Leicester 2 United 0 - report

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Deadbat

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Pod and report....



The Blades excellent recent run came to an end with defeat at the King Power Stadium on Thursday evening. After a magnificent performance at the weekend for the Blades and one to forget for Leicester in contrast, both teams served up different fare tonight and the home side dominated from start to finish and won comfortably in the end.



Leicester had a number of players out through injury but still started with a number of players who had impressed for them this season including leading scorer Jamie Vardy who Blades managed Chris Wilder had praised in the build up for his journey in the game to the top.



In sunny conditions, weather that has not suited United, the game kicked off and after an early move which saw O’Connell’s ball find Baldock, the cross came over and McGoldrick fired well over after a challenge from Justin.



After this the home side settled down and won two early corners and had a handball appeal on Berge but nothing was doing rightly so as it just hit him. Two fouls on Barnes set the scene for the next phase as Leicester three-pronged attack was causing issues for United who were not engaging with the ball at all. United gave it away when they had it and Leicester were looking far more likely and had a chance when a cross under no pressure evaded O’Connell and Henderson and Perez headed over when he should have done better.



Barnes then slalomed past two men after Berge got outmuscled but the Blades cleared away for another corner. Soon after a ball in with no pressure again, saw Vardy roll Basham and shoot goalward but Henderson made a save with his feet.



United won a corner after a rare error from Evans but Schmeichel pawed away. United won a free kick on the right but Norwood’s delivery was headed over from Egan.



Vardy beat the offside trap with O’Connell sleeping but his cross evaded everyone. Justin won a corner after retrieving it but it as cleared. Barnes then hit a shot that deflected off Vardy and over but it was all Leicester so far.



On 22 minutes just before the drinks break Henderson had to make a double save as Justin and then Perez both were denied from close range. United had not been at the races and were giving Leicester the freedom of the park.



It was no surprise on 28 minutes when the opener came as Justin came away from Stevens who had struggled all game and drifted across the field. His ball fell to the rookie Thomas and he was also under no pressure as Baldock stood off. The cut back found PEREZ and he took a touch and slid the ball home giving Henderson no chance. Egan did not get out but there had been errors all over the field. The superb defensive shape and pressure that the Blades applied the previous few games, had not been seen and Leicester had dominated possession, chance and won every loose ball.



United had a better mini spell and finally kept it for a few passes but Stevens wretched evening continued as the ball fell under his foot. Barnes then nearly broke again as O’Connell again played the Foxes onside.



Norwood put a decent cross over but nobody reacted and it was well away from McGoldrick in a rare attack but Leicester would not have believed how easy it had been. They went in 1-0 up at the break and arguably should have led by more goals it had been so dominant for the home team and so lacklustre for the visitors.



At the break Wilder had seen enough and on came Mousset, Fleck and Lundstram for McGoldrick, Osborn and Berge. In truth it could have been any five of the outfield 10 to come off!



The second half continued in the same vein as the first half with Leicester breaking through all too easily and after an errant Lundstram header, the home side were in again and Vardy was in on the angle but his shot, one to one, hit the post with Henderson beaten.



On 56 minutes, Leicester were through again and Vardy unselfishly fed Perez but his shot was blocked. United continued to stand off and another opportunity came when Barnes was in again but Henderson made the save. The keeper had to save from the same man soon after as they cut United to pieces on the counter attack with pace.



Sharp came on for Basham on the hour as United tried to force things with three strikers up top but it continued to be the home side dominating. A rare attack saw Sharp win a corner and from this O’Connell flicked goalward from Egan’s header – Schmeichel pushed away. This was the first effort on goal from the Blades who had rarely mustered an attack.



On 65 minutes, McBurnie gave the ball away and Perez was in but curled wide. Choudhury replaced the goalscorer as Leicester looked to make sure they would not give up the lead but in truth it had been comfortable. Henderson had to make another save as Leicester broke again before Lundstram blazed badly off target for United.



Egan made a block rom Tielamans after more great work from Vardy before Mousset was brought down for Evans – the first booking of the game.



On 77 minutes, the game was finally sealed when after more ponderous passing, Egan tried to go forward but lost the ball and Leicester broke and Vardy ran through and fed GRAY who had not been on the field long, but his finish was right into the corner.



The final stages of the game saw little incident of note as Leicester looked the more likely to add to the lead with more breaks as United continued to be unsure of when to sit deep and when to come out and had no answer for the movement and pace. At the other end the Blades did not forge an opening at all despite having three forwards on the pitch. The game petered out to an easy win for Leicester and in truth 2-0 flattered the away side who had been soundly beaten.





United – Sung all the praises Saturday and some of the last few games but for all the plaudits about us individually, collectively and our shape/attitude and determination allied with no little skill; we saw none of those attributes at all. We were so far off it. We have to be fair and as much as we criticised the media for picking at the Chelsea faults and not praising us; we have to say that we need to say how good Leicester were. They were hungrier, sharper and won most 50/50’s and going forward looked a threat all game. They won nearly every individual battle and looked a far superior team to us and have now done the double over us. We were well beaten and you can only say that maybe 4 or 5 times this season – 3 of them been since the lockdown. We had loads of energy, desire and from front to back were superb at the weekend. Tonight, whether it was energy (heat does seem to cause us more issues as much as we laughed at a Wednesday fan who pointed this out) or whether we just were not at it/they were – we never got going and looked stuck in mud. It was not even about one player or a few player – it was everyone. Only Henderson comes out with any credit and he was horrible exposed. We did not tackle or get close to them tactically they were better than us and seemed to have extra men in all areas – something we normally say about us.



