Leicester City - Sven's faithless in former foursome
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Sven's faithless in former foursome

If you hadn't already noticed, Saturday's excellent victory over Barnsley saw a Leicester side with a back four made up entirely of loanees.

Whether this should be seen as a worrying sign is an argument that can only be measured in time, but the only thing certain is that Sven-Goran Eriksson is not a fan of what he has seen from what was essentially Nigel Pearson's tight defensive line last season.

It is is entirely understandable of course given Leicester's appalling defensive record so far this season. The team's first nine matches witnessed a shameful 22 goals conceded, not least thanks to a six-goal embarrassment at Portsmouth.

But times have changed. With only three goals conceded in their last four fixtures and two clean sheets in a row, Eriksson has turned the tide at the back for City as they begin their revival up the Championship table.

In the last month the impressive trio of Kyle Naughton, Curtis Davies and Greg Cunningham have all arrived on loan from Premier League sides, while Benfica's highly-rated youngster Miguel Vitor has found a regular starting berth after a season plagued with irritating injuries.

Indeed, it was Vitor who struck first blood for City at Oakwell to send Eriksson's side on their way to their first back-to-back victories of the season. It was also the Foxes' first goal courtesy of a centre back all campaign.

City fans have been left scratching their heads at quite how a defence which last season was worthy of promotion material has suddenly collapsed quite significantly. A combination of individual errors and noticeable lack of confidence have been the obvious symptoms of one spectacular play-off hangover.

Good players don't turn into poor ones overnight. Jack Hobbs remains one of the division's brightest defensive prospects, and is perhaps the unluckiest of last season's prominent four not to make Eriksson's side. The obvious qualities of Curtis Davies and Miguel Vitor, players with experience at high levels, are simply too strong for Eriksson to ignore.

Michael Morrison and Bruno Berner have both been oddly out-of-sorts this season and have duly paid the price. But with short-term loan deals a familiar pattern at the club, both will be ready to pounce if and when the team's current first choice return to their parent clubs.

While it may be disappointing to see those likely lads currently warming the bench, we all know it is for the better.

Two clean sheets on the bounce gives City the key foundation from which success was built on last season, and there is absolutely no reason why it cannot continue given the quality of this squad.

These are exciting times at the Walkers Stadium, and maybe now City can stop looking nervously over their shoulders for the time being.

After all, six points off the play-offs y'know...




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The Journalist

Writer: JBFox Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Sunday November 7 2010

Time: 7:07PM

 

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