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Ndidi makes amends to earn Leicester a point at Chelsea

Chelsea 1:1 Leicester City

1920 chelsea away

Wilfred Ndidi went from villain to hero at Stamford Bridge on Sunday, presenting Chelsea with the opening goal, and then nodding home the equaliser from a corner…

Brendan Rodgers made one change to his side for this Sunday afternoon trip to West London, with Fuchs coming in for the injured Chilwell.
City, resplendent in their new pink and black strip, soon found themselves under the cosh, as the pre-match fervour celebrating the return of Frank Lampard continued into the game.
Before the first minute was up Azpilicueta’s cross from the right was chested down by Giroud and Pedro lashed his shot into the side-netting.
A minute later Giroud set up Mount for a shot that was saved by Schmeichel, the City keeper recovered swiftly to block Pulisic’s follow up effort.
With City looking bewildered at the back Pulisic met the resulting corner with a near-post header that zipped across the face of goal.
When Chelsea took a 7th minute lead it already seemed overdue. As City played out from the back Ndidi dawdled too long on the ball and was robbed by Mount who stayed upright after being clipped by Ndidi and managed to stab the ball past a wrong-footed Schmeichel.
After the goal the pace relented a little and City began to slowly feel their way into the game. But Chelsea were still creating chances. In the 21st minute Mount got a head to a Azpilicueta cross but directed his effort straight at Schmeichel from the penalty spot.
Then an Emerson cross was back heeled by Giroud into the path of Kante, who was denied an 8 yard tap in when Fuchs flew in with an excellent last-ditch challenge.
At this stage City’s best chance had come when Kepa dithered over a clearance and Vardy chased him down, and the Chelsea keeper only just managed to prod the ball clear.
City had more of the possession in the closing stages of the first half, but were still struggling to create anything. A Maddison free-kick into the area that just evaded Ndidi was the closest they got.

The game turned on its head in the second half with City the better side and the chances had gone from famine to feast.
Maddison burst into the area down the left and rounded Kepa, but his cut back ball for Tielemans was intercepted by Mount.
After a corner was cleared Choudhury attempted a curling effort into the top corner, but it was too close to Kepa.
Maddison then twisted and turned his way past Christensen before delivering a cross/shot that flashed wide of the far post.
Inspired by Maddison it was all City now. Tielemans fired over from a corner, and then a Fuchs shot deflected over the keeper missing the bar by inches.
City made the breakthrough in the 67th minute, with Ndidi evading his marker and rising to meet Maddision’s flag kick with a thumping header that gave Kepa no chance.
Brendan Rodgers made his first change in the 72nd minute, with debutant Praet replacing Choudhury.
A minute later City should have taken the lead. Praet send Fuchs in down the left and his cross into the area was touched in Maddison’s path by Pérez. Maddison created himself room for a shot but lifted it over the bar from 8 yards.
Chelsea had a rare chance when a Pedro chip missed Abraham’s head by a whisker, but City were soon threatening again. More good work from Praet in midfield saw Maddison breaking forward and he slipped Vardy in down the left, but the striker’s low angled drive went just beyond the far post.
With ten minutes remaining Albrighton came on for Pérez, as City pressed for a winner.
In the 88th minute another breakaway came from Praet winning the ball and finding Maddison (the third time he’d done this). Maddison fed Albrighton on the right and his precise cutback saw Tielemans connecting well with a first time effort that went straight at Kepa.
Seconds before the full time whistle Albrighton and Kepa were involved in a straight race for the ball which the Chelsea keeper narrowly won, and both sides had to be content with a point.
It had been a strange game, City could have been 3-0 down very early on, but were also genuinely disappointed not to have claimed victory.
Brendan Rodgers commented: “It was obviously a tough start for us in the game. Frank got a great reaction when he came back, which fed into the players and gave them momentum at the start of the game. But that tests you as a team, your spirit and resilience, so we had to hang in there for that opening 10-15 minutes But I thought after that, we regained our composure again, the decision-making in the first half could have been better at times with the final pass, but it’s a case of reinforcing that to the players, there were a couple of little items to look at at half-time. Second half, we were very, very good. Defensively, we didn’t give a way much, we were really tight in our organisation and we created a number of chances, and good chances, too, to win the game.”

