Monthly Archives: October 2016

Leicester make their point at Tottenham

Tottenham Hotspur 1:1 Leicester City

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City battled to their first away point of the season after going behind to a very soft penalty decision at White Hart Lane on Saturday afternoon…

Claudio Ranieri made one change to his side with Vardy back in and Slimani left out with a slight groin strain.
Unbeaten Spurs had an early spell of pressure, Alli fired in a shot from the edge of the area following a corner but Schmeichel got down to it well.
The City keeper then made a comfortable save from a long-range Rose effort and watched Eriksen’s free-kick go narrowly wide, before City had their first chance. Okazaki got his head to a Mahrez cross but cleared the bar.
Fuchs then attempted an audacious volley from a deep Mahrez corner but sent his well struck effort just over from 20 yards.
Five minutes before the break Spurs got nearer when Walker’s cut back from the right was side-footed against the crossbar by Alli from 12 yards.
However, City were not to go down the tunnel on level terms. In the 44th minute Janssen, with Huth’s hand on his shoulder, threw himself to the ground, and referee Bobby Madley bought it. Janssen sent his ill-gotten spot-kick down the middle, just evading Schmeichel’s flailing boot.

City emerged for the second half looking purposeful, and were soon back on level terms.
In the 48th minute, a wayward back header from Wanyama sent Vardy haring down the right. He squared for Musa who slid the ball in off Lloris, picking up a knock on his way into the back of the net.
An Alli dive, his third of the game, saw Spurs awarded a free-kick on the edge of the area, but Janssen’s curving effort went inches wide of the right hand post.
The same player then brushed the same post moments later with a low shot on the turn as Tottenham increased the pressure in search of a winner.
But City – with Schlupp, Albrighton and Ulloa introduced to the action – then had a very good spell of their own and Fuchs, seemingly attempting to outdo his first goal last week, attempted another ambitious voley, which went high and wide.
Spurs best chance of a winner came when Wanyama swung a cross in from the right and Vertonghen sent a firm header against the bar.
The final chance fell for substitute Ulloa, who got his head to a Fuchs free-kick but directed his effort wide.

Claudio Ranieri was happy with the first away point of the season: “This was a very big result – we need confidence at this moment – and a fantastic performance against a good team, our rivals last season. I’m very pleased. We started well; we tried to win, they tried to win, a very good match, this is the magic of Premier League football.”

Copenhagen awaits…

Tottenham: Lloris, Walker, Rose, Vertonghen, Son, Janssen, Wanyama (Winks 87), Dier, Dembele, Alli (Nkoudou 83), Eriksen. Subs Not Used: Vorm, Trippier, Onomah, Davies, Carter-Vickers. 
Leicester: Schmeichel, Simpson, Morgan, Huth, Fuchs, Drinkwater, King, Mahrez (Albrighton 72), Musa (Schlupp 68), Okazaki (Ulloa 78), Vardy. Subs Not Used: Zieler, Hernández, Amartey, Gray. 
Referee: R Madley. Attendance: 31.868.

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Leicester storm the Palace and restore Premier League pride

Leicester City 3:1 Crystal Palace

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City’s Premier League season got back on track on Saturday, thanks to a vibrant 3-1 win over Crystal Palace at the KPS…

Claudio Ranieri made a couple of changes to his starting XI with Vardy and Albrighton making way for Okazaki and Musa, and they proved to be inspired choices.
Before the kick off there was a minute’s applause to mark the recent passing of the King of Thailand.
City were presented with a gilt-edged chance in only the second minute when Palace keeper  Mandanda fluffed a clearance and sent the ball straight to Okazaki. But the Japan striker hurried his attempted lob from 20 yards out and his effort drifted wide of the left hand post.
But it was Palace who had the better of the opening 20 minutes.
Cabaye fired an effort from distance, and Morgan blocked a Zaha shot, before Benteke got onto the end of a Kelly cross but sent his header against the bar.

