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January 11, 2014 / ultrafox1963

Free-scoring Foxes destroy Derby again

 

Photo (c) sportsmole.co.uk

Leicester striker David Nugent – scourge of squirrels and Rams alike!

Last night’s Championship encounter between Leicester City and neighbours Derby County was billed as a clash of the Championship heavyweights.

In reality, though, it turned out to be an embarassing mismatch.

The visitors proved utterly unable to deal with the onslaught of pace and power unleashed by the ferocious Foxes, who moved seven points clear at the top of the league after a comprehensive 4-1 victory.

City were dominant in every area of the pitch. Only an outstanding display by Rams keeper Lee Grant, and some wayward first-half finishing, prevented the margin of victory from being even wider.

Home striker David Nugent was the star of the show, with two goals and two assists. After an indifferent first half of the season, he is now showing more regular signs of the form which earned him an England cap in 2007.

Ironically it was Steve McClaren, the manager who awarded him that honour, now in charge at Derby, who felt the full force of his might.

McClaren’s pre-match taunts about City’s perceived potential mental weaknesses were answered in the most conclusive of terms.

Indeed, he left Filbert Way in a state of deep concern about his own side’s ability to last the pace in this season’s promotion challenge.

As so often in recent times, Derby were outclassed, outplayed and outfought by City, who completed their third double over the Rams in the last four seasons.

And on last night’s evidence, it may be some time before the visitors have the chance to improve on their woeful record at this venue, where they have now lost seven and drawn three of their ten visits.

The fact that the Championship’s top-scoring club were unable to force a save from home keeper Kasper Schmeichel until the 90th minute of the match is a testimony to the sterling work of the home defence.

City skipper Wes Morgan led his side magnificently, giving no sign of being plagued by off-field tensions over new contracts. In front of him, Danny Drinkwater – newly-crowned Championship Player Of the Month – was again imperious in midfield, while Lloyd Dyer and Jamie Vardy harassed and tormented the Derby defence throughout the entire game.

The victory extends City’s run of consecutive league victories to five – the same number as achieved a year ago, before a horrendous slump that saw just 3 wins in the last 17 games.

But the City squad this time around has far more strength, depth and resilience.

And while last season’s run was mainly against teams in the lower reaches of the division, this one has largely been achieved against fellow promotion contenders.

Queens Park Rangers, Reading and now Derby have now all been despatched by a side eager to banish the memories of last season’s heartaches.

However, no-one at the club – least of all manager Nigel Pearson – is under the illusion that the task of securing promotion is as yet anywhere near completion.

There are still 21 games of the season remaining and 63 points to be played for.  Many potential banana skins still lie in wait.

With three out of the next four games away from home, City know that the gap between themselves and the chasing pack is still far from insurmountable.

But if this side can maintain the quality it has so regularly displayed in recent weeks, the prospect of landing the first national league title in the club’s history will move ever closer.

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