Chelsea: Arrizabalaga, Azpilicueta, Christensen, Zouma, Emerson, Kanté, Jorginho (Kovacic 71), Pedro, Mount, Pulisic (Willian 71), Giroud (Abraham 61). 
Substitutes: Alonso, Barkley, Caballero, Tomori.
Leicester: Schmeichel: Ricardo, Evans, Söyüncü, Fuchs, Ndidi, Pérez (Albrighton 80), Tielemans, Choudhury (Praet 73), Maddison, Vardy.
Substitutes: Justin, Morgan, Ward, Iheanacho, Barnes.

Referee: Oliver Langford. Attendance: 40,629.

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VAR makes its mark on Leicester Wolves stalemate

Leicester City 0:0 Wolverhampton Wanderers

1920 wolves home a

A poor opening day spectacle at the King Power saw a VAR decision ruling out a Wolves goal to produce a 0-0 scoreline…

Brendan Rodgers handed Pérez his debut, Söyüncü took Maguire’s place in the back line and both Ndidi and Choudhury were employed in midfield.
Before the game a Union FS tifo celebrated 100 years since the club was restructured after World War One and renamed ‘City’.

Leicester City v Wolverhampton Wanderers - Premier League

A first half of few incidents unfolded, with Wolves set up to defend and attack on the break.
The first chance came in the 2nd minute but Dendoncker shot from the edge of the area flew high and wide.
City pressed forward but were met by a wall of old gold and Choudhury and Tielemans both had shots blocked.

Leicester City v Wolverhampton Wanderers - Premier League

City were confined to trying their luck from the edge of the area and Chilwell, Ricardo and Ndidi all failed to hit the target.
In the 35th minute Doherty delivered a free-kick into the goalmouth and the ball fell for Bennett in front of goal, but Evans managed to prod the ball away before he could react.
City’s best moment of the half came in the 37th minute when they passed their way around the Wolves area, before Tielemans delivered a hard and low cross but Vardy’s attempted flick from two yards out was too elaborate when any touch would have seen a goal.
Wolves then broke upfield and Jota was in a great position when he fell over, presenting the ball to Söyüncü.
The half time whistle drew a veil over a forgettable half.

After the break Wolves came racing out of the traps and enjoyed a spell of pressure.
Jiménez bore down on goal and forced a save from Schmeichel, and then Bennett sent a header wide from a corner.
This spell of pressure appeared to have ended with a goal in the 51st minute.  Dendoncker got his head to a corner and it brushed Boly’s arm. Dendoncker fired the loose ball home and the away corner erupted.
But this is 2019-20, and 98 seconds later it was the home fans celebrating as the scoreboard flashed up ‘NO GOAL’ and referee Andre Marriner signalled a free kick.
A combination of the poor new handball law and VAR’s all-seeing eye had left Wolves feeling robbed.

Leicester City v Wolverhampton Wanderers - Premier League

Jota had a chance to put Wolves ahead a couple of minutes later when he went clear down the right, but he pulled his shot 10 yards wide of the left hand post.
Maddison then had a shot blocked as City continued to struggle to get past Wolves well drilled defence.
Rodgers made his first change in the 61st minute, bringing on Barnes for Choudhury.
City upped the pressure and won a series of six corners, but Maddison failed to deliver a decent one and Wolves easily soaked up the pressure.
Albrighton replaced Pérez in the 76th minute, but still City couldn’t find a way through.
Tielemans picked out Barnes for a swerving 30 yarder, but Patrício gathered it just inside the post.
Barnes then charged into the area and exchanged passes with Vardy before delivering a low cross which Boly did well to block.
Maddison sent a shot wide and Evans’ attempted overhead kick from close in didn’t work out. Albrighton had a shot blocked late on, but this game had long looked like a 0-0 draw.