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City, with Okazaki as their beating heart, and Drinkwater and King combining well, began to take control midway through the half.
Slimani was charging after everything and sent a couple of headers narrowly off target, and then Okazaki got his head to a Mahrez shot but the ball narrowly cleared the bar.
With half-time approaching, City made a vital breakthrough.
Musa started a move down the left, Slimani and Okazaki battled through a wall of yellow shirts to return the ball to the Nigerian, and he side-stepped his marker before firing home his first goal for the club.

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City continued in the same vein after the break, and Slimani sent a diving header from a Mahrez cross a couple of inches wide of the right hand post.
The lead was doubled in the 62nd minute. A Drinkwater cross from the left was cleared at full stretch by Delaney, but Okazaki was following up and produced an unstoppable shot for his first Premier League goal since March.
Alan Pardew’s side tried to drag themselves back into the game with an attacking spell, but Schmeichel blocked a Zaha shot at his near post, and then showed great reactions to deny Cabaye at close range.
Simpson then cleared a Benteke effort off the line before Claudio Ranieri made his first change with 15 minutes remaining, Vardy replacing Slimani.

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City’s third goal arrived in the 80th minute. As they hit Palace on the break, Vardy’s cross from the left beat everyone, but Musa’s hard work in chasing it down earned a corner.
Mahrez’s flag-kick was headed clear by Benteke, but the ball sat up nicely for Fuchs, 22 yards out, and he rifled home a superb half-volley. It was the Austrian’s first goal for City, but worth the wait.
Schmeichel raced out of goal to deny Benteke in a one-on-one  late on, but was finally beaten in the 86th minute when Cabaye provided a neat finishing touch to a Zaha cross from the right.
At the other end Mahrez saw his shot blocked by Mandanda, but City were more than happy with a well-earned 3-1 victory.
It was a big-hearted performance that proved the City squad had the strength in depth required to tackle two competitions.

Claudio Ranieri told the post match press conference: “This was the shape and model of last season. It’s when everyone is concentrated and doing their job. We know our weakness but we also know our strengths. Crystal Palace are a very good team. They were better than us for the first 20 minutes and moved the ball very quickly. It was difficult for us but after that we put in a very good performance.”

Leicester: Schmeichel, Simpson, Huth, Morgan, Fuchs, Drinkwater, King (Amartey 87), Mahrez, Musa (Gray 81), Okazaki, Slimani (Vardy 75). Subs Not Used: Zieler, Schlupp, Albrighton, Ulloa.
Palace: Mandanda, Ward, Tomkins, Cabaye, Townsend (Campbell 72), Zaha, Ledley (Lee 72), Benteke, McArthur, Delaney, Kelly (Fryers 77). Subs Not Used: Flamini, Hennessey, Wickham, Sako.

Referee: M Oliver. Attendance: 31,969.

PHOTOS: Simon Kimber. 

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Mahrez strike continues Leicester’s perfect Champions League record

Leicester City 1:0 FC Copenhagen

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A Riyad Mahrez goal, five minutes before half-time, was enough to defeat Copenhagen at the KPS on Tuesday night, taking City a big step closer to a place in the knockout phase…

Claudio Ranieri made four changes to his side with Simpson, King, Mahrez and Slimani returning to the starting line-up, against a side unbeaten in their 21 games this season.

The opening stages of the game were played out in a swirling mist created by a spectacular display of pyrotechnics in the the Copenhagen corner during the Champions League anthem.

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Copenhagen took the early initiative, Schmeichel blocked a angled shot from Santander and then Huth and Morgan got in each other’s way defending a cross.
Morgan then appeared to suffer a back strain stretching to reach an Augustinsson cross.
Happily for City he managed to continue.
After 15 minutes of slick passing possession from the visitors City began to find their feet and it became clear that the orders for the night were direct balls forward to the front two.
This led to a Vardy cross that was gathered by Olsen, and a Vardy shot that was deflected wide.
With Drinkwater and King combining well in midfield City began get the upper hand. Albrighton teed up Vardy on the edge of the area, but his mis-hit volley trundled straight into Olsen’s grasp.
Vardy’s pace then earned him a free-kick out on the left, but Fuchs whipped in free-kick was punched clear by the commanding Olsen.
City broke the deadlock five minutes before the break.