From the start against quicker players, the defence did not know where to keep a line and when we came up – they got behind us. When we sat deep – the midfield was way off and there were gaps in between and down the sides. Leicester caused us issues wide and centrally and picked us off and went the other way. They penned our wing backs in and even with less men in midfield (two really) they dominated this area as our three did not get tight enough. The ball came back too much and we never kept it in their third or even on the whole pitch – for more than 2/3 passes. We were not pressing and tackling and denying space but even when we had it – we gave the ball up too easily. The basic control and touches of every player was off. At times we struggled to do anything right and the body language/confidence ebbed away. It was just not a Wilder performance in that we were beaten in every aspect of the game and never at any point did I think we would get anything from the game at all.



Disappointing that we never really gave a performance allied to a poor result and now we need to win both games and rely on other to drop points. 8th obviously would not be enough where we sit. Ridiculous we are a bit down when we have had such a fantastic season but it was a really flat, nothing performance and that is what will upset Wilder. Still we do not need to be too down in the dumps. It’s the first defeat for 5 games and we need to just give it everything the last two – I am sure Wilder won’t allow another game like the one we saw tonight and we will finish strongly.



Ratings:



Henderson 8/10 – Kept us in the game. Some of saves straight at him but some outstretched ones too. He was badly exposed and it would have been 4 or 5-0 at least if he had not played well.



Baldock 4.5/10 – Not his night. The young lad, Thomas played well and forced him back. He was sitting off and slow to react to things and never saw him going forward at all. Did not react on the first goal just letting the cross come over and there were other instance like this.



Stevens 4/10 – Back to the Stevens we saw the first few games when we came back where he could not do anything right. His touch was appalling, he passed straight to them and when he went forward kept coming back rather than driving forward. The goal he allowed his man to run off. Thought Justin completely dominated him.



Basham 5/10 – Maybe the best of the backline but he was not great and fouled his man and got caught square twice to start with. I felt he at least competed and tried to stick to it but they were running down the side too often and we were caught square/ball watching. Came off on the hour mark.



O’Connell 5/10 – Poorest he has been for a long time. Tried to play offsides and got caught out – did not get tight to his man at all (header early on Perez should have scored) and generally was not tight or alert enough all game. Never crossed half way either as he was worried about the break.



Egan 4.5/10 – At fault partly for both goals – as he did not step out and then on the 2nd dribbled into trouble. He really struggles against pace and they exposed this badly and he like the others did not get close to his man/men but not helped by us not having a clue what line to play. The midfield did not protect them and the strikers gave no help. Did make a few good blocks outside the goals.



Norwood 5.5/10 – I actually thought he was the only one on the ball who actually got on it and tried to move it on but they pressed him and forced him to move it on. He did switch it a few times and tried to get others into the game but felt he got no help from anyone in front. Defensively the midfield two Ndidi and Tiellamans ran off us all game and ran midfield.



Osborn 5/10 – Did not have the energy we have seen and not a factor tonight. He was never in the game and he was chasing shadows. Few times he had it he telegraphed things a bit too and Leicester had so much time and space to pick out forward passes or run through. He came off but could have been any of the team really.



Berge 4.5/10 – He has seen gradual improvement but tonight he was really poor. He had one run early on but then after this he was anonymous and like he was in the earlier games/before lockdown. He got brushed off the ball a few times, gave away silly fouls and did not help Baldock/the other midfield out as players ran off him too easily.



McBurnie 4/10 – Never in the game really from start to finish. No service at all but he did not hold it up and it came back too much. We offered nothing up top and I don’t mean chances created but in terms of link play/hold up. Ended up in midfield but that did not go well as he set them on the attack twice!



McGoldrick 4/10 – See above. As good as he was Saturday, he was as bad tonight. Not sure he did much right. Barely touched the ball and when he had it – it just came off him. Looked completely off the pace tonight but we spent most of the game defending when he was on so maybe these marks are a bit harsh but I expected more effort/work rate and some hold up even from scraps.





Subs –



Mousset 4.5/10 – Not sure what he did really. He won a free kick and ran through offside a few times but he gave it away constantly and took too many touches. Not sure he got any service at all though but looks miles off the player we saw earlier in the season in terms of a threat.



Fleck 5/10 – Not sure he got on the ball much at all. He played a few neat passes but no driving runs or industry and the game passed him by really as we simply did not have any control of the midfield. I am guessing he will start on Monday though.



Lundstram 3.5/10 – Thought he was appalling. He gave it away twice in 5 minutes after he came on and they nearly scored on both. This carried on with under hit passes, lethargic running around and seemed completely off the pace. Had a wretched shot mile over but at least had a shot! He was woeful though when he came on and we did not get any better after the subs.



Sharp 5/10 – Won a corner but not sure he got in the game much at all but we were a bit ragged at the end. He is a box player and we never got in their box. Enough said. Not his fault necessarily but not sure what the point of him in games like this. He is ok at home when we see more of the ball but on scraps what is he going to do as not fast/strong/good in the air and not that mobile?





Manager Wilder 4/10 – Got the plaudits Saturday for completely out coaching Lampard as he won the tactical battle. Tonight, our players individually were poor and he cannot compensate for not tackling, running or passing/controlling and of course this combined with the fact that they have better players means it would be a long night. However, tactically not sure we gave ourselves a chance either and more than that we did not change it. They but they got it exactly right with three quick forwards penning our centre backs back but also the pace meant we could not go forward anyway. We never got a grip of midfield – the two wing backs came forward and it was like they had 4 men v 3 (when in reality it was 2) and we never got our wing backs tucked up to help – due to the defence having to sit back due to pace. Our wing backs were like full backs really and were right back all game. Up top we never got hold of it. I would have put McGoldrick into midfield to try and see us get more of the ball but the issues was him and McBurnie saw nothing stick and they were hopeless tonight. We saw our other midfield players ran past all game. He did make changes at half time but not sure it worked. We actually still created nothing and ceded more chances. It was all a bit disorganised and the Sharp change was odd as it meant we had no bodies in midfield and thus would not create anything let alone stem the tide. I think we needed to change the formation to give us more of the ball and at least some control but saying that if the players do not do the basics then you are struggling. He did not even seem confident he would win his game of draughts with Knill!



