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Leicester see off Tigers as revival continues

Leicester City 3:1 Hull City

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City recovered from an early setback to produce a convincing 3-1 win against Hull at the KPS on Saturday…

Craig Shakespeare made no changes to the side that beat Liverpool. This game presented a different challenge, and City didn’t quite get off to the same high-octane start that they did against the Reds, but they created the first chance after 5 minutes when Morgan’s far post header from a Mahrez free-kick went wide of the target.
Vardy than delivered a dangerous cross from the left, but McGuire managed to intercept before it reached Albrighton.
Huth couldn’t convert a couple of chances in quick succession as City turned up the pressure, but then they found themselves a goal down after a quarter of an hour.

Leicester City v Hull City, Premier League, 4 March 2017

A wayward ball from Ndidi saw Hull racing froward. Clucas charged down the middle before feeding Niasse down the left. Grosicki overlapped and sent in a low cross, which Schmeichel palmed out only as far as Clucas who bundled it home from close in.
Despite this sucker punch, City didn’t let their heads drop and they were back on level terms before the half hour mark. Fuchs and Vardy combined smartly down the left, and then Vardy picked out Fuchs who had continued his run into the area. The Austrian’s sidefooter went straight at Jakupovic, but the Hull keeper allowed it to squirm past him and into the net.

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City dominated the rest of the half, with Vardy dangerous down both flanks, but the sides went in level at the break.

Hull began the second half with a purpose and McGuire brushed the left-hand post with one header, before sending another straight Schmeichel. But City soon regained control and Albrighton sent a long range effort over before Mahrez fired straight at Jakupovic.
In the 59th minute City took the lead, with a piece of Mahrez wizardry that has been lacking all season. Cutting in from the right he was faced with Maguire and Robertson, and he twisted and turned until he gained a yard of space and picked out the bottom right hand corner for a fantastic goal.
Hull came back in search of an equaliser and Grosicki’s free-kick forced a good save from Schmeichel.
Craig Shakespeare made his first change in the 69th minute, bringing Gray on for Okazaki.
Drinkwater then went close with a long range volley, before Slimani came on for Mahrez for the last ten minutes.
Fuchs then volleyed well off target before Hull had a decent spell and Schmeichel had to get down very smartly to tip low Niasse shot round the post. Niasse then fired a shot into the sidenetting as Hull threatened to equalise again.
The home fans could finally stop biting their nails in the 90th minute when an own goal sealed victory. A corner from the left was flicked on by Ndidi, and bounced off Huddlestone’s head and into the net before he could react.

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The Shakespeare revival continued, and the league table made for much better reading after six points, and six goals, in two games.

City’s caretaker boss commented: “In terms of our points, it has been a turnaround. Everyone looked at the game against Liverpool on Monday and to get the three points under pressure was important but to back that up with another win was vitally important. When you’re losing and down on confidence it can be hard. Am I surprised? No, because I know this squad and what they’re capable of.”

Leicester: Schmeichel, Simpson, Morgan, Huth, Fuchs, Drinkwater, Ndidi, Mahrez (Slimani 83), Okazaki (Gray 70), Albrighton, Vardy. Subs Not Used: Chilwell, King, Amartey, Zieler, Ulloa.
Hull: Jakupovic, Elmohamady, Ranocchia, Maguire, Robertson, Huddlestone, Markovic (Diomande 78), N’Diaye (Hernandez 68), Clucas, Grosicki, Niasse. Subs Not Used: Meyler, Elabdellaoui, Maloney, Marshall, Tymon.

Referee: M Dean. Attendance: 31,971. 

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Win over Bruges sees Leicester into Champions League knockout phase

Leicester City 2:1 FC Bruges

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City’s 2-1 win over Bruges at the KPS on Tuesday night sealed top spot in Group G, and saw the Champions League new boys into the last 16…

City, who only needed a point to progress into the knockout phase, had one change to the starting line-up with King replacing Amartey in midfield.
And Claudio Ranieri’s side got off to a cracking start, taking a 5th minute lead.
Fuchs made good progress down the left and curved a low cross round two defenders, which was met by Okazaki at the near post for a fine finish into the top left hand corner.

