In stark contrast to life over here in Spain, where Christmas has only just started and there's another 9 days of shopping left, the English just carry on playing football.
The winter break has started in Spain and sadly there's no more football over here till the 6th, the day when all the presents are given out and until then its shop, shop, shop with some shops open till 10 at night. Even the sports pages are crap with just a couple of pages full of nothing and it somehow seems appropriate that today is April Fools Day in Spain.
So while enjoying the strange English limbo between Boxing Day and the New Year party think yourself lucky that in the UK things are still done properly and you can in fact enjoy a game tomorrow. And the FA have got into the Christmas spirit and given us a nice easy game that the team can enjoy even though a couple of suspensions and a load of injuries will give Pardew a couple of headaches.
What can we say about Leicester City? Down there in 18th place, 13 points away, but with a nice little home record of 3-4-5, thats 3 wins, 4 draws and 5 defeats, and only 12 goals scored at home - only QPR and Coventry have managed less - so surely there's not much to fear at the Crisp Bowl. They won their last home game in midweek 2-0 over those hapless away boys Ipswich Town, but the good news is that they have failed to win 2 home games in a row since August 2006. That result last Wednesday was only new manager Ian Holloway's 2nd win in 9 games and was their first win in 8 games.
But, and perhaps not unexpected after 3 managers since the start of the season, their season has been up and down with some surprising results. They've already played the 4 teams above us and the 3 below us and have beaten 3 of them ( Ipswich, Bristol City and Watford) and only lost once...with 3 draws against Stoke, Plymouth and Wolves, so their record against the Big Boys is pretty impressive. Their only loss in fact was in early December when they only lost 1-2 at home to West Brom with the winner only coming 2 minutes from the end. They've also beaten Barnsley 2-0 at home but the pick of their results was obviously their 4-1 win over Watford back in August....
But they are a pretty mean bunch when it comes to putting the ball in the net and whilst only one team, Norwich, has scored less goals in the fizzies this year, only one team, Wolves, has conceded less. They've had 8 clean sheets, and not surprising with so few goals, they're also the Fizzies draw specialists with a total of 11 in 24 games, with 4 0-0 draws and 6 1-1 draws. Could be our first 0-0 of the season, then.
Our record in Leicester is not bad with 6 wins and 6 draws in our 21 games there. But with 4 of the last 5 games at Filbert Street and the Crisp Bowl ending as 1-1 draws, its possible that we'll see another draw, our third in a row. And in addition we'll be going to a ground where we've never lost, as our only game there was a 1-1 draw in Nov 2003 in the year when Leicester were relegated.
With Mills, Sodje and Reid all definitely unavailable and injury talk hovering over the unlucky Darren Ambrose, just when he thought he'd found his best position, the team bus for tomorrow is not hard to predict and it'll surely be a return to the 4-5-1 that worked so well a few games ago:
Weaver; Bougherra, McCarthy, Fortune, Powell; Sam, Semedo, ZiZi, Holland, Thomas; Iwelumo.Subs, Randolph, Sanfoka, Racon, Varney, Dickson.
And the result: ..............a low scoring game and 1-0 to the Addicks.
And, although there's no time for joking around, if anyone can spot todays deliberate mistake, please let me know and a Christmas present will be winging your way, not.