Tag Archives: Claude Puel

Palace defeat is Claude Puel’s Waterloo

Leicester City 1:4 Crystal Palace

Leicester City v Crystal Palace - Premier League

Saturday’s 4-1 defeat at home to Crystal Palace proved to be Claude Puel’s last game in charge…

Puel made two changes to his starting line-up with Vardy reinstated as striker for Gray and Fuchs replacing the injured Chilwell.
Before kick off there was a rousing minute’s applause in memory of the great Gordon Banks of Leicester City and England.

Leicester City v Crystal Palace - Premier League

City got off to a promising start and won a free kick 30 yards out when Schlupp brought Maddison down. Maddison played it to Tielemans but his shot was closed down and deflected within reach of Guaita in the Palace goal.
In the 9th minute a good run and cross from Barnes saw Vardy flashing his header over the bar. A minute later Vardy teed Maddison up for a shot, which deflected wide off  Sakho’s shoulder.
Tielemans then played a one-two with Barnes but his shot was gathered comfortably by Guaita.
A break upfield was halted when Zaha’s challenge on Tielemans saw stud on shin, but he escaped a yellow card.
City were in complete control at this stage, but a low shot from Barnes failed to test Guaita and then Ndidi ballooned an effort well high and wide.
Maddison was brought down twice on the edge of the area, but miscued his first free-kick and his second hit the wall.
After 36 minutes of play frequently punctuated by Palace fouls, referee Anthony Taylor finally produced a yellow card – for a Ndidi trip on Schlupp, which provoked howls of derision from the stands.
City continued to press forward, but weren’t really hurting Palace, and then came the sting in the tail four minutes before the break. After loud appeals for a penalty when Barnes was dispossessed by Tomkins in the area Palace broke upfield. Taylor awarded a very dubious free-kick in the centre-circle but Palace were more alert to the chance and Milivojevic played a quick ball forward to McArthur, whose shot looked to be going wide before Batshuayi stuck out a leg to beat the wrong-footed Schmeichel.
It was Palace’s first chance of the game, and saw City trailing at half time.

Ghezzal, who had sent several passes astray, was replaced by Gray for the second half.
City continued to dominate as they looked for a way back into the game. Fuchs failed to apply enough head to a great Evans cross, and the ball sailed wide.
Maddison then won yet another free kick on the edge of the area, but hit it against the wall again.
Tielemans and Barnes were combining well on the left, but the final ball was always found wanting, as the frustration grew.
Maddison then appeared to try and score direct from a corner but Guaita read the swerving ball well and easily claimed.
City finally made the breakthrough in the 64h minute. Palace failed to clear a Fuchs long throw and the ball fell to Barnes who fired it into the middle where Evans met it perfectly to fire home from 7 yards.

Leicester City v Crystal Palace - Premier League

City turned up the pressure in pursuit of a winner, but were caught on the break with 20 minutes remaining. A Maddison corner was hit too long and Palace raced upfield. McArthur picked out an unmarked Zaha with a looping ball and he crashed a side-footed volley past Schmeichel to restore Palace’s lead.

Leicester City v Crystal Palace - Premier League

In the 74th minute Puel brought Iheanacho on for Tielemans, and loud booing rang round the stadium.
City wasted a couple of corners, before Palace struck again in the 81st minute.
As Schlupp went past Evans in the area the City defender hung out a leg and Schlupp flew through the air. Taylor pointed to the spot, booked a furiously protesting Schmeichel, and Milivojevic sent the City keeper the wrong way with a cool spot-kick.

Leicester City v Crystal Palace - Premier League

Okazaki then replaced Barnes, to more booing, before Palace added a fourth in time-added-on in a half empty stadium. Maguire lost possession trying to carry the ball forward and Palace raced upfield again. Ayew set up Zaha, for a shot that had too much pace for Schmeichel to block.
By the final whistle the stadium was almost empty.

Claude Puel’s comments proved to be his epitath with his sacking announced on Sunday morning: “We tried a lot of good moves, without success.”

Leicester: Schmeichel, Ricardo, Evans, Maguire, Fuchs, Tielemans (Iheanacho 74), Ndidi, Maddison, Ghezzal (Gray 45), Vardy, Barnes (Okazaki 85).
Substitutes: Söyüncü, Morgan, Ward, Mendy.
Palace: Guaita, Ward, Tomkins, Sakho, (Dann 77), van Aanholt, McArthur, Milivojevic, Schlupp, Townsend (Kouyaté 80), Batshuayi (Ayew 86), Zaha.
Substitutes: Meyer, Hennessey, Benteke, Riedewald.

