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Leicester defeat Watford and climb into top half

Leicester City 3:0 Watford

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A fairly comfortable 3-0 win at home to Watford on Saturday saw City moving up to 9th place in the Premier League…

Craig Shakespeare named an unchanged starting XI as City went in search of the points that would secure survival, and put them on course for a top half finish.
In a cagey start, City’s first chance came in the 7th minute when an Albrighton corner was cleared to Drinkwater on the edge of the area, but his shot went high and wide.
At the other end Cleverley had a shot on goal, but it sailed well wide of the target.
City came close in the 19th minute when Mariappa slid in to prevent a Mahrez cross from reaching Vardy and sent the ball against the right hand post.
The huge figure of Okaka was causing problems with his physical presence and he forced a good near post block from Schmeichel.
The City keeper was soon in action again as Watford carved out another chance, this time he got his fingertips to a well-struck Cleverley shot.
But it was City who took a 38th minute lead from an inventive corner kick routine.
Albrighton sent his flag kick short to Drinkwater who had some space in the area. He clipped a cross over which was only half cleared by the Watford defence and Ndidi lashed it into the net from ten yards.

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Four minutes later Mahrez almost doubled City’s lead when his shot deflected off Cleverley, but landed on top of the bar.
And City took their 1-0 lead in at the break.

City had a chance early in the second half when Okazaki sent Vardy in down the right inside channel, but his low shot was well saved by Gomes.
As Watford tried to find a way back into the game Okaka got his head to an Amrabat cross but Benalouane did just enough to put him off and send his effort over.
City doubled their lead in the 58th minute with an audacious effort from Mahrez.
Marriappa made a hash of a clearance on the left and Mahrez nipped ahead of him, bore down on goal and toe-poked the ball through Gomes’s legs at the near post.

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Craig Shakespeare made a couple of changes, bringing on Slimani for Okazai, and then King for Drinkwater, while the dropped Deeney came on for Watford.
In the 68th minute Vardy went clear for another chance, but Gomes denied him again.
Great work from Albrighton then sent Mahrez down the right and his cross picked out Slimani who fired his 20 yarder over the bar.
Watford were still desperately seeking a goal, but Cleverley’s dipping 25 yarder was tipped over at full stretch by Schmeichel.
Zuniga also launched a long range effort over the bar as Watford had a decent late spell, but City struck again in time added on.
As City attacked on the break, Vardy cut in from the left and picked out Albrighton’s late run perfectly, the winger lashed the ball in via the right hand post to cap a Man of the Match performance.

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Although Watford had created a few good chances, the scoreline reflected City’s dominance and clinical finishing and took them into ninth place.

Craig Shakespeare summed up: “It’s one we can look at now, the whole club, and be very pleased we have managed to secure Premier League survival. The result was always going to be important. There hasn’t been any points target and we just want to finish as high as possible.” 

Leicester: Schmeichel, Simpson, Benalouane, Huth, Fuchs, Mahrez (Gray 78), Drinkwater (King 67), Ndidi, Albrighton, Okazaki (Slimani 63), Vardy. Subs Not Used: Chilwell, Musa, Amartey, Zieler.
Watford: Gomes, Kabasele (Zuniga 72), Prodl, Mariappa, Amrabat, Cleverley, Doucoure, Capoue (Deeney 67), Janmaat, Okaka, Niang (Pereira 83). Subs Not Used: Success, Behrami, Pantilimon, Eleftheriou.
Referee: R East. Attendance: 31,628. 

PHOTOS: Simon Kimber 

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Leicester sink Stoke with two wonder strikes

Leicester City 2:0 Stoke City

1617 stoke home d

City continued their winning run, with a comfortable 2-0 win against Stoke at the KPS on Saturday…

Craig Shakespeare made one change to his line-up, with Albrighton feeling unwell and making way for Gray.
The game kicked off in misty conditions after the Chairman’s birthday fireworks and after an attacking start from Stoke, City soon got into their stride and were looking threatening going forward.
Mahrez launched a free-kick into the area, and after some pinball in the box, Benalouane failed to get a clean strike when well placed.
Gray then went on a run across the 18 yard line but was eventually crowded out by the Stoke defence.
In the 16th minute Gray went on the charge again, down the left, but was cynically felled by Shawcross who recieved a yellow card. Gray looked to be hurt and shaken by the late challenge, but soon recovered.
Fuchs delivered the free kick, but Huth’s header was cleared off the line and Vardy couldn’t quite reach the rebound.