Leicester City v Wolverhampton Wanderers - Premier League

It was an underwhelming performance from City in the face of high expectation, but Wolves are a very good side and their Europa League games appeared to have put them more in their stride than City.
Maddison, Tielemans and Vardy all looked a little rusty, though the fine performance of Söyüncü made the decision not to spend large on a Maguire replacement look like a wise one. Brendan Rodger revealed that he earned a round of applause from his team mates.
Inevitably the main talking point was the VAR decision, which may have left some Wolves fans thinking they might never celebrate a goal quite as enthusiastically again. Which would be a great loss to the game.

Leicester: Schmeichel, Ricardo Pereira, Evans, Söyüncü, Chilwell, Ndidi, Pérez (Albrighton 76), Tielemans, Choudhury (Barnes 61), Maddison, Vardy.
Substitutes: Justin, Morgan, Ward, Iheanacho, Praet.
Wolves: Rui Patrício, Bennett, Coady, Boly, Doherty, Dendoncker, Neves (Saïss 81), João Moutinho, Castro Otto, Jiménez, Jota (Cutrone 76).
Substitutes: Lomba Neto, Gibbs-White, Ruddy, Vinagre, Traoré.

Referee: Andre Marriner. Attendance: 32,015.

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Leicester break club record to sign Youri Tielemans

City have signed Belgium international Youri Tielemans from Monaco for a reported club record fee of £40m.

Leicester City v Arsenal FC - Premier League

After a hugely impressive loan spell in the second half of last season City fans were hoping the 22 year old midfielder could be signed on a permanent deal, and now that has become reality.

Tielemans scored three goals and provided four assists in 13 Premier League appearances last season, and this signing is a big statement of intent from a club looking to break into the top six.

Tielemans told LCFC.com:“It is such a great feeling to sign for this Football Club. Ever since I arrived on loan last season, all the players, the staff and the fans have been fantastic with me, so I’m thrilled to be able to become a Leicester City player. I believe that we have the talent in our squad to achieve something special and for any player, that’s an exciting thing to be a part of. I really can’t wait to get started again with this Club and do everything I can to help my team-mates.”

PHOTO: Simon Kimber.

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End of Term feel as Leicester and Chelsea reach stalemate

Leicester City 0:0 Chelsea

Leicester City v Chelsea - Premier League

Leicester and Chelsea failed to trouble the scoreboard in a low-key end to the season at the King Power Stadium on Sunday…

Brendan Rodgers named an unchanged side, City’s only change being the first airing of next season’s Adidas kit, reverting back to white shorts.
It was a game played out in bright sunshine with City lacking their usual zip and Chelsea’s minds firmly on the Europa League Final.

Chelsea should have gone ahead in the 3rd minute when City’s defence were caught out by a Jorginho chip into the box that found Barkley unmarked, but Schmeichel stood up well and the shot clipped his shoulder.
Four minutes later Chelsea threatened again when  Zappacosta crossed from the right but Loftus-Cheek couldn’t get his header on target.
City’s first chance came in the 9th minute when a clearance fell for Choudhury on the edge of the area, but he volleyed over the bar.

Leicester City v Chelsea - Premier League

Chilwell was the next to try his luck but his 20 yarder went straight at Caballero.
City gradually got control of the game and, following a corner, Tielemans struck a long range effort but it went straight at Caballero again.
The Chelsea keeper didn’t have to move to collect the next effort either, a header from Vardy.
After a fairly uneventful first half both sides spurned gilt-edged chances in the final minute. Luiz slipped over to allow Vardy in down the left, but he opted to pass to Tielemans instead of shooting and there was too much weight on the ball. Tielemans shot from a tight angle at the far post was smothered by Caballero.
As play moved up the other end Willian fed Alonso, whose cross set up Higuain with a sitter from six yards but his attempted back heel went wrong and the ball trundled wide of the left hand post.

