We lost but should have won. Merry Christmas everyone!
I must admit, it’s been a pretty depressing few weeks football wise. I’ve been tempted to write a blog post about these woes but reached the conclusion that it wouldn’t be either uplifting or a particularly interesting read for you! Do let me know if you want me to breakdown into an emotional mess, I’d be happy to oblige…
Anyway, having just finished for Christmas with an assessment free holiday awaiting, I was feeling particularly happy and cheerful coming into the match. Whether the players were the feeling the same is another matter. Sitting at the bottom of the table with a growing gap from safety, this was a game nobody was expecting us to get anything out of, yet a game that would only make our situation worse if we lost again.
Without a win in the last ten games – thanks Burnley for that last-minute equalizer – Man City were the last team desired that could have arrived at the King Power to help us achieve our third win of the season. It’s a tough league sure but Burnley, West Brom and Sunderland home games aside, it’s been an unforgiving run of fixtures that haven’t helped our situation. Plus bad luck, that’s always an easy scapegoat.
Having found possession a difficulty in the last match against Aston Villa, Pearson changed the formation from a 4-4-2 to a 4-5-1. This was a move that I had been calling for and seemed logical. Keeping the wingers is an essential part of our play so I’m relieved there was no diamond of central midfielders again either. Vardy was the lone striker, Hamer came in for the injured Schmeichel and Drinkwater and King were brought in to form the midfield three with Cambiasso.
I’m facing a real dilemma tonight as I go to watch Leicester City play Liverpool FC for the first time this season. With the last meeting being back in March 2004, it has been a fixture I’ve been both dreading and looking forward to for the past ten years.
As a massive fan of both teams it’s going to feel so strange seeing the two play each other – hopefully it’s an issue that I’ll have to face next season too! Having had such a large gap between the last encounter, it has previously felt perfectly acceptable to support the two teams, even better, very often they’d play on separate days, and it has also meant I’ve had a great bit of knowledge of different leagues they’re in.
An amusing thought occurred to me today that it will almost be like watching the game as a neutral, despite my huge support for both clubs. However in the unlikely circumstance that Leicester do score, although Liverpool’s defence is as weak as Leicester’s attacking threat at the moment, I can’t exactly not celebrate, that’s just going against instinct, plus I’ll be sitting in the home end!
Looks like another last spot on Match of the Day with no goals scored but I suppose it could be worse. The game was thoroughly entertaining, especially the first half but grew increasingly frustrating the more apparent it became that our goal scoring wait would continue.
It’s been quite a strange start to the season really, five points of a possible nine against Everton, Arsenal and Man Utd at home, then two points of a possible nine against Burnley, West Brom and Sunderland. Oh well, that really does makes our great start even more important.
Starting with the team news; it was pleasing to see Pearson revert back to a 4-4-2 with wingers. The defence remained the same, meaning De Laet kept his spot at right-back and Moore was left on the bench with Wasilewski getting the nod to partner Morgan for the third consecutive game. King and Drinkwater were dropped to the bench with James and Cambiasso the midfield duo. Schlupp and Mahrez provided the width with Vardy and Ulloa the strike force tasked with breaking this goalless run.
The mood coming out of that game couldn’t have more different to the Manchester United win. In fact that already feels so long ago. Since the Burnley draw the Foxes have been on a two game losing streak and there was a real sense that this was the perfect opportunity to get back to winning ways and move back up the table. It wasn’t going to be an easy match for us with West Brom doing better than expected and Saido Berahino in great form. Nonetheless it felt like a must win game so it couldn’t have been more disappointing when the final whistle was blown.
Wasilewski replaced Moore at the back, and Nigel Pearson opted for a narrow 4-4-2 with four central midfielders in the middle, a formation untested and unexpected. Matty James, Andy King and Esteban Cambiasso came in for Hammond, Mahrez and Ulloa, with Vardy and Nugent the two strikers. It was a surprising team selection when I first saw it as a real strength last season was our great wideplay from the wingers, so to play narrowly and crowd the middle immediately felt an odd decision. Equally, to play Nugent again instead of our top scorer Ulloa seemed strange and I’d have liked to have seen De Laet dropped in favour of Danny Simpson who is yet to make his home debut.
It’s far too early in the season to judge how the Premier League table will look come the end of the season, but it’s well acknowledged that newly promoted sides must take points from their fellow relegation candidates in order to give themselves the best chance of staying up. The last game at the King Power was the thrilling 5-3 win over Manchester United a couple of weeks ago, but Leicester have since put a disappointing display in a 2-0 defeat at Crystal Palace, while Burnley suffered a heavy 4-0 rout at West Brom last Sunday. So Leicester may have been the pre-match favourites for the first time this season, but neither side came into the game thinking it would be an easy victory.
What a performance and what a result! There is no way I’ll be able to do this game the justice it deserves but here’s my effort.
In a weekend full of football shocks and surprises, Leicester were keen to join in the fun and certainly didn’t disappoint. Following a priceless away win at Stoke, there was plenty of optimism in the air that we could possibly gain a point out of this tough fixture. This Manchester United side who had a net spend of £113.2m compared with Leicester’s £11m this summer, were however the heavy favourites this early afternoon having dominated QPR 4-0 last Sunday and were seemingly determined to build on their “new start”. It was also a significant day for Ritchie De Laet, Danny Drinkwater and Matty James who were all recruited from United’s youth team by Leicester, and will be eager to impress their former club.