himself warming the substitute's bench.

Andy King
A quiet game from the Welshman today that ultimately saw him replaced by Matt Oakley. A return to the side for Oakley could see the 21-year-old stripped of the captain's armband, but in reality it is hard to see where Oakley would fit into the current midfield.

Three across the middle didn't work for the Foxes this afternoon as the midfield became overstretched for much of the early passages of play and allowed Watford to attack straight through the centre of the park. Ultimately, this was Leicester's downfall this afternoon.

Lloyd Doyley
Just for being the only player in the Football League to be named after a posh persons' tableware decoration. 

Monday, 29 November 2010

Conclusions from Forest

(HT 0-0)
King 59

Yuki Abe embraces goalscorer Andy King at full time

  • We need to be more aggressive. Standing-off and defending in a conservative frame of mind nearly cost us goals in the first half. We failed to take the game to Forest early-on and gave them far too much time on the ball. If we are to compete for a play-off place again this season, we have to get going faster and take the game to the opposition before half time. We have too often relied on second half performances - as today - to give us victory, we need to make it count sooner.
  • When are we going to make corners count? Two hundred and six as I write this and that will have risen before the full time whistle blows. Give the ball to Greg Cunningham (as the best corner taker we've got) and get Steve Howard's noggin on it. Or Andy King's, given his form.
  • The net should be broken. The amount of chances we're creating, both nets at the Walkers Stadium should by rights be in a dire state of disrepair. As it is, nobody is consistently scoring goals when a chance is created for them. And that includes golden boy King.

Captain Fantastic: King slides-home the winner
Andy King
That boy cannot stop scoring. With eight goals before December this is turning in to the season that makes Andy King a legend. The young Welshman again did more than merely score (indeed this goal was as much down to good play by Abe, Vassell and Bednar as it was to King), controlling the midfield as only good players can and raising the excitement amongst a 24,600-strong crowd as no other player could. He is just getting better by the game. "All hail the King"...

Chris Weale
Following the arrival of Chris Kirkland, Weale has suddenly found himself some form. He put in at least two outstanding saves to keep the Foxes in the game, before another good stop as Forest chased the game with quarter of an hour left. Maybe some competition is just what the doctor ordered for the Somerset-ian.

Roman Bednar
A good first impression made by the Czech, who put in a sound performance on his Walkers Stadium début. Described as "A mean, sleek torpedo" by one Foxes fan, the addition of movement to a Steve Howard-type player could prove deadly in this league. He's given Sven a lovely problem by giving the Foxes manager another good attacking option.

Ian Stringer
The Radio Leicester hack was on top form tonight, including a little gem comparing the head of Nathan Tyson to a Toblerone. Class.

Steve Howard
Through no fault of his own, Steve Howard is set to be keeping the bench warm for a number of games to come. Roman Bednar has given Sven a pacier alternative to Frankie and someone new to the squad who can freshen-up the team's approach. Howard came on for Bednar in the closing minutes of tonight's game and did nothing wrong, but Bednar put in a good début performance to take the plaudits tonight.

Lloyd Dyer / Darius Vassell
Currently the enigmas of the team, both Dyer and Vassell show flashes of sheer brilliance but both are failing to deliver consistently. Neither is winning the battle to cement his place in the starting XI just yet.

Foxes V Forest: Game On!

Despite freezing temperatures gripping Leicestershire tonight, the East Midlands derby that will see Nottingham Forest travel to Leicester is set to go ahead. The Walkers Stadium's heated pitch has been working overtime and the game will go ahead as planned with kick-off at 7:45pm.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

FA Cup: Foxes Draw Manchester City

Leicester City will face Manchester City in the FA Cup Third Round as Sven Goran Eriksson meets his former club for the first time.

In a draw that will raise suspicion of fixing, Foxes fan Serge Pizzorno (of Kasabian fame) drew Leicester City out of the hat before Noel Gallagher pulled-out the Eastlands club. Elsewhere, Manchester United will face North-West rivals Liverpool and Arsenal host Leeds United. 

The tie - which will take place at the Walkers Stadium on the weekend of the 8th and 9th of January - will evoke memories of the epic FA Cup final of 1969, in which the Foxes were narrowly defeated by Joe Mercer's side. The match will also see the return of Roberto Mancini to the East Midlands, the now-Man City manager making five appearances for Leicester in 2001 after a high-profile switch.

The last time these two clubs met was in the FA Cup in 2004, when Man City beat the Foxes 3-1, Les Ferdinand netting for Leicester in a replay at the Walkers Stadium.