Leicester City v Chelsea - Premier League

City pressed forward early in the second half and a wayward ball sent Vardy haring down the left. As he shaped to shoot Azpilicueta gave him a sly nudge and all City got was a corner. The flag-kick was cleared as far as Tielemans, 30 yards out, and though he connected beautifully with a half-volley it went narrowly wide.
The game returned to its lacklustre pace. Barkley, in plenty of space, sent a shot well wide, while City were failing to create any chances.
There was a rousing rendition of ‘Vichai Had a Dream’ in the 61st minute, and then huge cheers when Brendan Rodgers made his first change, bringing on Okazaki for his farewell appearance in place of Ndidi.
Chelsea also made a change bringing on Hazard, who also received applause for his part in our title win.

Leicester City v Chelsea - Premier League

Ten minutes later Simpson also came on for his last appearance in a City shirt, replacing Albrighton for another warm reception.
In the 80th minute Chilwell went on a long run that ended with him cutting a ball back from the byline, but it evaded all the onrushing blue shirts.
With seven minutes remaining there was a scramble in the City area which saw Loftus-Cheek playing a ball to Hazard but he was flattened by Evans who thankfully also got the ball.
Barnes replaced Maddison for the final five minutes, and set up Tielemans for a shot that the Belgian fired well over the bar.

Leicester City v Chelsea - Premier League

The final whistle brought an end to a game lacking in incident, but the vast majority of the crowd remained in place for the lap of appreciation. There were special tributes for the departing Immortals Danny Simpson and Shinji Okazaki, while Top led the lap of the pitch to huge applause.
City finished the season in 9th place which, considering everything, wasn’t too bad at all.
Brendan Rodgers was already thinking about next season: “We beat Arsenal, played well against Manchester City and got a point today. People thought we would not get any points from the last three games. It’s been a nice induction into the club – the players have been good, the supporters. We’ll now add that bit of depth to the squad.”

Leicester: Schmeichel, Ricardo, Evans, Maguire, Chilwell, Ndidi (Okazaki 66), Albrighton (Simpson 76), Tielemans, Choudhury, Maddison (Barnes 84), Vardy.
Substitutes: Morgan, Gray, Iheanacho, Ward.
Chelsea: Caballero, Zappacosta, Azpilicueta, David Luiz, Alonso, Barkley (Kovacic 76), Jorginho, Loftus-Cheek, Pedro, Higuaín (Giroud 84), Willian (Hazard 69).
Substitutes: Arrizabalaga, Christensen, Emerson, Guehi.

Referee: Anthony Taylor. Attendance: 32,140.

PHOTOS: Simon Kimber.

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Leicester edged out by spectacular Kompany strike

Manchester City 1-0 Leicester City

1819 man city away

City put in a great performance at the Etihad on Monday night, but couldn’t put a twist into the title race, falling to a superb strike from Vincent Kompany in the 70th minute…

All eyes were on the Etihad Stadium on Monday night with Leicester viewed as Liverpool’s last realistic hope to put a spoke in the Manchester City wheel before next week’s finale.
Brendan Rodgers named an unchanged side and they started well.
Both sides enjoyed a spell of possession in a cagey opening, and it was City who had the first chance in the 8th minute. Ricardo cut in from the right, opted to stay on his feet after a challenge that should have led to a penalty, and fired in a shot that Kompany blocked by throwing himself to the deck.
Three minutes later Man City had their first chance when Walker lifted a ball into the area, finding an unmarked Foden played onside by Chilwell, but his chest down and shot went straight at Schmeichel.
At the other end Tielemans fired a long-range effort that didn’t test Ederson and then,
from a Man City corner, Sterling and then Foden both miscued their volleys.
Halfway through the first half, with City competing well and snuffing out Man City’s attacks, the tension was beginning to mount.
The home side had a spell of pressure around the half hour mark, Gundogan had a shot deflected wide and then they went very close from a corner. Aguero nipped in for a near post header which struck the underside of the bar before Schmeichel reacted well to claw it away.
Man City kept the pressure on and David Silva’s half-volley went through a crowded area before going inches wide. City were managing the occasional break but not threatening, and as Bernardo Silva had a shot blocked, and then Gundogan fired just off target, they were looking forward to hearing the half time whistle. It arrived with City’s goal intact, and half of Merseyside daring to hope.

