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Match verdict: Leicester City got what they deserved at Derby – nothing

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Leicester City's current form is as baffling as it is frustrating.

The same side that were sweeping teams aside at the turn of the year now looks as though it could not win a raffle, even if it was fixed.

Just one win in nine games is not just below par for a side that had automatic promotion aspirations just six weeks ago, it is relegation form.

But what has changed? Why is a side that was bristling with confidence, playing attractive football, scoring goals and keeping clean sheets, now struggling to compete with a side like Derby, a team that went into Saturday's kick-off without a win in eight games?

City have been unfortunate at times this season, there is no doubt about that.

Their performances, by and large, have not been rewarded with the points return they have deserved, but they got exactly what they deserved at Pride Park – nothing.

What must be so galling for City fans is the sides they have lost to during this run.

It all started at Peterborough, then they were knocked out of the FA Cup by Huddersfield, then Charlton beat them on home soil, then it was Ipswich, Sheffield Wednesday and now the Rams – all teams that had been struggling in the bottom half of the table.

After so many games, the league table does not lie. Those sides are around the bottom because they lack City's quality. All they have is sheer endeavour, and sometimes that is not enough in a league this competitive.

But against City recently, it has been enough.

There is no doubt that City were simply out-fought at Pride Park in the first half, and the other sides all worked out that, if they drop deep en masse, then they can frustrate Nigel Pearson's side.

The result has been a gradual erosion of City's confidence and attacking belief to the point that the quality, which saw them break into the top two, is now fading.

Ben Marshall's delivery has become erratic, David Nugent has looked lost on the flank, Chris Wood has looked isolated and Harry Kane has consistently failed to hit the target.

City's attacking prowess has been on the wane.

So when Chris Martin headed City into a two-goal lead just before half-time, there was always a huge doubt whether they could get back into the game, especially as they had only scored 18 goals in 18 away games this season.

Jeff Schlupp, who again showed his versatility by coming on at half-time and filling a wide-left role, scored a superb goal to get City back in the game.

But although they were able to get into plenty of promising positions, City's final ball or shot was left wanting.

To compound City's problems, the back five which had looked impregnable is now starting to leak soft goals, especially from crosses.

Richard Keogh headed the Rams into an early lead when he out-jumped the City defence to head home Jamie Ward's free-kick.

Craig Forsyth was given all the time in the world to pick out Martin with another cross from wide just before half-time, and the Rams striker was able to easily out-jump Michael Keane to head past Kasper Schmeichel.

It was similar to Rudy Gestede's 94th-minute equaliser for Cardiff against City on Tuesday night.

City's slide has come during a gruelling run of fixtures which has seen them play 10 games in 36 days, and it looks like the schedule has taken its toll on some of the younger, less experienced players.

The international break could not have come at a better time for City because now they have a chance to recharge, regroup, work on what is going wrong on the training ground and come back more focused.

After all, while this run has ended their automatic promotion dream, they remain in the play-off places and still have a great opportunity this season.

Pearson's men still have so much to play for.

Match verdict: Leicester City got what they deserved at Derby – nothing


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