Saturday, 29 October 2011

Conclusions from Upton Park


West Ham United3-2Leicester City
(HT 2-0)
Baldock 21, 71
Faubert 22
King 58, 74

Upton Park, attendance: 30,410
BBC Match Report


Home Team: Green, O'Brien (40), Faye (62, Tomkins 64), Reid, McCartney, Noble, Nolan, Collison, Faubert, Baldock (Sears 86), Carew (19, Piquionne 31)

Away Team: Schmeichel, Peltier, Bamba, St Ledger, Konchesky (29), King, Wellens (62), Abe, Vassell (Dyer 46 (Johnson 73)), Beckford (Howard 55), Nugent



  • Desire, drive - but no direction. This had the hallmarks of a classic Leicester City side who, against the odds, could have salvaged a precious result. The ambition was clear from the temporary management team and, crucially, from the old guard of Andy King, Lloyd Dyer and in particular Steve Howard. The latter two made second-half contributions in place of two favourites of Sven Goran Eriksson and the withdrawal of Jermaine Beckford in particular was a key turning point to inject the Foxes with that most important of qualities: passion.
  • The new manager has an uphill climb. The new manager has got to motivate his team to improve, however, as the first half display from Leicester City at Upton Park was lacklustre. He has to bond his team quickly to his ideas, so as to not upset the ever-demanding fans and, importantly, the owners. The likes of the dissenting Beckford need a very firm hand indeed.
  • West Ham are in a class of their own. Even with this first half display in particular being one of the more dire performances from a Leicester City side since returning to the Championship, West Ham were impressive. On this showing, the Hammers are certainties for promotion. 



Winners
Steve Howard
Frankie was far and away the difference between the dire Leicester City of the first half and the transformed Leicester City of the second. The Foxes, with Howard at the top, had someone to aim the ball at - he won everything in the air - and the big Scot's aggressive mentality was exactly what was required to aid City's resurgence in the second half.

Andy King
King crucially grabbed two goals to give the Foxes a late lifeline in a game they never looked like taking a result from. He has had his critics of late, but his understanding of those around him in the centre of the park - and his ability to get himself into goalscoring positions - could indeed have won this game for Leicester City.

Lloyd Dyer
His pace - coupled with a certain understanding with the old guard of King, Wellens and Howard - helped turn the game in favour of the Foxes. His injury was a disappointing end to a promising afternoon for the winger.



Losers

Jermaine Beckford
Does the striker have the spunk to fight in a team that is now scrapping for points? On today's showing, Beckford is made more of the bad stuff than the good and it was his withdrawal that changed the game to allow the Foxes a chance to salvage something. With his substitution greeted by cheers from the Foxes' faithful, he has a lot of work to do before he understands what it means to wear the royal blue of Leicester City Football Club.


Sol Bamba
His bizarrely optimistic attacking play only served to hinder his team as he was frequently caught out of position, in the wrong third of the pitch, as the hosts broke forward.

Yuki Abe
The loss of form from the Japanese international since the international break, where Abe featured for his country in a friendly victory over Vietnam, is striking. Whether it be through tiredness or a mental fatigue having traversed the globe in the last fortnight, Abe looks like he needs a rest.
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