No case for the defence

Manchester United 4 City 1

Report by Chris Griffin

There was one glimmer of hope for much of the “Great Escape” season – nobody hammered us. Even when conceding four at White Hart Lane we scored three. But come September 2016 we have conceded four goals on the road in two consecutive matches and each time have been thoroughly beaten. The frustration from the trip to Old Trafford is that the players were the authors of their own downfall with woefully weak defending of corners.

Zieler remained in goal with Schmeichel still not fit. The media’s pre match chatter was more concerned with United’s omission of Rooney. On a perfect day for football, and with the Leicester section packed, City made a decent enough start. United looked a little edgy following the defeat at Watford, although their midfield three of Pogba, Mata and Herrera were clearly intent on upping the tempo.

But it was City whose probing led to possible openings. A good move down the left gave Albrighton time and space for a cross but his effort was too near to de Gea to the frustration of the unmarked Slimani. Fuchs was then put through down the left but his far post cross sailed over the heads of the strikers who had made near post runs. Another Fuchs run saw him reach the bye line and his pull back found Drinkwater whose shot was blocked by Valencia. The ball fell to Huth who shot over the bar.

City had made a good start and were well and truly in the game. Drinkwater was excellent and continued to be so despite the ensuing mayhem. But in the 21st minute the wheels came off.

A good United move down the City right flank saw Simpson concede a corner. Mata’s out swinger should really have been meat and drink to the City defence. Instead Smalling rose above Huth, Fuchs and Morgan and his strong downwards header was too quick for Zieler.

This galvanised the home team. Rashford was sent free on the right but shot wide. Ibrahimovic, combining well with Pogba, took the pass on his chest but volleyed over. Then Pogba sent in a fierce long-range shot which Zieler had to parry around the post.

Something had to give and it did in the 37th minute. Mata played the ball to Pogba who with one touch found Lingard in the penalty area. Lingard flicked the ball into the path of Mata who had continued his run and his low left foot drive gave Zieler no chance.

Three minutes later another corner for the home team. A clever move found City asleep. Blind rolled the corner along the bye line. Mata, totally unmarked, ran onto it and crossed, giving Rashford an easy tap in.

Two minutes later it was 4-0 after Pogba rose to head home another Blind corner.

City had been outrun and outpassed especially in midfield. City’s midfield two were outnumbered by United’s midfield three. Pogba, Herrera and Mata were having a field day with their quick passing and movement. The City defence was also finding Ibrahimovic tough to deal with. He frequently and cleverly dropped deep, losing his marker and supporting his midfielders and wide men in the build up. We never got to grips with this.

As a contest the game was over by half time. Ranieri’s substitutions confirmed this. No doubt with his mind on Tuesday’s match against Porto he took off Vardy and Mahrez. He also went for damage limitation by putting on King as an extra midfielder. Gray also went on, starting on the left but frequently switching flanks.

In terms of containment the strategy worked. Manchester United may have taken their foot off the gas a little because they knew it was job done, but Leicester were breaking up attacks more frequently and keeping possession better. 

On the hour Leicester fans at last had something to cheer about. Amartey played a good ball out to Gray on the left. He cut inside two United players then drove a superb shot into the far corner of the net, beating De Gea all ends up. “5-4. We’re going to win 5-4,” sang the Leicester fans.

Slimani was ploughing a lone figure up front but provided a good target and worked hard. His involvement in a good move with Schlupp (on for Albrighton) saw the ball pulled back for King on the edge of the area. His shot was on target but lacked power and de Gea saved comfortably.

Less comfortable for De Gea was another beautiful long-range effort from Gray. The keeper had to be at his very best to tip that one over.

Rooney came on for United to replace Rashford but by that stage all the players were going through the motions. For Leicester fans there was the smallest crumb of comfort in keeping a clean sheet in the second half.

Ranieri was clearly vexed about the defending at corners. “We must be smarter and concentrate” he said. Absolutely. But some thought must be given to how we approach away matches where we are outnumbered in midfield. Drinkwater ran his socks off yesterday, winning tackles and starting attacks. But he needs more support.

Manchester  United  De Gea, Valencia, Bailly, Smalling, Blind,  Ander Herrera, Pogba, Lingard, Mata, Rashford, Ibrahimovic. 

Subs Romero, Rojo, Rooney, Carrick, Young,  Fosu-Mensah,  Fellaini. 

Leicester  Zieler, Simpson, Morgan, Huth, Fuchs, Mahrez, Amartey, Drinkwater, Albrighton, Vardy, Slimani.

Subs  Hamer, Hernandez, King, Schlupp, Okazaki, Gray, Ulloa. 