Leicester – Important win for them tonight as a defeat and they could have been in danger of really slipping away and out of the top 4 and maybe not back in with only 2 games to go. Now they are back in with a real chance of Champions League again with two to play but face a big game at Spurs at the weekend. They were miles better than us tonight and won easily. It could have been a cricket score. The wing backs pushed up and won the battle, the midfield won the loose stuff and passed it better and the three strikers were a threat all game. At the back they raved about Morgan and the young lad but they were given an easy game and we never threatened them at all.



They were lacking in confidence and not got going since the restart but you feared the drubbing at the weekend was not what we wanted as they would respond and put in a performance at some point. Tonight, they looked more like the Leicester of earlier in the season. The forwards pace and movement make them a real threat but they have protection in two athletes and disciplined midfielders.



Had fallen off a cliff a bit like us after coming back but had not got it going at all really before tonight’s game. They have had a fantastic season though. Saw criticism for fans and reminded me of our fans (myself too!) being too critical after a poor run after such an amazing season where they were top 3 for the bulk of it and competing with juggernauts at the top. Yes, they have spent much more money than us and are more established (winning the league a few years ago) but no one predicted them to be where they are. Think most would have said top 10 and maybe a push for Europa League and they have been brilliant. For most of the season they play with no fear, show pace, attack well and have some really underrated players but the spine is fantastic from the keeper to the centre backs, two great full backs (when fit), some good midfield players (Ndidi and Tielemans) and dangerous attackers like Vardy and Maddison.



Opponent Man of the Match – Take your pick. Perez and Barnes a threat all night but missed chances. The wing backs were very good too. I think Ndidi was excellent as the workaholic in midfield but the best two players on the field were Vardy and Tielemans. The latter was so good, showing vision, tackling and running. He ran the game and was superb but the former was brilliant. He may not have scored but his work rate, intelligence and overall play for the team is superb. Such a good player and in both games, he has been too good for our centre backs with his movement and pace and one of the few strikers this season we have had no answer too – non stop effort and a real pest. A great player.



Opponent Weak link – Nobody played badly but we never tested the defence. Morgan is about done at this level but our front lads never tested him at all.



Referee/Officials/VAR – No issues at all. Easy game to ref. Fleck went in dangerously (got ball but he left his feet) and Evans chopped Mousset down. Also, Egan rightly booked for cynical attempt to chop his man down (did not work as they scored) on the goal.
 

Barney

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Pod and report....



The Blades excellent recent run came to an end with defeat at the King Power Stadium on Thursday evening. After a magnificent performance at the weekend for the Blades and one to forget for Leicester in contrast, both teams served up different fare tonight and the home side dominated from start to finish and won comfortably in the end.



Leicester had a number of players out through injury but still started with a number of players who had impressed for them this season including leading scorer Jamie Vardy who Blades managed Chris Wilder had praised in the build up for his journey in the game to the top.



In sunny conditions, weather that has not suited United, the game kicked off and after an early move which saw O’Connell’s ball find Baldock, the cross came over and McGoldrick fired well over after a challenge from Justin.



After this the home side settled down and won two early corners and had a handball appeal on Berge but nothing was doing rightly so as it just hit him. Two fouls on Barnes set the scene for the next phase as Leicester three-pronged attack was causing issues for United who were not engaging with the ball at all. United gave it away when they had it and Leicester were looking far more likely and had a chance when a cross under no pressure evaded O’Connell and Henderson and Perez headed over when he should have done better.



Barnes then slalomed past two men after Berge got outmuscled but the Blades cleared away for another corner. Soon after a ball in with no pressure again, saw Vardy roll Basham and shoot goalward but Henderson made a save with his feet.



United won a corner after a rare error from Evans but Schmeichel pawed away. United won a free kick on the right but Norwood’s delivery was headed over from Egan.



Vardy beat the offside trap with O’Connell sleeping but his cross evaded everyone. Justin won a corner after retrieving it but it as cleared. Barnes then hit a shot that deflected off Vardy and over but it was all Leicester so far.



On 22 minutes just before the drinks break Henderson had to make a double save as Justin and then Perez both were denied from close range. United had not been at the races and were giving Leicester the freedom of the park.



It was no surprise on 28 minutes when the opener came as Justin came away from Stevens who had struggled all game and drifted across the field. His ball fell to the rookie Thomas and he was also under no pressure as Baldock stood off. The cut back found PEREZ and he took a touch and slid the ball home giving Henderson no chance. Egan did not get out but there had been errors all over the field. The superb defensive shape and pressure that the Blades applied the previous few games, had not been seen and Leicester had dominated possession, chance and won every loose ball.



United had a better mini spell and finally kept it for a few passes but Stevens wretched evening continued as the ball fell under his foot. Barnes then nearly broke again as O’Connell again played the Foxes onside.



Norwood put a decent cross over but nobody reacted and it was well away from McGoldrick in a rare attack but Leicester would not have believed how easy it had been. They went in 1-0 up at the break and arguably should have led by more goals it had been so dominant for the home team and so lacklustre for the visitors.



At the break Wilder had seen enough and on came Mousset, Fleck and Lundstram for McGoldrick, Osborn and Berge. In truth it could have been any five of the outfield 10 to come off!



The second half continued in the same vein as the first half with Leicester breaking through all too easily and after an errant Lundstram header, the home side were in again and Vardy was in on the angle but his shot, one to one, hit the post with Henderson beaten.



On 56 minutes, Leicester were through again and Vardy unselfishly fed Perez but his shot was blocked. United continued to stand off and another opportunity came when Barnes was in again but Henderson made the save. The keeper had to save from the same man soon after as they cut United to pieces on the counter attack with pace.



