After suffering a second shock home defeat of the season to Bristol City midweek, Leicester City's manager has a hill to climb to get them in The Premier League...
Buy a stiker
Last season Leicester City scored 76 goals, which is on par for promotion, but only three players netted more than five goals in the League and one of them - Yakubu (11 goals) – isn’t at the club any more, which ain’t great.
Strangely, to compound matters, the other two players who did get more than five League goals - Andy King (15) and Paul Gallagher (10) - have been relegated to the bench for the first couple of matches which leaves a 36-goal-sized headache for Sven, partly of his own making.
So while ‘sign a striker’ sounds obvious, and it probably is, it is also an absolute must.
There have been moves to try and bring Yakubu back to the King Power Stadium but his wages seem to be a sticking point. The club’s also missed out on LA-bound Robbie Keane (although as we don’t play in green that’s probably no bad thing) and Shane Long, who bizarrely decided he wanted to play in the Premier League. Everton’s Jermaine Beckford and Bristol City’s Nicky Maynard have also been mentioned as targets, among a not inconsiderable list of others.
Sort out their form away from home
Last season Leicester had the fourth best home record in the division but they were woeful away from home with the 17th best record. If Sven wants his boys to win promotion he needs to sort this as a matter of urgency as away form is a marginally better barometer of success than what teams do at home. Don’t believe me? Well, *adjusts train-spotter specs* check the stats; of the twenty teams to finish in the Championship’s top two over the last 10 years, only seven have had the best home record, whereas eight have had the best away record. Yet, perhaps more significantly only one of those 20 teams (Birmingham in 2008/09) had an away record worse than third best yet conversely six had a home record worse than third best.
While ‘sign a striker’ sounds obvious, and it probably is, it is also an absolute must.
Don’t believe the hype
OK, we have the billionaire owners and the superstar manager who’s been spunking money like Billy Big Bollocks all close season so it’s little wonder that the club were pre-season favourites to take the Championship title. But let’s not forget it wasn’t so long ago that City went into administration without having points docked, only to gain promotion to the Premier League in the same season, something which still rankles with some opposition supporters. So the reality is that every team sees Leicester as a scalp. Furthermore, despite spending in excess of £10m the team only has the look of a very good Championship team, promotion is far from guaranteed.
Sven needs to work out his best 11. Fast.
Don’t get me wrong, I like Sven and I reckon he’ll get it right but the first home game of the season - against Reading – was dire (not Lloyd Dyer, you understand) with a sense that the team was too defensive and had no creative spark. That the team’s performance was so poor makes it harder to understand why two of last season’s most consistent midfield performers, King and Gallagher, started on the bench. The influx of new signings means that things will take time to gel, but this is exactly what Sven gets paid to sort out, no? With the amount of money that’s been pumped into the club the pressure is on, and this year the Championship looks particularly strong, so what City can’t afford is to be playing catch up after a slow start.
Finally, the fans must be patient
Wow! Bloody hell! Come on guys! OK the defeat at home to Reading was more than a little disappointing but that was only the SECOND game of the season and yet it still spawned a deluge of fan forum posts bemoaning the fact the team was ‘only’ in 15th place. Like I said, in case you didn’t know: THE SEASON’S HARDLY STARTED.
Others were moved to ask whether Sven is the messiah or a just a mercenary. Clue: He’s neither. But he is one of the most experienced and successful managers working in Europe today, so d’ya know what? I say let’s give him a little bit more time. And while we’re at it, let’s not forget that many of the players brought in on loan last season have gone while over the summer he’s signed more than 10 replacements so it’s a much changed team which will take time to gel. One swallow (defeat) does not a summer (season) make. If we’re still 15th after 20 games, then we can start calling the Swede a turnip.
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