Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Opening Day League Cup Conclusions from Plainmoor

Torquay United0-4Leicester City
(HT 0-2)

Dyer 21
Marshall 36
James 50
Vardy 77

Plainmoor, attendance: 3,367 (1,166)
BBC Match Report

  • Championship managers wanting to beat Leicester could do worse than have a look at Torquay. The Gulls hit the Foxes on the break, their three-man central midfield able to dominate City's two and expose Leicester's full-backs isolated upfield. Against a better team the Foxes would have badly suffered during the first half. It's all very well allowing full-backs to attack, but they must be able to get back and defend when necessary, or the team will suffer the price.
  • Goals win games. Criticism aside, this was never a truly uncomfortable game for Leicester City fans after the Foxes took the lead on 21 minutes. Torquay offered threats at times but those were always vague and rarely troubled a steady Kasper Schmeichel. The pace of Jamie Vardy, Ben Marshall and Lloyd Dyer was always a threat, too, leaving Leicester with little to do come the dying moments of the game.
  • City need to be clinical. The creation of chances following patient build-up is all very well, but Leicester will not get so many chances against the quality opposition of top Championship sides as they did tonight against League Two Torquay. Jermaine Beckford and David Nugent both missed second half chances that would have cost City points in the league. This was a wonderful win with which to start the season, but Leicester City - and Nigel Pearson - must avoid complacency.

Jamie Vardy
In what was a perfect start to Vardy's Football League career, he demonstrated a high work rate and was rewarded for his efforts in the second half with a marvellous goal. Marshall's forty-yard cross was met by the sprinting Vardy whose bullet header nestled sweetly in the back of the Gulls' net for Leicester's fourth. This will be a vital confidence boost for the former Fleetwood man, embarking on a season full of pressure and expectation piled onto both him and the team. Goals - and promotion - are a must and an exhibition of this ilk is the perfect tonic with which to start the season.

Matty James
Assured, confident and steady in his role, Matty James was a constant presence at the heart of the Foxes' midfield. As a young player trying to make his way into a congested midfield, this was as good an advert as he could hope to have presented.

Danny Drinkwater
More of the same, please. Danny Drinkwater looked as good against Torquay as he did since joining City in January last year. His growth as a player has continued over the close season - this could be his year.

Jermaine Beckford
This was far from a poor performance from Jermaine Beckford, but the fact that he failed to register on the score sheet at full time will frustrate the highly-strung 28-year-old. As a striker, in a 0-4 away win, he would have badly wanted - nay, expected - to have his moment to shine, but it never came. Upstaged by Vardy and, latterly, by Nugent, this was not a performance lacking from Beckford's point of view. Beckford played well here and bagged an assist but he would have wanted more: on another day he would have bagged a hat-trick, but this clearly was not the striker's day.

The Defence
Liam Moore, for all his talents, is a makeshift centre half at best and with only the yet-to-prove-fit Zak Whitbread providing cover to first choice pair Wes Morgan and the injured Sean St Ledger, the likes of Tom Hopper and George Taft could find league football thrust upon them sooner rather than later, whilst Moore is almost dead set on featuring regularly in the season's opening weeks. Without another signing in defence, Leicester's back line remains the team's frailty - something Pearson will be keen to address sooner, rather than later, if his ambitions of promotion are to remain alive.
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