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Victorious Leicester Crowned at the King Power

Leicester City 3:1 Everton

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Premier League Champions Leicester City were presented with the trophy on Saturday evening at the King Power Stadium, after a 3-1 victory against Everton.
The club have delighted and amazed their fans, finally winning the league in their 132nd year.
The atmosphere began to build around the ground many hours before kick-off, and an emotionally charged crowd were brilliantly serenaded by opera legend Andrea Bocelli, for whom the heavy rain obligingly held off for a spell.

Claudio Ranieri replaced the suspended Huth and Drinkwater with Wasilewski and King, Albrighton came in for Schlupp and Vardy returned to the side after his two game ban.
It only took City’s leading scorer five minutes to find the net, with Ranieri’s side showing no hint of taking their foot off the accelerator now the title had been won.

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A Mahrez throw from the right found King, who curled a fine cross into the goalmouth and Vardy popped up between Stones and Oviedo to send it past Robles with a deft touch.
The party moved up another gear.
King headed straight at Robles when well placed and then Fuchs was denied his first goal of the season with a timely Lennon block.
In a rare Everton attack Wasilewski got a block on a chance that almost fell for Lukaku.
In increasingly hard rain, Kante fired in a shot that Robles couldn’t hold, but the Everton keeper recovered to deny Okazaki a follow-up chance.
The City fans didn’t have long to wait for a second goal however. In the 33rd minute Mahrez jinked through the Everton defence on the right. Baines got a tackle in but only succeeded in teeing up King. The club’s longest serving player timed his run beautifully and produced his trademark finish from ten yards.

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City were denied another chance when Okazaki sent Mahrez through but he was hauled over by Pennington, who was booked. Mahrez then nodded over the bar in the last action of the half.

Everton had their best spell of the game early in the second half, but Niasse’s lob and Lukaku’s backheel both failed to beat Schmeichel.
Fuchs, still in search of his first goal, sent a 30 yard free-kick over and bar and also had a shot blocked by Robles, while at the other end Schmeichel produced a decent save to deny Lukaku.
Ranieri made his first change in the 62nd minute, bringing Ulloa on for Okazaki, and City made it 3-0 a couple of minutes later.

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As Vardy hared into the penalty area, Pennington clipped his heel for a clear penalty, which the England striker blasted past Robles.
The applause rang out again as Schlupp replaced Albrighton soon after this.
Vardy, in down the left fired in a low shot, but was denied his hat-trick by Robles, who got a leg to it.
In the 72nd minute Gibson took Schlupp out in the area for as clear a penalty as you could ever hope to see. Vardy stepped up again, but this time sent his effort sailing into the Kop, his hat-trick denied again.

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City threatened a fourth, but several headers from Ulloa went narrowly over. Instead it was the Everton fans, sharing the away corner with perhaps hundreds of City interlopers, who had some rare cheer when Mirallas pulled one back with two minutes remaining.
Sheer persistence, and a bit of luck, took him past Kante and Wasilewski before ruining Schmeichel’s clean sheet.
Mahrez was replaced by Gray in injury time, perhaps only to allow the PFA Player of the Year an ovation of his own.
The final whistle heralded City’s 23rd win of the season, and took them to 80 points.
The players left the field and changed back into this season’s kit, having given next season’s a preview for the game.

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Alan Birchenall brought the trophy out wearing an expression that was an absolute picture.
Then Claudio and his players filed out, onto the hastily erected presentation platform.
City fan Steve Worthy handed the trophy over to captain Wes Morgan who insisted that Ranieri had a hand on it when it was lifted into the air, the cue for fireworks, glitter bombs and a thunderous ovation from the 30,000 lucky enough to have been here on this momentous day.
It was the start of a party that would spread across Leicester and go on all night.

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2015-16 was an astonishing one for our beloved club Leicester City. One that no supporter of the club could ever have seen coming.
If the club continues to do things the right way, there is no reason why this can’t just be the beginning.
As Claudio said: “The people are dreaming. Keep dreaming.”

Leicester: Schmeichel, Simpson, Wasilewski, Morgan, Fuchs, Kante, King, Mahrez (Gray 90), Albrighton (Schlupp 66), Okazaki (Ulloa 62), Vardy. Subs Not Used: Schwarzer, Chilwell, Amartey, Inler.
Everton: Robles, Baines, Stones, Pennington, Oviedo, Lennon, Cleverly (Gibson 62), McCarthy, Barkley (Osman 81), Niasse (Mirallas 62), Lukaku. Subs Not Used: Howard, Mirallas, Connolly, Besic, Dowell.

