Match Preview – Derby County v Leicester City

As Arsenal raced into a 4-0 lead at St James’ Park last weekend the scoreline probably reminded several Leicester fans of a similar afternoon at Pride Park. That day, in front of the Sky cameras, the Foxes put themselves 4-0 up inside 15 minutes. As great a victory as that was, it’s difficult not to feel City have dined out on that particular trip to Derby for too long. It’s been 13 years since that game, in which time the Foxes have won just twice in nine attempts at the Rams.

But perhaps Saturday offers the perfect opportunity for Leicester to create new memories. Derby couldn’t be much more vulnerable. The Rams are without a win in five league matches and haven’t registered a home win since November. Nigel Clough’s men have only won once at home against sides outside the bottom six and have scored just once in their last three home league games.

The sale of the influential Kris Common to Celtic certainly hasn’t helped matters going forward. The Scot had been responsible for more than a quarter of Derby’s attempts on goal this season before his move to Celtic Park, not to mention around a third of their goals. But in fairness, his loss has been systematic of a wider slump. When these sides last met the Rams were in 4th and Leicester sat in 15th. Now it is the Foxes with playoff ambitions in 8th and the Rams with some not unsubstantiated relegation concerns. With just 8 points won in their last 12 league matches Nigel Clough must surely be running out of time to turn things around.

By contrast, Leicester’s start to 2011 could hardly have been better. Only City and Nottingham Forest remain unbeaten in the league this year, a run which has seen the Foxes move to within two points of their total at this stage last season (47). If Leicester win on Saturday they will have as many points after 31 matches as they did under Nigel Pearson in 2009/10.

With the Foxes looking almost invincible at the Walkers Stadium under Sven, it was always the away form which had to improve this year. So far Leicester have not shirked this challenge. Two clean sheets and seven points from nine is exactly what City needed. Another away win will see the Foxes complete their first league double over Derby since 2004/05.

Mr C Webster will take charge of proceedings, just as he did in this fixture last season. City fans might remember that Mr Webster was responsible for inexplicably disallowing Andy King’s goal at home to Reading in August, a goal which would have saved City a point. If his performance does prove to be a talking point, you can discuss that and anything else about the game by leaving a message for The Foxblogger Podcast. The number to call after the game is 020 8144 3333. Calls are charged at your standard network rate which, if you have free minutes on your mobile contact or your landline, should be absolutely nothing.

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