Often Partisan

Outfoxed: the Blues v Leicester review

Here are my reflections on the home game against Leicester City today at St Andrews.

1) A game of two halves

If ever there was an archetypal game of two halves, it was this one. The first half was absolute dross; turgid, uninspiring football that had me watching the clock and willing it to half time so Hughton could give our side a kick up the arse. The second half was utterly different; drive, crisp passing and chances carved out with a decent enough frequency. Leicester fans might point to the half time substitution of the ref that made the difference, but I think they’re probably wrong. I will concede I thought Beausejour should have got a second yellow, but I thought our shout definitely was a pen and their’s wasn’t and that Mills deserved to go for a leg-breaker of a challenge. The real change was Blues stepped up a gear straight from the second half kick-off; Leicester didn’t and by the time they did, they were a goal and a man down.

2) Chris Wood

Another game, another goal – and a well-taken one at that. I thought the young Kiwi had a decent game – he won a fair share of headers, he showed some nice touches and he tried his best to bully their centre backs. The touch for King’s one on one chance was just ridiculously sublime, a flicked back heel perfectly into King’s path which completely foxed the two attending defenders – it was a shame King couldn’t bury it. However, when Wood got a one on one chance – after another ridiculously good flick, this time from King he was calm and collected enough to round Schmeichel and bury it. Goals breed confidence, and Wood has this at the moment in spades – he knows that he’s going to find the back of the net, and that’s giving him the edge. Long may it continue.

3) Marlon King

I’ve praised his strike partner, but a lot of praise has to go to King too. I didn’t realise just how tireless he is, and he really puts himself about, getting into and about defenders so that they have to work really hard and tire out. What King also has is a football brain; he didn’t even look for the pass for the second, he knew where Wood would be and played the perfect ball for him. I was disappointed he didn’t take his one on one chance, but I think King will be an important asset as we march up the table.

4) Pablo Ibanez

I wanted to take a moment to talk about our Spanish centre half, Pablo. I know a few people were unsure of him but now he’s settled into the team somewhat I think Pablo has showed what a class act he could be. He’s not the kind of defender who flies into last-ditch blocks, but instead he’s cultured; he plays nice balls on the deck and robs players of the ball with a bit of guile instead of with grit and force. I think he’s easily good enough for this division, and with him, Caldwell (who was good again today) and Curtis Davies, we have very good quality for the centre back position.

As results go, today’s was an excellent one. It’s a good win against a team fancied by many to do well, and it serves notice that Blues are by no means out of any race for the top. I think it also shows we don’t need to go a goal down to start playing – we can keep a clean sheet and win comfortably when we want to. Onwards to Bruges.

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19 Responses to “Outfoxed: the Blues v Leicester review”

  • Berkshire Blue says:

    The other big plus for was Beausejour – worked hard and provided the spark for the second half. On the debit side I’m still concerned about our central midfield.

  • cheltblue says:

    Yep great win NO DOUBT!

    King and Wood were excellent as was Beausejour in the 2nd half.

    Like BB says im concerned about the central midfield however. Fahey is so furstrating because he leisurely strolls through games and generally feel he only gives 60% all of the time.

    Gomis im not convinced with yet, seems to hold the ball too long and gets robbed on many occasion. Id like to see Hughton bring someone in on loan who is a creative central midfielder.

    Apart from that. Onwards and upwards. KRO

  • ScudMuffin says:

    Marlon King is one of the most devious, skilled players I have seen. Half the time he’s pulling an ace out his socks to drop a ball for someone else to grab an assist or run onto.

    Fahey must be getting frustrated with Wood though. He popped two or three out for wood and burked to grab and they just didn’t.

    Gomis is good, though i wish he’d have run into the space that had opened up in front of him as he could have popped more balls forward into the box.

  • alexjhurley says:

    I thought ibanez and caldwell were superb today, as were ridge & Carr defensively. Hughton got our shape right and although at times we got out passed, I can’t recall them having a shot on Target.

    I thought gomis was awful. He looks out of his depth, far too slow and no range of passing at all. Fahey frustrated but he had to pretty much hold the middle on his own.

    Sadly, I think we lack enough quality to make a serious challenge for automatic, but the play offs remain achievable and its much more enjoyable than last season ….

    Kro. Sotv.

  • AR says:

    Scudmuffin must be watching a different game to me; I agree with alexjhurley that Gomis was awful. He lost so many balls & doesn’t even pass sideways, always backwards.He is physically lightweight & looks like a boy playing among men. As a consequence, Fahey had just too much to do. My complaint was I think the manager should have made a change earlier, when we were only 1 goal up.

    • ScudMuffin says:

      gomis had as bad a game as anyone else first and second halves. no where near as bad as ewok against braga which it sounds like you are describing. in fact I’d consider cauldwell doing a shot of a backpass to myhill, beaudejour constantly stopping on an attacking run, meaning the deffence could set up against him. sending a throw to an opposition player worse. not leaving a man up in the first half meant we had trouble breaking out and leic could commit more men.

  • mark says:

    I agree the first half was awful. Not much talk about there. Again CH used his skills to change things around at half time. We can pick on players but we are playing two games a week!!!!……..
    At the end of the day we got the result AND IT WAS TEAM EFFORT and our forwards scored come you woods….Sometimes you got to win and maybe it not petty. KRO

  • Oldbluenose says:

    Joining in the chorus, our midfield lacks — spark,!!. I am another not convinced about Gomis., Fahey, I resrve judgment until he plays with a different midfielder,!!. — Elliot,?.

  • mark says:

    But we won with these players regardless how indifferent they played!!! and at the end of the day it the result that matter???KRO

  • bestcover says:

    JB was lucky to stay on the pitch forhis 2nd half trip. Too many passes went astray – if there was a bit more calm and confidence in the middle, we would look classy

  • peterhurley76 says:

    Have to agree with the consensus that the midfield was the weakest area, and this seemed to be primarily down to Gomis being of the pace (Fabrice Muamba anyone!) Thought Fahey covered well, and was composed with his play out of defence for the second.

    Burke looked ordinary though Leicester clearly double up on him and he was against one of the leagues better left backs.

    Have to say that I think Ridgewell is looking a liability (again). Have been (surprisingly) impressed with Murphy this season and wonder how long Ridge can expect to keep his place when his head is clearly not in it at the moment for whatever reason.

    One final question: King or Jerome?

  • Wingman Blue says:

    Not pretty, (apart from the two goals), but who cares? This against a Leicester most of us reckoned might well beat us, with a draw the best to hope for. A young squad, recently thrown together, is already providing better football than we’ve seen for years! CH, the fans’ choice, has proved an inspired choice and inspiring leader. An iron fist in a velvet glove, a real professional.

    Considering the trauma of the summer, what a happy place to be in….

  • Denis Thwaites says:

    To beat a side with such financial clout at this level and which had not conceded a goal for over 4 hours is no mean feat and that is despite some iffy performances. Pablo is a cigar player who looks like he is out for a stroll but he has that knack of reading the situation well which is a great asset and I believe we have found a bit of a gem here. The keeper and the other defenders generally performed well except Ridgwell who for me still looks clumsy at left back. With the Hughton mentality of passing the ball rather than hoofing it I agree we need a bit more composure in central midfield but CH can only work with what he has. The 2 wide players and the 2 up front are the ones that for me have given Blues a positive edge this season and that bodes well for us. Bruges i reckon are a cut above Leicester so my guess is that Big Zig and Elliot will start with King and Wood rested as CH unlikely to go 2 up front. We willl just have to suck the ball into the net at the Jan Breydel on Thursday!!!

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