Saturday, 30 October 2010

Conclusions from Preston North End

Preston North End
(HT 1-0)
Gallagher 36

  • Clean sheets mean prizes. This win was not built on a stunning display of attacking strength or midfield dominance, but on a solid defensive line that remained assured and steady throughout. Sven Goran Eriksson's loan signings, together with the clever use of Miguel Vitor whose stature is growing by the game, are really proving their worth.
  • Chances still need to be taken. Gallagher, Waghorn, Howard, Fryatt... the list of players missing chances is a long one and their finishing needs to be sorted, fast. With the exception of today's clean sheet, we're too often being punished without punishing at the other end.
  • Not bad for an injury-ridden team. Considering the number of players out through injury for this fixture, the team sheet announced at half past two today was certainly not a cringe-worthy one, nor was it one to be scoffed at. Fate apparently worked in our favour this afternoon, forcing Eriksson to into picking a team that in the end worked very well indeed.

Yuki Abe and Paul Gallagher
Two players widely critiqued this week following the defeat to West Brom, Abe and Gally combined at the end of the first half to give Leicester the lead. Abe's vision and inch-perfect pass set up the Scot to fire home in a demonstration of each player's sheer class, underlining Sven Goran Eriksson's commitment to keeping them in the starting XI. Despite neither of the pair playing in their preferred positions they did a solid job all around the pitch today and made their claims for regular first team football well justified.

Kyle Naughton
Sven, sign him up! For such a young lad he really has got some class and provides security at the back with some good nous going forwards. So long has he's in the team, as a Foxes fan you have to remain optimistic.

Miguel Vitor
Another solid showing from the Benfica loanee, who seems to have hit his stride under Sven's guidance. Today, Alan Young quite rightly singled him out as his Man of the Match. Perhaps he deserves his chance - after failing to impress under Sousa - after all.

Steve Howard
Big Steve got himself dragged-down by Wayne Brown, riling up that hateful man and rousing the crowd. Howard is in the squad to do that job, winding-up opposition players, controlling the attack and providing a presence. Whatever criticism you aim at him about his goalscoring ability or otherwise, he does that job very well indeed.

Chris Weale
Is there something new being done by Mike Stowell? If so, he needs to change it back for the normally assured Chris Weale was anything but today - distractedly flapping at the ball at least twice, it was only thanks to the slow reactions and lack of height of Iain Hume that Preston weren't gifted an equaliser. Perhaps a move for Germany under-21s keeper Michael Rensing is needed, and perhaps that move is indeed more than just hearsay.

Dany N'Guessan
N'Guessan is something of an enigma. He possesses strength, power, height and determination; all good facets for a top striker. But N'Guessan never quite seems to impress, his poise and agility coming into question whilst his ball control seems lacking. Quite why this is the case now - he had the most impressive debut at the beginning of last season - remains to be seen. He needs to step up if he is to fulfil his promise as The Next Big Man Up Front.

Paul Gallagher
His injury is bad news for him and the team, just as it looked like he might have been hitting some form.

Matt Oakley
The usual skipper was on the bench today and only came on for the injured Paul Gallagher in the dying minutes. His utterly needless foul led to two opportunities for a Preston equaliser late-on.  

The football fans of England's newest city
They pay in excess of twenty quid to watch that team? Seriously? I know as a Leicester fan this may seem hypocritical, but at least we go forward and attack the ball. Preston North End are a poor, poor team and it is easy to see why they're struggling at this level.
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