Leicester City Review: Another Pointless Exercise

I am impressed as I’m sure you are. Just when you think that there are no new ways to cause our own downfall, we dig deep and find one. Or at worst, resurrect an old one, dust it down and give it a quick polish.

Leicester City 3 – 1 Arsenal

That’s all the record books will say. When you dig a bit deeper and see we were down to 10 men, as well as conceding a penalty, you may think we lost our heads. The truth is we’d already done that a minute or two before Mavropanos saw red.

The marking at the corner for the opening goal was all over the shop. We didn’t clear the ball properly and when it came back into the area, all our fragilities were exposed. The new boss can’t be the same as the old boss; we need someone to come in and sort out the defence.

Having just re-watched the incident, I still can’t decide whether it was a red card or not. No doubt it was a foul, and no doubt it was cynical, but there’s a question mark over whether Mavropanos was the last man. Is Rob Holding quick enough from his starting position to catch Iheanacho? I’m not convinced. Maitland-Niles? Certainly.

I am leaning toward a red, just not convinced 100% about it. And that doubt must surely have entered the referee’s mind; it obviously didn’t cloud the issue enough but in those circumstances, I wonder if the official even thought about it? The foul was a red card in ‘old money’ and I suspect that’s the view he took last night.

The complexion of the game, already altered by the goal, was irrevocably changed at that moment. To that point, we’d begun well in an attacking sense. We started well in an already open game; it was a real ‘end of season’ match.

Brilliant Minds

After the dismissal, Leicester grew in confidence as Riyad Mahrez tried to put in a match-winning performance for the new manager. It didn’t work; he did little to impress me against the 10 men, not that I’m the new boss, of course.

There was some fight left in the ten-men and a spirited performance ensued. When Aubameyang equalised early in the second half, I felt we might go on and win it. His goal deflated the home side and boosted us. We’d already seen chances go a-begging, spurned by ourselves or stopped by Jakupovic.

It wasn’t one-way traffic; Cech’s busy evening included some good work. Then came the pivotal moment. Arsène likes to rail against officials, deflecting from the players, to stop them receiving flak. He’s not usually right but on this occasion, he was spot on:

The penalty is a very creative, imaginative aspect from the referee. We watched it again. It’s a nice dive but it’s not a penalty

Which might well be the nicest way anyone has ever said, “You cheating b*stard”.

And it was a dive. Sure Mkhitaryan was clumsy, but I don’t think he touched Gray. If Tom Whathisface is looking for a new partner at the next Olympics, Gray’s got to be among the contenders. Jamie Vardy added another goal to talk about in interviews about why he didn’t move to Arsenal.

As an observation, he was caught offside more times in one match than Adebayor at his worst, re-affirming that we dodged a bullet with him.

Mahrez tried all evening to impress the new boss, but his moment to be an Arsenal player is gone. Even his goal won’t change minds on whether he will improve this team given the issues we face.

In the Zone

While we can point to the referee now, it doesn’t alter the fact that we are without an away point this year. The Calendar Year Champions trophy won’t be making its’ way to the Emirates for 2018.

Is it now so deeply ingrained in the players’ psyche that we need a new boss to solve the problem? It certainly looks that way. Last night, where the official stole the show, was a rare occasion. The defeats resulted from self-inflicted wounds. With Laurent Koscielny out until Christmas, signing an experienced centre-back is this summer’s priority. The hard work then begins of getting a new system into the players’ minds.

I’m no fan of zonal marking, it’s my view that teams which employ it don’t practice defending. The first goal underlined how poor we are in that aspect of the game. But the horse bolted and already reared a new family; there’s no point in getting bent out of shape now. It’s someone else’s problem.

’til Tomorrow.

26 thoughts on “Leicester City Review: Another Pointless Exercise

  1. All fair YW

    And a new boss is exciting

    But I still think credit where credit is due

    Kolo was inspired match with Sol
    With talent like that you don’t need a drill instructor

    Maybe $25m Toby from Spurs with massive wages and…a reinvigorated Mustafi might work

  2. Arsetralian,

    Fair point, it’s the influence of the older head that makes all the difference in bringing youngsters on especially at CB. TA had O’Leary, Kolo had Sol (and Keown in the squad). It has to be the right sort of character though, I don’t think that Kos has been able to do the same for some of the youngsters that we have had recently. It would be nice to stick one on Spurs again too.

    If we do buy an experienced CB then it either has to be cheap, or Mustafi must be in the shop window. I can’t see the point of having three promising young CB’s if they hardly ever play. Kos IMO is unlikely to be part of any future plans.

    As for zonal marking it’s lazy from a coaching perspective and lacks accountability on an individual level. Par for the course at a club where there is always an excuse culture unfortunately. Hopefully that will change.

  3. Morning YW another woeful capitulation.

    The New Manager whom ever he may be is going to change the ” Culture” developed under AW.

    A new Managerial Face and Team have their work cut out to arrest, change and I create a new Culture a To AFC.

    Stagnation and familiarity under Arsène sees us in the position we are.