Leicester City v Club Brugge, Champions League, 22 November 2016

The Belgian champions were rattled by this and struggled to keep possession against an energetic looking City. Three minutes later Mahrez almost caught out Butelle with a near post shot from an acute angle, but the keeper managed to block.
City continued to press forward, but decent crosses from Albrighton and Vardy saw no one in position for a finishing touch.
In a rare attack for Bruges, Vanaken got his head to a cross, but straight into Zieler’s grasp.
After a flat spell of play, City reignited the crowd with a second goal on the half hour.
Albrighton went round Cools down the left, but the defender caught him as he went past and referee Ruddy Buquet had no hesitation in pointing to the spot.
Mahrez sent Butelle the wrong way with his usual halting run up, and City were so close to the next round that you could almost touch it.
Approaching the break, there was a chance at either end.
Morgan sent a header towards the top corner, but Butelle saved; and Zieler produced an acrobatic parry in response to  a curling effot from Izquierdo.

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City applied some early pressure in the second half, with a long-throw and a cross from Fuchs both causing the visitors’ defence problems, but it was Bruges who found the net in the 52nd minute.
City’s proud record of no goals conceded in the competition was dented when Izquierdo collected the ball on the halfway line, raced past Fuchs, and fired in a shot that beat Zieler at his near post.
With the evening now gaining an extra edge, there were two disallowed goals in as many minutes. Vardy produced a clever back-heel that trundled over the line, while at the other end Claudemir found the net, but both were narrowly offside.
Claudio Ranieri made a double change in the 68th minute, with Gray and Schlupp replacing goalscorers Okazaki and Mahrez.
After a minute on the field, Schlupp beat his marker and charged goalwards, but sent his shot too close to Butelle.
Bruges had a decent attacking spell which gnawed at the nerves a little, but the City defence never looked too stretched.
Armartey replaced Albrighton with 12 minutes remaining, and he soon had a chance, but got his shot horribly wrong.
Bruges’s best chance came and went when a Van Rhijn corner was flicked across goal by Vanaken, but no one was positioned for what would have been a tap in.

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A chance to end the evening in great style was then wasted. Gray played a superb one-two with Vardy, as City broke upfield, and was clear on goal, but the youngster hit his shot straight at the advancing Butelle.
In the third minute of time added on Gray was again denied by Butelle after Drinkwater teed him up, but the final whistle sparked delighted celebrations at City’s incredible achievement.
Porto’s goalless draw in Copenhagen meant that City had won the group with a game to spare. Not bad for a first attempt.

Claudio was delighted, but mindful of domestic matters: “It’s unbelievable. Top of the group, very happy, very proud for my players, very happy for the chairman, for the fans, for everybody. Another journey to the knockout – unbelievable. Now our mind must go on the Premier League because I want to push my players to think about that.”

Leicester: Zieler, Simpson, Huth, Morgan, Fuchs, Drinkwater, King, Mahrez (Schlupp 68), Albrighton (Amartey 78), Okazaki (Gray 68), Vardy. Subs Not Used: Hamer, Hernández, Musa, Ulloa.
Bruges: Butelle, Simons, Poulain, Claudemir (Wesley 84), Vossen, Izquierdo, Pina (Limbombe 61), Vanaken, Cools, De Bock (Van Rhijn 70), Mechele. Subs Not Used: Bruzzese, Felipe Gedoz, Denswil, Bolingoli.

Referee: R Buquet. Attendance: 31,443. 

PHOTOS: Simon Kimber. 
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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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Leicester and Arsenal draw a blank

Leicester City 0:0 Arsenal

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Last year’s 1st and 2nd placed teams cancelled each other at the KPS on Saturday evening, though City had a stonewall penalty denied them in the 88th minute…

Claudio Ranieri made four changes to his starting line-up with Huth, Mendy, Okazaki and Albrighton in for Hernandez, King, Gray and Musa.
The City team were greeted onto the field by another superb Union FS tifo display, declaring ‘Champions of England’.

