One point away from safety!

QPR 1  City 2

Post Match Analysis by Kate Thompson

After 13 games, less than a third of the way into the season, we have 39 points, just one short of the magical 40.  By any measure, this is unbelievable.  But I was not confident before the match and there were times when it looked like we might get our first draw of the season.  On my way in, several QPR fans said ‘Three easy points for you today’, to which I replied ‘If you had been watching Leicester City as long as I have…’

Marasca put out a strong team, bringing in Coady but keeping Vestergaard in a tight defence, and Choudhury came in for Pereira.  Vardy started up front and was captain for the match.  City started in their familiar slow passing pattern but – irritating as some of us find it – I can understand the reasons for playing like that.  Maresca had said that there would be no complacency but as the first half went on, it seemed that City were too comfortable.  At last, just before the half-hour mark Mavididi appeared to cross from the left but it took a deflection and nestled into the top right-hand corner, shaving the upright on its way.

The idea from many pundits that QPR would crumble once the first goal went in proved not to be the case and only ten minutes later they equalised with a rasping strike from just outside the box.  Choudhury did brilliantly to clear a header off the line, with Hermansen stranded, but Dozzell struck a perfect goal that gave the keeper no chance.  This clearly gave QPR renewed hope and they kept pushing for another goal.

Most of the second half was played at the end where the City fans were and, as I was in the front row of the upper tier, for once I had an excellent view – especially of the flashpoint just before the hour.  The scorer of the QPR goal, Dozzell, foolishly dragged Fatawu to the ground and was rightly given a yellow card.  Fatawu was clearly incensed and pushed Dozzell, only to be sent flying by the player.  Later Ainsworth (then the QPR manager but since sacked) accused Fatawu of gamesmanship, but the push was so hard that it would have been impossible for him to stay on his feet.  Fatawu also received a yellow card for his reaction but the referee, after consulting his assistant, gave Dozzell a second yellow and he was off.  There was a bit of a melee, with Vardy in the centre of it; yes, he was the captain but it looked to me as if he was getting involved unnecessarily.  There was too much testosterone flying about – in the stands as well as on the pitch!

As is often the case, City did not appear to benefit from playing a weakened team and it looked as if a winning goal would never come, despite many opportunities.  Then out of the blue, Winks hit a pile-driver to score his first goal for Leicester, in the 80th minute.  Nothing much of note happened for the remainder of the game.  City were by far the more dominant of the two teams (79% possession apparently) and it was a bit concerning that they made heavy weather of it.  One or two normally reliable players were below their best, such as Justin, Winks and Vardy.  But then their best is very good so no complaints. 

Overall Leicester deserved to win and we march on.  Interestingly, it looks quite likely that Everton will be docked 12 points and almost certainly relegated at the end of this season; if that had happened last season, as it should have done, City would have stayed up at their expense but, with hindsight, relegation has been positive for us.  It gave the club a chance to rationalise the squad and get some big earners off the books, and bring in young, hungry players with a point to prove.  Had we have stayed up, would Rodgers have gone and be replaced by Maresca?  This seems unlikely.

One final point on the fans.  Some young men rushed to the front of the stand when Winks scored, completely blocking the gangways, and one climbed onto the parapet right by where I was sitting.  He had one leg over it and his mates were holding the back of his coat, but it would have been very easy for him to fall into the lower tier and be badly injured at best.  The stewards made no attempt to calm the situation, so far as I could see.  What a contrast from my previous football outing on Friday night, watching the Lionesses beat Belgium at the KPS; high-pitched screaming from hundreds of young girls (and some boys) rather than bad language and raucous singing!

City: Hermansen; Choudhury (Ricardo 67), Coady, Vestergaard, Justin; Winks, Casadei (Iheanacho 79), Dewsbury-Hall; Fatawu (Albrighton,83), Vardy (McAteer 83), Mavididi. Subs (not used): Stolarczyk, Faes, Souttar, Marcal, Daka.

The views expressed in this report are the opinions of the Trust member nominated to file the report only and do not represent the views of the Foxes Trust organisation