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Leicester City 2 Watford 0 (19/10/2011) 20/10/2011

Posted by Matt Rowson in Match reports.

Five thunks from the Monster Munch at the  KP stadium.

1-  Midweek away games are great.  Even when we’re dreadful.  Particularly then, perhaps. There’s something about a match under floodlights that seems to heighten the potential for something unlikely.  “Special things happen under floodlights”, as one of my companions for the evening probably sort of put it.  Away from home, in particular, there’s an implied shared spirit amongst those present.  A greater degree of determination to salvage something from the evening, even if it’s just gallows humour – more is generally being invested in the exercise than is the case for a home game.  Expectations are lower.  The mood benefits as a result (albeit there’s no direct comparator – a 2-0 home defeat to Leicester wouldn’t mean the same anyway).  Immediately startling, however, that only 375 made it up.  This isn’t Carlisle away on a Tuesday night, is it?  That figure screams about all sorts of things.  “Why the f*** are you still here?” asked our neighbours at 1-0.  We didn’t know.

2- We lost the game, you’ll have noticed.  Not the same sort of beast as the soul-sapping events of Saturday, albeit with the same conclusion.  The line-up reflected three changes, only one enforced by Martin Taylor’s shoulder injury, the others a shuffling of the pack moving out Sordell and Forsyth who both needed a break.  Using the squad.  No argument there.  But any improvement was very far from obvious in a first half completely dominated by the home side.  Sven has eulogised about the 45 minutes in which the Foxes effectively won the game – and without question they were comprehensively the better side, more confident, more mobile, more potent.  From a Watford point of view though… there was a horrible predictability about it.  Not acceptance, necessarily… but from the off it felt like a damage limitation exercise.  Seeing the decks being cleared by aimless punts forwards can be frustrating when you’re manning the barricades at the end of a game, it’s harder still to accept twenty minutes in.  The first came from a neat but all-too-easy break down the left… Nugent touched the ball past a flat-footed Mariappa and finished clinically.  I didn’t see the second, I was off getting a pie order in, which also says a lot.  I’m not one of those who makes a habit of disappearing to the bar for fifteen minutes either side of half time, but it was that kind of half.   Leicester’s lead was effortless and predictable, as if they hadn’t had to do very much.  It felt like a Premier League game.

3- One has to feel rather sorry for Chris Iwelumo.  Whatever his limitations, the cards have hardly fallen his way since his arrival – the injury interrupting an encouraging pre-season, inadvisedly and unsuccessfully trying to play through it, and then trying to make an impact off the bench in a struggling side.  Whatever he is, an impact player isn’t it… he’s a fundamental cog or nothing at all.  This evening, finally given a start, he was deprived of the only proper winger on view, the hitherto subdued Kightly, by a hamstring injury after twenty minutes… thereafter with Joe Garner and Troy Deeney occupying wide positions in a 4-5-1 / 4-3-3 he was never going to be given a steady supply of crosses.  He looked hopelessly unsuited to the role, clumsy and awkward… culminating, as we began to click into gear in the second half, in a horrible miss.  Sordell sent a ball in from the right, Deeney applied a deft touch an Big Chris was through.  But only for a second… he took the ball early and shanked it wide.  Sordell’s head was in his hands, a reaction to our first incisive move of the evening that was mirrored throughout the away end.

4- The tentative second half improvement was down to a number of factors. Chief amongst them, of course, was that Leicester were two up and in control of the game, and evidently judged that their superiority was such that they’d be able to up their game again if necessary.  The approach paid off, the second half was much more pedestrian from the home side… but a risky strategy, even against our misfiring attack.  Perhaps abetted by our new formation we started moving the ball around a bit.  Don’t be under any illusions, this wasn’t a rabble-rousing comeback, and such was never suggested.  But it wouldn’t have taken much for the atmosphere to change, for Leicester’s confidence in their superiority and ability to kick on again to be tested.  One neat move saw Hogg arrive at the edge of the penalty area to meet a lay-off from Eustace and slam a drive towards the top corner that Schmeichel did well to repel.  An eye-catching shot, but that we manoeuvred someone into space on the edge of the area was encouraging.  Balls across the area unsettling the home defence, Sordell attacking the near post to meet a left wing cross and deflect the ball goalwards – albeit maybe not as close to its target as appeared from our vantage point.  It wasn’t great, in the normal way (the normal way?  in what used to be the normal way, maybe) it wouldn’t have been worth commenting on.  But we’ll grab at whatever straws are going at the moment.