Sharp came on for Basham on the hour as United tried to force things with three strikers up top but it continued to be the home side dominating. A rare attack saw Sharp win a corner and from this O’Connell flicked goalward from Egan’s header – Schmeichel pushed away. This was the first effort on goal from the Blades who had rarely mustered an attack.



On 65 minutes, McBurnie gave the ball away and Perez was in but curled wide. Choudhury replaced the goalscorer as Leicester looked to make sure they would not give up the lead but in truth it had been comfortable. Henderson had to make another save as Leicester broke again before Lundstram blazed badly off target for United.



Egan made a block rom Tielamans after more great work from Vardy before Mousset was brought down for Evans – the first booking of the game.



On 77 minutes, the game was finally sealed when after more ponderous passing, Egan tried to go forward but lost the ball and Leicester broke and Vardy ran through and fed GRAY who had not been on the field long, but his finish was right into the corner.



The final stages of the game saw little incident of note as Leicester looked the more likely to add to the lead with more breaks as United continued to be unsure of when to sit deep and when to come out and had no answer for the movement and pace. At the other end the Blades did not forge an opening at all despite having three forwards on the pitch. The game petered out to an easy win for Leicester and in truth 2-0 flattered the away side who had been soundly beaten.





United – Sung all the praises Saturday and some of the last few games but for all the plaudits about us individually, collectively and our shape/attitude and determination allied with no little skill; we saw none of those attributes at all. We were so far off it. We have to be fair and as much as we criticised the media for picking at the Chelsea faults and not praising us; we have to say that we need to say how good Leicester were. They were hungrier, sharper and won most 50/50’s and going forward looked a threat all game. They won nearly every individual battle and looked a far superior team to us and have now done the double over us. We were well beaten and you can only say that maybe 4 or 5 times this season – 3 of them been since the lockdown. We had loads of energy, desire and from front to back were superb at the weekend. Tonight, whether it was energy (heat does seem to cause us more issues as much as we laughed at a Wednesday fan who pointed this out) or whether we just were not at it/they were – we never got going and looked stuck in mud. It was not even about one player or a few player – it was everyone. Only Henderson comes out with any credit and he was horrible exposed. We did not tackle or get close to them tactically they were better than us and seemed to have extra men in all areas – something we normally say about us.



From the start against quicker players, the defence did not know where to keep a line and when we came up – they got behind us. When we sat deep – the midfield was way off and there were gaps in between and down the sides. Leicester caused us issues wide and centrally and picked us off and went the other way. They penned our wing backs in and even with less men in midfield (two really) they dominated this area as our three did not get tight enough. The ball came back too much and we never kept it in their third or even on the whole pitch – for more than 2/3 passes. We were not pressing and tackling and denying space but even when we had it – we gave the ball up too easily. The basic control and touches of every player was off. At times we struggled to do anything right and the body language/confidence ebbed away. It was just not a Wilder performance in that we were beaten in every aspect of the game and never at any point did I think we would get anything from the game at all.



Disappointing that we never really gave a performance allied to a poor result and now we need to win both games and rely on other to drop points. 8th obviously would not be enough where we sit. Ridiculous we are a bit down when we have had such a fantastic season but it was a really flat, nothing performance and that is what will upset Wilder. Still we do not need to be too down in the dumps. It’s the first defeat for 5 games and we need to just give it everything the last two – I am sure Wilder won’t allow another game like the one we saw tonight and we will finish strongly.



Ratings:



Henderson 8/10 – Kept us in the game. Some of saves straight at him but some outstretched ones too. He was badly exposed and it would have been 4 or 5-0 at least if he had not played well.



Baldock 4.5/10 – Not his night. The young lad, Thomas played well and forced him back. He was sitting off and slow to react to things and never saw him going forward at all. Did not react on the first goal just letting the cross come over and there were other instance like this.



Stevens 4/10 – Back to the Stevens we saw the first few games when we came back where he could not do anything right. His touch was appalling, he passed straight to them and when he went forward kept coming back rather than driving forward. The goal he allowed his man to run off. Thought Justin completely dominated him.



Basham 5/10 – Maybe the best of the backline but he was not great and fouled his man and got caught square twice to start with. I felt he at least competed and tried to stick to it but they were running down the side too often and we were caught square/ball watching. Came off on the hour mark.



O’Connell 5/10 – Poorest he has been for a long time. Tried to play offsides and got caught out – did not get tight to his man at all (header early on Perez should have scored) and generally was not tight or alert enough all game. Never crossed half way either as he was worried about the break.



Egan 4.5/10 – At fault partly for both goals – as he did not step out and then on the 2nd dribbled into trouble. He really struggles against pace and they exposed this badly and he like the others did not get close to his man/men but not helped by us not having a clue what line to play. The midfield did not protect them and the strikers gave no help. Did make a few good blocks outside the goals.



Norwood 5.5/10 – I actually thought he was the only one on the ball who actually got on it and tried to move it on but they pressed him and forced him to move it on. He did switch it a few times and tried to get others into the game but felt he got no help from anyone in front. Defensively the midfield two Ndidi and Tiellamans ran off us all game and ran midfield.



Osborn 5/10 – Did not have the energy we have seen and not a factor tonight. He was never in the game and he was chasing shadows. Few times he had it he telegraphed things a bit too and Leicester had so much time and space to pick out forward passes or run through. He came off but could have been any of the team really.



Berge 4.5/10 – He has seen gradual improvement but tonight he was really poor. He had one run early on but then after this he was anonymous and like he was in the earlier games/before lockdown. He got brushed off the ball a few times, gave away silly fouls and did not help Baldock/the other midfield out as players ran off him too easily.



McBurnie 4/10 – Never in the game really from start to finish. No service at all but he did not hold it up and it came back too much. We offered nothing up top and I don’t mean chances created but in terms of link play/hold up. Ended up in midfield but that did not go well as he set them on the attack twice!