  4. Woke up to this result from last night. The ‘easy street’ mentality is now so ingrained in this squad that maybe the club needs a few years of some hard bastard manager to remove the shirkers from the squad and eliminate the ‘no worries, wealth and easy living’ attitude that exists as a result of Wenger’s inept ill-disciplined style.
    Whoever comes in has got a crazily difficult job on their hands. Rules out people like Enrique and maybe Allegri I feel. Vieira? At least he has the stomach for a fight. But the club cant go as far as the Rioch era, the drill sergeant approach. The players earn too much for that, and that would literally collapse the club.
    Has Wenger left the next manager with an impossible task?

  5. Good stuff Yogi.

    Think I’ll focus on the positives like Maitland-Niles and Aubameyang who both continued to impress. Mhkitaryan was free to run and I think he showed exactly why I think he will be a really good signing….he is a dribbler and will run and has a really good futboling IQ.

    Mahrez has now turned into the new Kalou, always linked but never coming.

  6. Great review Yogi.

    Leicester’s form has been miserable of late. Yesterday should have been our chance to take a point away from home. Unfortunately it was not to be. The red card was debatable but Mavropanos made a Xhaka like mistake and then followed with a cynical foul so its hard to complain and on the replays I saw it looked like Mkhitaryan caught his leg for the penalty.
    Arsenal is the only team out of 20 in the league without an away point in calendar 2018. That is an amazing stat. This season has been a total loss. The only thing positive is we bought Lacazette and PEA. Lacazette’s 3 month disappearing act still has to raise concern but if 1 can score 20 and the other high teens we will at least have a focal point on the attacking end to build on.

  7. Bill,

    One could argue that another positive is the development of Maitland-Niles as well as getting the better of the Sanchez / Mhkitaryan swap.

  8. C

    Perhaps we can move Maitland-Niles to RB and sell Bellerin to raise cash. AMN certainly has the physical talent to be a good fullback and he seems to have reasonable defensive instincts and hopefully is teachable. Its always a risk starting a 20 year old without much experience but full back is a position that seems to be easier to learn and mistakes of inexperience can be more easily tolerated. Long term AMN could be as good or better then Hector.

  9. consolsbob,

    Think you’re getting ahead of yourself there sir. That depends on who has the top job and who they fancy that’s here already.

    I’d like to think that there will be wholesale stock swap for most if not all of the coaching staff

  10. Real Madrid and Barcelona have both moved a player with no experience at full back to RB this season and it seems to work. I don’t think Lauren started his career at fullback. It seems like the transition to full back from other positions is easier then switching to other positions

  11. Maybe they are looking to cut costs with a cheaper manager who can work with some of the existing staff, rather than a big name who needs all his ancillary guys. Perhaps they are afraid of what happened at Utd when Moyes went there.

  12. Bill,

    He’s not a RB, he’s a midfielder and it doesn’t makes sense to sell a young RB that needs ro be taught to bring in another who is younger and is a CM? How about we keep Bellerin at RB and continue to develop Maitland-Niles as a CM.

  13. Bill,

    Did you see Fat Rooney is joining DC United and I have some mates who are season ticket holders and they are absolutely pissed the fuck off. One text read:

    ‘We’re in fucking last place and these bastards signed Rooney, fucking Rooney. This is worst than when Gerrard signed for the Galaxy and Pirlo signed for Vieira’s team. ‘

  14. .C:
    Bill,

    He’s not a RB, he’s a midfielder and it doesn’t makes sense to sell a young RB that needs ro be taught to bring in another who is younger and is a CM?How about we keep Bellerin at RB and continue to develop Maitland-Niles as a CM.

    Why is AMN restricted to being a midfielder? That makes no sense. There is no reason why he couldn’t be a very good RB. It’s always been a relatively easily position to transition.

    Like it or not we need to raise cash in order to rebuild the squad. Hector has been average or worse for 2 seasons. You could argue he has potential to be better but we have seen hundreds of players with potential who never live up to expectations. It’s not very often we get a chance to sell a player who is heavily over priced and over rated based on reputation. For example we should have sold jack W when he was worth $50M. It won’t be long before hectors values drops and we will have lost our chance.

  15. Bill,

    Why restrict him, because its his best position. Why keep moving him about and your offering to go into next season with Maitland-Niles as our first choice RB having only played there because Arsene loves square pegs in round holes and selling a young RB who is a natural RB just needs to be coached up and then coaching up Maitland-Niles and STILL having no back-up? That makes little to no sense mate, I’m sorry it just doesn’t.

    Bellerin needs to be coached up, having quality FB’s is massive these days especially those with the engine and pace that Bellerin has. If were looking to raise funds then lets look elsewhere like midfield and sell either Jack or Ramsey but selling quality when we all want more quality in the team makes no sense.

    As far as Maitland-Niles, he has all the qualities to be a successful midfielder who does the defensive work. Lets let him develop because midfield especially those pivots aren’t bang on for us and they lack quickness and a willingness and want to do the defensive work but Maitland-Niles could be that. He actually plays like modern DM’s who are mobile and might not be the biggest but do the business anyways.

