Monday, 8 October 2012

Conclusions from the Robins

Leicester City2-0Bristol City
(HT 1-0)
Nugent 19
Foster OG 74 

King Power Stadium, attendance: 22,529
BBC Match Report

  • The Foxes were just too good for Bristol City. This was not the most dazzling of performances from this season's Leicester City but it was as professional and clinical as they have been. From the off, City applied high pressure and prevented the Robins from playing; Kasper Schmeichel had just one shot to deal with throughout the entire game. That the goalscoring problems of seasons past have been dealt with is an understatement: David Nugent is on fire and even Lady Luck is smiling on the King Power Stadium this term.
  • Five on the trot is reason enough to celebrate. Whatever the outcome at the end of the season, Leicester can proudly say they have broken their recent form of inconsistency. Not since Pearson was last in charge have the Foxes won five games in a row and this run is Leicester's best in a decade. At this stage, Nigel Pearson's youngsters and nobodies have far outclassed the big-guns of the Sven Goran Eriksson era, undermining once more the ethos of big-spending in football. Pearson's team - in the making since January - has taken shape and it is becoming a force to be reckoned with.

David Nugent
Like his strike partner Jamie Vardy, Nugent seems to often be scared of taking a shot at goal. The difference between Vardy and Nugent, however, is that Nugent is on form and scoring freely. When given an opportunity - as he was against the Robins - the former Portsmouth man accelerates, Sonic the Hedgehog-esque, to win the ball and out-do the goalkeeper. Only in Anthony Knockaert have the Foxes got a man more mentally capable when on the ball.

Anthony Knockaert
Once again the young Frenchman wowed the crowd, only on this occasion he was not able to grab a goal. Knockaert nonetheless impressed again, utilising absurd skill to unlock the Bristolian defence. His agility and mental strength - to kick the ball one way whilst looking in the opposite direction, completing the pass in doing so - is rather a marvellous thing to behold. His audacity in front of goal and his skill are thrilling but he does have some aspects of his game to develop; he is too easily outmuscled and should not shirk the easy option in front of goal, particularly when striking the ball first time would evade an advancing goalkeeper. Against the Robins, Knockaert bottled it when given a golden opportunity by Nugent, opting to sidestep and control the ball rather than thump it home. Do not underestimate his value to this City team, however. He offers something very few Championship players are able to and is a key difference between Leicester City and the chasing pack.

Danny Drinkwater
Danny Drinkwater was given the opportunity to impress against Bristol, with City pushing high up the pitch, and his ability and control on the ball were given their chance to shine. Drinkwater was able to run the City midfield and in doing so dominate on the ball for the home side. It is down to the former Manchester United man that the Foxes dominated the possession by 58:42.

Andy King
Impressive after coming-on in the second half, Andy King's deep cross created utter confusion in the Bristol goalmouth, causing Foster to head neatly into his own net.

Jamie Vardy
Inexperience is still getting the better of former Fleetwood Town man Jamie Vardy, as he struggles for confidence in front of goal. Whilst strike partner Nugent is scoring freely, goals are harder to come by for Vardy. He has the ability, but needs the confidence and mental conviction to take a risk and give himself a chance of scoring.

Zak Whitbread
Making his first appearance since a dire spell against Burton Albion (the less said about that, the better), Zak Whitbread needed to do more than he did having replaced Sean St Ledger against the Robins to assure himself, his manager and the Foxes faithful of his abilities in replacing the once more injured Republic of Ireland international. Ultimately, Whitbread needs games but with Liam Moore a home-grown and exciting prospect - and one whose start to the season has been remarkably impressive - it seems Whitbread will remain on the bench for the foreseeable future.

Richie de Laet
The only thing that might keep Whitbread in Nigel Pearson's thoughts is Richie de Laet. He has been sound enough in attack but his defensive qualities remain under debate. With Moore impressing against top wingers in his preferred right-back position, there is every chance he could stay out wide, allowing space for Whitbread at de Laet's expense. It will be interesting to see how Pearson adapts to St Ledger's injury following the international break.
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