Referee: 
Anthony Taylor. Attendance: 31,778.

All Photos: Simon Kimber.

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Can’t Buy That Feeling – Inside Leicester City – The Best of The Fox Interviews

cbtf cover updated rgb blog

We have finally got round to compiling all our interviews into one book and it is available now from Conker Editions Ltd HERE
and Amazon HERE

Also available from the Leicester City Fanstore and Waterstones in Leicester.

The FOX has been interviewing Leicester City players, managers, famous fans and board members for almost three decades, building up a body of work that takes you right into the very fabric of the club, with memories spanning the last 60 years.

As a City fan, you’ve come to know hundreds of players through their performance on the pitch, through potted career biographies and football sticker images. But what about the real characters behind the blue shirt and the back-page reports?

Can’t Buy That Feeling takes you inside Leicester City from the perspective of those who were there – behind the scenes at the long-running soap opera packed with comedy and tragedy, triumph and disaster, financial ruin and amazing title wins.

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Wasteful Leicester lose out to Spurs at Wembley

Tottenham Hotspur 3:1 Leicester City

1819 spurs away

City were the better side against Tottenham in a 3-1 defeat at Wembley on Sunday, but failed to turn chances into goals…

Claude Puel starting XI saw Vardy relegated to the bench, and Tielemans in for Ndidi, though Mendy injured himself in the warm-up and Ndidi was reinstated.
The exclusion of Vardy fuelled the rumours that he had fallen out with Puel, but the Frenchman commented: “I would like to develop other options than Jamie.” 

After some early Spurs pressure we got our first glimpse of Tielemans who played a fine ball through to Gray in the 7th minute, but the threat was extinguished by Sánchez.
A minute later Maguire got a firm header to a Maddison free-kick, but Lloris managed to guide it over the bar.
Another great ball from Teilemans sent set Barnes up for a chance, but he missed the target, going narrowly wide of the right hand post.
In the 16th minute there were loud calls for a penalty when Son went down under a challenge from Maguire on edge of the area, but referee Michael Oliver produced a yellow card for simulation.
Two minutes later Rose cut in from the left and fired in a shot but Schmeichel stood firm to block from close quarters.
As the game moved from end to end Maddison wasted a decent chance with a tame, off-target effort. Then Ndidi bodged an attempt from close in after a good Chilwell cross, but the linesman’s flag spared his blushes.
Chilwell then did well to recover a ball he’d lost before setting up Barnes with a golden chance. But he snatched at his shot and sent it wide of the left hand post.
After a good spell for City it was Spurs who took a 33rd minute lead. A superb cross from Eriksen found Sánchez, who got a yard ahead of Maguire to send a thumping header past Schmeichel, for his first goal for Spurs.
City pressed forward as half time approached, but a series of corners came to nothing. The best chance came from Tielemans who retrieved a ball from the dead ball line and delivered a swerving shot that almost caught out Lloris at his near post.
But a decent performance still saw City trailing at the break, with the number of chances missed suggesting that playing without a striker might not be the best idea.

However, City started the second half unchanged.
City created the first decent chance of the half when Ricardo curled in a cross, but Gray’s header went straight at Lloris. Five minutes later Gray turned and fired in a shot, but again it lacked the striker’s instinct, going straight at Lloris.
At last Vardy was standing ready to be brought on in the 57th minute, when City were awarded a penalty after Verthongen knocked Maddison over as he was shaping to shoot.
Vardy came on for Gray, Maddison gladly handed the ball over and Vardy was in the rare position of taking a penalty with his first touch. But he sent it too close to Lloris, who guessed right and tipped it round the left hand post.
To make matters worse, Spurs then doubled their lead in the 64th minute.
As City failed to clear a Tottenham attack, Eriksen was given time and space on the edge of the area to curl a shot just inside the left hand post.
City kept pressing forward and a nod from Vardy sent Barnes clear on goal, but he completed a hat trick of misses firing the ball at Lloris with the goal gaping.
Puel made his second change in the 72nd minute, bringing Iheanacho on for Ghezzal, as City were now dominating play. They pulled a goal back in the 76th minute after a long spell of passes that ended with Ricardo curling a cross in for Vardy to sweep home from close in.
Spurs were clinging to their lead now with City piling forward, and Vardy went close with a snapshot from a Ricardo ball that just beat the angle. Then Iheanacho found the side-netting with a low shot.
But with City pressing so hard they were vunerable to the counter and Spurs sealed the points in the 90th minute. A Chilwell ball into the area gave Sissoko an opportunity to launch a ball forward to Son, Ndidi lost his footing as he tried to intercept and Son hared towards goal before producing a neat finish to win the game.