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Vardy’s cross from the left was nodded back across goal by Slimani, and Mahrez produced a flying kung-fu flick past Olsen to give City a precious lead.
The Danish Champions pressed forward in search of an equaliser before the break.
Toutouh went close with a shot and then Cornelius went even closer with an angled header from a corner, but the ball went a couple of inches past the left hand post, and City took their lead in at the break.

City started the second half strongly: Vardy set up Mahrez for a shot that flew well over, and then a delightful Mahrez ball (after he had won two tackles!) set up King in the area but his cross was cleared.
At the other end a low shot from  Jorgensen was deflected straight at Schmeichel.
A weak header from Johansen then saw Mahrez make progress into the area, but his shot was blocked before it reached Olsen.
City had the ball in the net again in the 65th minute, when Slimani jabbed the ball over the line from close in after his original header was saved by Olsen, but celebrations were halted by what looked like a harsh offside decision.
King then sent Slimani through on the right, but the Algerian slipped on the wet turf as he attempted to get round  Johansson.
Pacy substitute Falk caused City some problems and Fuchs was booked for tripping him. City brought on a sub of their own in the 85th minute, with Okazaki replacing Vardy.
With time running out, Copenhagen pressed forward trying to preserve their unbeaten record and Santander sent a header over from close in.

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In the 90th minute it looked as though City were about to lose two points when Santander beat Simpson on the left and crossed for Cornelius. His shot from 8 yards looked netbound, before Schmeichel threw himself across goal and pulled off a world class save, the Danish keeper denying the Danish Champions.

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The final whistle saw City sitting on top of Group G with 9 points from three games – more than they had gained in 8 Premier league games.
Claudio Ranieri touched on this contrast after the game: “From one side I’m very proud, from the other side, when I think of the Premier League, I’m very, very angry. But it’s OK because in my career this has happened. When for the first time you play in a big competition, you lose something when you go back in your league. This is normal but we want to change this way. It’s just psychological.”

Leicester: Schmeichel, Simpson, Huth, Morgan, Fuchs, Drinkwater, King, Albrighton, Mahrez (Amartey 90), Slimani (Ulloa 88), Vardy (Okazaki 85). Subs Not Used: Zieler, Hernández, Schlupp, Musa.
Copenhagen: Olsen, Augustinsson, Johansson, Kvist, Verbic (Falk 66), Delaney, Cornelius, Santander, Ankersen (Gregus 87), Toutouh (Pavlovic 85), Jorgensen. Subs Not Used: Andersen, Hogli, Antonsson, Kusk.

Referee: N Rizzoli. Attendance: 31,037.

PHOTOS: Simon Kimber.

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Chelsea inflict more travel sickness on Leicester

Chelsea 3:0 Leicester City

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City came a distant second in this meeting of the last two Premier League Champions, with Chelsea cruising to a 3-0 win at Stamford Bridge on Saturday…

Claudio Ranieri employed some squad rotation, with Tuesday’s Champions League game against Copenhagen in mind, and  Hernández, Schlupp and Musa replaced Simpson, Mahrez and Slimani in the starting line-up.
Chelsea dominated from the start, and had the lead by the 7th minute.
Once again, it was a from a set-piece with Hazard’s near post corner from the right flicked on by Matic. Costa, deserted by a frozen Morgan, had half the penalty area to himself as he strolled in to put the home side ahead.
The rest of the half was played almost entirely in City’s half, with Vardy and Musa completely starved of possession.
A second goal for the Blues looked almost inevitable and there was a close call in the 28th minute. Huth was booked for a foul on Hazard 25 yards out and Luiz sent his dipping free kick against the left hand post.
Antonio Conte’s side doubled their lead in the 33rd minute, and although they enjoyed a stroke of luck, City’s defence lacked any authority. Huth and Hernandez got in a tangle trying to get to Matic’s through ball. It fell for Pedro, who set up Hazard. A lucky deflection saw the Belgian through and he rounded Schmeichel before netting with a shot that just evaded Fuchs last-ditch attempted block.

