Monthly Archives: August 2015

A Tale of Two Cities as Leicester scrape a point at Bournemouth

AFC Bournemouth 1:1 Leicester City

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City bounced back from a poor first half performance at Bournemouth to retain their unbeaten record with a late Jamie Vardy penalty…

Claudio Ranieri made one change to his side with Kanté starting in midfield, Okazaki dropped to the bench, and Vardy ploughing a lone furrow up front.
Former-Fox Max Gradel earned himself a booking for flattening Mahrez within 20 seconds of the kick-off, and Mahrez went on to have a very quiet 45 minutes.
Although City had the first chance when Vardy curled an effort just over the bar, the Cherries dominated the rest of the half.
The home side went ahead in the 24th minute. Daniels’ cross from the right was headed off the back of Huth by Gradel and it sat up nicely for Wilson to execute a perfect overhead kick into the top left hand corner.
Matters could have got worse for City just before the break when Tomlin was fouled by Kanté on the edge of the 18 yard box. Fortunately the ref awarded Bournemouth a free-kick rather than a penalty, and Schmeichel saved Gradel’s effort.
For all the Bournemouth possession and pressure City were still in the game at the break.

Okazaki replaced the struggling Mahrez for a second half that saw a greatly improved City performance.
The ref had his work cut out as the match got more physical. Huth was lucky to see only a yellow after kicking the ball at the grounded Wilson before clashing with Mings. Soon after that there was a long delay as half time sub Mings 11 minute appearance was ended when he was stretchered off after a coming together with Drinkwater.
In a scrappy encounter lacking in quality Gradel then had to go off injured as City began to take control of the game. Schlupp, who was now having a blinder down the left, beat his marker and tested Boruc with a fierce effort.
League Cup hero Dodoo replaced Albrighton for the final 20 minutes, though he could only produce a snatched airshot when presented with a decent chance.
City’s breakthrough finally arrived in the 86th minute, when Vardy went on a charge into the Bournemouth penalty area. Cook clumsily upended him for an obvious penalty, and the England striker blasted home the spot-kick, although Boruc got a hand to it.
The final drama of the game came 6 minutes into time added on when late sub Benalouane nudged Pugh over on the edge of the area, but Francis’ free-kick was off-target.

After a poor first half City had done well to rescue a point and retain their unbeaten record going into the first international break.
Ranieri declared: “Jamie is Jamie and I love him. Even when he is dead he wants to fight, which is fantastic… We are learning to be an orchestra because I have been working with them just one month. It is more difficult for me to make an orchestra, but it is important to take a point and after that we have time to make some good songs.”

Bournemouth: Boruc, Francis, Cook, Elphick, Surman, Gradel (Pugh 67), Daniels (Mings 46 (Smith 57)), Wilson, Tomlin, Ritchie, O’Kane. Subs Not Used: Federici, MacDonald, Kermorgant, Distin.
Leicester: Schmeichel, De Laet (Benalouane 90), Drinkwater, Morgan, Huth, Vardy, King, Albrighton (Dodoo 71), Kanté, Schlupp, Mahrez (Okazaki 46). Subs Not Used: Schwarzer, Ulloa, Fuchs, Benalouane, Inler.

Referee: N Swarbrick  Attendance: 11,102.


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Dodoo debut hat-trick sees Leicester ease past Bury

Bury 1:4 Leicester City

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Three goals in his first game from Joe Dodoo proved the difference as City progressed in the League Cup with a 4-1 win over Bury at Gigg lane on Tuesday night…

Claudio Ranieri made a wholesale eleven changes to his line-up for this League Cup meeting, though this was possibly City’s strongest ever ‘second string’ so he wasn’t really disrespecting the competition.
Inler, making his full debut, soon settled into his midfield role and Ulloa went close with a couple of early chances, a header and a shot on the turn, before Kante set Kramaric up for a shot which tested Walton in the Shakers goal.
City then took a 25th minute lead when Dodoo scored a cracker on his debut. As he progressed through the Bury penalty area he lifted the ball over the left back before firing a volley into the roof of the net.
The impressive midweek following for Leicester were celebrating again when Ulloa picked out Kramarić with a square pass and the Croatian beat Walton with a shot that curled just inside the left hand post.
It was a commanding lead for the Premier League team at the break, but it was eroded five minutes into the second half when the City defence lost out in an aerial challenge and Mayor was on hand to beart Schwarzer from 12 yards out.
Rose angled a shot narrowly past the far post and then Schwarzer was bundled into the net along with the ball for a free-kick, but City held on to their lead.
They extended it in the 86th minute, when Dodoo got his second goal of the night. Ulloa’s chest turn and pass sent Dodoo through down the right, slotting the ball under Walton while the home crowd yelled for an offside flag.
This led to a group of home fans gathering behind the linesman and one of them threw a drink over Moore as he went to take a thrown-in. Dodoo showed a cool head to drag him away as he looked ready to contront the offender.
And moments later Dodoo became only the third player in the club’s history to score three on his debut.
The man who was the second player to achieve this, Jeff Shlupp, pounced on a goalkeeping error before generously squaring the ball to Dodoo who fired past Walton before celebrating gleefully in front of the travelling support.

