We begin this wee update by announcing the sad departure of Pegguy Arphexad to Anderlecht for £2 million. Matt Elliott also found his way to Tottenham with Theo Zagorakis joining him shortly after the Bradford City game for a combined £14 million.
This outlay was fulfilled by picking up Paul Robinson from Leeds as a long-term replacement for Tim Flowers as well as youngster John Arne-Riise from Monaco for £750,000. Steve Guppy was a makeweight in the Pavel Nedved deal, prising him from Lazio whilst Francesco Totti made the reluctant move from Roma.
Our midfield three you might call an offensive one of Gerrard, Totti and Nedved but given the fact we’ve been playing at times in a 5-0-5 system, this is the right step.
Wimbledon (1:3) Leicester City
The impact of our mid-week signings was immediate. Nedved and Totti played in much more withdrawn roles than they’re used to but it offered us so much more against a much weaker Wimbledon side. If we would’ve had these attacking threats, especially with both Riise and Carlos bombing on, we would have hit Bradford for six or seven. The only reason we didn’t here was because of Emile Heskey’s misfirings up front. It was a complete fluidity that the English has yet to find on its shores. A page from Total Football, a page from Magical Magyars, numerous pages from Brazil 1970 – it was the complete book.
Leicester City (2:3) Middlesbrough: Totti 2
Newcastle United (0:0) Leicester City
Leicester City (1:0) Everton: Heskey
Leeds United (0:1) Leicester City: Gerrard
Leicester City (1:0) Charlton Athletic: Heskey
Leicester City (0:1) West Ham United
Leicester City (2:1) Arsenal: Heskey, Recoba
Coventry City (1:3) Leicester City: Heskey 3
Sunderland (2:2) Leicester City: Heskey, Nedved
Consistently inconsistent, the Christmas period and its intervening weeks have taught me mainly that you can assemble a supergroup of footballers but if they’re not compatible with the system enough, you can’t win enough football matches.
In these nine games we took eleven points and progressed through two rounds of the FA Cup, not enough to maintain a title-winning season. We were on course for that – I know it’s beyond our reach at the moment. With another twenty-five to thirty games we will hit that fluidity and if we don’t, another recruitment in the summer should sort it. We have been leaving too much space at the back, Nesta pushes too far up the pitch, more a midfielder, and leaves two centre halves up against a squad of attackers. Our confidence bred complacency. Our offensive 2-3-5 with Nesta in between two wing backs pushing to meet a five up front was too much. Too regressive. Too 1930s for the new millennium.
Leicester City (6:0) Aston Villa
We were back and with a big fucking attacking bang. Forget all that moping I dished out after the draw up at the Stadium of Light. The 2-3-5 is back. Uruguay 1930 is the new Alex Ferguson 4-2-3-1. Four different scorers, six different methods of scoring, the complete marriage of small but sturdy defence and a vibrating offensive fivefold attack. This was the biggest win of the Premiership season so far.