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After a Stoke corner City broke upfield and Gray fired a 20 yarder inches wide of the left hand post, but the opening goal arrived in the 26th minute.
Ndidi ran onto a ball from Simpson, took a touch into space, and then launched a superb 25 yarder into the top right hand corner,  giving Grant no chance.

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City continued to attack and Whelan was the second Stoke man in Lee Mason notebook for a foul on Gray. Mahrez’s volley from Fuchs’ free kick was blocked, before Stoke had a rare chance when Arnautovic’s shot on the turn found the side-netting.
City couldn’t add to their tally before the break: a Gray shot was deflected wide, Okazaki’s overhead kick went narrowly over the bar, and a fine shot on the run from Mahrez was brilliantly tipped round the post by Grant.

But City doubled their lead just two minutes into the second half.
Gray reached a dead end down the right and fed the ball back to Simpson who chipped a well-measured cross into the area. Vardy nipped ahead of Johnson and lashed a fierce volley home from 10 yards.

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City pressed on looking for a third goal. Fuchs forced a good save from Grant, and Okazaki was also denied by the Stoke keeper from close range.
Grant’s busy afternoon continued… Vardy made swift progress down the left, evading two defenders to get a low cross in for Mahrez, who sent his close range effort straight at Grant. Mahrez retrieved the ball, and fired in another shot which Grant also blocked.
The visitors then had their best spell of the afternoon as they desperately tried to find a way back into the game. Subsititute Crouch sent an effort wide, before Arnautovic netted but was harshly judged to have been offside. His glare at the linesman would have turned milk.
Shakespeare used his allocation of subs in the final fifteen minutes, with Amartey, Slimani and Chilwell coming on for Okazaki, Vardy and Gray.
Grant pulled off further saves to deny Gray and Mahrez, before Crouch wasted a great chance, heading over from close in.
The final whistle saw Craig Shakepeare setting a record – the first British manager to win his first four Premier League games, while City climbed up to 13th place.

Shakespeare, who joined a club comprising off  Jose Mourinho, Guus Hiddink, Carlo Ancelotti, Pep Guardiola, commented: “Sometimes have to pinch yourself in terms of the names being mentioned. I’m at a very early stage in my management career but to be mentioned in the same breath of them makes me very proud. I realise there’s a lot people to thank along the way, in terms of my previous managers when I’ve been an assistant, but also the players. Confidence is a big thing and we’ve managed to keep the run going. We’re still not safe.”

Leicester: Schmeichel, Simpson, Benalouane, Huth, Fuchs, Mahrez, Drinkwater, Ndidi, Gray (Chilwell 87), Okazaki (Amartey 73), Vardy (Slimani 81). Subs Not Used: Musa, King, Zieler, Ulloa.
Stoke: Grant, Johnson, Shawcross, Martins Indi, Pieters, Arnautovic, Allen, Whelan (Adam 70), Sobhi, Walters (Crouch 54), Berahino (Diouf 70). Subs Not Used: Muniesa, Afellay, Imbula, Given.

Referee: L Mason. Attendance: 31,958. 