McGoldrick 4/10 – See above. As good as he was Saturday, he was as bad tonight. Not sure he did much right. Barely touched the ball and when he had it – it just came off him. Looked completely off the pace tonight but we spent most of the game defending when he was on so maybe these marks are a bit harsh but I expected more effort/work rate and some hold up even from scraps.





Subs –



Mousset 4.5/10 – Not sure what he did really. He won a free kick and ran through offside a few times but he gave it away constantly and took too many touches. Not sure he got any service at all though but looks miles off the player we saw earlier in the season in terms of a threat.



Fleck 5/10 – Not sure he got on the ball much at all. He played a few neat passes but no driving runs or industry and the game passed him by really as we simply did not have any control of the midfield. I am guessing he will start on Monday though.



Lundstram 3.5/10 – Thought he was appalling. He gave it away twice in 5 minutes after he came on and they nearly scored on both. This carried on with under hit passes, lethargic running around and seemed completely off the pace. Had a wretched shot mile over but at least had a shot! He was woeful though when he came on and we did not get any better after the subs.



Sharp 5/10 – Won a corner but not sure he got in the game much at all but we were a bit ragged at the end. He is a box player and we never got in their box. Enough said. Not his fault necessarily but not sure what the point of him in games like this. He is ok at home when we see more of the ball but on scraps what is he going to do as not fast/strong/good in the air and not that mobile?





Manager Wilder 4/10 – Got the plaudits Saturday for completely out coaching Lampard as he won the tactical battle. Tonight, our players individually were poor and he cannot compensate for not tackling, running or passing/controlling and of course this combined with the fact that they have better players means it would be a long night. However, tactically not sure we gave ourselves a chance either and more than that we did not change it. They but they got it exactly right with three quick forwards penning our centre backs back but also the pace meant we could not go forward anyway. We never got a grip of midfield – the two wing backs came forward and it was like they had 4 men v 3 (when in reality it was 2) and we never got our wing backs tucked up to help – due to the defence having to sit back due to pace. Our wing backs were like full backs really and were right back all game. Up top we never got hold of it. I would have put McGoldrick into midfield to try and see us get more of the ball but the issues was him and McBurnie saw nothing stick and they were hopeless tonight. We saw our other midfield players ran past all game. He did make changes at half time but not sure it worked. We actually still created nothing and ceded more chances. It was all a bit disorganised and the Sharp change was odd as it meant we had no bodies in midfield and thus would not create anything let alone stem the tide. I think we needed to change the formation to give us more of the ball and at least some control but saying that if the players do not do the basics then you are struggling. He did not even seem confident he would win his game of draughts with Knill!



Leicester – Important win for them tonight as a defeat and they could have been in danger of really slipping away and out of the top 4 and maybe not back in with only 2 games to go. Now they are back in with a real chance of Champions League again with two to play but face a big game at Spurs at the weekend. They were miles better than us tonight and won easily. It could have been a cricket score. The wing backs pushed up and won the battle, the midfield won the loose stuff and passed it better and the three strikers were a threat all game. At the back they raved about Morgan and the young lad but they were given an easy game and we never threatened them at all.



They were lacking in confidence and not got going since the restart but you feared the drubbing at the weekend was not what we wanted as they would respond and put in a performance at some point. Tonight, they looked more like the Leicester of earlier in the season. The forwards pace and movement make them a real threat but they have protection in two athletes and disciplined midfielders.



Had fallen off a cliff a bit like us after coming back but had not got it going at all really before tonight’s game. They have had a fantastic season though. Saw criticism for fans and reminded me of our fans (myself too!) being too critical after a poor run after such an amazing season where they were top 3 for the bulk of it and competing with juggernauts at the top. Yes, they have spent much more money than us and are more established (winning the league a few years ago) but no one predicted them to be where they are. Think most would have said top 10 and maybe a push for Europa League and they have been brilliant. For most of the season they play with no fear, show pace, attack well and have some really underrated players but the spine is fantastic from the keeper to the centre backs, two great full backs (when fit), some good midfield players (Ndidi and Tielemans) and dangerous attackers like Vardy and Maddison.



Opponent Man of the Match – Take your pick. Perez and Barnes a threat all night but missed chances. The wing backs were very good too. I think Ndidi was excellent as the workaholic in midfield but the best two players on the field were Vardy and Tielemans. The latter was so good, showing vision, tackling and running. He ran the game and was superb but the former was brilliant. He may not have scored but his work rate, intelligence and overall play for the team is superb. Such a good player and in both games, he has been too good for our centre backs with his movement and pace and one of the few strikers this season we have had no answer too – non stop effort and a real pest. A great player.



Opponent Weak link – Nobody played badly but we never tested the defence. Morgan is about done at this level but our front lads never tested him at all.



Referee/Officials/VAR – No issues at all. Easy game to ref. Fleck went in dangerously (got ball but he left his feet) and Evans chopped Mousset down. Also, Egan rightly booked for cynical attempt to chop his man down (did not work as they scored) on the goal.
It was Baldock who lost it for their 2nd as well.
 

Niceguyeddie

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I'm not sharps biggest fan but I thought he was our best player when he came on which I.guess sums up the lethargy of tonights performance

Morgan was having an ansoloute cigar and brandy until he came on and at least made him put in a shift
 

LoughboroBlade

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It was Baldock who lost it for their 2nd as well.

That was Egan making an uncharacteristic jaunt forward on the right that was dispossessed. It’s why he’s still not even in shot on the highlights when Gray scores.
 

Deadbat

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That was Egan making an uncharacteristic jaunt forward on the right that was dispossessed. It’s why he’s still not even in shot on the highlights when Gray scores.

I thought it was Egan...tried to run his man for pace? It was bizarre.
 

LoughboroBlade

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I thought it was Egan...tried to run his man for pace? It was bizarre.

