This Saturday afternoon we visit the high flying Foxes. There was a lot to admire about the performances at the end of last season that saw Leicester stick two fingers up to relegation and results this campaign thus far, even though one of them was against a currently pathetic Sunderland, would seem to indicate that they’ve carried on where they left off.
Speed everywhere is their major attribute, from Schlupp to Mahrez to Albrighton, everyone’s a whippet and even though they’ve now lost the (quite literally in the case of one, now dismissed, player) fatherly influence of tough man Nigel Pearson they appear currently to have found a better than adequate replacement. The addition of Inler and Okazaki at least look astute purchases.
They remain vulnerable at the back though as proved by even the Mackems scoring twice. West Ham were only one smart save away from equalising last week. Harry certainly enjoyed our encounters with them last season scoring four times in two close affairs. Our disappointing finish to last Saturday’s game against Stoke disguised what positives there were. Dier was a good influence in the middle; Chadli got one and was close to creating another so is hopefully carrying on his goalscoring form of last year, Alderweireld looked composed, Eriksen refreshed and creative and Lloris got through 90 minutes unscathed.
This week we have the genuinely exciting addition of Clinton N’Jie to the squad. He’s not the answer to all our problems but as I’ve said before, he’s a step in the right direction. Personally I suspect we’ll start with the same eleven as last week (unless Rose is fit) with the new boy beginning on the bench whilst Poch works out how best to use him – Chadli & Dembélé will be the ones most likely to be looking anxiously at the bench come the 60 minute mark. With Alli and N’Jie as subs we have attacking potential available in reserve even without Pritchard and Townsend.
The two goals conceded last week prove that there’s work to be done at the back, in particular I thought it was extremely noticeable how shaky we were on crosses, both Walters and Diouf got in front of their men regularly to get headers away – neither of them is exactly Christian Benteke.
It may appear negative but I would suggest that Leicester’s form is such that a draw wouldn’t be a terrible result given that we’re still in a formative state. Our rubbish preseason means that it will inevitably be a few weeks before we see us at our best. How good that it will be mind is anyone’s guess given that personnel are still incoming. Apparently.
Martin Atkinson is down to referee.
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