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

"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.

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Conclusions from Oakwell

(HT 0-1)

Vitor 18
King 86

  • Sven is breathing new life into Leicester City - and he has options. Sven Goran-Eriksson now has nearly a fully fit squad to choose from and after five games he is beginning to find which players he likes and who he thinks fits into his system. He also seems happy with Andy King as skipper as he handed the Welshman the armband for a second successive game. He in turn rewarded his manager by capping off a fine move from Cunningham and Gallagher with his eleventh goal of the season. The Foxes look good now. We're no longer a struggling bottom-three side. The future's bright. The future's Swedish.
  • That was one of the oddest first halves of any match this season. Admittedly there was no Nani-esque goal blunder by the officials, but Robins' tactics and Leicester's utter dominance was at once bizarre and a joy to see.
  • Darius Vassell may be a great signing. Sven might just have pulled a metaphorical rabbit out of a hat with the signing of the ex-England forward. The pace and effort that saw him called up by Eriksson in 2002 is still there and could in future prove deadly with him and Waghorn up front. He certainly played a pacey game today and was able to beat his man on a number of occasions. After a bit of polish on his passing and work on his fitness, and he could become a great Leicester City player.

Leicester City Football Club / Leicester City fans
The noise made by Foxes fans at Oakwell as the game reached its climax was incredible. The support for each and every player, for the manager and for his team was brilliant to hear and the team certainly deserved it after a captivating performance that hit all the right notes. Two goals from an attacking display, a clean sheet, attacking play and what seems like a sense of security and consistency at the Walkers Stadium. This is where it changes.

Yuki Abe
The Japanese midfielder has had a week in the limelight - he's forged a new England-Japan partnership with De Montfort University, for crying out loud! - and after a good performance against Preston North End there is a new optimism about his future at the club. Today he put in a man of the match performance and one could argue that he has now cemented his place in the team.

Miguel Vitor
The big defender was rewarded for two good performances with another start and this time he repaid the faith Sven Goran-Eriksson has shown in the Portuguese with a goal. Vitor is getting better by the game, proving solid in defence as much as he is able to use his strength going forward.

Andy King
Two out of two for King as skipper and this time he scored the goal to make the three points certain. The lad is just getting better and better as each week passes and with Wellens is part of a central midfield partnership to rival any in this division.

Mark Robins and Barnsley
A bizarre decision to take-off both out-and-out strikers after half an hour lead his own fans to turn on him. Robins has done a good job with Barnsley and as a young manager it is quite right he tries-out different tactics - but when you're losing, taking off your strikers is just not common sense. If he hadn't have taken off his strikers and the second half had gone as in the end it did, the result could well have been different.