5- The highlights of the evening was the impact of Prince Buaben.  Almost lost in the wave of new signings struggling to quite make an impact, his lack of involvement up to now suggested that he was in danger of disappearing down the path trodden previously by the likes of Sietes, Travner and Adam Griffiths.  Punts that were so clearly not going to pay off that they never got any meaningful action.  Not so on this evidence… lively, standing out a mile simply down to his movement and enthusiasm (Garner, whose hard work has endeared him at home, was visibly subdued). Buaben was neat, tidy, making things happen, not just laying the ball off but teasing and probing, occupying the space between Iwelumo and our deep sitting midfielders.  And delivering several vicious set pieces, balls across the box that seemed to surprise all concerned to such an extent that we didn’t think to attack them until too late.  Again… not enough to meaningfully change the destination of this game.  And not The Answer, not yet.  But a green shoot, for those looking for one.


1. petebradshaw - 20/10/2011

Blimey Matt how did you find so many positives? I thought it was tedious predictable rubbish throughout. And I was not convinced by Buaben other than he offers something different to the others who get picked. Whichelow, Mingoia, Walker all probably could have done the same. I’ll give you the dead ball delivery though.

Matt Rowson - 20/10/2011

a chap can’t win, can he. “find us a positive”. “where did those positives come from?”

I tried to moderate the positive comments. There was no fightback, and Buaben hardly set the game alight. But I certainly think you’re being harsh on Buaben – I’ve not seen Walker or Mingoia have the same effect. If his impact was merely down to offering something different then fine – that’s still a positive though, however you choose to interpret it.

petebradshaw - 20/10/2011

It is a positive of sorts. Buaben is a attack-minded central midfielder and we haven’t played many of any of those. But the reason it was tedious rubbish throughout was because it made no difference… I’m not writing him off…

2. Winslow Horn - 20/10/2011

It was my first game since Brum at home and there just seemed a depressing inevitability about the whole evening. I didn’t expect much before hand and I certainly wasn’t disappointed.
Confidence seems low and I’m not sure where our next win will come from.

3. Harefield Hornet - 20/10/2011

Having Listened to events unfolding on 3CR your report above accurately mirrors that of the commentary team, which featured Robbo making a welcome debut. There were the predictable calls for the managers head from listeners, both at half time and after the final whistle. Robbo, whose opinion I repect, feels Dyche should be afforded more time and applauded the second half improvement, stating it needs to be carried forward to the kick-off on Saturday at Hull. Dyche himself was typically bullish in his after match interview but started citing missed penalty decisions as a crucial reason for the loss although admitted the lack of goals is an obvious concern!!!. He is desperate and I feel for him but the commentary suggested it was allowing Leicesters two full-backs to bomb forward at will in the first half and carve us open that did the most damage with the game effectively over by half time. How many more losses do you think we can afford before someone has to pull the trigger?

Matt Rowson - 20/10/2011

re the penalty claims – the Garner one looked like a dive to us, admittedly from the far end. He was through if he hadn’t gone down though.

Nick - 20/10/2011

I think Dyche may be clutching at straws when it comes to not getting points because we’re not getting penalties.

We’re not getting points because the team either arent good enough, the management and the way the team are set up isnt good enough, both or they get so bored of playing this turgid boring football in training that they’re barely awake come match time.

We’ve gone from a young team playing neat attractive football that you had some sympathy forif they lost to a larger bunch of players who are very very difficult to take to.

4. DM - 20/10/2011

Re Thunk 2. Most notably, the 15 minute comment.. I think you’ll find 10 is the norm….

