Premier League Review 2014/15: November/December

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Happy New Year everyone! Sorry for a pause in my posting, I hope you’ve all had a good Christmas! The Premier League has just past the half way point and I thought I’d continue my season ‘review’ after the positive reception last time.

I’ll be looking how my pre-season predictions compare with the current table at this mid-point, and consider if each clubs league position matches the expectations.

You can find the pre-season predictions here

August, September and October review here

Hopefully the layout isn’t too confusing! Basically the number in brackets is the difference between the current position and my pre-season predictions. For example I predicted Leicester City to finish 13th, they’re currently sitting bottom at 20th (that’ll soon change!) so there is a difference of -7.

Let me know what your thoughts on the Premier League are so far!

Premier League

1st (+0): Chelsea – Well Chelsea are still top but their position is no longer as secure as it was back in October. Man City are now level on points but I still believe the squad that Mourinho has is the strongest of the two. I highly doubt we’ll see another ‘Liverpool’, a club which dramatically rises up this second half. They’re almost in a league of their own.

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Leicester City 1 – 3 Liverpool: The Issue of Supporting Two Football Teams

Leicester 1 -  3 Liverpool

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!

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Leicester City 0 – 0 Sunderland

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Running out of ideas for match photos – ooh what a lovely sky!

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.

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Leicester City 0 – 1 West Brom

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The match ball delivered by helicopter to mark Remembrance Day

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.

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Leicester City 2 – 2 Burnley

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A six pointer?

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.

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Leicester City 1 – 1 Arsenal

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Arriving before kickoff has its benefits!

Two points from three games against the top clubs in the league is really quite astonishing, and I’m delighted with the start that the Foxes have made. While we’re still looking for a first win, I don’t think many would have expected a single point to be next to our name at this stage.

It was another highly open end-to-end game which left me and everyone watching breathless as we had little chance to pause. Pearson selected the same eleven that lost 2-0 away at Stamford Bridge last Saturday, meaning new signing Cambiasso would have to wait for his debut. On the journey to the ground I did feel really optimistic about our chances against the Gunners, but wished that Jamie Vardy would have been chosen to start as I felt his speed would do wonders against this slow Arsenal back line.

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