Sunday 23 September 2007

Better Than Norwich

Well, thanks very much to Rick for organising the pre-match lunch - and thanks very much to Gary Megson and Milan Mandaric for serving up another bunch of lambs to the slaughter. Leicester, like Norwich were poor, but as before maybe we helped to make them look bad with another impressive performance.

I thought it was a better overall display than against Norwich, largely because we bagged the goals and were then able to see out the game playing at something like 70%. There was little doubt that we would win once we settled and got the two goals (which looked like the result of some very poor defending - both were scored from a few yards out with Chris Iwelumo and then Luke Varney pretty much unchallenged). And after three games in a week and with another two coming up next week I don't think we should carp about the players settling for 2-0 during the second half rather than really chasing the game. There were some tired legs out there by the end, the only surprise being they didn't seem to belong to Chris Powell.

After a reasonably bright start to the game (we hardly had a kick in the first five minutes) Leicester were rocked by the ease with which we scored. I think the first owed a lot to a great leap and flick by ZZ. Leicester's tactic seemed to be to shoot (poorly) on sight, with Weaver only really tested once by one at his near post. They made two changes at the break, including a welcome appearance from Radostin Kishishev, and enjoyed a lot of possession in the second half. No doubt the whole mood would have changed if they had pulled one back, but they seldom looked capable of doing so, thanks to a mix of effective defending - no panic this time around - and inept attacking.

My player assessments are as follows:
Weaver (7/10). Did what he had to do perfectly well.
Mills (9/10). My man of the match. Impecable in defence and got forward to great effect, often bursting past their right-back.
Powell (8/10). Faultless - except for one slight error which led to his (harsh) booking. Three games in a week and still able to do the tunnel victory leap twice.
Fortune (8/10). Quietly effective and it seemed to me that he and Bougherra are getting used to playing together.
Bougherra (8/10). No mistakes and some superb interceptions.
Reid (5/10). For some reason it just didn't happen for Andy today. By any standards he had a poor game. But it didn't really matter and let's assume it was a one-off; maybe the lack of intensity in the game encouraged a laxity on his part.
Semedo (9/10). Superb. And at last the crowd seem to have realised that he comes from Portugal and doesn't like Millwall.
Zheng (8/10). Good game with the assist for the first goal.
Sam (7/10). Some great runs but did run out of steam and looked spent before being substituted.
Iwelumo (8/10). Caused them problems all through the game and notched another.
Varney (7/10). Great to get his first goal for us.
Subs: Sodje, McLeod, Ambrose - none had a chance to shine with the emphasis on keeping what we had.

So, for the second time in a week we have looked several classes apart from admittedly limited opposition. Judgements do have to be reserved until we come up against the stronger teams (Watford, West Brom, Sheff Utd), but this team/squad looks to me like it really is gelling into an effective unit capable of taking us back up. Now that's the most optimistic I've been since the Murphy/Smertin/Kishishev/Thomas/Rommadahl/Bent days.

The team for Luton? It almost picks itself, for obvious reasons:

Randolph, Moutaouakil, Thatcher, McCarthy, Sodje, Thomas, Holland, Racon, Ambrose, Todorov, McLeod.

1 comment:

Hilltothevalley said...

Lets not forget that Leicester are supposed to be a top team in this division and had not lost since the 1st day of the season. Their loss of manager was not about results but about personalities. That said I agree about Watford, West Brom, Sheff Utd.