The Full Roberto Carlos Effect (FIFA 2000 #3)

We haven’t got anywhere with snapping up a replacement for Tim Flowers as of yet. Yes, it was a minor mistake but a mistake nonetheless. We need a sweeper keeper in our system, you see. Two marauding ball-playing defenders either side of a stopper is integral to games where we need to counter attack.

Admittedly, the fault came when we weren’t even counter attacking. This surely makes the fault of Flowers much worse. There is no availability in the market, unfortunately. So we pushed on with an inadequate number one.

 

Leicester City (4:2) Sunderland

Muzzy Izzet

Rio Ferdinand

John Oster

Steven Gerrard

Kevin Ball

Emile Heskey

We blew them out of the water, so to speak. Muzzy Izzet has been revolutionary in that roaming playmaker role alongside Steven Gerrard. The beautiful thing about it is they alternate their lung-busting runs with their intricate passing. Alvaro Recoba is so fluid on the pitch it’s unbelievable. I told Emile to stay between the width of the goalposts, almost acting as a poacher whilst the receptive Recoba darts like a blue-arse fly in and out of the channels and in between the lines. What you saw today is the perfect example of that game plan in full flow. Just ignore the two goals shipped, a defence with more bonding would have kept a clean sheet.

 

Aston Villa (0:4) Leicester City

Emile Heskey

Steve Guppy

Emile Heskey

Alvaro Recoba

Here we saw the full Roberto Carlos effect. This early season experimenting in our shape paid full dividends at Villa Park today. Our defence was fully shored up and we were a little more fluid in our movement and positioning. Muzzy Izzet played a more withdrawn role, almost as an auxiliary left-back at times, tucking in when Roberto Carlos utilised himself more up front than in defence.

He assisted our first two goals and was immense all afternoon. It was a deserved man of the match award as part of a team that had to wait 70 minutes to break down a resilient Villa side.

 

Leicester City (1:0) Coventry City

Steven Gerrard

It was an evening where my bravery for signing such a young player in the form of Steven Gerrard was finally justified. Tactics aside, it was a night for a poor 90 minutes of football, equally on our part and equally on the part of Coventry City. Gerrard’s long run and shot from distance was the only piece of quality on offer, Marcus Hedman’s spill of the ball into the net, the only mistake.

 

Watford (1:2) Leicester City

Alessandro Nesta

Michel Ngonge

Alvaro Recoba 

The role of the ball-playing defender was exaggerated so much due to Alessandro Nesta’s marauding, we played at times almost with a back three. Nesta marched through on numerous occasions to support a midfield of our wing-backs and Robbie Savage when in control of the ball. It was almost a 2-4-4 at points due to Watford’s withdrawn nature. In fact, the goal came through a George Weah-inspired run from one box to another which Nesta finished with all the poise of an Emile Heskey.

 

League Table: (after 5)

Leicester City              15

Leeds United               13

Chelsea                       13

Arsenal                        13

Manchester United     11

Aston Villa                   10

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