The moment I could see the thought go through his head I yelled at the screen for him not to – just a very un-Egan thing to do in that area of the pitch. Very much links to the too many playing as individuals comment from Wilder this evening.
 

Deadbat

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The moment I could see the thought go through his head I yelled at the screen for him not to – just a very un-Egan thing to do in that area of the pitch. Very much links to the too many playing as individuals comment from Wilder this evening.

I think he was fed up with noone else taking responsbility. So many times we played it back. Noone ran with the ball all night - till he did....:rolleyes:
 

Addison

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Maybe I was a bit too positive!


Fuming! Even swears at the end

Maybe you should have left the boss do your report to-night Deadbat :D because I agree 100% with every word he said. I want to say its tactics or there's problems with the players travelling to away games on the day. The simple fact is the players have put in a performance of Hull away proportions and there is no excuse for that after the heady heights of the Chelsea game. No sugar coating on days off and contracts also. This is the one a season broadside that he usually gives to ensure standards don't slip thats why he's so successful.
 

coaxingstar71

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You've got to still love Chris Wilder. Pulled no punches after the game. The tone of his interview was set when asked "What did you make of your teams performance tonight Chris?".... "POOR!"

Jekyll and Hyde from Saturday.
 

Wards

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Only half watched it with some friends in the Head of Steam but from what I saw we got what we deserved. Stevens, Egan and McGoldrick looked terrible and set the tone for the rest of them. I don’t think any of the midfield lads broke a sweat save for Osborn who at least put a shift in.
I expected a performance tonight after the last few games but they let themselves down.
 

Champagneblade

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Just so lethargic wasn't it.

It was as if one team turned up to play as if their life depended on it and the other turned up to a testamonial!
 

tincan

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Agree with all of whats been said, just a 3 things t add:
When the team ran out at the team looked drained already - for the Chelsea, Wolves and Spurs games they entered the field bouncing up and down - usually a good sign of confidence,
When all the squad uniformly underperform, then its the managers issue in not having a viable plan B.
Similar to Villa, Toon and Manure when teams match our energy, then a players technique gains the extra metre, couple that with speed and they get the win.
 

Dnblade

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Unless we are on our game we tend to struggle against the more mobile teams for me...Yesterday we kept turning over the ball and we got turned and spent way to much time running towards our own goal..Plus points,i thought Henderson did well,and Norwood did ok for me,kept the ball,got blocks in and at least tried to make things happen...I think we need to look at increasing the mobility and pace in the team in the close season, especially up top and midfield..We can't ask for anymore from these players,they've done great...Fair play to Leicester,they were to good for us on the day, although we were way off our usual game.
 

HodgysBrokenThumb

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I know it sounds like sour grapes, but that match made a good case for not qualifying for Europe. Given the size of our squad and the fact that the whole team has to be at the top of their game to win PL matches, the Thursday/Sunday routine could be a step too far for now. The concentration levels required each game take their toll with 2 games a week. Top half finish and strengthen the squad is probably best in the long term.
 

robbiez666

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Pod and report....



The Blades excellent recent run came to an end with defeat at the King Power Stadium on Thursday evening. After a magnificent performance at the weekend for the Blades and one to forget for Leicester in contrast, both teams served up different fare tonight and the home side dominated from start to finish and won comfortably in the end.



Leicester had a number of players out through injury but still started with a number of players who had impressed for them this season including leading scorer Jamie Vardy who Blades managed Chris Wilder had praised in the build up for his journey in the game to the top.



In sunny conditions, weather that has not suited United, the game kicked off and after an early move which saw O’Connell’s ball find Baldock, the cross came over and McGoldrick fired well over after a challenge from Justin.



After this the home side settled down and won two early corners and had a handball appeal on Berge but nothing was doing rightly so as it just hit him. Two fouls on Barnes set the scene for the next phase as Leicester three-pronged attack was causing issues for United who were not engaging with the ball at all. United gave it away when they had it and Leicester were looking far more likely and had a chance when a cross under no pressure evaded O’Connell and Henderson and Perez headed over when he should have done better.



Barnes then slalomed past two men after Berge got outmuscled but the Blades cleared away for another corner. Soon after a ball in with no pressure again, saw Vardy roll Basham and shoot goalward but Henderson made a save with his feet.



United won a corner after a rare error from Evans but Schmeichel pawed away. United won a free kick on the right but Norwood’s delivery was headed over from Egan.



Vardy beat the offside trap with O’Connell sleeping but his cross evaded everyone. Justin won a corner after retrieving it but it as cleared. Barnes then hit a shot that deflected off Vardy and over but it was all Leicester so far.



On 22 minutes just before the drinks break Henderson had to make a double save as Justin and then Perez both were denied from close range. United had not been at the races and were giving Leicester the freedom of the park.



It was no surprise on 28 minutes when the opener came as Justin came away from Stevens who had struggled all game and drifted across the field. His ball fell to the rookie Thomas and he was also under no pressure as Baldock stood off. The cut back found PEREZ and he took a touch and slid the ball home giving Henderson no chance. Egan did not get out but there had been errors all over the field. The superb defensive shape and pressure that the Blades applied the previous few games, had not been seen and Leicester had dominated possession, chance and won every loose ball.



United had a better mini spell and finally kept it for a few passes but Stevens wretched evening continued as the ball fell under his foot. Barnes then nearly broke again as O’Connell again played the Foxes onside.



Norwood put a decent cross over but nobody reacted and it was well away from McGoldrick in a rare attack but Leicester would not have believed how easy it had been. They went in 1-0 up at the break and arguably should have led by more goals it had been so dominant for the home team and so lacklustre for the visitors.



At the break Wilder had seen enough and on came Mousset, Fleck and Lundstram for McGoldrick, Osborn and Berge. In truth it could have been any five of the outfield 10 to come off!