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City’s first chance came in the 38th minute, when Vardy met a Hernandez near post cross, but Luiz managed to intervene.
Luiz then delivered another tricky, swerving free-kick, which Schmeichel punched clear.
City had plenty to think about at half time after a desperately poor first half performance in which they had chased shadows and created next to nothing.

Chelsea had loud penalty appeals turned down just seconds into the second half when a Pedro shot struck Fuchs raised arm, but there was a distinct improvement in their play.
City had penalty appeals of their own turned down a couple of minutes later when Schlupp was baulked by Moses as he charged into the penalty area, but Andre Marriner waved play on again.
In City’s best spell of the game, Musa and Albrighton both missed the target with shots.
Chelsea wasted a 57th minute chance to seal the game when Kante went on an energetic run down the left, before setting up Moses. Schmeichel produced a fine save to keep City in the game.

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Although City didn’t manage an on-target effort all game, they went close in the 62nd minute with a bit of help. Albrighton delivered a low cross from the right and Luiz lunged in with a block to deny Vardy, waiting in front of goal, the ball firmly striking the right hand post with Courtois beaten.
Claudio Ranieri made his first changes in the 67th minute with Slimani on for Musa, and Mahrez replacing Schlupp.
What would have been a very painful goal was avoided in the 73rd minute when Morgan did very well to block a Kante shot from close in.
However, Chelsea’s third arrived with ten minutes to go. Moses cut in from the right and passed Chalobah with his back to goal. A brilliant backheel unlocked City’s defence and Moses beat Schmeichel from close in.

City have still to pick up a point on their travels this season, but Claudio Ranieri made no apology for his team selection: “The Premier League is one year long. Champions League is two months, in or out. We want to go in the knockout in Champions League or Europa League. To achieve this you have to have all your players fit and I prefer to preserve some players for Tuesday night.”

Chelsea: Courtois, Alonso, Kante, Hazard (Loftus-Cheek 81), Pedro (Chalobah 68), Moses (Aina 81), Diego Costa, Matic, Cahill, Azpilicueta, Luiz. Subs Not Used: Begovic, Batshuayi, Terry, Solanke.
Leicester: Schmeichel, Hernández, Huth, Morgan, Fuchs, Drinkwater, Amartey, Albrighton (King 74), Schlupp (Mahrez 67), Musa (Slimani 67), Vardy. Subs Not Used: Zieler, Simpson, Gray, Ulloa

Referee: A Marriner. Attendance: 41,547.

PHOTOS: Simon Kimber.

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The FOX Issue No 200 – OUT NOW!

The 200th edition of The FOX – The Leicester City Fanzine is in the shops now…

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Featuring: an interview with former City captain, Matt Elliott; Fully Programmed from August 1989; Fox Diary – winning the league, going to Wembley – stuff like that; the latest from the Foxes Trust; the trip to Bruges via the medium of #lcfc Twitter; The History of Leicester City in 100 Objects; Rewind goes back to September 1997 – Atletico Madrid at home; Foxed in the Head – on whopping lies you were told, Madrid, Liverpool and Bruges; John Hutchinson’s new series on Following the Fosse; your letters and Bentley’s Roof; Parting Shots our favourite photos of the last month; and Fanatical Frank goes to Bruges…

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all for less than the price of a pint…

