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  1. The fixture schedule continues to be negatively impacted by postponements caused by Covid, and I don’t know about you, but from the outside it looks as though some clubs have taken advantage of a few positive cases to suddenly claim they have a crippling injury list and are struggling to cope. I bet there is a strong correlation between those who voted against having 5 subs and wanted a compacted festive fixture schedule because “it’s tradition innit, and no Kraut is telling me how often the game should be in this country”, and those whose teams have a higher rate of unvaccinated players and a slew of injuries caused by running their players into the ground. As I say, that’s how it appears to me from the outside looking in. Leicester are one of those clubs that have had a number of games postponed. They are due to play on Boxing Day against Man City and it would not surprise me one jot if they went under-strength for that one just so they could play harder a couple of days later. I understand that 2 games in little over 48 hours means you can’t really go full strength in either game. You either half-and-half it for both, give it the beans in the first and write off the latter, or vice versa. We usually see teams pick their strongest available XIs against us, and rest players against City. Anyway, enough rambling: Energy. Nous. Grit. Effervescence. Life. Bravery. Electricity. Ruthlessness. Tactical flexibility. Heart. Urgency. Moxie. Power. Efficiency. Reliability. Determination. Incision. Nervelessness. Composure. Know-how. I don’t ask for much. Last season’s corresponding fixture was a disaster. We were nowhere near our best and the game was very even. Then Mo popped up with an impressive finish to put the Reds ahead, and approaching the last 15 minutes at least we had a significant measure of control. Then they found space out wide on our right, Thiago was committed to a challenge right on the edge of the box. The ref Anthony Taylor and his VAR buddies spent a long time looking to give a pen, only to decide it was merely a free kick on the edge of the box. I was as surprised as anyone by that as all season long the officials had been making the most ham-fisted decisions against us. Then Maddison played the free kick in, it missed everybody and went into the back of the net. But hold on, surely one of the Leicester players was obstructing Alisson’s line of vision from an offside position? They checked, and checked, and checked. Then they put the line where they wanted it, decided that Bobby’s little toe was playing Leicester onside, and gave the goal. We were rattled and heads-bowed by that call, but worse was to come. An aimless ball into our half was heading towards Kabak 30 yards out who wanted to play the ball back to Alisson, but the keeper had come flying out to clear the ball himself. The two of them collided in an unsightly mess seemingly with neither having communicated their intentions, leaving Vardy with an unguarded net. Fucking awful. Harvey Barnes raced through just moments later and found the far corner to make it 3-1. We were all over the place and suddenly the game was lost from a winning position. Things were much more composed when we visited the old Filbert Street at the end of November 1977. We were reigning league and European champions, but while we would (temporarily) lose our domestic dominance to Brian Clough’s Nottingham Forest that season, we were still imperious in Europe, going on to retain the European Cup against the Belgian’s Club Brugge at Wembley. Incidentally, Brugge were our vanquished foes when we won our second UEFA Cup 2 years earlier. Gladbach had been the losing side when we won both our maiden UEFA and European Cups. We didn’t play against a single Italian side in the 70s, believe it or not! Anyway, Leicester in 1977 were taken to the cleaners in a 4-0 rout. Fairclough blasted the opener into the roof of the net after a goalmouth scramble. Heighway extended the lead with a crisp volley from 8 yards out. Kenny put the game to bed, slamming home Ray Kennedy’s low driven cross at the far post moments after Leicester had cleared one off the line. The icing on the cake was added by Terry Mac on the volley from the edge of the area. It was clinical. It was dominant. It’s was Sir Bob’s almighty Reds. You can see the goals 27 minutes into this vid. Steven Spielberg was proving to be the real deal on the Hollywood scene. He’d already created a masterpiece 2 years earlier, setting all sorts of box office records with his adaptation of Peter Benchley’s Jaws. His follow-up was eagerly anticipated and did not disappoint, topping the box office in November 1977. Close Encounters of the Third Kind is another piece of brilliance. Unlike many previous movies about aliens and UFOs, they are shown as an insatiable curiosity rather than a threat. Mashed potato mountains and the 5-bar musical refrain used for communication (you all know how it goes) together with a lightshow. There’s a sense of awe and wonder that Spielberg has always managed to effortlessly capture in his films, and he doesn’t hide away from depicting unhappy families and the trials and tribulations of everyday life hampered by obsession. You just can’t imagine any other director making something like this. As I’ve said in the last few match threads, it’s hard to know what to expect because the Covid situation has left everything in a state of flux. We’ll definitely be without Robbo as he is serving a suspension following his straight red at Spurs, but a number of recent absentees could be available again for this one. Bobby has already appeared a couple of times since his hamstring injury, as has Naby. Curtis could be available again following his eye injury, and both Virg and Fab being back should increase the team’s defensive reliability. Whatever side Leicester decide to throw out there, we have the tools to overcome them. Just show the right level of concentration, care, attitude and application, and we could match Sir Bob’s stellar side of 1977, or even our own highly accomplished 4-0 display on Boxing Day 2019 and NOT make it a close encounter. Go out there and get the job done.
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