Referee Mike Dean (Wirral) 

The views expressed in this report are the opinions of the Trust member nominated to file the report only and do not represent the views of the Foxes Trust organisation

(more…)

Next Up – FC Porto

Next Up FC Porto (Futebol Clube do Porto) 27 September 2016

Head Coach  Nuno Espírito Santo      

Founded      1893

Ground         Estádio do Dragão

Address       Via Futebol Clube do Porto, 4350-415 Porto, Portugal

Capacity        50,092

Squad: 

1        Spain            GK      Iker Casillas

2        Uruguay        DF      Maxi Pereira

3        Portugal        MF      Sérgio Oliveira

4        France          DF      Willy Boly

5        Spain            DF      Iván Marcano

6        Portugal        MF      Rúben Neves

7        Portugal        FW     Silvestre Varela

8        Algeria          FW     Yacine Brahimi

9        Belgium         FW     Laurent Depoitre

10      Portugal        FW     André Silva

11      Spain            FW     Adrián López

12      Portugal        GK      José Sá

13      Brazil            DF      Alex Telles

15      Brazil            MF      Evandro

16      Mexico          MF      Héctor Herrera (captain)

17      Mexico          FW     Jesús Corona

18      Portugal        MF      João Teixeira

19      Portugal        MF      Diogo Jota (on loan from Atlético Madrid)

20      Portugal        MF      André André

21      Mexico          DF      Miguel Layún

22      Portugal        MF      Danilo Pereira

24      Portugal        GK      João Costa

25      Brazil            MF      Otávio

28      Brazil            DF      Felipe

30      Spain            MF      Óliver Torres (on loan from Atlético Madrid)

33      Nigeria          DF      Chidozie Awaziem

We have tried our best to ensure factual accuracy at the date of going to press – apologies in advance for any errors or out of date information.  

For the very latest updates please follow the link below to the club web site: http://www.fcporto.pt/en/Pages/fc-porto.aspx

(more…)

What did we learn from this match?

Report by Kate Thompson

Leicester 2 Chelsea 4 AET

It was inevitable that there would be wholesale changes for what is now called the EFL Cup but there was a respectable crowd for it.  Both teams made a number of changes from their previous games, in City’s case seven new faces came in.  The one player I had hoped to see was Kapustka but although he was on the bench I was to be disappointed.  A front two of Musa and Okazaki should have been strong and the other replacements had all played in the first team before.  Despite this, City were struggling for the first 15 minutes and Chelsea had a goal disallowed for offside – a very tight decision as the television cameras showed.  Against the run of play the hard-working Japanese, who never seems to give up, got his reward for chasing down a ball and squeezing it over the line, in the 17th minute.  All the Leicester fans looked to the referee before celebrating the goal – apart perhaps for those immediately behind the goal.  Another 17 minutes later and Okazaki repeated his feat to score another poacher’s goal which again marginally crossed the line.  Whether the players thought that they had done enough is debatable but they lost concentration; the usually dependable Morgan lost Cahill and his header was scrambled over by Luiz in the 45th minute.  The received wisdom is that just before half-time is a good time to score – is there ever a bad one? – and so it proved for Chelsea.  Their equaliser was a screamer from Azpilicueta in the 49th minute; this must have been doubly sweet for the player who was turned inside out by Mahrez in the league game here last season!

The turning point of the game was the sending off of Wasilewski just before the end of normal time, for an elbow in the face of Costa, who we all know will milk every touch for all it’s worth.  It was a rash thing to do and meant that City were on the back foot for all of the added 30 minutes.  Chelsea scored two quick goals, in the 92nd and 94th minute, both by Fabregas, and the game was effectively over, certainly as a spectacle.  Despite City bringing on a couple of the ‘big guns’ – Ulloa for Okazaki and Vardy for Musa – there was no way back.  Vardy raised the expectation levels when he came on in the 76th minute by immediately pressurising the keeper into giving away a corner, but even he ended the game as a spectator.  The third substitute was Amartey for Gray at the end of normal time.

I hope Ranieri learnt something from this game but my view is that the fringe players did nothing to improve their chances of becoming first-choice.  Although all worked hard, too many looked very ordinary.  Schlupp seemed half asleep much of the time and Musa was a shadow of the player who scored such a sublime goal against Barcelona.  Okazaki worked hard and got his two goals, but he will be back on the bench on Saturday.  Andy King was his usual hard-working industrious self but is far from filling the Kante sized hole in midfield.  I applaud Claudio for giving them a chance but unfortunately few of them – if any – took it in my opinion.  Had it been the FA Cup – which it is still my dream to win – I might have been less pragmatic!

CITY: Zieler, Simpson, Wasilewski, Morgan (c), Chilwell, Drinkwater, King, Gray, Schlupp, Musa, Okazaki 

SUBS: Hamer, Benalouane, Amartey, Mahrez, Kapustka, Vardy, Ulloa 

CHELSEA: Begovic, Alonso, Fabregas, Pedro, Loftus-Cheek, Moses, Matic, Batshuayi, Cahill (c), Azpilicueta, Luiz

SUBS: Kante, Hazard, Courtois, Costa, Willian, Chalobah, Aina

ATTENDANCE: 29,899

The views expressed in this report are the opinions of the Trust member nominated to file the report only and do not represent the views of the Foxes Trust organisation

Going to Manchester United?

