A four-game winning streak can do wonders for the confidence. Before Leicester put their current span of success together, few gave the then-bottom Premier League side much hope of surviving the drop. Now, they sit 17th in the table and are 6/1 relegation candidates with Ladbrokes.
All of a sudden, Nigel Pearson has gone from planning for Championship football next season to scheming to stay ahead of his rivals.
One such idea is to risk disrupting the rhythm his side have found of late by ringing the changes for the club’s next Premier League game, against champions-elect Chelsea in midweek, in order to keep the first team fresh for the easier run in.
Leicester are 17/4 to beat the Blues at home, so it certainly seems like a sensible option considering the Foxes’ final four games are against Newcastle, Southampton, Sunderland and QPR.
It wouldn’t be the first time a top-flight manager used their team sheet as a white flag, but unlike Mick McCarthy and Ian Holloway before him, Pearson won’t be fined £25,000 for the act.
The Premier League has eased its view on heavy squad rotation since Wolves and Blackpool pulled the stunt a season apart back in 2009 and 2010. Apart from the obvious financial reason for the move, though, is there a case for Pearson following in the pair’s footsteps?
It can be argued that fielding a “weakened” side worked for both clubs in terms of an immediate spike in form, although Blackpool eventually ended up back in the Championship despite their ingenuity.
Unquestionably, McCarthy’s decision to make 10 changes before a clash with Manchester United paid off, as he recalled his first team to beat Burnley 2-0 and take nine points from the last 12 available.
Blackpool went on a longer run following their rotation, going five games without defeat following a 3-2 loss to Aston Villa in which Holloway made 10 changes of his own.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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