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Leicester lose out in opening night thriller

Arsenal 4:3 Leicester City

1718 arsenal away c

Despite twice taking the lead, City went home with nothing from a thrilling season curtain-raiser at the Emirates, suffering a late collapse and losing 4-3 to Arsenal…

The last City player to score a winner at Arsenal was Mike Stringfellow, in 1973, so this trip is always made more in hope than expectation.
With Huth, Iborra and Drinkwater ruled out through injury, and Iheanacho not quite up to match fitness, it was difficult to argue with Craig Shakespeare’s first starting line-up of the season. Maguire made his debut in defence, and James started his first game for City in over two years.
However, less than two minutes into the 2017-18 season City found themselves a goal down. Elneny curled a cross into the area, and an unmarked Lacazette had time and space to direct a header past Scmeichel from ten yards.
But City responded well and were level just three minutes later. Albrighton swung in a cross from the left, Maguire nodded it back across from the goalline and Okazaki leapt the highest to head past Cech from close in.
In a lively opening spell there were chances for Oxlade-Chamberlain and Vardy as play swept from end to end.
A good passing move from Arsenal then ended with Welbeck having a goalbound shot blocked by Maguire.
Arsenal had the upper hand by this stage and threatened again when Kolasinac fired in a shot which Schmeichel tipped away at the near post.
But it was City who took a 29th minute lead with a classic break. Albrighton hared down the left and delivered a cross into the goalmouth, which Vardy sidefooted home from four yards, having slipped between two defenders.

1718 arsenal away b

City pressed forward again, and this time it was Fuchs who delivered a good cross from the left, Okazaki going inches wide with his header.
Loud appeals for a penalty were turned down by referee Mike Dean who recognised that Kolasinac had been a yard away when he struck the ball at Ndidi’s arm.
But City didn’t make it to half time with their lead. After a scramble on the edge of the area Arsenal passed their way through City’s back line, but with the entire City defence appealing for offside, Kolasinac squared for Welbeck who steered the ball past Schmeichel from close range with seconds of the half remaining.

The second half started in more pedestrian fashion than the first, and City created the first real chance when a good ball forward from Mahrez saw Vardy outpacing two defenders, but Cech had timed his run well to come out and sweep up.
Vardy didn’t have long to wait for his second goal of the season, as City regained the lead in the 56th minute. Mahrez delivered a corner from the right and Vardy took advantage of slack marking to rise and direct a header in at the far post.

1718 arsenal away a

Arsenal began to press forward and Schmeichel blocked a long range effort from Oxlade-Chamberlain and then smothered an effort from Bellerin at his near post.
The pressure then increased when Arsene Wenger introduced  Ramsey and Giroud to the action. Ramsey immediatley went close with a header, under pressure from Fuchs.
Craig Shakespeare made his first change in the 72nd minute, bringing on Amartey for Okazaki, before Ozil and Oxlade-Chamberlain both sent shots narrowly wide of the left hand post.
City were fighting a rearguard action, which Shakespeare attempted to relieve by bringing on Iheanacho for James, to give City more presence up front. But it appeared to backfire with the home side equalising in the 83rd minute.
A blatant handball from Ozil wasn’t seen by the referee and from the resulting corner Ramsey was allowed too much space on the right and had time to line up a shot past Schmeichel to level the game.
Worse was to follow two minutes later when Arsenal went ahead, Giroud winning a battle with Maguire to head home from a corner.
It was a heart-breaker for City and their followers, and despite throwing everything forward in five minutes of time added on, they couldn’t find a way through.

The winless run away to Arsenal now stretches to 44 years, but there was plenty to be optimistic about with this performance.

Craig Shakerspeare commented:  “We spoke about being compact and being a threat with the pace of Vardy. We executed that well. We’re disappointed to score three and come away with a defeat.”