Manchester United   M16 0RA

By car  103 mls, 2 hours 15 mins

FROM THE NORTH

Leave the M60 at Junction 12 M602 (Salford /Manchester). At the end of the M602 (Junction3) follow signs for Salford Quays & Trafford Park. At the oundabout turn right onto Trafford Road(A5063). At the bridge over the Manchester ShipCanal, keep in the right hand lane, turn right and follow the road round to Trafford Wharf Road, then left at the traffic lights onto Sir Alex

Ferguson Way. Continue through the traffic lights onto Wharfside Way and follow the signs to your required car park.

FROM THE SOUTH

Leave the M6 at Junction 19 and take the A556 in the direction of Manchester Airport. Continue onto the M56 to Manchester, passing the Airport, and follow the signs to the M60 (North & West). Leave the M60 at Junction 7 (A56 Chester Road) and follow the signs for Manchester United. (Sir Matt Busby Way is closed from Chester Road on Match Day.)

There are lots of small private car parks near to the ground, otherwise it is street parking.  Old Trafford Cricket Ground costs £10 but it can be slow leaving.  Around the cricket ground there is street paeking if you arrive early. Parking at  Salford Quays Lowry  Outlet Mall (M50 3AH) , a ten minute walk away from the stadium, has 4 hours free parking if you spend £5-00 in the shops or restaurants and then get a store to validate your receipt/car parking ticket). Otherwise park in one of the smaller tiowns on the outskirts and take the Metrolink to Old Trafford.

MATCHDAY: Access to car parks E1 & E2 can only be gained via Wharfside Way with the relevant permits. Anyone attempting to access via Chester Road will be directed around the traffic system which will cause further delays. Where acting upon Police instructions, Supporters parking on E1 & E2 may be held back after the game

Parking is also available at “Park and Ride” sites for the Metro

BY TAXI

MANCHESTER AIRPORT: 20 minutes - under £20*

PICCADILLY STATION: 15 minutes - under £10*

*Estimated prices and journey time dependant on traffic.

Please check with the driver before travelling.

PUBLIC TRANSPORT

The Metrolink service operates a frequent service from the City Centre (including Victoria & Piccadilly Stations) to Old Trafford station which is situated within a five minute walk of the football ground. North Western Trains operate a matchday only service from City Centre Stations direct to Old Trafford Stadium where the station is located alongside the South Stand.

PLEASE NOTE

Sir Matt Busby Way is a ‘no through’ road .

By train journey takes approx 2-3 hours , off peak return £47.30

Where to drink

The three pubs nearest the ground (The Trafford, Sam Platts and The Bishops Blaize) generally won't let you in if you wear away colours. The best bet is probably the city centre or along one of the stops on the Metrolink. The Quadrant pub usually has a mixture of home and away fans and a couple of handy Chinese/Chippies nearby. The pub is about a 10-15 minute walk away from Old Trafford, in the direction of the Cricket Ground

All information is provided in good faith but the Foxes Trust cannot be held responsible for any errors.

Thanks to the Football Ground Guide.

Next Up – Manchester United

Next Up Manchester United 24 September 2016 12.30 kick off

Manager        José Mourinho    

Founded      1878 as Newton Heath LYR F.C. and 1902, as Manchester United F.C.1863

Ground         Old Trafford

Address       Sir Matt Busby Way, Manchester M16 0RA

Capacity      75,653

Squad: 

1        Spain            GK      David de Gea

3        Ivory Coast    DF      Eric Bailly

4        England         DF      Phil Jones

5        Argentina       DF      Marcos Rojo

6        France          MF      Paul Pogba

7        Netherlands   FW     Memphis Depay

8        Spain            MF      Juan Mata

9        Sweden         FW     Zlatan Ibrahimović

10      England         FW     Wayne Rooney (captain)

11      France          FW     Anthony Martial

12      England         DF      Chris Smalling

14      England         MF      Jesse Lingard

15      Belgium         MF      Adnan Januzaj

16      England         MF      Michael Carrick

17      Netherlands   MF      Daley Blind

18      England         MF      Ashley Young

19      England         FW     Marcus Rashford

20      Argentina       GK      Sergio Romero

21      Spain            MF      Ander Herrera

22      Armenia        MF      Henrikh Mkhitaryan

23      England         DF      Luke Shaw

24      Netherlands   MF      Timothy Fosu-Mensah

25      Ecuador         MF      Antonio Valencia

27      Belgium         MF      Marouane Fellaini

28      France          MF      Morgan Schneiderlin

31      Germany       MF      Bastian Schweinsteiger

32      England         GK      Sam Johnstone

36      Italy             DF      Matteo Darmian

38      England         DF      Axel Tuanzebe

43      England         DF      Cameron Borthwick-Jackson

44      Belgium         MF      Andreas Pereira

          Uruguay        DF      Guillermo Varela

We have tried our best to ensure factual accuracy at the date of going to press – apologies in advance for any errors or out of date information.  

For the very latest updates please follow the link below to the club web site: http://www.manutd.com

(more…)