Referee: A Marriner. Attendance: 32,140.

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Leicester park the bus at the Etihad – and pay the penalty

Manchester City 2:0 Leicester City

Man City v Leicester City, Barclays Premiership, 4 March 2015

A goal at the end of each half was enough for Champions Manchester City to ease their way past Leicester at the Etihad on Wednesday night…

While Nigel Pearson stuck with the side that drew at Everton, the big team news of the night was City skipper Kompany being relegated to the bench.
Though with City camped in their own third and at one point having just 22% possession chances to test the new-look defence were rare.
In the third minute Bony, met a Silva’s corner, but Cambiasso cleared comfortably off the line. Other than that, a packed Leicester defence managed to restrict City to a long range effort from Toure that didn’t test Schwarzer.
But it was Leicester who should have made a breakthrough when Schlupp broke down the left only to be pushed over by Bony for a clear penalty, but referee Robert Madley waved play on.

Man City v Leicester City, Barclays Premiership, 4 March 2015

In the 25th minute they were more appeals from the visitors when Kramarić, chased a Mahrez through ball into the area and was upended by City keeper Hart, though he appeared to just touch the ball before the man.
The evening then got busier for Schwarzer  as he produced good saves to deny Bony and then Toure.
A clever lob from Silva then sent Bony clean through but he blazed his finish high and wide.
Just when it looked as though Leicester could congratulate themselves on surviving the half unscathed, some static defending in injury time saw Silva reacting swiftly to a rebound off Morgan to put the Champions ahead.

Leicester had another penalty denied them early in the second half when Kramarić was tripped by Fernando just inside the area.
This time referee Madley saw the foul but placed it outside the box. Kramarić sent the free-kick inches wide of the left hand upright.
In the 57th minute Pearson made his first changes, with Nugent and Vardy on for Koncheksy and Kramarić.
The hosts started to turn th escrew on Leicester, but some fine saves from Schwarzer kept them at bay. By this point he was flinging himself around his goalmouth to deny efforts from Toure, Kolarov and Silva.

Man City v Leicester City, Barclays Premiership, 4 March 2015

Amidst this action was one great chance for Leicester when Mahrez beat the unsighted Hart with a low shot, but he hit the right hand post.
Soon after that Mahrez made way for Ulloa, but Leicester appeared to run out of steam in the last fifteen minutes.
It was City who added to the scoreline late on when Milner found too much space in the goalmouth to prod home a Navas cross and seal the victory.
While replays showed that City should have been awarded two penalties, we are left wondering what could have been achieved with a more adventurous set-up against a side that have not been at their best in recent weeks.

Man City: Hart, Demichelis, Sagna, Kolarov, Mangala, Silva (Lampard 79), Fernando, Navas, Toure, Aguero (Dzeko 85), Bony (Milner 72). Subs Not Used: Caballero, Kompany, Zabaleta, Clichy.
Leicester: Schwarzer, Konchesky (Nugent 57), Morgan, Upson, James, Huth, Schlupp, Simpson, Cambiasso, Mahrez (Ulloa 76), Kramarić (Vardy 57). Subs Not Used: Drinkwater, King, Hamer, Wasilewski.

Referee: R Madley. Attendance: 45,000.

ALL PHOTOS: Simon Kimber

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Leicester dumped out of the FA Cup at Villa

Aston Villa 2:1 Leicester City

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City’s bowed out of the FA Cup at Villa Park on Sunday with a poor performance in front of 6,500 travelling fans…

Nigel Pearson made one change to the side that played at Arsenal, with Wasilewski in for the cup-tied Huth, so a five-man defence lined up against a very goal-shy Villa side.
Villa got off to a better start, with new boss Tim Sherwood sat in the stands and featuring regularly on the big screens, though Weimann sent their best chance sailing over the bar.
City then went close from a James corner, Wasilewski’s glancing header had Given beaten but brushed the right hand post.
In a half of few chances City’s next came on the half hour when a Cambiasso dummy made space for James to fire in a vicious shot that Given did very well to get his fingertips to, sending the ball inches wide.
Benteke got the ball into City’s net just before the break but Villa celebrations were halted by an offside flag and the sides went in goalless after a half that wouldn’t have gripped the nation.