Arsenal: Cech, Holding (Giroud 67), Monreal, Kolasinac, Bellerín, Elneny (Ramsey 67), Xhaka, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Özil, Welbeck (Walcott 75), Lacazette.
Subs Not Used: Ospina, Iwobi, Mustafi, Coquelin.
Leicester: Schmeichel, Simpson, Morgan, Maguire, Fuchs, Mahrez, James (Iheanacho 82), Ndidi, Albrighton (Gray 88), Okazaki (Amartey 72), Vardy.
Substitutes: Chilwell, King, Hamer, Slimani.

Referee: M Dean. Attendance: 59,387.

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Leicester agree terms for Sevilla’s Vicente Iborra

City are on the verge of signing midfielder Vicente Iborra, having agreed terms with Sevilla…

iborra

The 29 year old played against City in both legs of the Champions League second round last season, and his performances impressed Craig Shakespeare.
Having had a bid of £10.5m turned down, City came in with a second bid thought to be £12m for the versitile 6 ft 3″ midfielder.

Iborra was captain of Sevilla last season, and in his four seasons at Sevilla he scored 30 goals in 172 appearances.

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Leicester confirm Harry Maguire signing

Leicester completed a five-year deal for Hull’s Harry Maguire this afternoon…

mcguire

The 24-year old defender has completed the deal for an undisclosed fee thought to be around £17m.
Although Hull were relegated from the Premier League, Maguire had an impressive season, with solid defensive stats and a willingness to go forward and have a crack at goal.
The Sheffield-born England under-21 international should be a vital addition to a City defence that had began to look stretched towards the end of the season.

Maguire, the first signing under Craig Shakespeare,  told LCFC TV: “There were a number of clubs interested, but when I met the manager here, he pretty much swayed it into the direction of this club.
He showed me the way that the club is going. It’s on the up and it looks very promising for the future, so credit to the gaffer.”

PHOTO: Simon Kimber.

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Craig Shakespeare takes the Leicester reins

Craig Shakespeare has been appointed as Leicester City manager…

cs new boss

Leicester City’s owners have elected to go down the tried and trusted route, awarding Shakespeare a three-year deal.
The 53 year old has been a constant factor in City’s success of recent years and is very popular with the players.
He won his first five games in charge last season, guided City from the fringes of the relegation battle to a mid-table finish, and also engineered the win over Seville that took the club into the Champions League quarter-finals.

While some fans think this shows a lack of ambition, most are delighted with the appointment, welcoming the continuity, and feeling that Shakespeare has earned the job.

Best of luck Craig.

PHOTO: Simon Kimber.

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Leicester denied top half place by linesman’s flag

Leicester City 1:1 AFC Bournemouth

1617 afcb home d

City rounded off their season as Champions with a 1-1 draw with Bournemouth at the KPS on Sunday, but they were robbed of a top half finish after Vardy was ruled offside for what should have been the winning goal…

Craig Shakespeare, in what could be his final game in charge, made two changes to his side, bringing in King and Slimani for Amartey and Okazaki.
But City, wearing next season’s kit, were caught napping in the first minute.
As Bournemouth broke upfield, Mousset got past Simpson and Fuchs down the left touchline, Fraser ran on to the loose ball and was upended by Simpson but the ref waved play on. Mousset was following up for a shot which was blocked by Chilwell, but Stanislas was following up to find the net.
This early setback rocked City and another Bournemouth cross zipped across the face of goal with no takers.
City created their first chance in the 9th minute. From a Fuchs long throw Mahrez attempted a spectacular overhead kick. It was headed clear as far as Chilwell, whose first time effort went well off target.

1617 afcb home c

Bournemouth almost went further ahead in the 25th minute, but Schmeichel tipped away a well-struck 22 yarder at full stretch.
City were struggling to get their game together, and didn’t really threaten the Cherries until late in the half.
Vardy sent Mahrez into the area but he was well tackled by Daniels when poised to strike. From the resulting corner Ndidi sent his header straight at Allsop, who gathered at the second attempt.

