Often Partisan

Blues Not Good Enough – Leicester Report

Here are my reflections on the match against Leicester City at the King Power Stadium. Please note that these are drawn from me watching it on Thai TV.

1) A fair result

Whilst I thought Blues had a decent opening period, they were nothing short of shocking in the second half. If Jermaine Beckford had have been a better striker, Leicester would have been well out of sight; as it was it took until the 96th minute for them to get their third goal. It could have been much different however if Blues had taken the chances that they had in the first half; Ziggy hitting the bar and Townsend missing a sitter just before the first half whistle.

2) My kingdom for a full back

For me, there is pretty much one sole reason why it’s gone so pear-shaped and that is the lack of a full back (now on either side). Spector was getting done easily by Dyer and Davies was massively and continually out of position after the American went off injured; Ramage looks shockingly off the pace and I don’t think Paul Gallagher has had an easier night’s work. These problems pulled the central midfielders back to cover, and N’Daw was left grasping for air as Dyer breezed past him more than once whilst the Senegalese man-mountain was covering for another Davies excursion up the pitch. The lack of any pace in the backline also means playing a high offside line just doesn’t work – a good player can spring it and most players in this league I feel would beat Ibanez or Caldwell in a foot race.

3) The Penalty

I saw it described on twitter by James Nursey as fortunate, but I don’t think it was. The warning signs for Leicester were there early on; Caldwell got pulled up for climbing over the back of Jermaine Beckford five minutes before the penalty call – many refs would have given it the other way for Beckford backing in. Thus when Kennedy charged Zigic in the back I wasn’t surprised at all to see the ref point to the spot; yes, it was a bit soft but the ref had set the tone early on. It’s about time a referee actually spotted that Zigic isn’t fouling people just by being tall – and I’m glad this one got it right.

4) Wade Elliott

One of the few bright spots in the Blues performance was from the former Burnley midfielder. He made a chance out of nothing right at the end of the first half (although he probably should have done better with it) and that typified his performance; quick feet, looking to create openings and beat defenders. The problem with Wade is that he only really plays well with a five which meant Blues only real option to chase it late on was to sub Ramage for Huseklepp and go three at the back. In saying that, I thought that he and Zigic linked up well and then when King came on Wade linked up with him too. I think at times we’re better off with one up front and Wade off him, creating the chances.

5) Substitutions

It’s a bugbear of mine, but I do believe that Hughton is too slow to change things. As we were pushing to take the lead, and having some of the play I thought the only thing we could do it to further press our advantage would have been to bring on Huseklepp; I figured if we were desperate he would come on for Ramage but at that time I thought we could have managed by bringing off N’Daw and risking Elliott having to play box to box by going 4-4-2. As it happened, Schlupp scored and Hughton had to go for broke.

The blip is now well and truly a slump; things have to change if Blues are going to make the playoffs. With the possibility that Spector could join Murphy and Carr on the sidelines, I think Hughton has to look at bringing his son into the squad. Davies is not a full back, I’m not entirely convinced Ramage is and Ibanez was to be blunt, a liability tonight. It’s either Cian or dipping to the reserves/academy and promoting Hancox. Put simply, this performance just wasn’t good enough if we want to go up.

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26 Responses to “Blues Not Good Enough – Leicester Report”

  • DoctorD says:

    Boro and Portsmouth next up on Saturday and Tuesday — win both and happy days. Ziggy’s surely got to have a turn of luck soon? Please??? Can’t say I’m too optimistic though.

  • Ebeneezer says:

    The last three chances were done over by long ballls over the top, and blues defense should of dealt with them, and Leicester scored from 2 of them. The 3rd goal was from a defence completly falling apart. The sooner we have murphy back in defence the better.

  • Bluenosejohn says:

    Fair comment but I am not sure criticism of Spector for the first nine minutes is fair. At the end we took off a defender chasing the game ( and the wrong one! ) and in hindsight we would have been no worse off had we gone three at the back when Spector went off instead of bringing Ibanez on! If Murphy is out for any longer we will continue to struggle.

    Suffering Talksport on the way back one Blues fan came on and wanted to get rid of Hughton. Takes all sorts I suppose…

  • Berkshire Blue says:

    All teams in play off contention have suffered similar blips – however the next 3 games – boro, Portsmouth and Cardiff – will be critical as to how our season finishes. One thing that still concerns me is the loss of Ridgewell and Beausjour from the squad in the January transfer window. If you look at the form tables since the window closed we are 14th with only Cardiff (who have been blown off course by the Carling cup) of the play off contenders lower than that.

  • Masaccio says:

    Isn’t Murphy back in contention for Saturday?

  • Blueboy88 says:

    The decline can be traced back to the loss of both Murphy & Beausjour.
    The whole balance of the team has been lost & that has led to other areas of the team coming under greater pressure to cope.