Attacking the Holte End, and having had their first half-time team talk from Sherwood, Villa looked more likely to open the scoring, especially as City were having terrible trouble retaining possession. Delph sent a header over the bar and then Schwarzer smothered a Benteke effort.
Delph then sent a shot from a free-kick wide.
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Nigel Pearson made a change on 65 minutes, bringing Ulloa on for Wasilewski, but just three minutes later Villa took the lead.
Bacuna cut in from the left and delivered a fine shot beyond Schwarzer and into the far corner to break the deadlock and delight the home fans.
It could have been 2-0 soon afterwards, but Upson put in a fine last-ditch challenge to prevent Benteke from adding to the scoreline.
City best chance of a reply came when an Ulloa effort was saved by Given, who then blocked Kramarić’s follow-up. A few attacks were mounted to no great effect as City by now looked very ponderous and disjointed.
Villa added a second as the clock reached 90. Morgan failed to cut out the ball over the top and substitute Sinclair sealed the home side’s place in the quarter-finals after a Schwarzer fumble.

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Somewhat perversely, as soon as the game was beyond them City found the net at last. Kramarić sent an outstanding header past Given from a Schlupp cross to give City’s huge following something to cheer, but it was too late to make a difference.

The final whistle was heralded with chants of: “What a load of rubbish!” from an extremely disenchanted away crowd.
Being able to ‘concentrate on the league’ won’t fill anyone with any joy…

Villa: Given, Hutton, Cissokho, Clark, Vlaar, Bacuna (Sinclair 77), Cleverley, Westwood, Delph, Weimann (Grealish 83), Benteke. Subs Not Used: Guzan, Okore, Cole, Sanchez, Lowton, Grealish.
Leicester: Schwarzer, Simpson, Wasilewski (Ulloa 65), Morgan, Upson, Konchesky, Mahrez, Cambiasso, James, Schlupp, Kramarić. Subs Not Used: Hammond, Vardy, King, Albrighton, Hamer, Moore.
Referee: M Clattenburg. Attendance: 28,098.

All Photos: SIMON KIMBER

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Plaudits, but no points, for Leicester at the Emirates

Arsenal 2:1 Leicester City

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A spirited second half performance was not enough to prevent a 2-1 defeat for City at the Emirates on Tuesday night…

Nigel Pearson made three changes to his starting XI with Huth and Upson making their debuts alongside Morgan in a three-man central defence, and Kramarić making his first full league appearance; Wasilewski, Ulloa and Nugent making way.
City adopted an up and at ’em approach from the start in a fixture they hadn’t won since the days of Jimmy Bloomfield.
Mahrez saw his shot deflected wide, and then James’ half-volley was blocked by Bellerin.  Mahrez then went agonisingly close when his shot went through Ospina’s legs but just wide of the far post.
Arsenal then began to gain some ground and Walcott should have put the Gunners ahead when he broke clear on goal but Schwarzer pulled off a fine block.
Schwarzer then produced another save to deny Ozil but Arsenal took a 27th minute lead from the corner. From Ozil’s flag-kick Koscielny left Morgan standing as he raced to the near post for a neat finish.
Although City continued to press forward they wen tin at the break 2-0 down. Ozil’s 25-yard effort was parried by Schwarzer, but only into the path of Walcott, who fired the ball home.

Just before the hour Upson had to limp out of the action, replaced by Wasilewski, and City struck back a couple of minutes later.
After some great battling from Cambiasso on the right, the ball was worked out to Kramarić 18 yards out, who arrowed home his first goal for City.
City were the better side at this stage, but Mahrez sent a curling effort narrowly off target and then Kramarić elected to try and lob Ospina when clean through but delivered the ball straight into the keeper’s grasp.
With Ulloa and Nugent on for Morgan and Schlupp City desperately sought an equaliser, but they were contained by Arsenal’s defence and ended up with nothing to show for their considerable efforts.

The gap to safety extended to 5 points with a tough looking schedule coming up. Hopefully the FA Cup will offer some cheer on Sunday.

Arsenal: Ospina, Bellerin, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal, Coquelin, Rosicky, Walcott (Ramsey 73 (Flamini 85)), Cazorla, Ozil, Sanchez (Giroud 67). Subs Not Used: Szczesny, Gibbs, Gabriel, Welbeck.
Leicester: Schwarzer, Simpson, Huth, Morgan (Ulloa 80), Upson (Wasilewski 59), Konchesky, Mahrez, Cambiasso, James, Schlupp (Nugent 85), Kramarić. Subs Not Used: Drinkwater, King, Albrighton, Hamer.