It had been another baffling performance from City, who looked excellent at times and were the better side, but not having a striker on the field for an hour led to missed chances. And then when a striker came on, he missed a spot kick.
Claude Puel reflected:“It’s the same feeling after our game against United. Another time today, we made good collective performance, with good quality and good moves. We hurt them, without finding efficiency. It’s a big shame.”

Perhaps the most positive thing about the afternoon was the performance of Tielemans, who looked a class act and should give Vardy some bullets to fire. Assuming Puel will put Vardy back in the starting line-up…

Tottenham: Lloris, Trippier, Sánchez, Vertonghen, Rose (Walker-Peters 88), Winks, Sissoko, Skipp (Alderweireld 71), Eriksen, Llorente (Wanyama 80), Son Heung-Min.
Substitutes: Foyth, Gazzaniga, Aurier, Lucas Moura
Leicester: Schmeichel, Ricardo, Evans, Maguire, Chilwell, Ndidi, Ghezzal (Iheanacho 72), Tielemans, Maddison, Barnes (Okazaki 88), Gray (Vardy 59), 
Substitutes: Simpson, Morgan, Ward, Choudhury.
Referee: Michael Oliver. Attendance: 44,154.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –  

Can’t Buy That Feeling – Inside Leicester City – The Best of The Fox Interviews

cbtf cover updated rgb blog

We have finally got round to compiling all our interviews into one book and it is available now from Conker Editions Ltd HERE
and Amazon HERE

Also available from the Leicester City Fanstore and Waterstones in Leicester.

The FOX has been interviewing Leicester City players, managers, famous fans and board members for almost three decades, building up a body of work that takes you right into the very fabric of the club, with memories spanning the last 60 years.

As a City fan, you’ve come to know hundreds of players through their performance on the pitch, through potted career biographies and football sticker images. But what about the real characters behind the blue shirt and the back-page reports?

Can’t Buy That Feeling takes you inside Leicester City from the perspective of those who were there – behind the scenes at the long-running soap opera packed with comedy and tragedy, triumph and disaster, financial ruin and amazing title wins.

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Leicester outscored by Wolves in seven goal thriller

Wolverhampton Wanderers 4:3 Leicester City

1819 wolves away

Some woeful defending cost City dear at Molineux, with a late Wolves goal earning them a win in a lively lunchtime encounter…

Claude Puel made three changes with Barnes – making his Premier League debut – Gray and Simpson in for Choudhury, Albrighton and Maddison.
It was an incident packed game from the start and Mendy picked up a 2nd minute booking for a foul on Jiménez.
A minute later Vinagre went down the right and cut a ball back for Neves who had acres of space to line up a superb curling 25 yarder that Schmeichel finger-tipped over at full stretch.
But City found themselves a goal down by the 4th minute. Gray loset the ball in midfield, Moutinho hared down the right and delivered a cross for Jota to outwit Simpson, and prod the ball home from six yards.
Wolves almost gifted City an instant reply when Patrício miscontrolled a backpass and then dwelt on the ball allowing Vardy to nip in and rob him, but the Wolves keeper recovered to block Vardy’s attempt from a tight angle.
Gray then delivered a corner from the left which Maguire headed over from two yards, but the ref judged it to be a foul on Patrício. Moments later Maguire had a spell of treatment after injuring himself while tackling Jota.
City then fell further behind in the 12th minute. Moutinho swung over a corner from the left, and Bennett rose above Maguire to nod home. City ‘zonal marking’ made it all too easy.
At 2-0 down City then had a decent spell. They won a series of corners and Gray had one shot blocked, sent another wide and had another saved by Patrício.
Wolves then broke upfield and should have gone 3-0 up but Jota sent a header from six yards straight at Schmeichel.
As half time approached Wolves went close again when Jimenez rounded Maguire and fired in a shot that Schmeichel did well to block with his leg.
Tempers began to fray just before the half time whistle with the home crowd demanding a penalty for a Simpson push on Jota, and then Jota and Ricardo were both booked.