    Nobodys fault who’s involved in the day to day running of the club, just the poor off field circumstances we find ourselves in.
    However we are still very much in contention to make the play offs , so lets not get to gloomy & KRO…

  • Mark Peacock says:

    All the people that were glad to see Ridgwell go are seeing are failings now. I knew it was a big mistake to get rid of him as we had no cover at left back.

    Ramage is simply not good enough; he is slow and can’t defend. Spector is not a left back and I feel sorry for him out there, although he did start at right back last night.

    If we would have gone 2 up with the Zigic header it would have been a different story but for the first time last night I saw CH drop his players back a couple of yards and look happy with the draw which didn’t work out. However the numpty that called talk sport after the game last night calling for CH to be sacked saying he had taken us as far as he can needs to have a long hard look at himself!

    Overall decent away day, fans were brilliant last night kept singing and had some really good banter with the Leicester fans, the young girl he decided she wanted to have a go at blues fans got terrorised but she brought it on herself!

    • almajir says:

      The big problem is that Ridgewell just didn’t want to play for Blues any more; there was no effort from him and thus it was pretty pointless hanging on to him.

  • Wingman Blue says:

    Jean Beausejour is the player we should never have let go, despite his drop in form after November. N’Daw looks like Emil Heskey in disguise and with both Carr and Murphy out the defensive gap has become a chasm – and the Championship now know it. If we don’t plug it, we’re not good enough to go up, I’m afraid. As for the ‘Hughton Out’ “fan”, no manager can pluck a defence from thin air, though I hear Harry Potter ain’t doing much at the moment….

  • andy says:

    It is a little gloomy at the moment because because Blues have picked up 2 points out of a possible 12 and fallen out of the top 6 and have joined a chasing pack trying to get in there. Those disappointing results have ironically come against 4 midlands teams so hopefully thats where the blip, slump will end. As for the left sided problem, Townsend should drop to full back with Redmond on the wing but we can all pick a team and formation in hindsight. Blues are still in a decent position but the slump has to end on sat otherwise this could not have come at a worse stage of the season.

  • nicko says:

    the bloke on talksport must have been a viler c/h has done a fabulous job with no money
    the games are catching up on us now also leicester done there homework 2nd half long
    balls over our defence to run on to and it payed off last 10 minutes win saturday and on
    tuesday the secret caller to taljksport will lose there number k r o

  • quokkasskip says:

    thought we could of had another penalty first half when townsend was grappled when he went around St ledger. Our defence is creeking, but it is the centre halfs that have made the mistakes last night (and vs Derby & Forest). Massive game on saturday to get back on track. Have to keep the faith.

  • RichardW says:

    It’s about time a ref picked up on the fact that Zigic is continually fouled by defenders whose only recourse is to push, pull and shove him. It’s a soft option to penalise the big guy which is what they usually do. Give Townsend time and he’ll fill Beausejour’s shoes. Ramage is a different matter though !!

  • chris says:

    we’re going to have to put up with it till we have two fit fullbacks from murphy/carr/spector so stop expecting too much.
    cov, forest and pompey fans would love to swap positions with us.
    i’d rather play cian hughton or kids who are proper fullbacks instead of patching things up, things my not improve but they will be learning.
    i’d be gutted if we didn’t make the play-offs as we have got so close, but at the start of the season i would have settled for mid table as i thought we’d be in the bottom 8.
    gomis was playing well while n’daw was in africa and he should be playing now as n’daw looks woeful.

  • Warley Blue says:

    Agree with the comments about Ramage – I can remember him being shocking for Newcastle and things obviously haven’t changed much. Also think we are missing Murphy badly and it will be a relief when he is back in the squad. We are certainly paying the price now for being light on the left side but I suspect that selling Ridgewell and Beausejour was the way to keep us going financially until the rest of the season.

  • mitchell says:

    The idiot on the phone in should receive a lifetime ban from the club.

    Reading CH’s comments this morning I still feel confident about making the play offs. We miss Murphy but he’ll back against borough or the following game, either way it’s still all to play for.

    Keep the faith!

    KRO

  • Paulo says:

    I thought last night at Leicester was the most shocking of all displays in recent defeats. Now I bear no ill feelings towards Chris Hughton and I have the utmost respect for him, but I do feel that our squad has suffered tremendous change from the one that started last year and took us through the Europa games.
    Players are moving about, the new guys are not co-ordinating at times when they need to, dont get me started on Zigic ..who is so 50/50 in every game, that we are all expected to to simply accept it! and Myhill ..is he letting them in for fun? How he stood there and let that 1st goal in last night was terrible!
    We need to find a formula again, and find it fast ..