City got their act together in the second half, and levelled in the 51st minute.
Chilwell swung in a cross from the left, which Slimani nodded back across goal where Vardy was lurking unmarked to prod him his 13th goal of the season from two yards.

1617 afcb home b

Soon after this equaliser Benalouane was lucky not to see a second yellow card after a foul on Fraser, and he was replaced by Amartey.
A minute after this change Vardy appeared to have given City the lead after slicing through the Cherries defence, setting up Slimani, whose shot deflected back for him to net. The linesman halted the celebrations flagging for offside, but replays clearly showed Vardy to be level with his marker.
Vardy had a couple of chances after that, but Allsop denied him, while Slimani sent a volley off target.
Gray replaced Albrighton in the 73rd minute and the winger was given a standing ovation as he left the field, in acknowlegement of his unstinting effort this season.
City pressed forward in search of the winner that would give them a top half finish. Ndidi flashed a long range shot narrowly wide, and Chilwell sliced an effort wide of the near post. The best chance fell for Slimani, in the 85th minute when he rose at the far post to meet a Mahrez free-kick, but his header across goal went inches wide of the right hand upright.

1617 afcb home a

City had to be content with a point and a 12th place finish which, coupled with a Champions League quarter-final place, had to represent a very satisfactory season for a side that had been involved in the relegation scrap for a few months.
For Marcin Wasilewski it was definitely goodbye, and he was given a great send off by the crowd. How many others will follow him out of the door, only time will tell.
Craig Shakespeare didn’t seem to know what the future held for him:  “I’ve read the owner’s programme notes and we’ll sit down – there’s no given time. It is the end of the season and I will wait for that meeting. Of course they have made their decisions for the good of the club and for the future of the club. We’ll sit down and I’ll wait for those discussions.”

Leicester: Schmeichel, Simpson, Benalouane (Amartey 59), Fuchs, Chilwell, Mahrez, King, Ndidi, Albrighton (Gray 73), Vardy, Slimani. Subs Not Used: Musa, Kapustka, Okazaki, Zieler, Wasilewski.
Bournemouth: Allsop, Smith, Francis, Cook, Daniels, Stanislas, Gosling, Surman, Pugh (Ibe 63), Fraser (Worthington 74), Mousset (Afobe 62). Subs Not Used: Ramsdale, Smith, Cargill, Surridge.

Referee: L Mason. Attendance: 32,000. 

PHOTOS: Simon Kimber.

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Leicester hit for six by Tottenham

Leicester City 1:6 Tottenham Hotspur

Leicester City v Tottenham Hotspur, Premier League, 18 May 2017

City were swept aside by a rampant Tottenham at the KPS on Thursday night, as Harry Kane racked up four goals…

Criag Shakespeare made one change to his side, with Amartey replacing King in midfield, and Huth, Morgan and Drinkwater all on the injury list.
Spurs had the first chance of the night after 5 minutes when Kane played Son in, but Chilwell nipped in to divert his shot wide.
Three minutes later, Son found some room again but sent his shot well over.
A minute after this, Mahrez cruised through a group of four yellow shirts and set up Vardy, whose fierce shot went stright at Lloris.
In a lively end-to-end opening spell, Amartey then saw his shot from the edge of the area deflecting kindly for Lloris to make an easy save.
Spurs should have taken the lead after 15 minutes, but Son still hadn’t adjusted his sights and blazed over with only Schmeichel to beat.

Leicester City v Tottenham Hotspur, Premier League, 18 May 2017

Tottenham were in control of the game by the 20th minute, and Kane turned and delivered a curling effort that went narrowly wide.
The visitors took the lead in the 25th minute. A long ball down the right from Alderweireld saw Fuchs gambling on trying to reach it rather than running back. He didn’t and Son was in on goal, cutting back for Kane to find the net from close in.
Spurs continued to push forward and Schmeichel made a fine save to block an Alli header.
At the other end there were loud appeals for a penlty when Vardy was floored by  Alderweireld in the area, but Michael Oliver waved play on.
Spurs doubled their lead in the 36th minute. Alli flicked the ball over the City defence and the alert Son ran through to volley it home.

