Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Leicester City: Half a Season to Forget

  As the disappointing, 10th place finish during the 2010/11 season arrived, Leicester City's Thai owners promised money would be spent in the summer.  After all, Sven Goran Eriksson was to lose five or six first team regulars as their loans came to an end and had to build from the bottom.  They did and he did, bringing in 12 new players over the summer transfer window and the Foxes were installed as pre-season favourites to be promoted automatically with West Ham.

  So, half way through the season, Sven is gone and Leicester sit half way up the league table in 12th.  Where has it all gone wrong?

Gallagher salvages a point against Ipswich. (lcfc.com)

  Nigel Pearson has returned and done what he can with Sven's team but there are some aspects of the squad that look like they need changing.  As many managers and players have commented, Leicester have the players to succeed but there are just a few areas that need to finish off the team.

Width
  Pearson has returned Lloyd Dyer to the squad to add some pace and excitement along the wings of the team but he is the only outlet of that nature to Pearson's disposal.  Dyer has his moments but he lacks the final ball, lacks control at times and will hardly ever touch the ball with his right foot.  There needs to be a new injection of creativity on the flanks to give the forwards more opportunities and to attack the opposition much more regularly.

Pace
  One of the reasons that last season's Player of the Season Richie Wellens has been lambasted as he has in the recent weeks is the way he seems to slow down the play and pass horizontally across the park.  This allows the opposition time to regroup, loses us momentum and frustrates the fans.  He is not the only culprit of this either.  The midfield need to take Sol Bamba's frame of mind and power forward when the opportunity arises.

The Old Guard
  One of the first things Pearson did when he returned was to reinstall the midfield of Dyer, Wellens, King and Gallagher, that of the 2009/10 play-off season.  They did well then with the momentum of the League One title and the circumstance of the league at that time but now it just doesn't cut it.  Pearson needs to look at alternatives, inserting Yuki Abe, Neil Danns or Gelson Fernandes to the situation, to make the next step up into a top of the table team.

  January cannot come quick enough for Leicester City, I think, when they can begin again and Pearson can once again make Leicester City his own with the funds promised once again by the Thai owners.  A winger or two and a game-changing forward would do wonders for the team, I think, Huddersfield's Jordan Rhodes, Hull's Cameron Stewart and Doncaster's Billy Sharp would be my purchases of choice.

  If this happens or not, I have trust that Nigel Pearson will succeed, as he has done in the past with both Leicester and Hull, once he makes the team his own.  If not, we may well be seeing the fourth managerial change in two seasons at King Power Stadium.