It wasn’t supposed to be this easy, was it? At this rate, City will be promoted by the end of March. Ironically, the way in which this campaign has appeared at times almost routine has created not just respect for Nigel Pearson, but even greater expectation.
Yet just one defeat will be enough to convince some of an impending tailspin. Leicester will lose again before the season is over, and Oldham are as likely as any team in League One to turn City over. Here’s why…
For a few weeks at the start of the season Oldham appeared to be in title contention, and whilst John Shreidan’s men haven’t been able to keep the pace it’s not because, as some might argue, their players are a bunch of journeymen over the hill. In the Latics’ last home game against Swindon they fielded a starting 11 with an average age of 27. The number is only dragged upwards sharply by the strike partnership of Lee Hughes (33) and Dean Windass (39). Five of that 11 were under the age of 23. Despite his best years being behind him, Hughes has certainly craved a niche for himself in League One. The former West Brom and Coventry man has 15 goals this season making him the division’s joint 5th top scorer.
Oldham, along with Leicester, have the best record against other sides in the top 6. Both have taken 11 points from a possible 18 and the sides couldn’t be separated at Blundell Park in October.
Oldham are resolute. They have the second best record in the second half…second only in League One to Leicester. But what’s more impressive is that the Latics have conceded just one in the last 15 minutes all season. This is precisely the period in matches where City have proven most productive.
On This Day
It was a tale of two penalties as Leicester faced Leeds on this day in 1998 at Filbert Street. Gary Parker professionally dispatched his spot kick past Nigel Martyn on the stoke of half-time. Then, as the final whistle loomed large, Leeds had the chance to level from 18 yards themselves. Jimmy-Floyd Hasselbaink hopped, skipped and sent the ball wide to the delight of the kop and City debutant Theo Zagorakis.
Leicester – 4/6 (Totesport)
Draw – 14/5 (bet365)
Oldham – 5/1 (Totesport)