The 4-1 victory against a decent Bury side served to illustrate how City’s squad has strengthened of late.
They will face West Ham at home in the next round.

Bury: Walton, Riley, Hussey, Tutte, Clarke, Mellis, Mayor, Pope, Soares, Pugh, Cameron. Subs: Lainton, Hope, Sedgwick, Jones, Burgess, Rose, Foulds.
Leicester: Schwarzer, Hammond, Kante, Moore (De Laet 90), Kramaric (Schlupp 66), Ulloa, Wasilewski, Fuchs, Benalouane, Inler, Dodoo. Subs Not Used: Simpson, Chilwell, Panayiotou, Olukanmi, Maddison.
Referee: A Madley. Attendance: 4,914 (1,327 away).

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Leicester’s instant reply earns a point against Spurs

Leicester City 1:1 Tottenham Hotspur

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City conceded an 81st minute goal only for Mahrez to hit back instantly against Tottenham at the KPS on Saturday…

Claudio Ranieri defied his Tinkerman nickname by naming an unchanged side again, with new signing Gökhan Inler stating on the bench. In stifling heatwave conditions Spurs had the first chance in the 9th minute when Dembélé made room for himself on the edge of the area before connecting well with a low shot which tested Schmeichel.

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Alderweireld then blocked an Okazaki shot, to the disappointment of his many Japanese fans in attendance.
In a good spell for City Albrighton cut inside from the left beating two defenders before sending his shot a yard over and then Mahrez sent Vardy haring down the right, but his cross evaded Okazaki and the chance was gone.

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Two minutes before the break there were big shouts for a penalty when Mahrez had his shirt tugged in the area by Vertonghen, but the ref waved play on.
Last season’s thorn in our side Harry Kane then miscued his first shot of the game so wide that it went for a throw-in.
After a half that had often been pedestrian, due to the conditions, with a drinks break being enforced, 0-0 was a fair reflection at half-time.

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Tottenham ran the game for a spell after the break, though chances for Chadli and Kane came to nothing. But then City went close when Mahrez wriggled in from the right and almost caught Lloris out at the near post, but struck the woodwork.
Ranieri then introduced Kanté and then Inhler for his debut to give City fresh impetus.
With the game balanced on a knife-edge Spurs seemed to have struck the killer blow with nine minutes remaining.
A good turn and run from Kane set up Chadli for a delicate cross from the left which found Alli unmarked at the far post for a diving header past Schmeichel.

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Tottenham’s extended celebrations in front of the big following in the corner may have backfired on them as City were in position and raring to go while they sauntered back.
Right from the kick-off Morgan launched a ball out to the right and Vardy rose to nod it into the path of Mahrez.
He cut inside his marker and found half a yard of space which allowed him to send a shot across Lloris and into the net
for his fourth goal in three games.
It was greeted by a huge roar from the sell-out home crowd, but the afternoon could have got even better moments later when a thumping Morgan header from a corner went straight into the chest of Lloris.
City had to be content with a point, and topped the Premier League for a third Saturday in a row…

Leicester: Schmeichel, De Laet, Drinkwater (Inler 80), Morgan, Huth, Vardy, King, Albrighton (Kanté 78), Schlupp, Okazaki, Mahrez (Ulloa 90). Subs Not Used: Kramarić, Fuchs, Benalouane, Schwarzer.
Tottenham: Lloris, Walker, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Mason (Bentaleb 88), Kane, Lamela (Alli 65), Dier, Dembélé (Carroll 77), Chadli, Davies. Subs Not Used: Rose, Vorm, Trippier, Onomah.
Referee: M Atkinson. Attendance: 31,971 (3,262 away).