The Champions’ first chance of the second half came in the 53rd minute, when Silva got his head to a Walker cross, the ball looped up and fell kindly for an unmarked Sterling, but he got under his header and sent it well over from close in.
City were now entirely pinned in their own half and could only soak up the pressure. Gundogan sent a shot narrowly wide and then there were big penalty appeals when Sterling was sandwiched by Choudhury and Chilwell, but both had got a touch of the ball.
City then had a rare foray forward when Maguire strode out of defence, beat a couple of men and found himself on the left wing. He fed a ball inside to Maddison who attempted to curl a shot round Ederson, when a ball to Albrighton may have been a better option.
The anguish of the home fans increased in the 69th minute: Gundogan poked a ball through Evans’ legs setting up Aguero in a one-on-one with Schmeichel, but the City keeper brilliantly threw out a leg to deny him. However, the tension bubble was about to burst with twenty minutes remaining.
Kompany strode forward, no one closed him down, and he unleashed a 25 yarder that swerved round Maguire and into the top right hand corner. It was the first time Kompany had ever scored from outside the area and will almost certainly go down in Manchester City history as the title-winner.
The pressure eased and City had more of the ball, but couldn’t trouble the Man City defence. Rodgers brought Barnes on for Tielemans, Iheanacho for Maddison, and then Gray for Albrighton, but Man City were in full killing the game off mode now. This was summed up when it took Aguero what seemed like a fortnight to leave the field when substituted.
And they nearly paid for it with three minutes remaining. Choudhury, magnificent again, won a challenge in midfield and then strode forward shrugging off challenges before feeding a precise ball to Iheanacho, who lamely stroked the ball ten yards wide from a great position…
It was the last meaningful chance of the game, which had seen an excellent City performance that boded well for next season, let down by one defensive lapse.
Man City are now highly likely to win the title, and deservedly so, but it was also a night when City’s top six ambitions didn’t look too far-fetched.

Bendan Rodgers summed up: “I’m very proud of the team and it bodes well for the future in terms of the personality we played with, particularly in the first half. How we built the game, finding positions to play forward, it was very good. Start of the second half, that’s the area we need to be better in. Because we didn’t build the game up so well and you get a bit of relief for a second and then it comes back at you. So that’s the bit that we’ll analyse. Those are the things that we’re working on in these early stages.”

Man City: Ederson, Walker, Kompany, Laporte, Zinchenko, Foden (Sané 56), Gündogan, Silva (Stones 90), Bernardo Silva, Agüero (Jesus 87), Sterling.
Substitutes: Danilo, Mahrez, Otamendi, Muric.
Leicester: Schmeichel, Ricardo, Evans, Maguire, Chilwell, Albrighton (Gray 85), Tielemans (Barnes 75), Ndidi, Choudhury, Maddison (Iheanacho 80), Vardy.
Substitutes: Morgan, Ward, Mendy, Fuchs.

Referee: Mike Dean. Attendance: 54,506.

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Arsenal outclassed by rampant Leicester

Leicester City 3:0 Arsenal

Leicester City v Arsenal FC - Premier League

City produced a fine performance against an Arsenal side reduced to ten men at the KPS on Sunday, with an opener from Tielemans and two Vardy strikes sealing a 3-0 win…

Brendan Rodgers made one change to his side for this noon kick off, with Choudhury brought in to bolster the midfield and Gray dropped.
City looked the better side right from the start, and won a free-kick when Mustafi brought down Maddison 30 yards out . Maddison delivered the ball to Ndidi in space but he made a hash of his shot.
Four minutes later another free-kick, chipped in by Chilwell was met with a diving header from Evans, but it went straight at Leno.
A sign of how stretched Arsenal were came in the 7th minute when Maitland-Niles was booked for halting a City break by tripping Chilwell.
A minute later Maddison had a shot deflected wide as City kept the pressure up.
Play was then held up while Torreira received treatment after some superb tackling from Choudhury that had had the crowd chanting his name.