Whatever Claude Puel said during the break, it appeared to work as City were level just six minutes into the second half.
In the 47th minute City raced upfield and Vardy sent Gray down the right channel. Despite the attentions of three defender Gray outsprinted them before slotting the ball past Patrício.
Vardy then sent Barnes in down the left and his fierce angled drive was tipped over the bar by the Wolves keeper. But Barnes didn’t have long to wait for a goal.
A strong run down the left by Chilwell was blocked by Jonny, but the loose ball sat up nicely for Barnes who lashed it home, via a deflection off Coady.
In the midst of all this excitement Maguire, who hadn’t been able to shrug off his first half knock, was replaced by Evans.
City were running the game at this stage, though they had another midfielder on a yellow card when Ndidi took Moutinho out.
But Wolves turned the tide around the hour mark, and then regained their lead in the 64th minute. Neves sent a precise 60 yard ball to Jota down the left channel, who left Morgan for dead before crashing a shot past Schmeichel.
Claude Puel made another change in the 73rd minute, bringing Maddison on for Barnes.
Maddison had a chance to level when Ricardo sent in a low cross from the byline, but he scuffed his shot wide of the near post from close in.
But Maddison made amends in the 87th minute, delivering a superb free kick from the left that saw Morgan rising above three gold shirts to nod home the equaliser.
But sadly City were not to get a point for their efforts in a hugely entertaining game.
Deep into time added on, City were a little too cavalier in trying to find a winner, and they got caught out. Another raking pass from Neves found Jimenez down the right and his cross picked out Jota who completed his hat trick with a precise sidefooted finish.
Nuno Espirito Santo was red-carded for invading the pitch to join in the celebrations, while Claude Puel buried his face in his hands in despair.
While the rest of the nation will have enjoyed one of the best matches of the season, City’s defending for all four goals was atrocious and the slide down the table continues.

Wolves: Rui Patrício, Bennett, Coady, Saïss, Castro Otto, Dendoncker, Neves, João Moutinho (Gibbs-White 81), Vinagre (Doherty 73), Jiménez, Jota.
Substitutes: Cavaleiro, Hélder Costa, Ruddy, Giles, Traoré.
Leicester: Schmeichel, Simpson (Iheanacho 83), Morgan, Maguire, (Evans 48), Chilwell, Mendy, Ndidi, Ricardo, Gray, Barnes (Maddison 73), Vardy.
Substitutes: Albrighton, Ward, Fuchs, Choudhury.
Referee: C Kavanagh. Attendance: 31,278.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –  

Can’t Buy That Feeling – Inside Leicester City – The Best of The Fox Interviews

cbtf cover updated rgb blog

We have finally got round to compiling all our interviews into one book and it is available now from Conker Editions Ltd HERE
and Amazon HERE

Also available from the Leicester City Fanstore and Waterstones in Leicester.

The FOX has been interviewing Leicester City players, managers, famous fans and board members for almost three decades, building up a body of work that takes you right into the very fabric of the club, with memories spanning the last 60 years.

As a City fan, you’ve come to know hundreds of players through their performance on the pitch, through potted career biographies and football sticker images. But what about the real characters behind the blue shirt and the back-page reports?

Can’t Buy That Feeling takes you inside Leicester City from the perspective of those who were there – behind the scenes at the long-running soap opera packed with comedy and tragedy, triumph and disaster, financial ruin and amazing title wins.

Leave a comment

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Leicester fail to break down Saints’ resistance

Leicester City 1:2 Southampton

1819 southampton home a

City were unable to convert possession into goals on Saturday, allowing ten-man Southampton to leave the King Power with three points.

Claude Puel made eight changes to the side that lost at Newport, with three defensive midfielders against struggling Southampton, and the recalled Harvey Barnes starting on the bench.
City got off to a tentative start, and after Southampton had threatened a couple of times they took a 10th minute lead. Long had his back to goal on the edge of the area when Mendy put in a clumsy and needless challenge that bundled him over.
Ward-Prowse’s spot-kick had the pace to beat Schmeichel despite the City keeper guessing right.
With a precious lead Southampton were content to defend, but City were ponderous going forward with many passes going astray.
Saints always looked capable of a dangerous break and Maddision picked up a yellow card in the 20th minute for hauling back Redmond.
As the visitors attacked down the right Valery then went over in the area, for an obvious dive. Referee Michael Oliver took no action, leaving Maguire and Chilwell outraged.
City were really struggling to put anything meaningful together and on the few occasions Southampton went forward they looked more threatening, Schmeichel having to save from a Stephens header.
City’s first chance came in the 33rd minute when Chilwell crossed for Maguire who headed wide.
Moments later Chilwell was floored by a studs up challenge from Valery, and reacted angrily, with both players being booked.
City went close to an equaliser in the 35th minute when Morgan hit a shot from close in, but Bednarek managed to block it on the line.
As City chased the game up to the break Maguire sent a header off target and  Choudhury had a shot blocked.
Southampton were then reduced to ten men in time-added-on as Valery, who seemed determined to get sent off, fouled Albrighton twice in three seconds and was duly shown a red card.