Leicester City v Tottenham Hotspur, Premier League, 18 May 2017

City were having a torrid time now, with Spurs well on top. Kane had a shot blocked and Schmeichel saved well from Dier, with no doubt as to which side were most pleased to hear the half time whistle.

Craig Shakespeare made a change at the break, bringing Slimani on for Okazaki, and City looked better in the early stages of the second half.
Benalouane headed a Mahrez corner over the bar, and Albrighton had a shot blocked.
City then pulled a goal back in the 59th minute. Lloris came racing well out of his goal to meet the advancing Vardy and the ball rebounded to Ndidi who squared to Chilwell.
Resisting the urge to take a first time shot at an unguarded goal, the youngster rounded a challenge on the edge of the area and cooly slotted the ball past the defender on the line.
City were back in the game now, but sadly this only lasted for three minutes.
Alderweireld delivered a cross from the right, Wanyama nodded back across goal from the far post and Kane headed home from three yards, to snuff out City’s revival.
Shakespeare made his second change bringing Gray on for Benalouane, and moving Amartey back into defence.
City fell further behind in the 70th minute when Son sidestepped his way past three defenders before finding the bottom right hand corner from the edge of the area.

Leicester City v Tottenham Hotspur, Premier League, 18 May 2017

Gray then sent Slimani in down the left but his shot went straight at Lloris who blocked at the near post.
Musa replaced Vardy with 12 minutes left, but City looked increasingly poor as the game entered the last ten minutes.
After several attempts Kane completed his hat trick in the 89th minute, firing a low shot through Simpson’s legs from the edge of the area.
And he wasn’t done yet, scoring an almost identical goal in the second minute of time added on to complete the six goal rout.

Craig Shakespeare summed up: “There are no positives. We were totally second-best.”
If he can pick his players up off the floor, a win against Bournemouth on Sunday could still see a top half finish from this bizarre season. It might be a big job.

Leicester: Schmeichel, Simpson, Benalouane (Gray 66), Fuchs, Chilwell, Mahrez, Amartey, Ndidi, Albrighton, Okazaki (Slimani 46), Vardy (Musa 78).
Subs Not Used: Kapustka, Zieler, Wasilewski, Moore.

Tottenham: Lloris, Alderweireld, Dier, Vertonghen, Sissoko (Nkoudou 90), Wanyama, Dembele (Lesniak 86), Davies, Alli, Son (Janssen 78), Kane.
Subs Not Used: Vorm, Eriksen, Wimmer, Shashoua.

Referee: M Oliver. Attendance: 31,351.

PHOTOS: Simon Kimber.

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Leicester slip up at the Etihad

Manchester City 2:1 Leicester City

1617 man city away

Leicester were denied a point at the Etihad on Saturday when Riyad Mahrez had a second half penalty disallowed for a double touch…

Craig Shakespeare was forced into making two changes to his line-up with Chilwell and King replacing the injured Huth and Drinkwater.
Man City were the first to threaten in the 3rd minute when a low cross from Sane was intercepted by Fuchs with Jesus waiting to pounce.
From the resulting corner, an unmarked Fernandinho had the goal at his mercy but got his header wrong and missed the target.
City’s unfamilar defence were looking a bit stretched, with Benalouane making a vital headed clearance before Jesus came within inches of of converting a cross.
Leicester then created a chance of their own but Ndidi’s awkaward header from a free-kick flew well over.
Soon after this Albrighton attempted a long range effort but it went tamely into Caballero’s grasp.
Man City had plenty of possession at this point but couldn’t create much. Silva broke through on the left and pulled back for Sane who mishit his shot across goal.
Ndidi blocked a Sterling effort, and then a De Bruyne 25 yarder span up off Benalouane, but sailed wide of Schmeichel’s goal.
The hosts broke Leicester’s resistance in the 29th minute. A Sane cross from the left found Silva in the area and slotted a cool finish home from 12 yards.
Sterling, in an offside position and unsighting Schmeichel, took a swing at the ball, but referee Bobby Madley didn’t judge him to be interfering with play, despite heated protests from the Leicester players.
Six minutes later Leicester were 2-0 down and there were no complaints this time as Benalouane knocked Sane over in the area with a clumsy lunge. Jesus sent Schmeichel the wrong way with his spot-kick and it was difficult to see a way back in for Leicester at this stage.
The one-way traffic continued towards the visitors goal, but with three minutes of the half left, Leicester struck back.
Great work from Albrighton down the left saw him deliver a cross that Okazaki crashed home with a brilliant volley.