The second half continued in the same vein as the first half with Leicester breaking through all too easily and after an errant Lundstram header, the home side were in again and Vardy was in on the angle but his shot, one to one, hit the post with Henderson beaten.



On 56 minutes, Leicester were through again and Vardy unselfishly fed Perez but his shot was blocked. United continued to stand off and another opportunity came when Barnes was in again but Henderson made the save. The keeper had to save from the same man soon after as they cut United to pieces on the counter attack with pace.



Sharp came on for Basham on the hour as United tried to force things with three strikers up top but it continued to be the home side dominating. A rare attack saw Sharp win a corner and from this O’Connell flicked goalward from Egan’s header – Schmeichel pushed away. This was the first effort on goal from the Blades who had rarely mustered an attack.



On 65 minutes, McBurnie gave the ball away and Perez was in but curled wide. Choudhury replaced the goalscorer as Leicester looked to make sure they would not give up the lead but in truth it had been comfortable. Henderson had to make another save as Leicester broke again before Lundstram blazed badly off target for United.



Egan made a block rom Tielamans after more great work from Vardy before Mousset was brought down for Evans – the first booking of the game.



On 77 minutes, the game was finally sealed when after more ponderous passing, Egan tried to go forward but lost the ball and Leicester broke and Vardy ran through and fed GRAY who had not been on the field long, but his finish was right into the corner.



The final stages of the game saw little incident of note as Leicester looked the more likely to add to the lead with more breaks as United continued to be unsure of when to sit deep and when to come out and had no answer for the movement and pace. At the other end the Blades did not forge an opening at all despite having three forwards on the pitch. The game petered out to an easy win for Leicester and in truth 2-0 flattered the away side who had been soundly beaten.





United – Sung all the praises Saturday and some of the last few games but for all the plaudits about us individually, collectively and our shape/attitude and determination allied with no little skill; we saw none of those attributes at all. We were so far off it. We have to be fair and as much as we criticised the media for picking at the Chelsea faults and not praising us; we have to say that we need to say how good Leicester were. They were hungrier, sharper and won most 50/50’s and going forward looked a threat all game. They won nearly every individual battle and looked a far superior team to us and have now done the double over us. We were well beaten and you can only say that maybe 4 or 5 times this season – 3 of them been since the lockdown. We had loads of energy, desire and from front to back were superb at the weekend. Tonight, whether it was energy (heat does seem to cause us more issues as much as we laughed at a Wednesday fan who pointed this out) or whether we just were not at it/they were – we never got going and looked stuck in mud. It was not even about one player or a few player – it was everyone. Only Henderson comes out with any credit and he was horrible exposed. We did not tackle or get close to them tactically they were better than us and seemed to have extra men in all areas – something we normally say about us.



From the start against quicker players, the defence did not know where to keep a line and when we came up – they got behind us. When we sat deep – the midfield was way off and there were gaps in between and down the sides. Leicester caused us issues wide and centrally and picked us off and went the other way. They penned our wing backs in and even with less men in midfield (two really) they dominated this area as our three did not get tight enough. The ball came back too much and we never kept it in their third or even on the whole pitch – for more than 2/3 passes. We were not pressing and tackling and denying space but even when we had it – we gave the ball up too easily. The basic control and touches of every player was off. At times we struggled to do anything right and the body language/confidence ebbed away. It was just not a Wilder performance in that we were beaten in every aspect of the game and never at any point did I think we would get anything from the game at all.



Disappointing that we never really gave a performance allied to a poor result and now we need to win both games and rely on other to drop points. 8th obviously would not be enough where we sit. Ridiculous we are a bit down when we have had such a fantastic season but it was a really flat, nothing performance and that is what will upset Wilder. Still we do not need to be too down in the dumps. It’s the first defeat for 5 games and we need to just give it everything the last two – I am sure Wilder won’t allow another game like the one we saw tonight and we will finish strongly.



Ratings:



Henderson 8/10 – Kept us in the game. Some of saves straight at him but some outstretched ones too. He was badly exposed and it would have been 4 or 5-0 at least if he had not played well.



Baldock 4.5/10 – Not his night. The young lad, Thomas played well and forced him back. He was sitting off and slow to react to things and never saw him going forward at all. Did not react on the first goal just letting the cross come over and there were other instance like this.



Stevens 4/10 – Back to the Stevens we saw the first few games when we came back where he could not do anything right. His touch was appalling, he passed straight to them and when he went forward kept coming back rather than driving forward. The goal he allowed his man to run off. Thought Justin completely dominated him.



Basham 5/10 – Maybe the best of the backline but he was not great and fouled his man and got caught square twice to start with. I felt he at least competed and tried to stick to it but they were running down the side too often and we were caught square/ball watching. Came off on the hour mark.



O’Connell 5/10 – Poorest he has been for a long time. Tried to play offsides and got caught out – did not get tight to his man at all (header early on Perez should have scored) and generally was not tight or alert enough all game. Never crossed half way either as he was worried about the break.



Egan 4.5/10 – At fault partly for both goals – as he did not step out and then on the 2nd dribbled into trouble. He really struggles against pace and they exposed this badly and he like the others did not get close to his man/men but not helped by us not having a clue what line to play. The midfield did not protect them and the strikers gave no help. Did make a few good blocks outside the goals.



Norwood 5.5/10 – I actually thought he was the only one on the ball who actually got on it and tried to move it on but they pressed him and forced him to move it on. He did switch it a few times and tried to get others into the game but felt he got no help from anyone in front. Defensively the midfield two Ndidi and Tiellamans ran off us all game and ran midfield.



Osborn 5/10 – Did not have the energy we have seen and not a factor tonight. He was never in the game and he was chasing shadows. Few times he had it he telegraphed things a bit too and Leicester had so much time and space to pick out forward passes or run through. He came off but could have been any of the team really.