1819 southampton home d

But there was a sting in the tail of this half. A poor Ricardo header and stumble from Mendy allowed Long in down the left channel and his attempted curler across the keeper was helped into the net by Schmeichel’s touch.
Boos rang around the ground at the half time whistle.

1819 southampton home b

Claude Puel made two changes for the second half with Barnes and Gray replacing Mendy and Albrighton. But Southampton, a man down and with a two goal lead, had abandoned all attacking intentions and formed a tortoise shell around the penalty area.
It was like a defence v attack training game.
A long range Maguire shot deflected off Barnes but McCarthy adjusted well to make the save. Maddison was the next to attempt a shot from distance but it didn’t test McCarthy.
Maddison then sent a free-kick from a good position into the wall before skying the rebound over the bar.
The breakthrough finally came in the 58th minute when Ricardo got in behind the defence down the right, and cut back for Ndidi who improvised a finish with his thigh at an awkward height.

1819 southampton home c

Three minutes later Vardy went over in the area, though replays showed this to be a blatant dive and he was lucky to escape a yellow card.
City went forward relentlessly, either through Gray and Ricardo combining down the right, or Chilwell and Barnes down the left, but no one could produce a killer cross and  Vestergaard must have been punch drunk with all the clearing headers he produced.
For all the pressure, Southampton’s goal was hardly under siege.
With 14 minutes remaining Puel made his final change, Ghezzal on for Choudhury, but still City didn’t look capable of breaking the stubborn resistance.
Maddison and Ndidi both sent long range efforts flying over the bar, while Barnes had a volley blocked.
Morgan and Maguire moved forward, and then Schmeichel came up for the corners, but even an eleven man attack couldn’t get past Southampton’s ten men and the final whistle heralded another home defeat by a struggling side.
There was loud booing from a hugely frustrated home crowd.

Claude Puel commented: “I think the fans are disappointed like us. It is normal. 
Other things are not my concern, only to keep my concentration and focus on the team, and to have the right reaction in the next game.”

Before the game, there was the extraordinary sight of a lady supporter having an A4 size ‘PUEL OUT’ message confiscated by a steward. If this policy is to be enforced the stewards may find themselves very busy in the coming weeks…

Leicester: Schmeichel, Ricardo, Morgan, Maguire, Chilwell, Choudhury (Ghezzal 76), Mendy (Barnes 45), Ndidi, Albrighton (Gray 45), Vardy, Maddison.
Substitutes: Simpson, Söyüncü, Iheanacho, Ward.
Southampton: McCarthy, Bednarek, Stephens, Vestergaard, Valery, Romeu, Ward-Prowse, Targett, Redmond (Gallagher 90), Armstrong (Cédric Soares 57), Long (Slattery 76).
Substitutes: Elyounoussi, Gunn, Sims, Ramsay.

Referee: 
Michael Oliver. Attendance: 31,491.

PHOTOS: Simon Kimber.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –  

Can’t Buy That Feeling – Inside Leicester City – The Best of The Fox Interviews

cbtf cover updated rgb blog

We have finally got round to compiling all our interviews into one book and it is available now from Conker Editions Ltd HERE
and Amazon HERE

Also available from the Leicester City Fanstore and Waterstones in Leicester.

The FOX has been interviewing Leicester City players, managers, famous fans and board members for almost three decades, building up a body of work that takes you right into the very fabric of the club, with memories spanning the last 60 years.

As a City fan, you’ve come to know hundreds of players through their performance on the pitch, through potted career biographies and football sticker images. But what about the real characters behind the blue shirt and the back-page reports?

Can’t Buy That Feeling takes you inside Leicester City from the perspective of those who were there – behind the scenes at the long-running soap opera packed with comedy and tragedy, triumph and disaster, financial ruin and amazing title wins.