Matt Elliott Interview extract…

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FOX: The following season you played quite a few games up front as an emergency striker. Did Martin O’Neill ask you if you fancied it?
ME: Typical Martin O’Neill methods! He didn’t used to name the team until an hour and a half before kick off, we didn’t know the team on a Friday. You could usually name 9 or 10 of the starting line-up but you were never quite sure whether he was going to rest someone, or whatever. He’d often spring mini surprises, like putting a young lad like Stuart Campbell into the starting XI. It kept players on their toes. If someone knows he isn’t in the squad on Friday he might fancy a night out and anything could happen with injuries or whatever and he could get pulled into the squad.
As regards me playing up front, John Robertson came up to me in the changing rooms before a game against Chelsea and said: “The Gaffer wants a word with you.”
I thought, oh no, what have I done now? So I went to see him in hi soffice and he said: “Matty, how do you feel about playing centre-forward today?”
This is an hour and a half before kick-off and we hadn’t discussed it all at before in training!
I said: “Pardon?”
He said: “Centre-forward, you can do a job up there.”
I said: “I’ll play anywhere you want me to.”
He said: “Do you fancy it?”
I said: “Yes, sure I do, it sounds good.” It was quite exciting really. Not much pressure on me, if I made a mistake it wasn’t going to cost us a goal.
He said: “Don’t worry, it’s only the World Cup winning centre-half partnership of Desailly and Leboeuf!”
They’d won the World Cup with France about two months before.
Robbo said to me: “Just go up there and cause havoc, son.”
I think we got a draw that day. I had a bit of a set-to with Roberto Di Matteo and Gus Poyet, who weren’t too happy with the physical aspect of my game and we had a few words going down the tunnel. They ended up locking themselves in the away dressing rooms, I chased them in there and they shut the door on me! Luckily the officials didn’t see that one.

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Leicester and Saints reach stalemate

Leicester City 0:0 Southampton

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Leicester and Southampton battled to a goalless draw at the KPS on Sunday afternoon…

Claudio Ranieri made one change to the side that played Porto for this 2.15 Sunday afternoon kick-off, with Danny Simpson reclaiming his right-back berth.
Although in-form Southampton were on Europa League duty on Thursday night,  Claude Puel changed half his side for this game.

It was a tight encounter, and though Mahrez has a shot blocked in the first chance of the game, the Saints hit back. Austin sent a header straight at Schmeichel when well placed, and then fired an angled drive past Schmeichel that struck the inside of the far post.
City were gifted a chance on the half hour when an under hit Van Dijk backpass sent Vardy through on Forster. Vardy hesitated for a split second which allowed the Saints keeper to shepherd him towards Romeu, who blocked the effort on goal. Romeu then blocked the follow up shot from Slimani, and then another one from Vardy and the chance was gone.

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The game reached deadlock before half time, with only a couple of noteworthy incidents. Romeu knocked Slimani off the ball, to loud penalty appeals, but it didn’t look worthy of a spot-kick.
Mahrez then sent a shot off-target, in a final act that summed up the half.

Not much happened for a while after the break either. Mahrez was booked for taking a free kick before the ref was ready, and when he delivered it again Slimani was offside.
Saints then had a good spell, Redmond slipped through the City defence but sent in a weak shot which Schmeichel easily gathered. Austin also had a golden opportunity, but elected to chip Schmeichel without looking up, and the City keeper had advanced far enough for another easy save.
At the other end, Drinkwater fired off a couple of shots, but one found the side-netting from a tight angle and the other didn’t test Forster.

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Claudio Ranieri made his first changes in the 66th minute, bringing Gray and Okazaki for Albrighton and Vardy, and things got more lively.
A Huth header forced a good save from Forster, before Gray crossed for Okazaki who produced an inventive angled header that went inches wide of the far post.
Ulloa replaced Slimani for the last 12 minutes, but was unable to repeat the late heroics of last season, sending his only chance high and wide.
It was a hard-fought game, but neither side had produced enough to gain the three points.

Claudio Ranieri admitted: “I’m very happy because I recognise Southampton played better than us and they deserved to win. Maybe it is harder to think about, when we play every three days. Maybe at the end of the 22 days, was much better to give some rest to some players.”

Leicester: Schmeichel, Simpson, Huth, Morgan, Fuchs, Amartey, Drinkwater, Mahrez, Albrighton (Gray 66), Vardy (Okazaki 66), Slimani (Ulloa 78). Subs Not Used: Zieler, Hernández, Schlupp, King.
Southampton: Forster, Cedric (Martina 27), Fonte, Davis, Austin (Ward-Prowse 83), Tadic (Long 71), Romeu, Van Dijk, Bertrand, Redmond, Hojbjerg. Subs Not Used: Yoshida, Clasie, McCarthy, Olomola.

Referee: M Atkinson. Attendance: 31,563.

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