Leicester City v Arsenal FC - Premier League

After some good work from Chilwell the ball sat up nicely for Tielemans, but he shanked his half-volley well wide.
After Ndidi was booked for a foul on Xhaka, City went close again but Tielemans effort was blocked by the advancing Leno.
It was all City at this stage, with the screens showing 82% possession, and Choudhury set up Maddison for a 20 yard shot that went inches wide of the left-hand post.
Arsenal then had their first chance of the game in the 22nd minute when Iwobi raced down the left and crossed for Lacazette, whose attempted volley went well wide.
Vardy then sent Maddison through but he opted to shoot with Albrighton in acres of space and screwed a low shot wide.
Maddison’s next shot was on target, but tipped away by Leno as the chances mounted.
From the resulting corner Ndidi nipped in front of Sokratis to head goalwards, but Leno again rescued Arsenal with a fine save.
The 31st minute saw yet another City chance when Albrighton floated a ball over the Gunners defence for Vardy who lobbed Leno but also cleared the bar by a couple of yards.
Arsenal attacks were rare, but dangerous, and in the 35th minute Aubameyang played in Iwobi one on one with Schmeichel, but the City keeper managed to block a weak shot.
A minute later Arsenal were reduced to ten men when Maitland-Niles fouled Maddison and Michael Oliver showed him his second yellow, followed by a red. A furious Arsenal bench thought Maddison had made too much of it.
The final chance of the half fell for Vardy, whose fierce shot was denied by Leno, who got down smartly to block at his near post.
City had been totally dominant against eleven men, and with Arsenal down to ten, the second half promised much.

Brendan Rodgers upped the attacking intent for the second half, bringing on Barnes for Ndidi and the one-way traffic towards Arsenal’s goal continued. Barnes had the measure of Mustafi down the left, cutting in and attempting a near post shot that didn’t catch Leno out. City were getting plenty of crosses in from both flanks but the Gunners defence were dealing with them and it looked like it could be another frustrating afternoon for while.
But City made the breakthrough in the 59th minute. Maddison swung a precise ball into the area, perfectly meeting Tielemans run and the Belgian directed a header home giving Leno no chance.
“SIGN HIM UP!” was the chant around the ground.

Leicester City v Arsenal FC - Premier League

City continued to press forward and Sokratis was booked for a foul on Maddison, 25 yards out. Michael Oliver had to have a word with Unai Emery, who was in a gibbering rage, before Tielemans fired his free-kick into the wall.
Tempers were beginning to fray with Chilwell booked for fouling Sokratis as he threatened to break upfield and then Torreira screaming for a penalty, claiming he had been elbowed by Evans.
Tielemans then strode forward and unleashed a 25-yarder that went inches wide of the post as City looked to extend their lead. The overworked Leno made two fine saves in three seconds flying across goal to bat away shots from Ricardo and then Barnes, before Choudhury’s low shot went straight into his arms.
Play was held up after Mustafi and Chilwell clashed heads, before Brendan Rodgers brought Mendy on for Choudhury in the 79th minute. The youngster received a standing ovation for a fine afternoon’s work.
With Arsenal winning a few corners and beginning to show signs of life, City put the game to bed in the 86th minute. The coaching manual was thrown out of the window for the most direct of goals. Schmeichel launched a huge kick forward and Vardy outmanoeuvred Koscielny and Mustafi, to find himself one on one with Leno. His lob over the keeper hit the crossbar but fell nicely for him to nod home past Leno’s despairing challenge.