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Leicester into the 5th round after finally seeing off Rams

Leicester City 3:1 Derby County aet

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City managed a morale boosting victory against Derby in this FA Cup 4th round replay at the KPS on Wednesday night, although the Championship side took the tie to extra time…

Claudio Ranieri made ten changes to his side, and Steve McClaren eight, showing that neither club considered the FA Cup a priority, but they eventually served up a highly entertaining game.
The first half did little to warm an admirably large crowd on a freezing night.
In the early exchanges, Gray crossed for Amartey to nod over the bar, and Anya skinned Wasilewski down the left but his cross was too high for Blackman.
Johnson then put Zieler under pressure from a high ball, but it bounced off the Derby man for a goal kick.
The game settled into a stalemate for a while, with City looking to hit the Rams on the break and Gray sent Musa into the area where he was bundled over by Shackell. There were loud appeals, but it didn’t quite look like a penalty.
City began to get the upper hand towards the break as an unfamiliar line-up got better acquainted. Gray was having a fine game and his low cross from the right following a great run, should have seen Musa sidefoot City ahead from close range, but he was slow to react.
There were more loud calls for a penalty five minutes before the break, when Chelwell was shoved in the back by Keogh, but referee Mike Jones waved play on again.
Derby had the final word in the first half with Butterfield forcing a save from Zieler, but De Sart wasted a good chance from the resulting corner, sending a mis-hit shot spinnng into the Kop Stand.

The deadlock was broken a minute after the break. Gray delivered a superb cross from the left, Albrighton nodded it back from just beyond the far post, and King headed home from point blank range. It was the lift that City needed and was greeted with a huge roar.
Derby were then awarded a free-kick on the edge of the area after a ball-winning challenge on Blackman by the impressive Benalouane, but Camara’s free kick was punched away by Zieler.
Five minutes later the visitors were awarded another free kick in a similar position when Albrighton was judged to have waved his foot too close to Butterfield’s head.
This time Camara’s shot looked to be covered by Zieler, but a big deflection off Chilwell in the wall left the German keeper stranded and the Rams were back in the game, to the delight of their large following.
Both sides were keen to avoid extra time and the action was end to end for a while.
Ranieri brought Mahrez on for Kapustka, who’d had a decent debut, while Nugent was given a good reception by the home crowd when he replaced Blackman.
With six minutes remaining, the ref got another big decision wrong. Musa raced after a ball down the right and Mitchell came out to meet him. Musa got to the ball first but his touch was clearly handled by the Rams keeper outside the area. It should have been a red card, but instead it was Musa who was shown yellow for his outraged reaction.
City were attacking in waves now, and there was another scare for Derby with a minute to go when Musa’s cross from the left was chested against the right hand post by Lowe as he attempted to shepherd the ball out for a corner.

Derby survived City’s late attacking spell, but fell behind four minutes into extra time in spectacular fashion. Mahrez threaded a fine ball through to substitute Ndidi, who strode down the middle before unleashing a 25 yard rocket in off the right hand post for his first goal for the club.
The other 90th minute sub didn’t fare so well soon afterwards, when Gray’s low cross saw Slimani unbalanced and unable to take the tap in that had been presented to him.
Derby were still battling and Russell headed narrowly wide from a Christie cross, but City were controlling the play and seeing plenty of the ball. King forced a good save from Mitchell who tipped his top corner effort round the post.
With 114 minutes on the clock, City finally settled this epic cup tie with a superb goal. Gray cut in from the left flank into the area, and wriggled past Keogh and Vydra before despatching the ball across Mitchell into the top right hand corner.
There was no way back for Derby, and City had a date with Millwall in the fifth round after a night that had lifted the mood around the club.

Claudio Ranieri’s gamble had paid off: “Derby played good football and we won. This is what we needed and I wanted. We want to do well in all competitions. We want to go forward in the FA Cup. The Premier League is not so good but we have to stay in the Premier League. This fresh air is good for the players.”

Leicester: Zieler, Amartey, Wasilewski, Benalouane, Chilwell, Mendy (Ndidi 90), King, Albrighton, Kapustka (Mahrez 81), Gray, Musa (Slimani 90). Subs Not Used: Drinkwater, Hamer, Okazaki, Fuchs.
Derby: Mitchell, Christie, Keogh, Shackell, Lowe, de Sart, Butterfield, Johnson (Vydra 53), Camara (Russell 74), Blackman (Nugent 82), Anya. Subs Not Used: Carson, Ince, Baird, Pearce.

Referee: M Jones. Attendance: 31, 648.

