There you go then. What you thought was those dammed clapper things they insist on giving the fans at the King Power Stadium was actually the sound of nails being hammered into our Premier League coffin. Two second-half goals won it for the home side despite comebacks for Catts and Anichebe as our season trundled towards its seemingly inevitable conclusion.
As we stopped off for a bevvy in Loughborough, the team news came in. No O'Shea as his dad sadly passed away, but a welcome return for Catts. Seb, Borini, and Rodwell could all be thankful for a start after uninspiring recent showings (see? I can be diplomatic) and Defoe, despite the rumours, was fit to play. Which was just as well, as the thought of one-goal Fab leading the line was a bit scary to say the least.
Incredibly, we managed to miss Leicester (population over 330,000) and had to turn round and head back up the M1. That meant we were a bit late for the free cupcakes and Carling promised for everyone by their chairman. Nutter.
Anyway, we were allocated our usual corner as the Lads lined up:
Jones Denayer Kone Oviedo
Cap'n Catrs (hurrah!)
Borini Rodders Ndong Seb
Kicking away from the visitor’s fans, we were quicker out of the blocks than the Foxes, and, as at Watford, won a flurry of corners. That's all well and good, but, as at Watford, the opposition were a sizeable bunch and kept us out. With Seb on the left and Borini on the right, occasionally swapping sides, and Catts anchoring the midfield, we had a fair bit of energy about our play. That was needed to prevent the home side, who snapped the ball about in little triangles to move it forward, getting anywhere dangerous. Defoe and Ndong fired wide but we didn't really test Schmiechel.
Normal service was resumed towards 40 minutes when Catts was retrospectively booked after the ref allowed Leicester the advantage, but the Teesside Terror, with whom many of our fans are apparently going for cocktails in Hull, generally broke up the home side's play effectively and urged his marras on.
It was the 43rd minute before Pickford had anything serious to do, but the save was a good one, tipping a shot past his left-hand post. Okazaki headed the corner well over, and the fourth official indicated a minimum of one added minute. Level at the break, and we were well worth that, with some folks going so far as to suggest it was the best 45 we'd played in a while. To be honest, that's faint praise, but it hadn't been at all bad- just not quite good enough despite being arguably the better side. We'd noticed some tourists in our section wearing the abominations that are half-and-half scarves, and there were mutterings. Look, I know we have bigger things to worry about, but a scarf to commemorate a game between a team heading for mid-table and a team heading for oblivion? Give awwa man. The offenders didn't come back for the second half, so mebbe the fashion police had a word.
That somebody had a word with Leicester was obvious, as they seemed to be on a mission after the break. No changes to personnel, as with us, but a change in attitude. Consequently, they pushed us back more, and we had to produce to desperate defending before we broke down the left and got the ball to Borini on the edge of the box. It seemed to take an age to drop for the shot, meaning that Huth got his legs in the way when the trigger was pulled. A couple of minutes later Seb got in a shot which was easy for the keeper, then Huth flattened Defoe for a free in what used to be perfect Larsson territory. Not in 2017. 20 yards out in the inside left spot, but this one sailed yards over the top.
His next effort was more like it after Borini was fouled out on the right, and, via a defender's touch, found Defoe's chest. Control, volley - keeper's hands.
They replaced Okazaki (short sleeves and gloves) with Slimani ( long sleeves and gloves), and Gray with Albrighton. Winger and big forward - I see what you're up to there matey. That was on the hour, and it was the sort of change we'd love to see us make, as it effectively won the game.
And it worked. Allbrighton down the left, cross to the back post, hint of a push by Slimani and a header past Pickford with 68 gone. Awwww knackas.
Moyes gave it a couple of.minutes then replaced the tiring Catts and Seb with Big Vic and Khazri. That gave us a bit of a lift, and it nearly paid off within minutes when Rodders got in a low cross from the byline, which Vic smashed against the keeper's right hand post before Defoe blasted into the side netting. Ooh, there might be a way through here, and we tried to get Vic down the left at every opportunity.
Then it went all a bit Pete Tong. The ball from the centre to Jones was far from perfect, but as he tried to turn on halfway to retrieve it, he slipped and Albrighton was away again. This time the cross was low, it found Vardy, and he did what he did so many times last season and crashed it into the roof of the net. No stopping shots like that unless they hit you by mistake.
We brought on Gibson for Rodders - ten minutes to save the game and give us a chance of saving our season. So, they brought on King for Ndidi, Wabi blasted a free way over, and the anti-Moyes chants started. Hardly surprising, really, and the three added minutes brought no relief.
I've given up looking at the other scores, as there's no point unless we start winning. There's also no point having the majority of possession for decent periods if the ball doesn't go in the opposition's net. There's no point being awarded free kicks in good positions if you don't even make the keeper work. For all those good things, and a decent return by Catts, and a promising return by Vic, not taking advantage of positive situations is our downfall. I could have cycled the coast to coast since we last scored, and that's with an England forward playing every week. Today we put up more of a battling performance, but when you're down among the dead men, things never seem to go your way. In our case, just not being good enough is a bit of a hindrance as well. Not even the presence of Jarvis the dog could bring us that bit of luck we so desperately needed.
Man of the Match? Well, just for being back, bossing things, and lasting as long as he did, Catts.
At this rate, the wake for our season might be held long before the Chelsea game.
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