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Mandaric Steps-Down as Chairman, Moves-On to Hillsborough

Leicester City chairman Milan Mandaric has agreed an £8 million deal to take over struggling League One side Sheffield Wednesday, according to BBC Sheffield.

Mandaric was linked with the Owls last week and his interest was confirmed by the Serbo-American tycoon on Tuesday. The move will end Mandaric's spell in charge at the Walkers Stadium, following a reign that has seen fifteen different managers in charge at the club since he took over as chairman after a £25 million buyout in February 2007.

Leicester City's owners paid tribute to the work done by Mandaric in nearly four years at the helm, Aiyawatt Raksriaksorn thanking him for the efforts and money he put in to the club.

"Milan Mandaric has done a great deal for the club, but now it is time for us to help progress Leicester City, to achieve our goals," said Aiyawatt's father Vichai, "The supporters deserve success and with the appointment of our world-class manager, Sven-Goran Eriksson, we will continue to strive to gain promotion to the Premier League."

"The club is now in a stronger position to progress," added Aiyawatt, "And the staff and the players will be doing all they can to bring future success to the club."

Mandaric gave an official statement on LCFC.com:

"Leicester City will always be in my heart. This club is Premier League in everything but name. The stadium and the supporters are both first-class, and this decision has been extremely difficult for me to make. It is the end of an era for me and because of that I am very emotional.

"However, it is now time for me to step aside. The new owners are fantastic people, with a great passion and enthusiasm to achieve success for Leicester City. I have always maintained that I would only leave the club once we were in a much better position than when I joined. I can now say, with complete confidence, that we have reached that position.

"The club was in a very poor financial position when I first arrived, with even their existence in jeopardy. During my time at the club, along with all of the dedicated staff, we have turned the business around and I pass on a strong, vibrant club, ready to embark on the next chapter in an illustrious history. I am very proud of what we have all achieved.

"In addition to the new owners, the club now has a world-class manager in Sven-Goran Eriksson and talented staff on and off the field. Let there be no doubt that there will be many bright days ahead for Leicester City Football Club."

"I want to thank the Leicestershire community for their support during my time at the club. From the first day, I felt the warmth of the supporters and will never forget everything that we have been through together.

"Leicester is a sporting city and football means so much to the people of Leicestershire. I am sure that in the coming seasons, the owners will deliver Premier League football to the Walkers Stadium, which is nothing more than the people of Leicester deserve."

Fryatt Stays as Kirkland Makes His Move

Matty Fryatt has stayed at the Walkers Stadium as rumours about a prospective departure to Nottingham Forest were quashed when the loan window closed at the end of last week.

Fryatt was hotly tipped for a move to the City ground as cover for their forward line as the Nuneaton-born striker has failed to shine for the Foxes so far this season. Fryatt has been heavily criticised in some quarters for his apparent lack of commitment this season, as he vies for his place in Leicester City's starting XI alongside Steve Howard, Martyn Waghorn, Paul Gallagher and Darius Vassell.

Meanwhile, Sven Goran Eriksson has secured a loan move for goalkeeper Chris Kirkland to the Walkers Stadium until January. The ex-England shot stopper worked with Eriksson during his tenure as England manager. 

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Fryatt Set for Walkers Stadium Exit

Matty Fryatt's Leicester City career is set to end as he is rumoured to be looking at a deal that will see him move to rivals Nottingham Forest before tomorrow's Football League loan deadline.

In a prospective deal that will shock Foxes fans, the 2009 top scorer is believed to be close to signing a loan deal for Forest with view to a permanent move, according to BBC Radio Leicester's Ian Stringer.

The 23-year-old had been linked by the Independent with a move to Hull City in order to team-up with former Foxes boss Nigel Pearson, but Stringer believes Fryatt's move will not see him move quite so far from home. The striker has also coveted interest from Southampton and the Premier League's Wigan Athletic.

The Nuneaton-born striker has scored over 60 goals and made nearly 170 appearances for Leicester since his move from Walsall in 2006, and during the Foxes' promotion-winning season in 2008 became the first Fox since Arthur Chandler 83 years earlier to score consecutive hat tricks on his way to a record-breaking 32 goals.

In other news, former England goalkeeper Chris Kirkland is tipped to sign for Leicester, according to the BBC. The out-of-favour Wigan shot-stopper was due to sign last week but that deal was put on hold as Barwell-born Kirkland picked-up a virus. 

Foxes Snare Czech Striker

Leicester City have secured the signing of Czech striker Roman Bednar on loan from West Bromwich Albion.

