Filed: Tuesday, 22nd September 2015
By: Preview Percy
This will probably be the only match preview you read that tackles the "Great Crisp Packet Controversy". Here's Preview Percy to show why this is not necessarily a good thing.....
‘Tis to the Midlands we next wend our jolly way where our hosts in the League Cup 3rd round will be Leicester City. Kick-off is 7:45pm, with extra time and penalties both being available to decide the tie on the night if required. By the way, the last train back from Leicester to St Pancras leaves at 21:58 – the next one being at 04:45 the following morning. Best hope for a long penalty shootout to save on the hotel bills then.
Leicester have had a decent start to the season sitting in 4th place. They’ve had to work a bit for that over the past couple of weeks, going 2-0 down to Villa before coming back to take all three points. And just this weekend they had to come back from a similar deficit to pick up a point at Stoke. Three of their points came courtesy of their 2-1 win at the Boleyn, after which Anthony Taylor was suspended, fined £50,000 and barred from all football-related activity until he had satisfactorily completed a course of retraining. Or at least that’s what would have happened had the same principles of justice applied to the criminal organisation that supplies referees to the Premier League as does to clubs and players.
Leicester’s path to the third round was relatively relaxed. The first round was obviously a rest day for Premier League clubs, whilst they eased past Bury 4-1 at Gigg Lane in the second. They did require two late goals to make the score look slightly more comfortable though, youngster Joe Dodoo netting in the 86th and 90th minutes to complete his hat-trick on his first-team debut. Dodoo was one of the fringe players to be given a run out in the second round and it is in the nature of this competition these days that players are rested in favour of those who don’t usually get a place in the starting line-up on a Saturday (or, I suppose to be more accurate, on a Saturday, Sunday or Monday). The England U19 striker started instead of Jamie Vardy in the last round and has since got a few league minutes under his belt, coming on in the 72nd minute of the 1-1 draw with Bournemouth to replace Marc Albrighton who, like Vardy, was excused boots in the previous round.
Amongst those regulars who did appear at some stage of the Bury match was striker Leonardo Ulloa. As mentioned in a previous preview, his surname came from the “Steve McClaren school of pronunciation” with a couple of “Js” appearing randomly in there. He scored 13 in all competitions last season but has yet to find the mark this term, his last goal coming in the 5-1 defeat of QPR at the end of last season.
One place where we probably will see a change from the league XI will be ‘twixt the sticks where the veteran Mark Schwarzer. This time last year Schwarzer was one of the 4,362 players registered with Chelsea, having signed a one year deal to act as cover for Courtois and Cech. In fact Schwarzer stayed only until the January window, when he moved to Leicester on a free. Schwarzer actually received a Premier League winners medal for his efforts in Chelsea’s title-buying side last season, a season in which, according to the work experience kid with the Harry Potter spectacles, he made precisely zero league appearances. Now I’m sure there used to be rules on this sort of thing – minimum number of appearances etc. However, I always fancied a Premier League winners medal to go along with my Southern Amateur League Champions gong so I wrote to the authorities and pointed out that I’d played as many games for Chelsea as Schwarzer had so could I have one? They told me to go away, but they did add that, since I hadn’t played for Millwall either, they were happy for me to claim responsibility for their relegation, which, frankly, is probably a bigger honour really.
Another player who started against Bury but who has not been otherwise employed this season is striker Andrej Kramaric. Kramaric arrived from Rijeka in his native Croatia in January for a club record £9.7m. The Foxes don’t really seem to be getting value for money out of hi so far though. He was used sparingly last season with half of his 16 appearances coming from the bench. In 5 of the remaining 8 games he was withdrawn meaning that he only lasted the full ninety on three occasions. This season the Bury match has marked his sole appearance, though it was a match capped he with a goal set up by the aforementioned Dodoo. However, even then he didn’t get through the full match, being replaced on 65 minutes by the wonderfully-named Schlupp.