  16. C

    There is no reason AMN can’t be a very good fullback. If his defensive instincts are as good as you say he can be coached up to be a better fullback then Hector.

    Hector has plateaued as an average at best attacking fullback and he is certainly not a world class defensive player. The reason you would sell Hector is because he seems to be heavily over rated and over priced at least for now and he could bring a biggest transfer fee of anyone on the squad not named Lacazette or PEA. It would much much easier and much much less costly to replace Hector compared to trying to replace the goal scorers. Selling Hector seems like a complete no brainer if someone is really willing to offer us $40-50M.

  17. Bill,

    Right and be left with only Maitland-Niles as a square peg in a round hole? Your talking of Bellerin as if he has ever been coached up and he is some old player…he is ONLY 23 years old and at most clubs he would just be breaking into the team. He needs to be coached up and has shown glimpses but as with most young players is inconsistent but unlile most youngsters, isn’t coached through his inconsistencies but instead is left to fend for himself.

    How about we keep him, let Maitland-Niles develop as a midfielder and that be that. Its actually quite hilarious that you ALWAYS talk about people being conditioned because of Arsene(and your wrong most of the time) yet your doing Arsene’s favorite thing: square peg round hole players and sell on quality players. Why not keep him, let the new man coach him up and we have the best RB for the next 5 years. I mean 2 seasons ago he was thought of as arguably the best RB in the PL and he has shown glimpses of that while basically manning the whole right flank by himself and having to play damn near every match no matter the competition because we have no back-up.

    You can enjoy this conversation because it makes no fucking sense to me to sell qualities players and then replace them by moving a highly rated younger player from that position that made him highly rated into a COMPLETELY different position when that young player has shown all season he can dp a job in the position that made him highly rated at the highest level. Then again, I don’t understand why people kill Ozil for not being a Vieira midfield boss even though they are completely different players who do com completely different things and what makes Ozil special is his eye for a pass and thr loads and loads of chances and assists he has created.

    Lets just agree to disagree because you will NEVER see why selling Bellerin makes no sense and I promise you, I will NEVER see why selling Bellerin makes perfect sense to you.

  18. Apparantly we are not a team with unlimited resources and logic has to over rule emotion. Turning down a world class transfer fee for a player who at his best has been average for 2 years is not logical when it’s clear we need to raise cash.

  19. Bill,

    Its logical also to keep top quality youngsters who have shown they can be the best in the league. Its also logical to not completely judge defenders based on the last couple of years under Arsene. Is it logical to move a highly rated young midfielder to RB, make him first choice and hope for the best? Or how about is it logical to sell a 23 year old defender who is clearly highly rated just needs to be coached up?

    Was it logical to keep Ospina and Cech who both showed signs they weren’t good enough and sell the 2nd best GK in Italy the 2 seasons before to raise money? Yup that worked out brilliantly hasn’t it….imagine this, we would have a quality GK for thr next 5+ years and we wouldn’t be needing to buy one this summer and those funds could have gone to buying a CB, DM and possibly a winger but instead.

  20. Sadly £50m gets you very little these days. I would rather see AMN get his chance in midfield anyway. To repeat what I’ve said before I wouldn’t expect too many changes until the new manager has had a chance to work with and access what we already have. I think we’d all agree that under a better coach most of our players can perform at a higher and more consistent level. Specifically Bellerin has shown he CAN be a top full back, he has proven ability. We just need the right man and a focus on the defence so players like Hector can show how good they really are. I doubt that there is a single defender in world football that could have flourished under Wenger the last five seasons.

  21. andy1886,

    I actually think there will only be one or two players coming in at GK and a CB. I want to see Maitland-Niles given a chance because unlike the other midfield pivots(though Xhaka has found some form sans that attempted tackle against Pogba) he is good defensively.

  22. The Owner is not going to spend any significant sum to get good players. That leaves to fill the first team with promising youngsters like AMN. Wenger who prattled today about ” Arsenal values” , thinking himself above the Club, reduced this Club to a mid-table entity, and hence I cannot see any top managers coming, looking at the effort needed to shape the squad.That should mean younger coaches who are prepared to put in the effort and thereby establish themselves as potential good managers. As some one who lives in the Borough, near the Emirates Stadium, and have seen better days at Highbury Stadium , it is sad to see how the rot has set in. The good news is the Old Man will be gone soon, and under any manager, novice or experienced, things can only get better. The young players are the future.

  23. Good post, thanks all for the comments good reading. I agree Mhiki has that ‘something’. Him and Auba remind me of watching Rosicky and Van P play. Both of them are hitting passes first time, hard, and are expecting you to be on the same level as them. There is no farting around , they get a pass and either smack it on to the next guy, or they are looking to turn and run at the defense. I like seeing that and Auba + Mhiki could be a devastating combo for us. hopefully they continue on with the fire and determination to play REAL attacking football, attacking at pace .

  24. Bill,

    Why this obsession with selling Hector?

    Just the tittle tattle of $50m bid – unsubstantiated of course

    We need a deputy RB so AMD is that

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