Berge 4.5/10 – He has seen gradual improvement but tonight he was really poor. He had one run early on but then after this he was anonymous and like he was in the earlier games/before lockdown. He got brushed off the ball a few times, gave away silly fouls and did not help Baldock/the other midfield out as players ran off him too easily.



McBurnie 4/10 – Never in the game really from start to finish. No service at all but he did not hold it up and it came back too much. We offered nothing up top and I don’t mean chances created but in terms of link play/hold up. Ended up in midfield but that did not go well as he set them on the attack twice!



McGoldrick 4/10 – See above. As good as he was Saturday, he was as bad tonight. Not sure he did much right. Barely touched the ball and when he had it – it just came off him. Looked completely off the pace tonight but we spent most of the game defending when he was on so maybe these marks are a bit harsh but I expected more effort/work rate and some hold up even from scraps.





Subs –



Mousset 4.5/10 – Not sure what he did really. He won a free kick and ran through offside a few times but he gave it away constantly and took too many touches. Not sure he got any service at all though but looks miles off the player we saw earlier in the season in terms of a threat.



Fleck 5/10 – Not sure he got on the ball much at all. He played a few neat passes but no driving runs or industry and the game passed him by really as we simply did not have any control of the midfield. I am guessing he will start on Monday though.



Lundstram 3.5/10 – Thought he was appalling. He gave it away twice in 5 minutes after he came on and they nearly scored on both. This carried on with under hit passes, lethargic running around and seemed completely off the pace. Had a wretched shot mile over but at least had a shot! He was woeful though when he came on and we did not get any better after the subs.



Sharp 5/10 – Won a corner but not sure he got in the game much at all but we were a bit ragged at the end. He is a box player and we never got in their box. Enough said. Not his fault necessarily but not sure what the point of him in games like this. He is ok at home when we see more of the ball but on scraps what is he going to do as not fast/strong/good in the air and not that mobile?





Manager Wilder 4/10 – Got the plaudits Saturday for completely out coaching Lampard as he won the tactical battle. Tonight, our players individually were poor and he cannot compensate for not tackling, running or passing/controlling and of course this combined with the fact that they have better players means it would be a long night. However, tactically not sure we gave ourselves a chance either and more than that we did not change it. They but they got it exactly right with three quick forwards penning our centre backs back but also the pace meant we could not go forward anyway. We never got a grip of midfield – the two wing backs came forward and it was like they had 4 men v 3 (when in reality it was 2) and we never got our wing backs tucked up to help – due to the defence having to sit back due to pace. Our wing backs were like full backs really and were right back all game. Up top we never got hold of it. I would have put McGoldrick into midfield to try and see us get more of the ball but the issues was him and McBurnie saw nothing stick and they were hopeless tonight. We saw our other midfield players ran past all game. He did make changes at half time but not sure it worked. We actually still created nothing and ceded more chances. It was all a bit disorganised and the Sharp change was odd as it meant we had no bodies in midfield and thus would not create anything let alone stem the tide. I think we needed to change the formation to give us more of the ball and at least some control but saying that if the players do not do the basics then you are struggling. He did not even seem confident he would win his game of draughts with Knill!



Leicester – Important win for them tonight as a defeat and they could have been in danger of really slipping away and out of the top 4 and maybe not back in with only 2 games to go. Now they are back in with a real chance of Champions League again with two to play but face a big game at Spurs at the weekend. They were miles better than us tonight and won easily. It could have been a cricket score. The wing backs pushed up and won the battle, the midfield won the loose stuff and passed it better and the three strikers were a threat all game. At the back they raved about Morgan and the young lad but they were given an easy game and we never threatened them at all.



They were lacking in confidence and not got going since the restart but you feared the drubbing at the weekend was not what we wanted as they would respond and put in a performance at some point. Tonight, they looked more like the Leicester of earlier in the season. The forwards pace and movement make them a real threat but they have protection in two athletes and disciplined midfielders.



Had fallen off a cliff a bit like us after coming back but had not got it going at all really before tonight’s game. They have had a fantastic season though. Saw criticism for fans and reminded me of our fans (myself too!) being too critical after a poor run after such an amazing season where they were top 3 for the bulk of it and competing with juggernauts at the top. Yes, they have spent much more money than us and are more established (winning the league a few years ago) but no one predicted them to be where they are. Think most would have said top 10 and maybe a push for Europa League and they have been brilliant. For most of the season they play with no fear, show pace, attack well and have some really underrated players but the spine is fantastic from the keeper to the centre backs, two great full backs (when fit), some good midfield players (Ndidi and Tielemans) and dangerous attackers like Vardy and Maddison.



Opponent Man of the Match – Take your pick. Perez and Barnes a threat all night but missed chances. The wing backs were very good too. I think Ndidi was excellent as the workaholic in midfield but the best two players on the field were Vardy and Tielemans. The latter was so good, showing vision, tackling and running. He ran the game and was superb but the former was brilliant. He may not have scored but his work rate, intelligence and overall play for the team is superb. Such a good player and in both games, he has been too good for our centre backs with his movement and pace and one of the few strikers this season we have had no answer too – non stop effort and a real pest. A great player.



Opponent Weak link – Nobody played badly but we never tested the defence. Morgan is about done at this level but our front lads never tested him at all.



Referee/Officials/VAR – No issues at all. Easy game to ref. Fleck went in dangerously (got ball but he left his feet) and Evans chopped Mousset down. Also, Egan rightly booked for cynical attempt to chop his man down (did not work as they scored) on the goal.

Spot on with those ratings. I thought Norwood at least tried, unlike the rest of them. He was having an uphill battle against their midfield whilst Berge/Lunny ambled around and gave the ball away and whatever Osborn/Fleck were doing. Also made a few vital tackles. Lunny was a disgrace. Zero effort. Looked like he was wandering around a Spanish tourist resort.
 

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