The 27-year-old becomes Sven Goran Eriksson's fourth loan signing as he looks to bolster his attacking options. Bednar joins amid calls from Foxes fans for a new goalscorer following a 2-0 drubbing at Bristol City at the weekend.

The Czech striker has netted 30 goals in 85 Baggies appearances, having made a £2.5 million move from Hearts. He will be eligible for selection on Monday for the local derby against Forest.

Meanwhile, rumours surrounding Foxes' chairman Milan Mandaric's expected departure to struggling Sheffield Wednesday have been fuelled by speculation that he is within days of completing a deal. According to the BBC, the Serbian tycoon will become a major shareholder in the League One outfit, necessitating his resignation as Chairman at the Walkers Stadium. We will bring you more news on Mandaric's situation as it is received.

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Conclusions from Ashton Gate

Bristol City

Pitman 57
Clarkson 90+1
(HT 0-0)

  • Some matches can just be awful. The first half of this afternoon's 'entertainment' was one of the worst I've ever listened to. It was dull, lacking in pace and spirit and failed to captivate the imagination. Even the penalty that could have set-up the Foxes for another good win didn't work out. It's on days like this you really feel sorry for the fans that travelled the hundred-plus miles to follow their team.
  • The cutting-edge is still not there. It was again the inability to take chances that was the downfall of Leicester City this afternoon. Howard's penalty miss was the epitome of a game that for all it's one-sidedness in Leicester's favour was always going to be a dull affair edged by a mistake or a piece of class. In fact, we had both as Bristol eventually finished as 2-0 victors. That we conceded again from a set piece without response from one of our many corners is what has been costing us all season.

Steve Howard
He failed to score a penalty but still Howard stands-out as a leader and key man on the pitch. Today his inclusion here is as much down to others' failings as much as his playing a good game, but that should not undermine Howard's claim to remain in the starting XI.

Sven Goran Eriksson
Sven cannot be criticised following this defeat for two reasons. He made all the right calls as we chased the game in vain, making the right substitutions and strategic calls as he has done since he took charge. Tactically, we were sound today and created plenty of opportunities; clearly, the manner in which Leicester are playing at present is good. However, a dodgy free-kick, a bad error (plus a glorious finish) and his players' finishing let him down today. We were undoubtedly the better side for ninety-two of the ninety-four minutes but those two minutes were pivotal.

David James
After a calamitous error in the first half that saw the England keeper live up to his nickname and gift a penalty to the visitors, James never looked back. He saved what was a good penalty from Steve Howard and was relatively untroubled for the rest of the match.

Chris Weale
A poor clearance from the ex-Bristol keeper gifted the home side their second goal that destroyed any chance of a Foxes fightback in the dying minutes. Yes, the finish from forty-odd yards was exquisite, but it was Weale's error that gave Clarkson the chance to score. Weale will be moving aside for Chris Kirkland sooner than he would have imagined.

Martyn Waghorn
Waghorn failed to score yet again, making it still just two league goals in fourteen appearances for the £3 million striker. Whether he lacks confidence in front of goal - he too often looks for the pass instead of shooting - or there is something else affecting his game, it needs sorting quickly if he is to fulfil his promise.

The Foxes' Promotion Push
A defeat away from home may not on paper look like the worst result but in reality, at a side whose home form is poor, it is disastrous for the long journey to the top six. Games like these are the ones we should be winning without exception, and whilst Chris Weale will take the brunt of the blame for his error to ultimately concede defeat, it was the failure of the strikers to challenge David James that cost the Foxes victory.

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Conclusions from Derby County

Derby County
(HT 1-0)
King 13
Howard 71 (p)

  • We need to cut-out the small mistakes. It is very rare for a team to remain on top for the whole of a football match: football is a game that ebbs and flows throughout ninety minutes, with the home side on top for perhaps the first fifteen minutes before the away side have a spell where they have the attacking impetus. What the Foxes nearly didn't do today was keep composed during Derby's attacking periods, remaining solid at the back and avoiding any small mishaps to allow the opposition a chance at goal (Paul Gallagher poorly giving-away the ball in the Rams' half after half an hour that led to Chris Commons having a shot on goal). Thankfully their shooting was way-off in the first half and we kept the lead, but on another day that could have been very different.
  • I told you Lady Luck was with us. At last, we have some form. Whether it be through probability, the impact of Eriksson and his excellent loan signings or sheer luck, Leicester City have finally strung some results together after three months of the 2010/11 season. We won a penalty today, our stray passes didn't cost us and, despite Vassell's disallowed goal, luck was truly on our side to cap what was another sound performance across the whole team. 

