Friday, 21 October 2011

Belated Conclusions from St Andrew's and Watford

Leicester City2-0Watford
(HT 2-0)
Nugent 19
Beckford 36

King Power Stadium, attendance: 20,304
BBC Match Report

Home Team: Schmeichel, Peltier, Konchesky, Bamba, St Ledger, King (64), Johnson, Wellens, Abe (Fernandes 66), Beckford (Vassell 75), Nugent (Dyer 88)

Away Team: Loach, Dickinson, Mariappa (45+4), Doyley, Mirfin, Eustace, Kightly (Buaben 20), Hogg, Deeney, Iwelumo (Yeates 82), Garner (Sordell 64)

Birmingham City2-0Leicester City
(HT 2-0)
King pen 50
Wood 84

St Andrew's, attendance: 17,102
BBC Match Report

Home Team: Myhill, Carr, Caldwell, Pablo, Ridgewell, Burke, Beausejour (33, Elliott 86), Gomis, Fahey, King, Wood (Zigic 90)

Away Team: Schmeichel, Peltier, Konchesky, Bamba, Mills (56), King, Abe (Wellens 63), Danns (Pantsil 57), Fernandes, Vassell (Beckford 66), Nugent

    • Blips happen. That the two goals conceded against Birmingham remained as the only two goals conceded in six league games should reassure Sven Goran Eriksson and his team. Away to a decent side, on the telly, even a draw was always going to be a good result at St Andrew's. It could well have happened, had Matt Mills not seen red whilst the Foxes were only 1-0 down. No recrimination, then, for losing 2-0 - particularly after a much better performance at home that yielded three points against Watford to lift the Foxes within a win of second.
    • Millwall becomes a big game. Suddenly, tomorrow's fixture against Millwall becomes a huge game in the Foxes' season. A win could see them boosted towards the automatic promotion places and the mental lift of reaching that stage after a very steady start could set the Foxes' season alight. A draw at home would be terribly disappointing whilst a loss would be a hammer blow and unthinkable given both teams' recent records. Either of the latter two outcomes would see the sides above Leicester in the table stretch their lead out and, just as a win would provide a timely mental boost, seeing the likes of Derby and Blackpool once again out of reach would demolish the squad's morale.

    Kasper Schmeichel
    Figures Chris Weale can only dream of: it's four games now since the young Dane has let slip a goal at Fortress King Power and he's only conceded twice in six league games. And, as Kasper has prospered so too has his defence....

    Sean St Ledger
    A sense of relief may have passed over Sean St Ledger when Kevin Wright saw fit to brandish Matt Mills with a red card against Birmingham, for it gave the Irishman the opening into the first team he has been looking for. Only last week he spoke of his frustration at not making into the Foxes' match day squad - a problem which evaporated as Mills earned himself a three-match ban. Even better for St Ledger was the result of the Watford game in which he played all ninety minutes: a win and a clean sheet. Strength in depth indeed.

    Sol Bamba
    The Ivorian defender failed to be put-off by the loss of his usual defensive partner (Matt Mills was suspended for the Watford game having been sent off against Birmingham) and he saw that St Ledger settled into the side with ease as they helped the Foxes to another clean sheet.

    David Nugent
    Another goal for David Nugent as he sets his sights on being the Foxes' first-choice striker. Partnering both Vassell and Beckford over these two games, Nugent was always the most potent attacking threat and, should he stay fit, his form could see him challenging the amongst the top scorers' charts.

    Michael Johnson
    Still not fully fit, Johnson is nonetheless proving a canny signing by Eriksson. It's just a shame he's only at the King Power on loan: Manchester City will want him back.

    Sven Goran Eriksson
    Credit where credit is due: Eriksson did the right thing in keeping together the side that thrashed Derby and changed things after the relatively poor performance away to Birmingham. Fans critical of his approach over these two games should take another look at Eriksson's credentials. As for the BBC Leicester caller who called for the Swede's head ("Sack him, when was the last time we won five games on the trot?"), he needs to invest in a copy of the detailed (and hefty) Of Fossils and Foxes - and shove it up his... The Foxes last run of five victories came last season under the most successful England manager other than Sir Alf Ramsey.

    Matt Mills
    And it was all going so well. Matt Mills has only himself to blame for his firm inclusion amongst the Losers, his needless two-footed challenge rightly deserving of a red card. Leicester may have salvaged something from St Andrew's with eleven men remaining on the field but, despite Eriksson's attacking substitutions, the Foxes failed to break down Birmingham's defence. It seemed that, in recent matches, Mills and Bamba were beginning to establish a rapport in the heart of Leicester City's defensive four. Given the excellent performance of St Ledger as he deputised for the suspended Mills against Watford it can seem only that Bamba is the greater component of the Foxes' good defensive record of late. And that can only reflect badly on Mills.

    Jermaine Beckford
    It's a relief that Jermaine Beckford has finally got the monkey - and around 20,000 loyal Foxes fans - off his back by scoring his first goal for Leicester. But Beckford is yet to shine in royal blue and until he starts scoring regularly many of the Foxes faithful will denounce him as "not good enough for the Championship". He has a great chance against Millwall to forge a partnership with Nugent and the pair of them could stake their claim to remain in Leicester City folklore with a result away to West Ham. Glory beckons for Jermaine - he just has to show us what he's made of.

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