Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Conclusions from the Tykes

Leicester City2-2Barnsley
(HT 1-2)
Knockaert 9
Vardy 90
Dawson 27
Lazarus 39

King Power Stadium, attendance: 23,579
BBC Match Report

  • What starts well seems to end well. Leicester came out of the blocks rapidly and were ahead within ten minutes. For Barnsley's 200-odd travelling support, it seemed this would not be an easy away trip. However the visitors grabbed two easy chances - both errors caused by an unusually lax Leicester defence but both leapt upon by the eager Tykes attackers - to take a half-time lead. In a dire second half City failed to impress again until the last ten minutes, a siege upon Barnsley's goal finally yielding a fair, if disappointing, home result.
  • Points mean prizes. Leicester may indeed be disappointed to only draw against a struggling Barnsley side - the Foxes are only the second team to concede twice to the Tykes this season - but a last-ditch goal to steal a point from this type of game is just the sort of event that makes a season. Having secured a draw against Barnsley, City have entered the difficult Christmas period, with daunting games away at Millwall and Hull City and a tricky home fixture against Cardiff, in a relatively strong run of form. By grabbing points at every opportunity, Leicester remain well and truly in the hunt.

Jamie Vardy
Finally some deserved adulation for the £1 million former Fleetwood Town hit-man. His last-gasp goal against Barnsley sealed the points for City and potentially sealed his Foxes future. Jamie Vardy has been shy in front of goal so far and is noticeably frustrating supporters with his coyness in shooting. What he needs is a run in the first team and a few goals behind him. With a game-changing performance like this, there is every chance he could start in the next few games.

Marko Futacs
Another likely contender for a starting berth is big man Marko Futacs who has made a number of impressive substitute appearances but should be in contention to start against Millwall. Like a good, young version of Steve Howard, Futacs is a beast in the air and is more than capable of a thunderous shot - his brawn will be a vital asset to a rather lightweight City attack as the season progresses through its the coldest months.

Zak Whitbread
Despite this being a less than impressive defensive performance, that criticism must lie squarely at the door of Kasper Schmeichel and not at those playing in front of him. Zak Whitbread is proving now why he was a first name on the team sheet during Norwich City's promotion campaign of a few seasons back. His height and effortless strength are key assets to any centre back and he has them in spades. Meanwhile, his uncompromising no-nonsense attitude to defending may not be pleasing on the eye but is reassuring when the Foxes are under the Kosh.

Kasper Schmeichel
A dangerous game is being played by Kasper Schmeichel, who could learn a few lessons in defending from the likes of Zak Whitbread. A fans' favourite and popular figure in the camp he may be, but he must focus on his goalkeeping and not try to woo the crowd with Wes Morgan-esque Cruyff turns. At fault thanks to his showboating for the Tykes' first goal and undone by the class of the second's finish, Kasper has much work to do. His place may not be under threat from Conrad Logan as one inane BBC Radio Leicester caller seemed to think after the game, but January is approaching and Pearson may wish to look to bring competition to the cocky young Dane.

Richie de Laet
Beaten too often for a wide-man determined to ply his trade as a wing-back, Richie de Laet must surely focus on improving the defensive side of his game. Not that his attacking was anything but predictable against Barnsley - his pace is his greatest asset but he has much to learn about crossing and that sometimes an early ball is better than one delivered late from the touchline.

Lloyd Dyer and Anthony Knockaert
Lightweight despite their respective pace and skill, Lloyd Dyer and Anthony Knockaert have their roles in City's promotion push (as with the Frenchman's opener on Saturday) but against opposition battling for survival they must have more brawn. It would be a surprise to see either winger start against Millwall, not so much due to their performance here but due to their lack of strength in the tackle. Dyer is as lightweight as they come whilst Knockaert, bless his French cotton socks, seems to rather struggle against teams with muscle. With Millwall riding high but keeping hold of their bullish reputation, City need all the brawn they can muster and Dyer and Knockaert may not make the cut.


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