Leave a comment

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Puel’s gamble fails as Leicester are dumped out of the Cup by Newport

Newport County 2:1 Leicester City

Newport County v Leicester City - The Emirates FA Cup third round

City were knocked out of the FA Cup at the first hurdle on Sunday, losing 2-1 to a fired-up Newport County at Rodney Parade…

For the rest of the nation, watching live coverage on the BBC,  this was a hugely entertaining FA Cup giant killing. For Leicester City fans it was all so painfully avoidable.
Claude Puel once again demonstrated that cups are not his priority, making seven changes to his side, bringing Matty James back after ten months out, and leaving Jamie Vardy at home.
The compact little ground was producing a big atmosphere as the teams came out, and you could already feel that City were facing a stiff challenge.

Newport County v Leicester City - The Emirates FA Cup third round

City had the better of the opening ten minutes, dominating possession and had a chance in the 4th minute. Okazaki wriggled through County’s defence setting up Ghezzal for an angled drive that Day tipped round the post.
Okazaki then had a shot on the turn from the edge of the area, but it went straight at Day, as did another shot from Ghezzal in the 9th minute.
But City were rocked in the 10th minute, when County took the lead from their first meaningful attack. Willmott raced down the right, leaving Fuchs in his wake, before delivering a fine cross that caught Morgan out and landed on the head of Matt who glanced it in off the far post leaving Ward rooted to the spot.
If it had looked like a game not to be taken lightly before, City were now facing a huge task.
Newport were the better side now and went close again in the 17th minute when Simpson gave away a free kick, grabbing Semenyou by the shoulders 25 yards out. Dolan’s curling free-kick was heading for the top left hand corner but Ward managed to grab it from the air.
City pressed forward again and had two great chances within a minute. A long crossfield ball from James sent Fuchs in on the left. The Austrian’s cut-back set up Albrighton for a shot that was deflected over the bar. From the corner Okazaki betrayed signs of rustiness heading wide from close in.
From a well-worked corner Dolan then fired in a shot that Ward saved with his legs.
As play moved from end to end Ghezzal was brought down 20 yards out. He took the free-kick himself but it drifted wide.
Newport threatened again when Amond crossed for Matt, but his first touch presented the ball to Ward who gratefully smothered it.
Albrighton then tried his luck from the edge of the box, but it went straight at Day again.

Newport County v Leicester City - The Emirates FA Cup third round

In the minutes leading up to half time Newport retreated a little, eager to take their lead in at the break. City went close when Fuchs crossed from the left and Okazaki produced a side-footed volley, but Demetriou blocked and it was League Two 1-0 Premier League at half time.

Claude Puel made a change for the second half, bringing Maddison on for Okazaki, but City appeared to lack urgency early on.
Then Amond tried an audacious overhead kick that flew well wide and City appeared to wake up. Iheanacho, with virtually his first meaningful touch of the game, rose to meet a Ghezzal cross but he shouldered it too close to Day.
Albrighton went close two minutes later, cutting in from the left to launch a curling shot from the edge of the area that smacked the top of the crossbar.
With Maddison directing things from midfield City were now gaining control of play, but struggling to get through an amber wall.
Puel made his second change just before the hour, with Simpson replaced by Gray and Albrighton moved back to right back, despite being City’s best threat going forward.
A rare defensive error for Newport saw Demetriou make a hash of a clearance and Iheanacho had a chance that he hurried, electing for a shot on the turn that went wide, when he had more time.
Gray and Maddison both had shots blocked as City maintained the pressure, before Puel brought King on for James in the 72nd minute. It was a mystifying decision with the game crying out for the introduction of Ricardo against tiring defenders, rather than someone who hadn’t played for over a year.
Newport continued to hold out, with Willmott blocking a Ghezzal volley, but with time beginning to run out City finally made the breakthrough in the 82nd minute.
Albrighton’s cross from the right was nodded down by Iheanacho to Maddison whose improvised volley was well saved by Day.  The grounded Franks could only clear the ball to the edge of the area where Ghezzal met it with a fierce drive into the net.
But the huge sense of relief only lasted for three minutes…
As Newport broke upfield Neufville crossed from the left and the ball struck the outstretched arm of Albrighton. It was clearly handball and Amond stepped up, sending Ward the wrong way with an assured spot kick.

1819 newport fac away e

City looked stunned as they tried to find their way level again. King sent a tame effort straight at Day, and Maddison fired a shot inches wide of the right hand post.
But there was no way back, and a huge roar erupted around Rodney Parade at the final whistle as The Exiles had beaten a side 74 places above them in the league.
Claude Puel insisted that he had put out a side strong enough to win the game, but the proof was in the scoreline – he hadn’t.
City’s season is now reduced to seeing which mid-table position they will occupy, and another opportunity for a cup run has been sacrificed on the altar of ‘resting players’.