ALL PHOTOS: Simon Kimber


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Leicester regain top spot with a win at West Ham

West Ham United 1:2 Leicester City

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A hard fought 2-1 victory at Upton Park on Saturday saw City back on top of the Premier League…

Claudio Ranieri named an unchanged side for City’s last ever league game at Upton Park before next year’s move to the Olympic Park.
It was the Hammers who went close early on when Oxford got his head to a Payet free-kick and brushed the top of the crossbar.
City’s front two of Vardy and Okazaki were looking lively when City broke upofield, but Vardy earned himself an 11th minute booking, catching keeper Adrian as the pair contested a loose ball.
Sakho then fired narrowly over from close in, but his blushes were spared by an offside flag.
City then had a chance of their own when Mahrez drifted past two defenders in the penalty area, before Adrian blocked his stabbed effort at the near post.
As City enjoyed a great spell Huth went close with an overhead kick before the breakthrough arrived in the 27th miunute.
Vardy crossed for Okazaki, and though his original shot was well saved by Adrian the Japanese international followed up to nod the ball into an empty net to the delight of the Leicester fans in the Sir Trevor Brooking Stand.
Ten minutes later they were celebrating again when great work from Albrighton down the left set up Mahrez for a well placed shot that gave Adrian no chance.
Schmeichel then got lucky when he looked to have impeded Sakho in the area, but the ref turned his back on West Ham’s appeals.
Kouyate’s header over the bar meant that City went in 2-0 up at the break, on a ground where they have won once since 1966 this seemed too good to be true.

City had more defending to do in the second half as West Ham tried to haul themselves back, and they breached City’s defence after ten minutes. Noble crossed for Payet whose shot cannoned into Sakho, but th eball was fed back to Payet who made no mistake with his second try, finding the top left hand corner.
With the home crowd now making plenty of noise City had to weather a storm, but they handled the pressure well.
Just after the hour Ranieri tightened things up bringing on Kanté for Okazaki and then Benalouane for De Laet.
City managed to quieten the crowd down again with a professional closing out of th egame and West Ham were reduced to crossfield passes that seldom penetrated the final third of the field.
City continued to create chances on the break but neither Mahrez from a free-kick, Albrighton or Drinkwater could hit the target.
West Ham’s big chance for a point came with 10 minutes to go, but Sakho sent his shot straight into the chest of Schmeichel.
As the game entered time added on the home side were then reduced to ten men. Keeper Adrian had come up for a corner, but in attempting to connect with the ball caught Vardy in the chest and was shown a straight red card.
City saw out the remaining couple of minutes to earn a fantastic victory that put them back on top of the Premier League, continuing Ranieri’s great start to the season.

West Ham United: Adrian, Jenkinson, Reid, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Oxford (Obiang 46), Kouyate (Lanzini 76), Noble, Payet, Sakho, Zarate (Maiga 82). Subs Not Used: Randolph, Nolan, Tomkins, Jarvis, Obiang.
Leicester: Schmeichel, De Laet (Benalouane 66), Huth, Morgan, Schlupp, Albrighton, Drinkwater, King, Mahrez (Fuchs 82), Okazaki (Kanté 62), Vardy. Subs Not Used: Hammond, Kanté, Kramarić, Ulloa, Maddison.

Referee: A Taylor. Attendance: 34,857.


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Leicester get their season off to a flyer

Leicester City 4:2 Sunderland

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City topped the opening day Premier League table after Claudio Ranieri’s reign got off to a winning start at the KPS on Saturday…

Ranieri opted for a 4-4-2 with Okazaki making his debut, and new boys Fuchs, Benalouane and Kanté all starting on the bench.
Although Sunderland had an early chance when Kaboul tested Schmeichel with a header before Coates’ nodded the rebound straight into the hands of the City keeper, it was the home side that took the lead in the 11th minute.
Albrighton’s ball from the left wing was helped on by a deft touch from Vardy, that sent it beyond the reach of Pantilimon and into the net.
The busy Okazaki then hurried a chance after Vardy set him up, and another Vardy cross to the near post was fluffed by King after his darting run had put him in a great position. But City were soon two goals up.
Another fine Albrighton cross from the left saw another glancing header, this time from Mahrez in the 18th minute as the dream start continued,
And it got even better with City going 3-0 up by the 24th minute. Mahrez’s dazzling footwork tempted Cattermole into a clumsy challenge for an obvious penalty which Mahrez himself stroked confidently home.

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After this manic start, which saw City taking up where they left off last season with their high temp game, things calmed down a little.
Schlupp sent a header over; a superb passing move upfield ended with Mahrez firing over, and then Drinkwater tested Pantilimon with a long range effort but City couldn’t add to the scoreline before the break.

