From Great Expectations to Great Escape

I was planning to write a lengthy coherent  piece of prose about the quagmire Leicester City’s season finds itself in but I have just finished an arduous 2000 word essay for my university course so don’t get your hopes up. Sunday was the last straw for me. I am no longer a Pearson advocate, I’m not anti-Pearson either; I’m in a Pearson purgatory. On Sunday, I was angry and here is why;

  • What on earth was going on at Villa Park on Sunday? An FA Cup quarter final up for grabs, a pressure free game away at a league rival who, to fit the famous chant, couldn’t score in a brothel and there we are lining up in a 5-4-1 formation. Five defenders, at Villa Park. We still conceded twice and allowed the ball in the net on two other occasions despite Matt Upson’s insistence that we ‘reduced their opportunities’.
  • The real smack in the face was Pearson’s stubbornness. 1-0 down in the FA Cup with 25 minutes to go and the best he can do is using one of three available substitutes and a switch to the neutral 4-4-2 formation? Not an all-out attack on the Villa goal? It was an FA Cup suicide by Nigel Pearson and nothing else.
  • Let’s be clear, the players were also crap, bar two glimpses of quality from Matty James and Andrej Kramaric, we looked like a side ready for the drop in to League One. Wes Morgan moved around the pitch like a computer glitch and our off-the-ball movement continued to be horrendous. At times, it looked like a game of stuck in the mud.

This season has been a disaster pretty much from the 22nd September onwards. In fact, why are we doing so badly? Well, we’ve abandoned our playing style in an attempt to adapt to the rigours of the Premier League, Burnley didn’t and they have managed to bridge a considerable gap between us and them and have become a better side than the Foxes this campaign. So have Queens Park Rangers for that matter. Jesus.  Our team selections have been unsettled nearly every week of this season; do the backroom staff know our best XI?

Most of us thought home matches this season would be crucial in our survival campaign but goodness have they been embarrassing. Burnley, Sunderland, Crystal Palace, West Bromwich Albion, Aston Villa and Stoke are among the lesser sides to visit Filbert Way so far this season. A whopping five points have been taken from those games, including one win and just three goals. A truly atrocious record I’m sure you’ll agree. Our ‘easy’ run-in which includes home matches against better sides such as Newcastle, Southampton, Swansea and West Ham is suddenly looking a lot less prosperous than in June.

Why do we even bother taking corners? I’m at a loss. Have there been any effective set pieces from us this season? They are just truly woeful, how do we continue to decline in this area, it really is appalling.

Of course, the Foxes have been on the end of some horrendous luck and even more horrendous refereeing decisions this season, that’s certainly true. But, you cannot be consistently unlucky – if we are, we’re doing something wrong. Nigel Pearson can bemoan fine margins in games where “we’ve played well” but if you don’t put the ball in the back of the net and stop it going in at the other end then you don’t get any points – and if you don’t perform in those key areas, can you even say you’ve played well?

This season has been a major disappointment. With the exception of Mahrez, Wasilewski and Schlupp, last season’s heroes have all regressed this year. In fact, I would contend we’ve become a worse team than last term which is absolutely criminal in my book.

We’re on course to become the first side promoted to the top flight with 100+ points to go straight back down the season. I wore that stat out at the start of the season, confident we could consolidate ourselves, and I truly believe we should have. This season has been a disaster, Nigel Pearson has been a masterful manager for much of his reign at the King Power Stadium but for fans who stuck by him through a dire season, choking opposition players and telling fans to die were repaid on Sunday by an FA Cup forfeit.

I will always be a big fan of Nigel Pearson but something needs to change at Leicester City – if Nigel is the man to find the formula then fantastic but I am rapidly losing faith in this man’s ability, a man who seems incapable of coping with the grander spectacle of the Premier League. We have two choices, in my opinion; accept relegation, go down with Nigel Pearson and let him lead another promotion push next season. Or, we roll the dice and change the manager – I honestly don’t know which I would do but something must change and now.

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