    11 games left, ..6 away and 5 at home. Now is not the time to talk a good talk in the papers and do sod all on the pitch.
    Disregarding the off pitch finacial saga, could we survive in the premiership at all with such complacency? I mean, effort is all well and good, but find a bloody formula fast, get crosses into the 6 yard box and start finishing!
    BCFC

  • roskoe says:

    The team look to be mentally and physically fatigued to me, making defensive errors and tiring in the second half the biggest indicators. Whatever happens in the remainder of the season I am proud of our threadbare squad and how well they have done, especially when you consider the summer upheaval and the amount of games played so far. Ten points from our Europa group was special, and anything more than championship survival on top of that would be a bonus in my opinion. Even if we make the play offs i dont see us getting promoted unless we have a good last 6 games or so of the season, so that we are in form for the play offs. Anyway, good luck for the rest of the season boys, keep making us proud.

    KRO

  • bluenoseneil says:

    I think the recent dip in form can be attributed to a number of things:

    (1) Burke has been found out by a few defences in this league and he isn’t zipping round players and getting balls in as easily as he did in the first half of the season.
    (2) Zigic and King have both been guilty of not putting in 100% effort in every game, and have at times looked lazy and disinterested. There have been exceptions to this but on the whole they aren’t putting in full shifts.
    (3) Our defensive cover – Ibanez, Ramage, Spector and the kids, if they play – is insubstantial for us and is starting to show. Under previous management everyone knew the Foster/Carr/Johnson/Dann/Ridgewell combo was the best and we struggled when this was broken up. Under CH it’s Myhill/Carr/Davies/Caldwell/Murphy and we look a lesser side when other combinations come out to play….albeit Spector has done a pretty decent job covering for Carr and could arguably take that berth up permanently if the Irishman doesn’t return to full fitness and decides to retire at season’s end, which wouldn’t shock me.
    (4) The new additions have been so-so at best. Erik the Viking is still to find his feet and show us what he can do, Ramage isn’t fit and Townsend is probably the bright spark we needed. Arguably playing Redmond and Townsend from the start of every game for now would be our best bet to terrorise defences from the wings.
    (5) N’Daw looks a little lost without Fahey and Gomis/Mutch to play with in a 3-man midfield, and I don’t think he can be faulted for effort but he is being asked to cover more of the pitch in a game than he should as a defensive midfielder.

    There are other things I am sure but we are clearly imbalanced now with the loss of Beausejour and players tiring/picking up injuries.

    I do have faith in CH to restore things quickly and a good win against Boro would help that massively. I think the play-offs are still viable but I want us to steam into it as the form team and not limp over the line or we’ll be out at the first stage.

    Either way, CH has done a great job and it proves that the sum of the parts – when it all ticks – is good. We just have to ensure the formula is quickly found again.

    KRO!!!

  • jazzzy786 says:

    The main problem is the injuries to the defence but I don’t understand why CH doesn’t play Townsend, burke and Redmond in the middle.

    ie

    ———————– King/Zigic
    Townsend Gomis Redmond Fahey Burke

    Both Coventry and Leicester doubled up on Townsend. This would leave a big gap for Nathan to exploit with his pace. I’ve been shocked that Redmond hasn’t even been on the bench the last two games. I’d also drop N’Daw as he looks a shadow of the player from earlier this season. Gomis has looked pretty good every time he has played. I think the comments on Ramage are harsh as it takes time for a defensive unit to develop understanding and it also needs to be pointed out he hasn’t played for a while before this loan spell. Myhill has had a few poor games recently as well so maybe he should make way for Doyle.

  • Jaffa says:

    Don’t panick.We’ve slipped out of the playoff’s and we’ll slip back in. Just in time to beat WestHam and then play the Mighty Leeds in the final.

  • Stevie Blue says:

    Basically, I think we are back to where we were in August. New players trying to settle in and a few injuries. Uncertainty over which way it will go. CH is shuffling the pack trying to find the right combination. I think we are missing Beau, Ridge and Wood more than we anticipated. Had they still have been here the squad would still be settled, (I know Ridge wanted out I’m not advocating that we kept him). I just hope it doesn’t take too long for all the new boys to settle. Personally, I’d rather bring in Hancox than play someone out of position and I like the idea of playing Townsend and Redmond on the wings. Kep the faith, my glass is still half full!

    • roskoe says:

      Yeah Stevie, after our chat yesterday i can see your point, I still feel they are tired but I suppose we will have to wait and see. I hope you are right though.

      KRO

  • P says:

    I suppose it all comes down to the defence. Ibanez can’t run for toffee, Caldwell looks a shadow of himself without Davies beside him and N’Daw is not being physical. H eneeds to go into those 50/50 tackles. King and Zigic are doing ok but the service isn’t great: Redmond is better on the right wing and Townsend likes to drift infield as does Burke. If you play townsend and Burke you have no width. Ramage is rubbish, and I am starting to feel a little negative about the whole thing.

    KRO


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