Andy King
His first-half goal was his seventh of the season - of course omitting the three he scored that were disallowed, all of which you could argue should have stood. King has become the key man in the Foxes' midfield, and against the Rams today he demonstrated his creative ability and capped it with a goal. He's had a truly remarkable start to his career, let alone this season, and could well have just booked his place in Foxes' folklore.

Darius Vassell
For someone who seems to have been around for so long, it's easy to forget that Vassell is still only thirty; he still has a good five years left in football. The ex-England striker is possessed with a raw pace and he is capable of ripping apart sluggish defences with ease, as he demonstrated today. Unfortunately on at least one occasion he was too quick for the linesman who seemed gripped to the idea of calling Vassell offside at every opportunity. However if Vassell remains fit and is able to consistently deliver this pace, he could well be another ingenious signing from Sven Goran Eriksson.

Richie Wellens
Carried-out his role of distributing the ball and holding the shape of the midfield well, as he always does, and deserves more credit than he usually receives for his role.

Steve Howard
The Big Man Done Good. Captaining the Foxes against his former club, Howard led the team to victory in style as he hammered home what was a stone-wall penalty, but he had a fantastic, fighting game for all of the eighty-nine minutes he was on the pitch.

Matt Oakley
His fans argued he's had the best start to a season so far in his Leicester City career at Championship level. His critics argue that the results prove whatever system a manager tries to fit him into, it fails to work. What is clear is that his injury has seen him booted-out of the squad, and with the Gallagher - Wellens - King - Abe midfield working so well at the minute, his time as club captain could soon be coming to a close. Certainly in Howard and King, Eriksson has two highly respected and valued leaders at his disposal, leaders that since Eriksson took charge have skippered the team to our longest unbeaten run of the season.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Conclusions from Sheffield United

Sheffield United
(HT 1-2)
Gallagher 8
Howard 90+2 (p)

Yeates 30, 41

  • Sven's unbeaten run continues. The Swedish charmer can carry on doing whatever he's doing, because it's working. And not just on results; the players seem happy and contented, the fans optimistic and the Walkers is once again glowing with pride.
  • Goals change games, as Carl Muggleton did not need to remind listeners to BBC Radio Leicester after the Blades grabbed the lead. Leicester outplayed Sheffield United and had a certain swagger about the way in which we were playing the ball around the park. Perhaps it was that cocky air that saw the lead slip in the first half, but what is certain is that a dodgy penalty robbed a point from the team who never really looked like they should have been ahead.
  • Our luck may be about to change. Well, would you ever have expected a dodgy penalty would have rescued a point? Certainly not a month ago, when everything seemed to go against the Foxes - be it offsides, goal-line decisions, penalty shouts or otherwise. Tonight we got that penalty and we scored it, proving that Lady Luck sometimes has to be with you in football for your efforts to pay-off.

Mark Yeates
Not a bad night be the ex-Leicester man. He crowned a simple move to deliver the equaliser and was solely responsible for a peach of a free-kick that saw Sheffield United take the lead. He was an absolute class above tonight, only marred in the way in which he gave away the last-gasp penalty to concede two points for his current side.

Paul Gallagher
An epic piece of brilliance once more from the most skilful player on the books at the Walkers. Promises of his class have failed to show themselves all too often this season (and, indeed, for much of the last) but Gallagher is, perhaps thanks to the influence of Eriksson and Derek Fazakerly in the backroom, starting to show his worth.

Kyle Naughton
Naughton is proving to be one of the best signings made by a Leicester City manager in recent years. The very fact that he is consistently being lauded as one of our best performers after just a few games is a testament to him. He was great once again this evening, pushing forward but unlike Cunningham able to put in the work in defence at the same time. Sensational.

Jack Hobbs
The one-time skipper should have been making his return to the first XI tonight to cement his place in a now competitive squad. Instead he was at fault for the Blades' getting-back into the game, as he was sucked in to play the ball and seemed to lack his usual commanding sense of space. Although fault cannot lie solely with him and Cunningham must try to judge his forward runs more appropriately to avoid leaving the defensive line exposed, Hobbs made a few mistakes that really cost the Foxes tonight.

Greg Cunningham
As mentioned above, Cunningham's advances into the opponent's half left the back-four exposed at times, something which led to the Blades' first goal. The right-back is proving a worthy and valuable member of the team and, like Naughton, his impact in creating a positive, attack-minded team is a good one. he just needs to work on balancing his forward forays with his defensive duties, if he is to truly shine.