It’s what we should have expected. After four games Leicester’s goals against tally is far more impressive than their goals for total. Before the weekend’s matches Leicester’s two conceded made theirs one of the meanest defences in the Championship, in contrast the Foxes’ four strikes in the opposition net were nothing to write home about.
Matty Fryatt’s two goals have already equalled his Championship total for the 2007/08 season, but in typical Fryatt style it’s taken him 14 attempts to get them. His ratio of one goal to every 7 attempts is the sort of statistic that makes last weeks’ transfer speculation laughable.
You could argue only two players in the Championship have worked the goalkeeper more than Fryatt, who has hit the target on 10 occasions. But this just leads you to ask why, if Fryatt is in positions to work the goalkeeper, aren’t more of his efforts finding their way to the back of the net?
Leicester are at least creating chances at this level. Before this weekend’s games City had managed 54 efforts on goal in four matches, only QPR, Ipswich, West Brom, Bristol City and Crystal Palace bettered that. And compared with their Championship rivals, City have been more accurate than most too. 31 shots on target have been struck by Nigel Pearson’s men, that’s 57.41% of their attempts. Last season the Foxes got 54.28% of their shots on target.
But working the goalkeeper and beating him are two very different things. City will make life much easier for themselves if they can prove more ruthless in front of goal.
However it is possible to mount a promotion challenge without a prolific strike force. Last season Birmingham were promoted having netted just 54 times, the fewest goals for total of any side ever promoted to the Premier League. In contrast during 2008/09 Norwich City scored 57. The difference, of course, was a defence that conceded just 37 compared with one that shipped 70.
If City start a push for promotion, there’s little doubt it will follow the Birmingham blueprint.
The Magpie’s Shola Ameobi has made a terrific start to the campaign scoring twice as many league goals as Leicester’s Fryatt with two fewer attempts (11 against 13). But with Newcastle’s injury worries piling up this might be an opportunity for Leicester to snatch a cheeky three points for the first time at St. James’ Park since 2000. Tony Cottee and Robbie Savage were Leicester’s scorers that day in the twilight hours of the Martin O’Neil era.
Yet, having not conceded since the opening day of the season, Newcastle have proven they are just as difficult to break down as Nigel Pearson’s back four. The goalless draw is priced at 17/2 and any sensible money should placed here.
On This Day – 31st August 1994
Leicester City picked up their first ever Premiership point at home to QPR. The Foxes had lost their opening three matches of the season, scoring once and conceding seven times, and looked to be on the way to another defeat after Jimmy Willis put the ball into his own net. Thankfully for the crowd of 18,695 at Filbert Street a last minute strike from Phil Gee saved City, but they would have to wait until September for their first Premiership win.