Another who has been in and out of the side is Franco-Malian midfielder N’golo Kante. Kante was a summer arrival from Caen and his first three appearances of the season came as sub, including one in the match at the Boleyn. He started the Bury and Bournemouth matches, getting MOTM plaudits from some for his performance in the latter fixture, before dropping to the bench against Villa. He started at Stoke being taken off in the closing moments. At 5ft 6 tall he’s even shorter than the short chubby one who turns up here at the Avram Grant Olympic Rest Home For The Bewildered every week to pick up these words of wisdom.
What about us then? Saturday was good wasn’t it? Unlike the wins at Libraries at both Arsenal and Liverpool (which were pieces of cake) we had to dig deep and put in a defensive performance which was, well magnificent probably isn’t too strong a word. Winston Reid was foremost amongst the defence but Tomkins wasn’t half bad either. All eleven worked their collective backsides off and, if Adrian did have a couple of “moments” (punching one he should have caught and that rush of blood in the first half spring to mind), he more than made up for it in the second half.
One of the interesting things to note is the fact that the win came without the presence of the influential Kouyate, who pulled up lame the day before the match. In the past that’s the sort of injury in a key position that would have disrupted things no end. However, whisper it, but we now appear to have a genuine squad. This will be more fully illustrated should Mr Bilic elect to make his own chunk of League Cup changes. Randolph has proven himself an able deputy for Adrian in recent weeks, there’s the possibility of a start for Ginge.
Sadly Antonio and Jelavic, who, under other circumstances, would be looking for places in the top half of the team sheet, will be cup-tied and since the days of “Mannygate” hopefully we’re a bit more careful about these things.
Up front, Andy Carroll looks a strong possibility for his first start since the injury. Throw in the likes of Zarate, Oxford, and possibly even Samuelson (who looked good to me in pre-season) and it will be seen that we do have some genuine talent in depth for a change.
What will be interesting is to see is whether Amalfitano has served his sentence or whether there is to be no parole. If there is no sight of Amalfitano in the matchday squad I think we can probably say goodbye to him in January.
Predictions are always a bit of a pain for this sort of match – you’re never quite sure what sort of teams are going to take the field and what their relative strengths are going to be so inevitably a lot of guesswork will be required.
However, based on what I believe are the relative strengths of the backup squads I actually fancy us to win this one, albeit possibly after extra time. I’ll therefore be placing the Avram Grant Olympic Rest Home For the Bewildered’s monthly pig’s head budget (£2.50) on us to win in extra time after, say, a 2-2 draw.
Enjoy the game!
When Last We Met At Their Place: Lost 2-1 April 2015. Unusually for us in an away game this was a match in which we actually had chances going forward. Cambiasso opened the scoring and Adrian saved a Nugent penalty. Kouyate equalised in the second half and also hit the post in the second half before King’s late scrambled winner gave them some hope in their fight against relegation.
Danger Man: Riyad Mahrez Costing them two and a tanner, he’s had a fine start to the season so far both scoring and creating goals. Of course this being the League Cup they may rest him…..
Referee: Peter Bankes As usual in the League Cup, it’s a bit pot luck with the referees. Mr Bankes, not to be confused with the late Yes guitarist of similar name, appears to be in his first full season as a Championship ref, though he has experience of running the line in the top flight, taking charge of one of the flag/buzzer things when we beat Cardiff 2-0 on their own patch a couple of years ago.
Irritating Celebrity Supporter Of The Week: It’s still the crisp salesman Gary Lineker who should be first up against the wall for his crimes against potato-based bar snacks never mind all his other sins. Consider this: in the good old days you had a choice between Golden Wonder and Smiths. It worked well by and large. Dark blue for ready salted or plain, light blue for salt & vinegar, green & yellow for cheese & onion, yellow for anything poultry related, pink for prawn cocktail (if you had to) and a brownish colour for anything vaguely meat related. Then Lineker’s employers came along and changed the colours so nobody had a clue. Never mind the railways Corbyn sort that one out first.
Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, nor should be attributed to, KUMB.com.
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