Leicester's need for the permanent
Regular watchers of the Foxes over the next couple of seasons will get used to the format, although the personnel will have to change of course. For starters, the squad is still peppered with loan items – luxury ones in the main, and not all of these will be available for permanent transfer.
The midfield is the area that will be most familiar: English trio Richie Wellens, Andy King and Matt Oakley were at the heart of all that was good about this performance and Eriksson, slavishly devoted to 4-4-2 in his time at the England helm, appears to now favour a 4-3-3. King was yet again Leicester’s most authoritative player, drumming in a late consolation – and if Oakley doesn’t quite live up to The Observer’s description of him as the Championship Xavi, he does a passable Gareth Barry impersonation.
But temporary recruits do not cohesion create and a show pony forward three of Yakubu, Darius Vassell and Diomansy Kamara failed to live up to their reputations. For the former, it was mainly the case of an off day – he was a handful but stout defending from Zurab Khizanishvili and Matt Mills generally denied him. Kamara waxed and waned in his day-glo boots and Vassell seemed to hide on the right flank, recalling the shy figure he presented when blogging from Ankara.
In the aftermath of the game, David Bevan of The Seventy Two tweeted that Ben Mee and Miguel Vitor are City’s most convincing defenders and the Portuguese looked unhurried in possession when he replaced Sol Bamba at half time. Not that the Ivorian man mountain was unimpressive – he looked a beast of a player to pitch against Reading’s thus nicknamed lower league bargain Mathieu Manset. Both Patrick van Aanholt and Kyle Naughton enjoy the array of “modern full back” talents to participate in the pleasing passathon, but the weak link today was Chelsea youngster Jeffrey Bruma – constantly unable to cope with the physicality and pace of Shane Long and the g force of Jimmy Kébé; his was an appalling afternoon. Behind, Chris Weale has presence between the sticks.
Latter era Eriksson teams haven’t lasted the pace of course – the Swede too often distracted by alternative financial offers elsewhere. A tad unlucky to lose his job at Manchester City, Notts County and Mexico were disasters and the Ivory Coast was the kind of phoned in, listless job that his detractors accuse him of. At Leicester, his intention to stay seems more evident, although two wins in ten will unnerve some. But the Foxes played well here and with King signing a new contract, the priority will be to bring in some solid permanent signings to suit a blend that has the potential to bear fruit.