Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Foxes hunted down: City 2-0 Leicester

A massive three points for City tonight as they saw of Leicester at the CCS in front of 22,000. I was nervous about this game. Leicester, another side on a good run, with some dangerous players pushing towards the play-off spots.

City, without Bellamy, saw Chopra & Ramsey both pass late fitness tests. The opening exchanges were brisk, but neither side really penetrating. The officials were sharp on offsides a couple of times when City looked to have broken the trap.

The breakthrough came on 21 minutes as from a throw the ball was swept across the 18 yard box and Chopra coolly slotted home his 10th of the season.

After that, City sat on things a bit. They were a bit static in the first half all round, and several times players got caught waiting for the ball to come to them, or just ball watching generally. You could feel the crowd urging them to up the tempo, but it wasn't happening. Leicester had several corners, but bar one headed effort and a few long range shots there was little to test Heaton.

Leicester started the second half the better, and Heaton did have to tip one round the post. However, City sealed this game seven minutes after the break, when McNaughton, who was generally having an off night for him, slotted the ball across the box from the left, and on loan Arsenal (but always for us City) player Aaron Ramsey despatched the ball for 2-0.

The Foxes heads dropped after that, and despite plenty of endeavour, never really threatened again. City in contrast built their confidence. Chopra came off (a precaution I think) for McPhail, and Bothroyd for Burke, whilst Olifanjana went off injured and was replaced by "The Beast", Jon Parkin. City saw out the remaining period almost at training match pace, and were never threatened.

I thought JET had the best game he's played for us (that I've seen) tonight, though Ramsey was king pin. I wonder of we can keep him a bit longer. DJ certainly hopes so. We need his craft and control. Bothroyd and Nauts had off nights and Paul Quinn, who I've derided a few times this season, had another good game. Whitts was pretty awful in the first half, guilty of playing long raking balls to no-one in particular. When they come off they're great, but it wasn't working tonight, and his tracking back was also not very good. However when we went 2-0 up and the pressure was off, he improved significantly.

Defensively, we're looking better than we've done all season.

A great win, a big three points made all the better as Forest only managed a draw against Preston. With the Jacks still winning, we're now 3rd behind our fierce rivals, but only five points separates them from Leeds in 6th spot. Forest, a point behind us have a game in hand.

It's going to be a tight, nervous run in, and any one of those probably down as far as 10th will be thinking play off at least.

Hull next up for City, away on Saturday.


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