Matt Rowson - 20/10/2011

wishful thinking on my part

5. Gerry - 20/10/2011

One win in the last nine matches, and that against a relegation contender. That’s relegation form, right enough. On the plus side, it’s a lot cheaper to get into Division 3 grounds.

Down with the Forest, we’re going down with the Forest…

6. Jeremy Clarkson - 20/10/2011

JC here

Iwelumo is Jim Lawton’s re-incarnation and I claim my £5

NickB - 21/10/2011

I remember him missing a hatful of sitters in my very first game at the Vic, Jan 68. At least he got into scoring positions….

JohnM - 21/10/2011

I remember Jim Lawton playing some decent football—on the ground and in the air—but he had no confidence at all when trying to score. He made a number of goals for other players, tho’. Personally, I think I would prefer a re-incarnation of Jim.

7. Wrighty - 20/10/2011

Living in Nottingham I don’t get to go to many games, Leicester away is one are usually make, yesterday I just didn’t want to go. I’m not sad I missed it, I’m just sad I feel like this.

8. Luther Missit - 21/10/2011

Rightly or wrongly, whether anyone thinks it’s the correct decision or not… I have a feeling that if we loose on Saturday to Hull then that might be the last we see of Sean at the helm…

Gerry - 21/10/2011

You may well be right, though it would be costly for the club to pay him off. It’s not his fault the team’s crap, but it’s always an easy out for boardroom suits when things are going badly on the field to sack the manager, even if he’s barely had time to get his feet under the table. Trouble is, they’ll not find anyone as cheap as him unless they promote one of the ballboys.

JohnF - 21/10/2011

Gerry, you talk about a boardroom and they but is this correct? Is the club being run by the owner and his lawyer sidekick with little or no reference to the board. Panos Thomas was ditched very quickly and as it stands, as sole shareholder he doesn’t need to consult anybody. I would hope that he would consult on something like this but who knows. How many board meetings have there been, a question for the fans forum perhaps?

9. NRC - 21/10/2011

Wobby reports today that SD reckons we need another striker. Now I’m no master tactician but …

Matt Rowson - 21/10/2011

It’s painfully easy to paint a mental image of SD as a born defender who thinks that the other aspect of the game just sort of happens, isn’t it?

JohnM - 21/10/2011

I seem to remember SD stating, three or four weeks ago, that he felt the scoring problem was solved by the players he had brought in.
Perhaps I detect a hint of panic.
Is it just me that thinks a more forward thinking midfield and a good, creative midfielder would be rather more advantageous?
Or is it just feedback from my dicky ticker?

Matt Rowson - 21/10/2011

In fairness he signed Weimann and then lost him, so getting another striker isn’t hugely inconsistent.

Watching the games, though, the bigger problem is the midfield, as discussed ad nauseam. Neither Hogg and Eustace make forward runs, so the ball has to go wide and the wide players aren’t good enough or consistent enough to be depended on so heavily. I don’t think a new striker is likely to solve that problem, and Sean’s emphasis that strikers “need to score more” in the WO rather misses the point.

10. JohnM - 21/10/2011

We have a club owner who, in effect, has total control, and has little or no need to consult a board that has marginal influence. I know nothing about the owners patience, but I know one thing—it would not be in the owners plans and financial interests to be relegated. I would assume that SD has gained the owners o.k. for a loan player—which may indicate SD has a few more weeks. But, unless he turns around the results by Christmas, he’ll be gone. If the owner is an impatient man, a poor result at Hull might even see changes.
I do hope he has a chat with GT first.

11. hornetboy84 - 21/10/2011

The question might be.. if not Sean Dyche then who? .. once names like Billie Davies start floating around we must be in trouble, And please no. The other carepoint is the impact on attendances.. we are free falling and the club can only spiral downwards if we lose 2000 more… and the comments here echo my own feelings… there is no buzz about going to see the team – it feels morbid and funereal… so I re-iterate we are in big trouble and sorry but I just dont think dyche has the tactical know-how to deliver. To be honest at times under Mackay we would scream for sub changes that took an age and I think that is a sign of weakness and Dyche was part of that process and its the same now. He clearly has 2-games. And the next added to the injuries will not help.

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