The second half saw City on the attack again… Vardy beating Jones down the left, cut inside and then tried a delicate finish which beat the far post by inches.
Mahrez was enjoying himself down the right, teasing the Sunderland defence before curling an effort that hit the far post. Soon after this Mahrez chased a superb ball from Drinkwater down the right but Pantilimon narrowed the angle well to block his shot.

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Pantilimon then saved an overhead Vardy effort as City chased a fourth goal, but it was Sunderland who found the net.
Defoe’s well-timed run saw him spring the offside trap before beating Schmeichel from close-in and the away corner finally had something to shout about.
But City restored their three-goal lead five minutes later. Sunderland couldn’t clear their lines properly after a scramble in the box and Schlupp fed Albrighton whose low shot on the turn arrowed into the bottom left hand corner.
Sunderland pulled another one back in the 71st minute when Lens beat Schmeichel to a loose ball and sent a looping cross over for Fletcher who rose above Huth to nod home.
Fletcher’s handshake with Morgan after the goal may have been because Morgan had wrestled him over in the area previously with the ref seeing no offence.
Pantilimon was also very lucky to stay on the field when he came out to meet a ball that Vardy was chasing and he handled three yards out of the area.

City’s lead was never in any danger however. Okazaki almost got the goal his superb performance had earned but Kaboul blocked, and the final whistle brought a huge roar from the biggest attendance the stadium had seen for a City match.
It had been a fantastic performance, City still had their attacking verve of last season and it was a hugely encouraging start to the new campaign.

Leicester: Schmeichel, De Laet (Benalouane 75), Huth, Morgan, Schlupp, Drinkwater, King, Albrighton, Mahrez (Fuchs 77), Okazaki, Vardy (Kanté 82). Subs Not Used: Hammond, Kramarić, Ulloa, Schwarzer.
Sunderland: Pantilimon, Jones (Matthews 54), Van Aanholt, Cattermole (Fletcher 30), Larsson, Rodwell, Johnson, Kaboul, Lens, Defoe, Coates. Subs Not Used: Bridcutt, O’Shea, Graham, Giaccherini, Mannone.

Referee: Lee Mason. Attendance: 32,242 (3,246 away).


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The FOX Summer Special 2015 – on sale v Sunderland and in the shops

The 25th annual FOX Summer Special will be on sale before tomorrow’s game and is in the shops…

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It features: An exclusive interview with Muzzy Izzet; a Review of the remarkable 2014-15 season; a look at our new kit; Twitter Watch; a Guide to the Premier League 2015-16; Farewell to Nigel Pearson; and Esteban Cambiasso; The Other Great Escape; The Fox Awards 2014-15; The Jon Holmes column; Foxed in the Head’s Bournemouth memories; John Hutchinson looks at City during World War II; the Best of Bentley’s Roof and your letters; and Fortysomething on Holiday…

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The most fun you can have for £3.

Muzzy Izzet Interview extract…

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FOX: Martin O’Neill’s four and a half seasons are rightly looked back on as a golden age, were you aware of how special it was at the time?

MI: It felt great. It was a special feeling knowing that on our day we could beat anyone. As soon as Martin left I never felt like that again. Our mindset under Martin was never ‘oh we might struggle today’. Never ever. We approached every single game home and away thinking we could win it.
With other managers I have played for there were days when it felt like a draw would be good enough. If you start playing for a draw, or thinking a draw is okay then you will start losing.

FOX: There were many good performances back then, but one match that stands out is the 5-2 win at home to Sunderland when Stan Collymore got a hat-trick. Everyone thought that it could be the start of something even better, but then Emile Heskey left for Liverpool soon after. How was that from your perspective? 

MI: I think for the first time I actually thought ‘this is easy. All the hard work we were doing in midfield, we now had two players up front who could cause real problems for the opposition defence and score goals. It is so hard to score at that level. To have someone banging goals in takes a lot of pressure off you defensively and changes the shape of the game. If you put a team under pressure for 25 minutes and you don’t take any of your chances, then you really feel the pressure when they start coming at you. That day it seemed like we were going to score every time we attacked. The other team have to change the way they are playing and they lose their shape and they become easier to play against and you can pick them off.
I thought then blimey if we can keep this team together what will next season be like? But it wasn’t to be.

FOX: Martin left for Celtic that summer, did you know that was likely to happen?

MI: Well, because he was doing so well he was always going to be linked with jobs and there were constant rumours. There was that game against Spurs when he was supposed to off to Leeds but he didn’t go. I didn’t appreciate how much the Celtic job meant to him with the Irish connection, but obviously it did and he couldn’t turn it down. It made it a little bit easier to take that he didn’t go to another Premier League club.


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