Match Preview – Leicester City vs Cardiff City

The season is 29 games old and Leicester fans are still awaiting that long hoped for run of results which will propel the Foxes to the playoffs. Scraping into the top six, the bare minimum expected of this expensively assembled and once highly regarded collection of professionals in August, is now the most Leicester fans can dare to hope for.

The triumph at Southampton made new believers in the playoff dream, only for setbacks at home to Middlesbrough and most recently at the Amex to send those hopes crashing to the floor. However influenced by refereeing decisions those last two matches were, the overall pattern remains one of consistent inconsistency.

Is it at least getting better? The evidence is unconvincing.

Nigel Pearson’s Leicester have scraped together four wins and five draws in 13 league matches since the former Hull boss rejoined the club. Sven’s Leicester managed five wins and four draws in the opening 13 games before the services of the Swede were dispensed with.

Keeping it tight has been Pearson’s first priority. Leicester are now creating fewer attempts of goal (10.9 per match compared with 11.8 under Sven) but at the back City are restricting their opponents to fewer scoring opportunities (9.92 to 10.23).

But perhaps the most telling statistic emerged after that frustrating defeat at Brighton. After each of the first 28 games Leicester fans could at least console themselves that there was progress, however slight. Until last Saturday, the Foxes had always held as many or more points than at the comparable stage last season. No longer. After 29 games last season the Foxes had 42 points, this season they have 39.

Enter Cardiff, who following a 3-1 reverse at home to Blackpool last weekend, may or may not be about to begin their now annual self destruction. The key to Cardiff’s performance will be how many players have their eyes on second place (which could be theirs with a win against the Foxes) and how many have one eye on the Carling Cup final.

The Bluebirds have drawn five of their last six Championship matches on the road, but are unbeaten in their last nine away league games. Meanwhile Leicester are without a home league win in five, their worst run of home league matches since 2007 when they went eight without victory.

Curiously, four of the five goals Cardiff City have scored at the King Power Stadium have come from outside the area. Admittedly last season’s effort from Lee Naylor was probably a fluke, but wouldn’t it be nice to talk about a match settled by quality and not controversy for a change? If not that, a penalty for the Foxes would be nice. In the Championship this season the Foxes have been award just two, but have conceded six.

Over to you, Mark Halsey.

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