Leicester started the second half with a purpose. Albrighton attempted a couple of shots, and then Kompany had to take a yellow for the team, felling Chilwell on the halfway line to prevent a dangerous looking breakaway move.
Sterling then cut in from the right and his cross struck Albrighton in the face, lengthy treatment for a nosebleed disproving the loud appeals for handball.
Leicester enjoyed a decent spell, pressing forward against a less confident looking City, without managing to deliver a telling final ball.
Toure had a shot blocked and City broke upfield, but a De Bruyne foul halted Okazaki’s progress.
Albrighton was in the wars again when Fernandinho planted an elbow into his eye, though it was judged accidental and Albrighton was left with an instant shiner and a sense of grievence.
Craig Shakespeare made his first change in the 66th minute, bringing Amartey on for King, as Leicester continued to press forward in search of an equaliser.
Slimani was then brought on for Okazaki.
In the 76th minute Leicester appeared to have made the breakthrough. Mahrez had just entered the penalty area when he was tripped by Clichy for an obvious penalty.
Mahrez picked up the ball himself and netted from the penalty spot, but wait.
The Leicester fans celebrations were cut short as play restarted with a goal kick. Mahrez had slipped at the vital moment and connected twice with his shot. Madley had shown attention to detail, without noticing two Man City players encroaching into the area and Caballero off his line.
He wasnt the first player to slip over on a pich that had been heavily watered at half time, but it was an unprecedented way to throw a point away.
With ten minutes remaining Albrighton gained revenge on Fernandinho with a heavy challenge and he was instantly replaced by Gray.
The action was end to end now. Kompany failed to nod a Silva cross under the bar, while a great Leicester move down the right saw Simpson deliver a cross for Vardy, whose flick went narrowly wide.
Otamendi blocked an Ndidi shot as the 90 minutes came up and he required treatement which would further extend the 7 minutes of time-added-on.
It was frantically scrappy end to the game. City had a free-kick when Mahrez was fouled by Silva. Schmeichel came upfield for it, but the home defence cleared and the final whistle blew.

Craig Shakespeare wasn’t happy with Man City’s first goal, or the failure to retake the penalty due to encroachment, but was satisfied with the performance:
“It’s bad luck from our point of view, but I’m more pleased with the way the lads went about it second half, we took the game to City and caused lots of problems. We looked a bit dejected first half, the two goals took the stuffing out of us, and to get our goal, a quality goal, was the first time we played with any quickness to our play. I think the players are getting every last drop out of themselves. The spirit, determination they showed was there for everyone to see.”

Man City : Caballero, Fernandinho, Kompany, Otamendi, Clichy, Toure, Sterling (Aguero 78), De Bruyne (Zabaleta 82), Silva, Sane, Gabriel Jesus (Jesus Navas 90). Subs Not Used: Fernando, Nolito, Kolarov, Gunn.
Leicester: Schmeichel, Simpson, Benalouane, Fuchs, Chilwell, Mahrez, Ndidi, King (Amartey 68), Albrighton (Gray 80), Okazaki (Slimani 73), Vardy. Subs Not Used: Musa, Kapustka, Zieler, Wasilewski.

Referee: R Madley. Attendance: 54,407. 

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2017/18 Subs + cards – £20.90

2017/18 Subs – £16.95

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