It is often said that some clubs have bogey teams. Leicester have an unusually good record at Anfield and unusually bad ones at the City Ground and Upton Park. Such records can be self perpetuating. We always lose to X, so why will today be any different? Does the the same apply to managers? Perhaps it does. In recent meetings between Ian Holloway and Nigel Pearson, it has been the latter who has often come out on top.
As manager of Southampton, it was Pearson who secured a 1-0 win over Holloway’s Leicester City in March 2008. It didn’t seem like it at the time, but those three points ensured Southampton survived the drop to the third tier at Leicester’s expense.
Two seasons later Nigel Pearson’s Leicester did the double over Holloway’s Blackpool. Perhaps it wasn’t only Cardiff fans cheering as Yann Kermorgant’s penalty drifted pitifully into the arms of David Marshall. It meant Blackpool would avoid playing the only team in the playoffs who they had failed to beat in the regular season.
Perhaps regular defeats at the hands of Nigel Pearson bothers Holloway, perhaps he doesn’t even think about it. It’s hard enough to tell from game to game which Blackpool side will turn up in any case. Will it be the ruthless bunch who thrashed Bristol City 5-0, the feeble stragglers who were thumped 4-0 by West Ham, or the fearless eleven who inflicted Leeds United with a record equalling 5-0 home defeat? Perhaps, as with their last two outings, we’ll see a touch of both. Some swashbuckling forward play mixed with fragile defending. Six Blackpool matches have finished as score draws this season.
For pre-season promotion favourites, Leicester’s approach this season has been remarkably cautions. Half of their Championship outings, including their last at Portsmouth, have been goalless at half time. And surprisingly, Blackpool have been tentative before the break too. The Tangerines have scored twice as many goals in the second half as the first this season, conceding almost twice as many too.
That 5-0 drubbing of Leeds was only Blackpool’s second away win of the season, but they will be boosted by the return to fitness of top scorer Kevin Phillips (7). Leicester meanwhile have been proving in recent weeks they are dangerous all over the pitch. City’s last three goals have all come from outside the area, a total of seven for the season is already double the Championship average. Perhaps we’ll see another cracker this evening.