Video: Nigel Pearson involved in bizarre touchline row with James McArthur
Nigel Pearson tightened his hand round James McArthur’s neck but Leicester City’s grip on Premier League status loosened further after this chastening 1-0 defeat at home to Crystal Palace.
The City manager became involved in an extraordinary touchline altercation with Palace’s McArthur late on in the game, with the Foxes desperately trying to salvage a point. Although it appeared playful at first, Pearson put his hand on McArthur’s throat before he pointedly kept hold of the midfielder, prompting an angry exchange of words before referee Lee Mason diffused the situation.
It was given extra spice by Pearson’s attempt before the season began to sign McArthur from Wigan, only for the public breakdown of the deal to irk the Foxes’ manager. “He collided with me,” Pearson said afterwards.
Why did he not release the 27-year-old? “Because he said something to me. I don’t have to reveal anything do I? I think I’m more than capable of looking after myself.
“Listen, I’ve got a lot of respect for lad, I think he’s a good player. Clearly you know what happened in the summer with the possibility of him coming here. I’m as disappointed as how he was with how things possibly panned out.
“But that’s nothing to do with me or the player – it’s the other football club which was involved in it who take absolute responsibility for anything that wasn’t quite right. And a certain manager [Uwe Rosler] who opened his trap when he should have kept his mouth shut. I have absolutely no problem today at all with the lad.”
The whole incident provided the most drama and spice to a relegation six-pointer which lacked quality but could prove pivotal.
There are no two ways of putting it: City’s is relegation form. The nominated hashtag for this fixture – ‘#Leicry’ – said it all. After this toothless defeat to a rejuvenated Palace, they remain pegged to the foot of the table, with just one win in their last nine home league games.
Palace were more clinical in attack – and that’s not saying much given the dire quality of finishing on show here. Joe Ledley headed their goal not long after half-time, giving the Eagles their fifth win in six games under Alan Pardew.
As much as City were unlucky, they lacked cutting edge, and were booed off at the final whistle. “The thing that’s cost us today is the inability to convert the chances we created,” Pearson said afterwards.
Palace’s forward players shone through the gloom at the King Power. Wilfred Zaha was a constant menace down the left-hand side, while substitute Yaya Sanogo repeatedly stretched Leicester’s defence.
The first half offered precious few chances, except for David Nugent heading onto the bar. When play resumed after the break, Palace were content to soak up the pressure and hit Leicester on the counter. It paid dividends.
The ball fell to City substitute Jeremy Vardy inside box at the death, but the decisive finish never came. The slide towards relegation continues.