Referee: M Jones. Attendance: 60,032.  

Photo: Paul Coulson.

 

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Leicester brushed aside at Old Trafford

Manchester United 3:1 Leicester City

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City were beaten by half time by Manchester United at Old Trafford on Saturday…

Nigel Pearson made one change to his side with Wasilewski in for Moore, while Upson made his first appearance on the bench.
City looked reasonably comfortable against the formidable threat of Di Maria, Falcao and Van Persie during the early stages; but possession was hard to come by and a Schlupp effort from the left after a defensive error was a rare chance.
United got a lucky break in the 27th minute which led to their opener. With Kramarić dithering in midfield, Blind nipped in and delivered a precise ball forward to Van Persie, who looked to be half a yard offside before giving Schwarzer no chance with a crisp finish.
Five minutes later the game was all but up for City as United went further ahead.
A Van Persie pass unzipped City’s defence down the left and Di Maria honed in on goal firing a shot at Schwarzer, who palmed it to Falcao for a finish that Wasilewski couldn’t quite prevent.
Just before half-time the destiny of the points was sealed  when Morgan nodded a Rooney corner past Schwarzer to put the cap on a miserable 20 minutes for City.

The second half saw Cambiasso on for Vardy, in a more balanced line-up, and an improvement for City against a side no longer urgently pressing forward. Kramarić tried a very ambitious over-head effort that didn’t trouble De Gea.
Januzaj sent one just over the bar for United, while at the other end Ulloa going down in the area failed to get a response from the ref.
Pearson then brought Albrighton and Nugent on for Kramarić and Ulloa and it was Albrighton who delivered a perfect cross from the right for Wasilewski to nod past De Gea for his first City goal.
Any thoughts of a comeback soon passed as Albrighton fired a volley over the bar.

It was a day when City hadn’t done themselves justice, though results elsewhere meant that they didn’t lose any ground.

United: De Gea, Shaw, Jones, Rojo, Di Maria, Falcao (Wilson 80), Rooney, Januzaj, Blind, Van Persie (McNair 68), Valencia (Mata 77). Subs Not Used: Smalling, Herrera, Fellaini, Valdes.
Leicester: Schwarzer, Simpson, Wasilewski, Morgan, De Laet, Drinkwater, King, Vardy (Cambiasso 46), Kramarić (Albrighton 62), Schlupp, Ulloa (Nugent 62). Subs Not Used: Konchesky, Upson, Hammond, Hamer.
Referee: M Atkinson. Attendance: 75,329. 

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Leicester go marching on with late show at Spurs

Tottenham Hotspur 1:2 Leicester City

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City left it late at White Hart Lane on Saturday but goals from Ulloa and Schlupp dumped Tottenham out of the Cup and booked a place in the last sixteen…

Nigel Pearson made five changes to his starting line-up, with Kramarić making his full debut, Schwarzer breaking the club record for  oldest-ever player, Moore, De Laet and Ulloa in for Nugent, Hamer, Konchesky, Wasilewski and Knockaert.
Although it was Spurs who dominated the early possession in a slow start to the game, it was City who notched the first real chance.
A good run and cross from Schlupp on the left was met by Kramarić’s left foot, but Vorm pulled off a fantastic save to deny the Croatian his first goal for his new club.
Although Paulinho fired a volley narrowly over the bar for the home side, City soon carved out another chance. The centre of the Tottenham’s defence seemed to open up in the face of strong running from the lively Schlupp though his shot was placed too close to Vorm, who pulled off another fine save.

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However, it was Spurs who took a 19th minute lead via the penalty spot. Moore was struggling from an earlier knock when he caught  Soldado on the ankle and Townsend did a tidy job, beating Schwarzer from 12 yards.
Moore then completed his short and miserable afternoon, being booked for a foul on Soldado before being replaced by Wasilewski .
City then had a huge penalty shout of their own  when Kramarić raced onto a Drinkwater through ball, and rounded Vorm before appearing to be clipped by the keeper, nowhere near the ball.  There were howls of disapproval in the away end as referee Robert Madley booked him for diving.