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Arsenal started well, and Sanchez and Cazorla both had shots blocked early on.
After a further spell of Arsenal possession without much threat, Morgan got a vital touch to a Bellerin cross with Walcott waiting to pounce in front of goal.
In the 26th minute Oxlade-Chamberlain made space for himself, cutting in from the left before curling a decent effort inches wide of the right hand post.
At the other end Vardy showed a burst of pace that set Albrighton up, but his cross was cleared.
On the half hour Cazorla delivered a free-kick from the left wing which beat everyone and was heading for the top right hand corner before Schmeichel tipped it over.
Three minutes before the break the home crowd were roaring for a penalty.
A cleverly angled ball from Mahrez sent Vardy in on goal down the right. Cech was out smartly to block, and the loose ball fell to  Drinkwater who appeared to be tripped by Koscielny, but referee Mark Clattenburg waved play on.
Goalless at the break.

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Although no subs were introduced for the second half, Ranieri was soon forced into a change when Mendy went over awkwardly on his ankle. After some treatment the debutante tried to carry on, but it was immediately clear that he couldn’t and he was replaced by King.
City were the better side at this stage, and Mahrez went past Coquelin with a brilliant stepover but was crudely brought down. Clattenburg didn’t deem the offence worthy of a second yellow and Mahrez’s curling free-kick brushed the crossbar.
Bellerin then sent a long range effort straight at Schmeichel.
The 67th minute saw City’s second substitution, with Okazaki, who had run himself into the ground, replaced by Ulloa.
City continued to press forward: Albrighton tackled Xhaka and sent Vardy in down the right. He bore down on goal but fired wide under pressure from Koscielny.
Gunners sub Ozil then beat Fuchs with a neat swivel down the right, but Walcott’s shot didn’t test Schmeichel.
Ozil’s introduction turned the game in Arsenal’s favour, with too much activity round City’s goalmouth for comfort, but sterling work from Simpson and Morgan kept them at bay.

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The game turned again on a City substitution, when Musa came on for Albrighton and injected new momentum into the game.
He did enough the seal the points with two minutes to go, racing past Bellerin down the left and heading for goal before the defender tripped him from behind. It was as clear a penalty as you could ever hope to see, but Clattenburg, with a clear view of the incident, inexplicably waved play on.
There was one more chance for City in time added on, when Mahrez capped a fine run with a shot saved by Cech. The rebound didn’t quite fall to Musa, who hesitated too long and the chance was gone.

This was a great improvement on last week’s performance and only Mark Clattenburg knows why City didn’t get a late chance to claim three points from the penalty spot.
Typically Ranieri refused to place the blame elsewhere:
“I am not a manger who says: ‘That was a penalty,’ that is crying. For me it is OK, the referee made a very good performance and for me a penalty is when the referee whistles. He didn’t whistle, so it wasn’t. They kept more possession. They were very dangerous, but not with the clear chance. We kept less possession, but we know this. But we created a lot more clear chances to win the match. It was unlucky. But I am very happy for our spirit, for the union of the team.”

Leicester: Schmeichel, Simpson, Morgan, Huth, Fuchs, Mendy (King 53), Drinkwater, Mahrez, Albrighton (Musa 86), Okazaki (Ulloa 67), Vardy. Subs Not Used: Hernandez, Amartey, Zieler, Gray.

Arsenal: Cech, Koscielny, Holding, Monreal, Bellerin, Coquelin, Walcott, Sanchez, Xhaka (Wilshere 73), Cazorla (Ozil 73), Oxlade-Chamberlain (Giroud 78). Subs Not Used: Gibbs, Ospina, Chambers, Elneny.

Referee: M Clattenburg. Attendance: 32,008.

PHOTOS: Simon Kimber
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The FOX Summer Special 2016 is a 44 page, all-colour celebration of football’s greatest ever story… Leicester City’s Premier League title win of 2015-16…

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Here’s what people are saying about it… (and we haven’t made it up).

* “Page after page of smiles… fantastic.”

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* “Summer Special is superb! Got something in my bloody eye again!!”

* “It will go in my souvenir box file, along with the Champions clapper, Vardy salted crisps and all the other gubbins that will forever convey a touch of immortality.”

