Saturday, 5 March 2011

Conclusions from Loftus Road

Queens Park Rangers1-0Leicester
(HT 0-0)
Miller 88

Att: 18,068
BBC Match Report

  • Solid, if unexplosive. For the first half Leicester played an understated, pressing style of football that seemed to knock the wind out of QPR's sails. The Rs did break forward and, at times, threatened the Leicester goal - worrying times for Foxes fans with Ricardo between the sticks. The Foxes nonetheless defended well and could be disappointed after the first 45 minutes to not go in with at least one goal to their credit.
  • It was great to see a Foxes side going for it. Despite the more contained, defensive approach of a 4-4-2 formation adopted by Sven Goran Eriksson, Leicester continually pushed and pried to find a goal. That they did so even late in the game, away from home against the league leaders could perhaps be a criticism as the Hoops stole a late goal on the break, robbing the travelling fans of a satisfied journey back to the Midlands.
  • The season may now lie in tatters. Results going as they did today, the Foxes have been leapfrogged in the Championship by the likes of Burnley and now what three games ago looked like an automatic promotion prospect now looks like a battle to scrape into the play-offs. To not reach that objective would be crushing and without a result against a hard to beat Norwich side on Tuesday evening... the future looks bleak.

Jeffrey Bruma and Ben Mee
The young defenders had a superb first half, tracking back to defend well but also distributing the ball nicely further up the pitch, Mee in particular carrying the ball down the wing like a seasoned full-back and not the young centre half he is.

The Nigerian forward seemed to thrive in a partnership with Vassell up front, his usual 'lazy' demeanour replaced so that, at times, he appeared to show some dedication to the cause. His glorious attempted lob over Paddy Kenny should have seen the Foxes ahead after twenty-odd minutes but only the goalkeeper's superb athletics prevented that from happening. Yakubu continued to press well, creating opportunities for himself but also feeding others. It's probably true that the switch to 4-4-2 benefited the Yak more than any other Foxes player this afternoon.

Martyn Waghorn
Waghorn could have made a hero of Eriksson and his tactical nous when he nearly scored with his first touches of the game. Once more only Kenny's reactions prevented Leicester from taking the lead as Waghorn beat his man before his chip-shot was flicked away by the QPR goalkeeper. His introduction to the game was the right one to make as Darius Vassell flagged in the second half, but his impact only went so far and, crucially, no goal was becoming of the ex-Sunderland man.

Richie Wellens
Another, as anticipated, top performance from the midfielder - in both attack and, crucially, defence.

His constant desire to punch the ball clear may be effective in Portuguese football, but in the Championship a goalkeeper's ability to catch the ball and hold it for a few seconds aids teams in slowing-down play and disrupting the opposition's flow. Ricardo was guilty of some dodgy clearances again this afternoon - only sheer luck prevented him 'doing a SzczÄ™sny' as the Hoops pushed-on at the start of the second half.
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