Sunday, 20 November 2011

Conclusions from Crystal Palace: Pearson's first game


Leicester City3-0Crystal Palace
(HT 0-0)
Beckford 55
Gallagher 71, 74


King Power Stadium, attendance: 22,449
BBC Match Report


Home Team: Schmeichel, Peltier (Abe 76), Konchesky, Mills, St. Ledger, Wellens, King, Gallagher, Dyer, Beckford (Schlupp 76), Nugent (Howard 76)

Away Team: Speroni, Clyne, McCarthy, Gardner, Moxey, Wright, Jedinak, Dikgacoi (Scannell 61), Parr (Martin 61), Zaha, Murray



  • So much for not scoring too many under Nigel Pearson. His return to the now-King Power Stadium was marked with an important victory and by Leicester City's performance of the season. The Foxes threw aside a decent Crystal Palace outfit to go above them in the league. Win? Check. Clean sheet? Check. Emphatic performance? Check: Nigel Pearson's immediate impact is startling.
  • The Foxes creep up the table. A jump up to eighth place in the nPower Championship and once more Leicester City lie just two points from the play offs. What will be interesting now is to see if the same team that have bottled the opportunity to enter the top six under Sven Goran Eriksson will make the leap under new (old) management.
  • Nigel needs to show consistency. With the old guard reinstated it will also be interesting to see how Leicester react to this great victory. Every time optimism has taken over so far this season, a dire performance and defeat has duly followed. Can Pearson keep this squad invigorated to turn it on and deliver week after week?



Winners
Paul Gallagher

Two truly delicious finishes from the Scot, returned to his familiar wide position for Pearson's first game back in charge, sealed the victory for the Foxes and wrapped-up a perfect welcome home gift for the manager. Gallagher's first was a nicely crafted curler but his second, coming very shortly afterwards, will take the plaudits. A stunning shot from some thirty-five yards hit the top corner on a postage stamp, leaving Eagles' keeper Speroni nowhere and the Foxes fans in dreamland having witnessed what will go down as one of the best Leicester City goals.

Kasper Schmeichel
Many will question just how he blocked Chris Martin's header on the line but the Great Dane delivered again to keep his sheet clean and aid manager Pearson's credentials as a solid, defensive manager. Without Schmeichel between the sticks the result of this game could have easily been reversed, particularly as his most important saves came before Paul Gallagher turned the game on its head.

Paul Konchesky
It was Konchesky's determined run that saw panic take-over in the Eagles' penalty area, allowing the ex-Liverpool man to deliver the ball to Richie Wellens who, in turn, fed Jermaine Beckford who could do nothing but score from that position.

Yuki Abe
A decent performance from the substitutes' bench in his unusual position at right-back.



Losers
Jermaine Beckford

An awful first touch and an arrogant change of boots after a quarter of an hour marred a rare performance in which Beckford grabbed a goal. He scored once but seconds later missed a one-on-one and was lambasted by his manager for his unwillingness to put in a defensive shift. In the fickle mind of the Foxes' fan, he has earned a temporary reprieve from his goal but this was still far from a Premier League performance.

The King Power Stadium
It was hoped that, with Pearson back and a renewed optimism at the club, a few extra thousand fans would pack out the King Power Stadium and once again take ownership of the ground. That failed to happen today, with a relatively poor attendance of just 22,449 quiet souls reflecting rather poorly on the support for the club within the city. More noise, more atmosphere and more passion is needed from the supporters as well as from the players.
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