Saturday, 6 August 2011

Conclusions from the Ricoh Arena



Coventry City0-1Leicester City
(HT 0-0)

Peltier 53

Ricoh Arena, attendance: 21,102
BBC Match Report


Leicester Team: Schmeichel, Peltier (goal 53, King 60), Konchesky, Mills (90+3), Bamba, Wellens (80), Danns, Fernandes (90+1), Vassell (11), Nugent (Gallagher 78 (83))

Coventry Team: Murphy, Keogh, Hussey (65), Cranie, Christie (Wood 78), Clingan, Bell, Baker (39), Bigirimana, Jutkiewicz, McSheffrey (O'Donovan 78 (90+3))



  • The M69 derby lives up to the hype. The pile of expectation heaped on this game by both sets of fans meant a damp 0-0 would have disappointed more than usual. As it was, this was a fiery encounter that started very badly for the Foxes and ended in a scrappy manner but with a nonetheless solid victory in front of a fantastically loud away support. There needed more fire power on the pitch to secure this game by more than a single goal, but with the Ricoh Arena duck finally broken - along with Coventry's famed good starts to the season - this was an opening day victory that will be fondly remembered in May.
  • Firepower is still needed. David Nugent's clear capabilities are discussed in more detail below (he has potential aplenty to score bags of goals) but for now more brunt is needed up front to score goals. With Andy King apparently out of the starting line-up and Darius Vassell now suspended for a few games, a new striker is needed to take a lead in the goalscoring stakes. My vote is, however, still on Paul Gallagher, as it has been for three years now. Time will tell, I suppose.
  • Dominant fans can bring a dominant performance. Barely a whimper could be heard from the home supporters whilst the away fans sang their hearts out and were rightly applauded by the players at full time.



Winners
David Nugent
Despite not taking two golden chances - a header that hit the post and a shot missed from seven yards - either side of the half time interval, Nugent gave the impression this afternoon that he could - could - be Leicester's 'twenty- goals-a-season' man. He made sure he was in the right places to allow his team mates options in attack and, despite not having the pace of Darius Vassell and suffering when he was sent off early-on, made some impressive runs in the channels. The number 35 shirt could be a big seller by the end of the season.

Lee Peltier
A good shift from the full-back that was rewarded with his bullet header to give the Foxes the best possible start to the campaign. Injury ended his game early but Eriksson will have noticed this good performance and will be scratching his head should John Pantsil become available for Reading.

Gelson Fernandes
Pointing, shouting, commanding. Three words to sum-up an impressive, if understated, debut from the Swiss international. He could be a big player for the Foxes this season if his form from this opening day fixture is to continue. His sheer presence allowed him to keep a firm hand on the midfield tiller and let Neil Danns and Wellens press forward to great effect, whilst his distribution and ability to steal balls from the opposition made him a crucial cog in the machine that was this impressive ten-man performance.

Kasper Schmeichel
The debutant keeper had little to do but he did it with confidence and agility. And he wasn't beaten by a shot from distance.

The Loyal 6,500
You can't say no to a free pint against Reading, can you? It's almost worth going to Coventry for.



Losers
Darius Vassell
To be sent off just ten minutes into any game is farcical. But to do so just ten minutes into the first game of the season against local rivals is, frankly, idiotic. Vassell's poor tackle on Richard Keogh could have seriously injured the Coventry player and he was correctly shown red, but that Vassell has started his season so badly is of far more significance to Foxes fans. His pace should be a key asset as Leicester seek escape from the Championship and, neutered by his sending off, the attacking threat was greatly diminished this afternoon. His blushes were only saved after the referee saw fit to even-up the teams before the break, Carl Baker rightly receiving marching orders for a poor challenge on Wellens.
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