1819 newport fac away a

Newport: Day, Hornby-Forbes (Pipe 67), Franks, Demetriou, Neufville, Bennett,
Dolan (O’Brien 86), Willmott, Amond, Semenyo, Matt (Bakinson 77).
Substitutes: Marsh-Brown, Sheehan, Foulston, Townsend.
Leicester: Ward, Simpson (Gray 60), Morgan, Evans, Fuchs, Choudhury, James (King 72), Ghezzal, Okazaki (Maddison 45), Albrighton, Iheanacho.
Substitutes: Söyüncü, Ricardo, Jakupovic, Mendy.

Referee: Chris Kavanagh. Attendance: 6,705.

PHOTOS: Simon Kimber.

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Leicester kick off 2019 with a win at Goodison

Everton 0:1 Leicester City

1819 everton away

A Jamie Vardy strike edged City to victory over Everton at Goodison on New Years Day.

Claude Puel made four changes to the side that lost against Cardiff with Ghezzal, Choudhury, Evans and Simpson replacing Gray, Maddison, Albrighton and Söyüncü.
The game kicked off at 12.30, but didn’t really start then. Early kick-offs often have a subdued atmosphere, and Goodison, half of which was brightly illuminated by a low winter sun, appeared to be suffering a collective New Years Day hangover.
Both sides were giving the ball away frequently in the midfield pinball.
The first half-chance fell for Vardy who ballooned a shot 20 yards over the bar.
Then the home side were presented with a chance by Maguire, but Richarlison fired his shot straight into Evans’ chest.
Everton went close in the 20th minute when a low cross passed through the area, to be met with a fierce shot by Kenny that struck the angle of post and bar.
A fairly dire game trundled on, with the only incidents being some crunching tackles from either side. Evans got away with one on Richarlison, but referee Martin Atkinson’s patience ran out and Choudhury was shown a yellow for a bodycheck on the Brazilian. Digne delivered the free-kick from the left but Zouma’s downward header into the ground didn’t trouble Schmeichel.
Zouma then launched a 40 yarder over the bar, before a rare foray forward from City saw Ghezzal do the same from the edge of the area.
City had an attacking spell up the break, Ricardo cut in from the left and sent a shot narrowly over, and then Pickford comfortably claimed a Maguire header.
The ref then blew his whistle and ended a half that no one was sad to see the back of.

Claude Puel swapped Albrighton for Ghezzal at the break and City looked the better side when play recommenced. Albrighton’s first cross saw Pickford struggling to claw it away. Everton were still struggling to create anything, and the mood at Goodison didn’t improve when City took a 58th minute lead. A terrible bit of control from Keane presented the ball to Ricardo who sent Vardy in on goal. He outpaced Zouma before beating Pickford with a low shot into the far corner. Vardy celebrated with some acrobatics in front of the travelling fans who were now thinking their early start had been worthwhile.
Everton tried to up their game in search of an equaliser, Sigurdsson sent a shot narrowly over, but it still wasn’t happening for them and the City defence were dealing comfortably with a series of crosses, especially Evans who had a fine game.
City were still a threat on the break and Ricardo forced Pickford into an awkward save at his near post with a shot from an acute angle.
Richarlison had a shot blocked from close in, before City swept upfield again. Chilwell led the charge, but couldn’t find a shot to match his run, and Pickford easily saved a tame effort.
City then won a couple of free-kicks. The first saw Maguire heading the ball on to Keane’s arm, but shouts for a penalty were ignored. Chilwell delivered the second to the far post but Maguire managed to shin it over from close in. His blushes were spared by the linesman’s flag.
Everton were still failing to put the pressure on City and the only close call came in time added on when Tosun had a a header from close in but Schmeichel spread himself well to block.
The final whistle saw City’s tough run of fixtures producing nine points from 12, and 7th place. While no one could describe this as a great game, it was certainly a perfect result for Claude Puel and his side.

Everton: Pickford, Kenny, Keane, Zouma, Digne, André Gomes (Bernard 62), Gueye, Walcott (Tosun 70), Sigurdsson, Richarlison, Calvert-Lewin.
Substitutes: Baines, Mina, Stekelenburg, Coleman, Davies.
Leicester: Schmeichel, Simpson, Evans, Maguire, Chilwell, Choudhury, Mendy,
Ndidi, Ghezzal (Albrighton 45), Vardy (Gray 90), Ricardo.
Substitutes: Söyüncü, Maddison, Ward, Okazaki, Fuchs.
Referee: Martin Atkinson. Attendance: 39,052.

