Efter en spelledig helg är det dags för match igen, Leicester kommer till Anfield för att försöka plocka poäng och det är ett motstånd som inte ska underskattas. Laget kämpar för tillfället för att stabilisera sin plats på den övre halvan av tabellen, inför den här omgången har man en niondeplats, två poäng bakom sjuan Watford. Jim Knight(@JimKnight88) gästar oss den här veckan, för att berätta om hur läget är hos laget. Hur är det med Puels framtid? Hur har man förvaltat den överraskande ligatiteln? Det och mycket annat i denna Q&A:
1. What are your thoughts on the season so far? Are you happy with the teams performances?
It’s been something of an inconsistent season. Leicester have had some really eye-catching, impressive results against the likes of Manchester City and Chelsea but it’s been a frustrating few months. I don’t think many – if any – Leicester fans expect to be challenging the elite teams but for every good performance there are a number of disappointing displays against those sides further down the league.
2. There have been some rumours about Claude Puels situation, what is your opinion on him? Do you think he is the right man for Leicester?
I’m not convinced Puel will be in charge by the start of next season to be honest. By the same token I doubt he’s in any immediate danger but things will have to change in the medium term one way or another. Much of the issue comes down to the playing style. The approach is largely a very defensive one, it’s a slow, deliberate system that’s pretty dull to watch at times. It lacks of the zip and pace of the Ranieri era and often results in Leicester conceding the first goal. The issue then is that opposition teams can afford to sit deep and although Leicester dominate the stats such as possession and shots, it can often come to nothing because they’re not meaningful attacks. It was frustrating not to take the cup competitions more seriously on the basis that the club are unlikely to finish in the top six or be dragged into a relegation battle
3. Its been a few years since your League title, are satisfied with the way the club has built on the title?
In terms of the infrastructure, yes. There’s talk of a stadium expansion and a new £100m training ground has been approved. There have been a few big profile transfers that have gone awry such as Islam Slimani, Adrien Silva and Ahmed Musa but that happens. There’s a young core of players within the squad which means the future looks a bright one, even as the members of the title winning squad dwindle away in footballing terms. If Leicester can establish themselves as a top flight team for the foreseeable future then I think most fans would be pleased. After all, it wasn’t that long ago that the club were bouncing between the Premier League and the Championship.
4. Which players has impressed during the first half of the season?
I think one of the most impressive players for me has been Ricardo Pereira. He gives the right side of our team a completely different dimension, especially in an attacking sense. Worth mentions need to go to Ben Chilwell who continues to develop and has broken into the England set up as a result. Hamza Choudhury is also a great prospect and has looked very promising based on the limited game time he’s had of late.
5. What do you expect from the team during the last part of the season? What would be a good season for Leicester?
With no prospect of a cup run I think we’d be looking at a finish of between 7th and 10th. I don’t think the finishing position will dictate Puel’s future in any big way, it’s more likely to be the perception of the entertainment factor and playing style that some fans have struggled with of late.
6. What kind of game do you think we will see at Anfield?
Leicester will sit deep and try to nullify Liverpool’s attack, likely with three centre midfielders to try and control the game where possible. For what it’s worth I don’t think that is likely to work given the defensive performances of late but playing big teams away from home does allow us to try and play on the counter attack. Jamie Vardy has a great record against the “big six” clubs so hopefully a week off will have revitalised him ahead of the trip to Anfield. In terms of a prediction though, I’d be surprised if Leicester took anything from the game. I can see Liverpool winning relatively comfortably, maybe something like a 3-1 score line.