In a week of firsts, capped by the first debut hat-trick from a Leicester player since 1945, City play host to another side that seem to hold a jinx over them. Sven has ditched the curse of the Ricoh, now Reading arrive at the King Power Stadium. Last season Matt Mills piled on the misery for Paulo Sousa as his thumping header proved the winner in a 2-1 victory for the visitors. It was the Royal’s third win in an unbeaten four match sequence at Leicester.
For Reading, those three points were a crucial first of the season. Instead of allowing a slow start to become a season ending slump as in 2009/10, within weeks Reading had climbed into the playoff places. Reading look to be starting slowly again, but blistering starts are hardly a Leicester tradition either. The Foxes will be looking to begin the season with sucesssive wins for the first time since 2002/03. City haven’t won the opening three league matches of the season in the post-war era.
Last weekend Brian McDermott’s side required a late brace from Mathieu Manset to salvage a draw at home to Millwall. Late goals were a fixture of Reading matches last season, 14 goals came in the last five minutes of Championship matches, a record late-goal specialists Norwich only bettered by one. And Reading fans will hope another of their side’s traits from last season, a resilience away from home, has also carried over to the new campaign. Only promoted Norwich and QPR lost fewer away games (4) than the Royals last season (5).
But this Reading side arrives in a much weaker state than the one which clinically dispatched Sven’s men last April. Shane Long, responsible for 21 of Reading’s 77 league goals last season has departed for the Premier League. At the other end, Matt Mills is unlikely to allow former teammate Jimmy Kebe to gallop 90 yards with the ball unchallenged.
Leicester should have enough to deal with the men from Berkshire. The Foxes have scored in each of their last five meetings with Reading. Given the Foxes superb scoring record at the King Power Stadium last season (48 home league goals was the club’s best return since the 1966/67 season) there is no reason to suggest we shan’t be hearing plenty more Kasabian over the next nine months – starting now.