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Late Cardiff strike brings Leicester back down to earth

Leicester City 0:1 Cardiff City

Leicester City v Cardiff City - Premier League

A spectacular injury time goal from Camarasa earned Cardiff the points at the KPS on Saturday as City looked a shadow of the side that had beaten Chelsea and Man City…

Claude Puel made two changes to his side with Morgan and Choudhury replaced by Söyüncü and Gray.
The pattern of the game soon established itself with Cardiff defending in numbers and City having plenty of the ball.
Cardiff had a scare in the 5th minute when Cunningham intercepted a ball from Gray but then a back pass beyond Etheridge. To his relief it trickled inches wide of the post.
Cardiff then had spell of pressure and Morrison got his head to a Gunnarsson cross but cleared the bar. But City soon regained their dominance.
A skilful drag back earned Maddison some space for a 20-yarder but Etheridge guided it round the post. Ndidi sent a header over the bar from a corner and then a Ricardo shot forced a good save from Etheridge.
After a Bamba foul on Maddison the City No 10 picked himself up and swung the free-kick over the wall, but it didn’t have enough pace to beat Etheridge.
As half time approached Cardiff ventured forward more. There were big shouts for a penalty when Mendy appeared to shove Paterson over, and then a misplaced Söyüncü header hit the top of the bar.
As play switched from end to end, Maddison sent Vardy in down the left channel but  Etheridge was swiftly off his line to block the shot.

Leicester City v Cardiff City - Premier League

Etheridge was called into action again, saving a well-struck Gray shot and the sides went in goalless at half time. Many fans had expected a frustrating afternoon, and that’s what they were getting.

Etheridge made another fine save from Ricardo early in the second half, before getting booked for time-wasting when he didn’t appear to grasp the fact that he had to take a goal kick.
Claude Puel made his first change in the 58th minute, replacing a tired looking Albrighton with Ghezzal.
A wayward pass from Söyüncü then presented Murphy with a chance but Schmeichel got his defender off the hook with a solid save.
Puel then made an unpopular decision in the 68th minute, bringing  Iheanacho on for Vardy, and prompting loud booing from the stands.
This substitution didn’t look any better six minutes later when City were awarded a penalty.  Maddison wriggled through a crowded penalty area, playing a one-two with Ghezzal before having his arm pulled by Morrison. With no Vardy on the field Maddison took the kick, and sent it lamely within Etheridge’s reach. To make matters worse Maddison was slow to react to the rebound and was beaten to the ball by Bamba.

Leicester City v Cardiff City - Premier League

Okazaki came on for Gray as City tried to find a breakthrough with increasing desperation. Ghezzal fired in a shot that Bamba did well to block, and then he attempted a dipping 20-yarder that went narrowly wide.
As the game entered time-added-on Cardiff looked as though they fancied a first win of the season and began to press forward.
Schmeichel had to tip a Camarasa free-kick over the bar, but this was only a warning shot. Two minutes later the Real Betis player was given too much room 25 yards out and he launched a superb dipping shot into the top right hand corner.

Leicester City v Cardiff City - Premier League

After the recent triumphs a point would have been disappointing but understandable. But a defeat was tough to take, especially after the penalty award that should have given City the lead.

After a period of grace, the pressure is now piled back onto Claude Puel, who appears to be his own worst enemy at times. Although it is a hectic schedule, should he have changed a winning side and formation?
Puel explained his substitution of Vardy: “I manage my team about what I see. Jamie was in difficulty, he was tired. It’s normal. He has played almost all the last games, with full minutes. For Jamie or for other players, they have tiredness in this busy period.”

Leicester: Schmeichel, Ricardo, Söyüncü, Maguire, Chilwell, Mendy, Ndidi,
Albrighton (Ghezzal 58), Maddison, Gray (Okazaki 79), Vardy (Iheanacho 68).
Substitutes: Simpson, Ward, Iborra, Fuchs.
Cardiff: Etheridge, Ecuele, Manga, Morrison, Bamba, Cunningham, Gunnarsson,
Hoilett (Reid 83), Camarasa, Arter (Peltier 90), Murphy (Harris 78), Paterson.
Substitutes: Bennett, Ralls, Smithies, Mendez-Laing.

Referee: Simon Hooper. Attendance: 32,047.

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