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Leicester City clinch the Premier League title

Leicester City completed possibly the most unlikely story in the long history of English football by clinching the Premier League title on Monday night.

The 5,000-1 outsiders won the league title for the first time in their 132-year history when Chelsea came back from 2-0 down to draw with Spurs at Stamford Bridge.

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Eden Hazard’s equaliser in west London sparked a wild party in the streets of Leicester that lasted all night, focussed on the Clock Tower  and the Kng Power Stadium. …

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The first team squad watched the Chelsea v Spurs together, assembling at Jamie Vardy’s Melton home. By the end of the evening, he was, indeed, having a party.

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Enjoy today City fans everywhere, we have waited a long, long time and been through so much. This is beyond our wildest dreams.

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Leicester Earn Their Spurs

Tottenham Hotspur 0:1 Leicester City

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City proved themselves to be serious title contenders with a 1:0 win against Spurs at White Hart Lane on Wednesday night…

Only Schmeichel and Kanté started from the FA Cup starting line-up at the same ground three days previously, with one change being made from the previous league outing, Okazaki in for Ulloa to partner Vardy up front.
Spurs got off to a strong start and Eriksen and Alderweireld forced saves from Schmeichel while Alli sent a shot wide.
City then got their high-tempo passing game together and created chances for Okazaki and Kanté which both missed the target.
The next one was on target, a Fuchs long throw was nodded on by the busy Okazaki and Drinkwater’s fierce shot was denied by a superb save from Lloris.
A dipping shot from Eriksen, blocked by Schmeichel was the last real chance of the half and the sides went in goalless at the break after another intriguing contest.

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City came out of their corner swinging punches and Drinkwater and Vardy both had shots blocked in an early spell of pressure.
But it looked as though Tottenham would surely take the lead on the hour when Lamela slipped a ball through the defence that sent Kane in one on one with Schmeichel. The Danish keeper spread himself well and managed to get a touch to the England striker’s low shot that deflected the ball up and onto the bar, with the goal gaping.
With twenty minutes remaining Claudio Ranieri brought Ulloa on for Vardy and his brief front pairing with Okazaki worked well.
In one frantic passage of play in the Spurs area Mahrez, Drinkwater and Ulloa all had shots blocked before the home side finally cleared their lines.
King replaced Okazaki in the 77th minute before a finely balanced game finally tipped City’s way with 7 minutes remaining.

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As City lined up for a corner Ulloa seemed to be getting all the attention of the Spurs defence.  This left Huth lurking unmarked in the background and as Fuchs’ flag-kick came over the German had time to direct a thumping header beyond Lloris and into the top left hand corner.
This signalled manic scenes in the away corner which were further inflamed when news broke of Liverpool’s equaliser against Arsenal.
City’s defence remained unbreachable up to the final whistle which saw them level on points with the Gunners at the top of the table.
Remarkably, 43 points saw City overhaul last season’s total of 41.

While this result underlined City’s right to be where they are in the league Claudio Ranieri still had his feet on the ground:  “It’s January. What a pity! If it was May, maybe. We must continue to work hard, to keep our feet on the ground. It is a crazy, crazy league this year and we must continue.”

Tottenham: Lloris, Walker, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Kane, Lamela, Dier (Onomah 90), Alli, Eriksen (Dembele 70), Carroll (Son 82), Davies. Subs Not Used: Vorm, Rose, Trippier, Wimmer.
Leicester: Schmeichel, Simpson, Morgan, Huth, Fuchs, Mahrez (Dyer 90), Kanté, Drinkwater, Albrighton, Okazaki (King 77), Vardy (Ulloa 70). Subs Not Used: Gray, Wasilewski, Schwarzer, Inter.

Referee: L Mason. Attendance: 35,850.

ALL PHOTOS: Simon Kimber.

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We are down to the last few of FOX 195 and 196 – our first all-colour issues and we really mean it this time…

It isn’t too late to get your hands on them and catch up with Leicester City’s table-topping exploits, interviews with Carl Muggleton and Kevin Phillips, the adventures of Fanatical Frank and 50Something and much more…

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