Leicester City v Arsenal FC - Premier League

City continued to press forward in the five minutes time added on, and Vardy slipped a ball through to Barnes who sent his shot too close to Leno.
In the dying seconds of the game City struck again for a scoreline that reflected the game. Good work from Ricardo down the right saw him square a ball across the face of goal for an unmarked Vardy to notch his 9th goal in eight games.

Leicester City v Arsenal FC - Premier League

It put the lid on a superb City performance, moving them up to 8th place, as Arsenal registered their lowest ever possession stats for a Premier League game.

Brendan Rodgers commented: “It was a very good performance. We didn’t waste any time today. We showed we are a good side. I thought 11 vs 11, we were the better side. When it went to 11 vs 10, we were asked a question: could we handle the extra man? Could we find a game that we understand how to play against 10 men? The players responded to that magnificently.”

Leicester: Schmeichel, Ricardo, Evans, Maguire, Chilwell, Ndidi (Barnes 45), Albrighton (Gray 86), Tielemans, Choudhury (Mendy 79), Maddison, Vardy.
Substitutes: Söyüncü, Iheanacho, Ward, Fuchs.
Arsenal: Leno, Maitland-Niles, Mustafi, Papastathopoulos, Kolasinac, Mkhitaryan (Guendouzi 73), Torreira, Xhaka, Iwobi (Koscielny 45), Aubameyang, Lacazette (Nketiah 79).
Substitutes:Cech, Elneny, Mavropanos, Willock.
Referee: Michael Oliver. Attendance: 32,037.

PHOTOS: Simon Kimber.

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FOX 212 – The Leicester City fanzine – is in the shops now

The 212th edition of The FOX – is now in the shops…

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It features: An exclusive interview with Swindon Town manager and former City midfielder Richie Wellens; Lots about Brendan Rodgers; Fully Programmed from the David Pleat era; Fox Diary – adieu to Claude Puel; the History of Leicester City in 100 Objects; the latest news from the Foxes Trust; Favourite Shirts – your nostalgic nylon; Rewind – back in the big time after ten years; Foxed in the Head – on balls, the Holy ebay Grail and a grand day out in Middlesbrough; Details on our new interviews compilation book – ‘Can’t Buy That Feeling’; John Hutchinson looks back on Frank Large’s brief but brilliant time at Filbert Street; your letters and Bentley’s Roof, and FiftySomething has a lively debate with some Celts…

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The most fun you can have for £2.50…

Richie Wellens Interview extract…

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FOX: As a manager now, can you look back at Paulo Sousa’s short reign and identify what went wrong?

RW: One hundred percent. He tried to do too much too quickly. He had a certain style at Swansea, open expansive football. He’d had a goalkeeper that was comfortable with the ball, but at Leicester he didn’t. At Leicester he had a back four that was strong and committed and defended the box very well, but suddenly he wanted them to be open and to play the ball out. We just weren’t ready for that style at the time. He was an unbelievable coach, his training sessions were very intense and specific. He knew what he wanted, but he didn’t get the results to buy himself some time.

FOX: He was quickly replaced by Sven Goran Eriksson, was that a surprise to the squad?

RW: We weren’t surprised because we’d had a little inkling that he was coming, but we were pleased.
I think Mike Stowell and Steve Beaglehole took charge for one game and then it was an international break so we were off to Bangkok. We went to Heathrow and met him for the first time in a lounge airport. We were a bit nervous with him being such a big name. He said: ”Hello lads, if you want to go and have a drink that’s fine, it’s a long flight.”
We were all thinking “Is this a test?” Well, if it was a test we failed. We went and had a few beers and it was fine, he was very light-hearted. It was a thirteen-hour flight and I’m one of those who can’t sleep on a plane. I went up to the toilet and Sven was getting changed from his tracksuit into his suit for the landing. I had a twenty minute conversation with him and straight away you could see that his man-management skills were brilliant. He has an air of expertise and calmness about him, and you could see that he was a class act.

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