Most of the clubs in the Premier League have done pretty much what I expected them to do after three games. Chelsea are slightly better, Manchester United worse, but they have spent big. Tottenham look weak against the better sides, Liverpool are probably just off the pace, Arsenal miss leaders and so on.
The team that has impressed me most and that was expected to struggle is Leicester. They have managed two draws against top six sides in Everton and Arsenal and went to Chelsea and frustrated the title favourites for an hour before succumbing to Diego Costa and Eden Hazard goals.
They showed real fight to claw back Everton and get a draw in their first home game, albeit the manager should be a bit worried about conceding two goals at the King Power Stadium. They let in less than a goal a game in their Championship title winning season. They should have got a winner against Arsenal and could have made life even more awkward for Chelsea, when David Nugent was clean through with the keeper to beat, but fluffed his chance. I’ve mentioned before Nugent scores one in three in the second tier of English football, but only one in seven in the top flight.
The big plus is Leonardo Ulloa hitting two in two at home to start the season and watching his overall play, I think he could fit into life with the big boys. The way he finds space for his goals and his finishing could see him grab enough goals to keep Leicester up. They had arguably the hardest start with Everton, Chelsea and Arsenal and have two points to show for it. Added to that a handy defeat in the League Cup and they can concentrate on the league.
In an earlier preview I talked about how if you find yourself ambling through Bangkok airport, you’ll see a huge Leicester City club shop. It’s the kind of outlet you’d expect one of the world’s biggest teams to have and while the Foxes aren’t one of those, they clearly have lofty ambitions. It makes me wonder why they haven’t splashed a bit more cash around so far this summer. It may be because their wily manager, Nigel Pearson, has seen other Championship sides get promoted and use momentum and faith in the players who did all the hard work, to maintain team spirit and achieve safety, then they can spend. Spending millions now may unsettle the side.
They have spent £12million and managed to pull off a coup by landing former Real Madrid, Inter Milan and Argentina midfielder Esteban Cambiasso on a 12-month deal. At 34 his best years are behind him, but his influence and experience will be felt on and off the pitch and I can’t see how it can harm Leicester in any way.
In the next 10 games, the Foxes only have one team who finished in the top eight last season … Manchester United. From mid-December onwards things get tough for Pearson’s men, so they need to be close to be able to see safety by then.