Tottenham should have gone 2-0 up early in the second half when a jinking run down the right from Lamela teed up Paulinho but he fired wide of the right hand post from close in.
At the other hand Ulloa wasted a chance, misdirecting a header with the goal at his mercy.
Wasilewski also headed straight at Vorm from a corner, before Pearson made his changes with 20 minutes to go – Nugent and Albrighton coming on for Vardy and Kramarić.
Schwarzer kept City in the tie with a brilliant full-length save from Lamela, before the late drama unfolded.
With eight minutes left Schlupp attempted a shot which was heading off target before Ulloa skillfully controlled it and found the bottom right hand corner to send the away end mad.

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Before thoughts of a replay had time to sink in, City then booked a place in the 5th round, as the game entered time added on.
Great work from Simpson down the right ended with a cross for Schlupp whose acrobatic flick somehow squirmed past Vorm on the line and into the net, sparking off even more manic celebrations in the blue corner.

Not only had City made it to the fifth round of the FA Cup, but they had shown more signs that they could be good enough to survive in the Premier League.

Tottenham: Vorm, Chiriches, Fazio, Kaboul, Rose; Capoue, Dembele (Kane 86); Townsend (Eriksen 63), Paulinho, Lamela; Soldado (Adebayor 69). Subs Not Used: Friedel, Davies, Dier, Stambouli.
Leicester: Schwarzer, Simpson, Morgan, Moore (Wasilewski 25), De Laet, Drinkwater, King, Vardy (Albrighton 71), Kramarić (Nugent 71), Ulloa. Subs Not Used: Koncheksy, Hamer, Cambiasso, Knockaert.
Referee: R Madley. Attendance: 35,548
ALL PHOTOS: Alan Franklin

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Leicester’s revival halted by Stoke

Leicester City 0:1 Stoke City

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City suffered their first defeat since Boxing Day when one moment of class in a dour spectacle from Bojan won the game for Stoke at the KPS on Saturday…
Nigel Pearson made four changes to his side with Drinkwater, King, Schlupp and Vardy in for Hammond, James, Albrighton and Ulloa.
With neither Ulloa or new signing Kramarić starting the game this made for the most expensive bench in City’s history.
Though no doubt Ghana would be pleased to hear about Schlupp’s recovery.
A few half chances were created by Schlupp and Knockaert’s early probing, but City’s first clear cut effort didn’t arrive until the 28 minute when  the two combined well but Knockaert sent his effort from close in straight at Begovic. Soon after that Vardy teed up Nugent, but his cleverly taken effort flew inches over the crossbar from the edge of the area.
Hamer hadn’t had much to do at the other end, making a regulation save from Arnautovic’s long-range free-kick after Bojan had been flattened  by Wasilewski.
Wollscheid sent a header narrowly wide from a corner, before Vardy saw the last chance of the half saved by Bergovic, and the ref blew the  whistle on a half that saw more perspiration than inspiration.

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If Leicester had just edged the first half, the second saw Stoke gradually taking control of the game.
Arnautovic found the side-netting when he should have scored, before Wilson attempted a long-range effort that missed the target.
Hamer then produced a fantastic reaction save to deny N’Zonzi’s volleyed effort from inside the area, but the visitors soon went ahead.
In the 63rd minute a Walters ball found Bojan in the area with his back to goal. He had the time and space to turn a fire a precise shot beyond Hamer’s reach before racing off to celebrate in front of a delighted away corner.

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Pearson immediately brought on Kramarić for Vardy. With his first meaningful touch he made space for himself and sent in a shot, but it didn’t test Begovic.
Further changes were made with twenty minutes to go, with Ulloa and Lawrence replacing Nugent and Schlupp, but City came up against a red and white striped wall. Knockaert came closest getting onto the end of a Lawrence cross but he was denied by Begovic; while at the other end Crouch went very close with a speculative 40 yard lob.

City could find no way through and this was a big set-back to their fragile revival, though results elsewhere meant that 17th place is still only one win away.

Leicester: Hamer, Simpson, Morgan, Wasilewski, Konchesky, Knockaert, Drinkwater, King, Schlupp (Lawrence 71), Nugent (Ulloa 71), Vardy (Kramarić 65). Subs Not Used: Schwarzer, De Laet, Albrighton, Moore.
Stoke: Begovic, Bardsley, Wilson, Wollscheid, Muniesa, Whelan, N’Zonzi, Arnautovic (Crouch 81), Bojan, Moses (Cameron 85), Walters. Subs Not Used: Butland, Huth, Ireland, Adam, Sidwell.

Referee: A Marriner. Attendance: 31,772.

ALL PHOTOS: Simon Kimber. 

 

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