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The Champions cards that we produced to celebrate City’s greatest achievment in the
history of all sport, ever, have now sold out. But do not despair if you didn’t manage to lay your hands on a set. We have now made them available as an A4 sized print which you can have either framed, or the print on its own to frame yourself…frame
The framed print costs £11.80 inc postage — pay via Paypal HERE
while the unframed one is £6.50 inc postage — pay via paypal HERE 
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Leicester comeback at Everton secures 4th round place

Everton 1:2 Leicester City

1617-everton-away-fac

City fought back to make it to the fourth round of the FA Cup after trailing 1-0 at Goodison Park on Saturday…

Claudio Ranieri made five changes to his starting line-up, handing a debut to new signing Ndidi, and bringing Drinkwater, Chilwell, Albrighton and Gray in.
In the opening exchanges Schmeichel easily dealy with an on-target shot from Funes Mori, while Ulloa got his head to a Gray cross but was wide of the far post by a yard.
Ndidi, already impressing in midfield, then forced a save from Robles with a low drive.
The lively Gray then had an angled shot blocked by Robles, before Everton began to get the upper hand.
Baines had a shot blocked by Albrighton, and then Funes Mori got on the end of a Williams nod down, but sent his shot over from close in.
As Everton continued to threaten, Schmeichel got a hand to a Valencia chip from the left but only as far as  Lukaku, who sent his header well wide.
Ten minutes before the break, Ulloa had to go off with a thigh problem, with Musa replacing him up front. With Slimani in Africa and Vardy ill, City’s attacking options were threadbare, but Musa was to step up magnificently.

City began the second half on the front foot, Drinkwater and Simpson both missing the target with long range efforts, and Morgan finding room for a header from a corner, but it went straight at Robles.
However, it was the home side who were to take a 63rd minute lead. Deulofeu outpaced Chilwell down the right and his low cross presented Lukaku with a tap in.
But this lead only lasted three minutes, as City struck back. An Albrighton ball sent Gray down the left and his low cross found Musa, arriving at the near post. His shot span up off Baines and hit the left hand post before Musa managed to bundle it over the line as Robles scrambled back.
Four minutes later the travelling contingent were celebrating again as City took the lead.
Musa was 22 yards out when he exchanged passes with Drinkwater and threaded his way through the defence, before producing a neat finish past Robles.
City’s defence held firm for the remainder of the game, with a Mirallas shot that went narrowly wide being Everton’s best chance.
City could have made it 3-1 when Kapustka, making his first appearance as sub in the 84th minute, didn’t test Robles with a shot when well placed.

Claudio Ranieri singled out two players for praise: “Musa was excellent. I’ve watched him recently and think he is starting to understand English football better. Ndidi trained just two training sessions with us but played with fantastic personality. He recovered a lot of balls and played well. For 20 years old to make his first game against Everton, it’s unbelievable.”

Everton: Robles, Baines, Williams, Funes Mori, Holgate (Deulofeu 46), Coleman, Davies, Barry, Barkley (Kone 75), Valencia (Mirallas 61), Lukaku. Subs Not Used: Hewelt, Jagielka, Oviedo, Cleverley. 
Leicester: Schmeichel, Simpson, Morgan, Huth, Chilwell, Mendy, Ndidi, Drinkwater, Gray (Fuchs 77), Albrighton (Kapustka 84), Ulloa (Musa 34). Subs Not Used: Zieler, Hernández, James, Okazaki. 
Referee: M Atkinson. Attendance: 35,493.
———————————————————————
The Champions cards that we produced to celebrate City’s greatest achievment in the
history of all sport, ever, have now sold out. But do not despair if you didn’t manage to lay your hands on a set. We have now made them available as an A4 sized print which you can have either framed, or the print on its own to frame yourself…frame
The framed print costs £11.80 inc postage — pay via Paypal HERE
while the unframed one is £6.50 inc postage — pay via paypal HERE 
or send a cheque or cash to our new address:
The FOX,
22 Cosby Road,
Littlethorpe,
LEICESTER
LE19 2HF.

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