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Whoscored: Pleasant early Prem surprises

Southampton 5 days ago
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The taming of the Shrews?

Leicester Aug 26, 2014
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 Posted by Ben Jacobs
Aug 26, 2014

The taming of the Shrews?

Chris Wood's late goal earned Leicester City a confidence-boosting point against Everton.
Chris Wood will hope to give his manage a nudge against the Shrews.

A League Cup tie against Shrewsbury is certainly not an inconvenience. It is an opportunity for Leicester to record their first competitive win of the season, and extend their unbeaten run at the King Power Stadium.

The match probably won't be a sellout, nor will some fans mind if a largely second-string Foxes side crash out, but let's not forget that Premier League survival is all about momentum.

Newly promoted teams are tough to beat -- especially in the early part of the season -- because they are used to winning. Leicester lost just eight games in all competitions last season.

In all likelihood, Nigel Pearson's side will lose more games than they win this campaign. Plus, with Arsenal and Manchester United to come before mid-September, Leicester might have to wait a while for their first league victory. Thus, a comprehensive win against League Two high-flyers Shrewsbury should give the club a lift.

It's also a chance for a plethora of players on the fringe of first-team selection to get a rare runout. Chris Wood, for example -- who scored the late equaliser in Leicester's 2-2 draw with Everton on opening day -- has snubbed a move to Wolves to fight for his place. The Kiwi striker is currently behind Leonardo Ulloa and Dave Nugent in the pecking order and the only way to change that is goals.

Should ex-Inter midfield destroyer Esteban Cambiasso finally sign (which he is now expected to), Leicester may only field one recognised striker, making it even harder for Wood to break into the team. However, a solid performance tonight will keep the 22-year-old at the forefront of Pearson's plans.

Shrewsbury also provides an opportunity for one or two players to gain match fitness. Marc Albrighton made a brief cameo in last weekend's spirited 2-0 loss at Chelsea, and could do with a full 90 minutes, while Pearson's son James should get a debut. He deserves one after his wonder goal against MK Dons during preseason.

The Shrews certainly won't be pushovers; they are strong playoff contenders this season and beat Blackpool 1-0 in the last round. Among their ranks is former Foxes midfielder James Wesolowski, who made 46 appearances between 2006-10. However, with former Sunderland winger Liam Lawrence suspended and centre-back Mark Ellis injured the visitors are under strength.

The sides last met in 1989 in a 1-1 draw, so there's not too much recent history between them. Yet a more relevant stat is that Leicester have lost just one of their past 17 League Cup ties against lower league opposition. That proves they usually take this competition seriously.

The League Cup should not only be treated as a priority, but holds a special place in most Foxes supporters' hearts. During Leicester's Premier League pomp under Martin O'Neill they won the tournament twice in 1997 and 2000 and lost in the final to Tottenham in 1999.

Pearson is a very different manager to O'Neill (in both style and personality), but were he to lead Leicester to League Cup glory he just might be mentioned in the same breath as the popular Northern Irishman.

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