In what might be seen as an instant test of the Leicester’s promotion credentials the fixture computer has decided to book two of City’s opening three matches against sides they failed to beat last season. For Coventry City, it remains something of a mystery as to how they remained unbeaten against the Foxes last year. In September, Paulo Sousa’s side hit 11 attempts on target to the hosts one and won 11 corners to Coventry’s two. The result – a 1-1 draw. Under Sven the scoreline was the same, and the frustrating inability to finish off a host of chances remained.
Coventry fans would probably welcome a similar outcome on Saturday. The Sky Blues are the Championship’s longest serving tenants. Relegation to the Championship in 2001 was the first time the side had changed divisions since 1967, and the bookmakers now judge them favourites for a second drop. Financial problems have led to the loss of Marlon King (12 goals in 24 starts last season) and goalkeeper Keiren Westwood, who at one stage was fancied by many Leicester fans as the replacement for Chris Weale. King’s exit in particular might leave Coventry fans with even longer and more frustrating waits for goals. Last season the Sky Blues scored one goal for every 11.4 attempts (one of the worst records in the entire Football League) and ended the campaign with a negative goal difference for the 7th consecutive season.
As evidenced by the 6,000 tickets purchased for the away end at the Ricoh Arena, Leicester fans have entirely different aspirations for the new campaign. But those with longer memories will know that Leicester haven’t ever won at the Ricoh Arena, and the hosts are unbeaten in a decade of opening day fixtures. Middlesbrough were the last team to beat the Sky Blues on the opening day. That 2000/01 campaign that ended in relegation. By contrast Leicester’s last away win on the opening day, a 2-1 success at Sunderland in 1995, was the start of a successful promotion campaign. A win for the Foxes and a repeat of this neat piece of symmetry would go down very nicely at this end of the M69.
Some wild optimism always has its place on the opening day. If Coventry concede four they will have shipped 2000 league goals at home. If Leicester score seven, they will have reached an impressive milestone of 6500 league goals. Note those down if you’ve got that opening day feeling.