2 points Blown Away (by Ophelia)

Leicester City 1 West Bromwich Albion 1 – 16 October 2017

Report by Tish Krokosz

I was looking forward to writing my inaugural report following an exciting victory – it was not to be. I was looking forward to Iborra’s first Premier League start, hoping he would have some control over the opposition midfield – it was not to be. It has been 23 years since City have beaten West Bromwich Albion at home and I hoped this would be the match to break that run, but it was not to be. I was hoping, following Shakey’s description of training ground improvements, to see a fast and flowing start from our forward line against a pedestrian, Pulis defence; yes, you’ve guessed it, it was not to be.

We came into the match sitting in the bottom 3 of the Premiership, knowing that a win would shoot us up the table. After a difficult start to the season, the timetable of “easier” opponents brought hope that we could consolidate our position higher up the table. To do this, we needed to score goals; preferably more than West Brom. Yet, most of the first half seemed to be spent passing the ball horizontally across the pitch or even backwards. Many fans were shouting that the opposition goal was in the other direction.

There was little to note about the first half and I thought this report would be the shortest on record due to lack of incident. City’s best chances seemed to come from set pieces but the packed West Brom. defence coped with them easily. The only shot of worth and on target came from Simpson in the 34th minute following a half clearance from a Fuchs long throw, but Myhill parried it to safety.

Perhaps this sparked City into thinking that it was worth trying to attack as there followed a couple of attempts at breaking the Albion massed rearguard. Vardy had a headed effort tipped over for a corner and ... oh, there wasn’t any other attempt on goal. Pulis had clearly come to take a point because his team were even less inventive and Schmeichel did not have to make a single save in the first half. In fact, it was shame that he did not see more of the ball because, with the wind behind him, this would have been a good opportunity for him to try one of his low, powerful kicks to get on to the scoresheet.

I cannot imagine that the TV audience would have been enthralled by this half. One (usually excitable fan) behind me was so bored that sitting rigid had brought on cramp in his leg. Having waited so long to see Iborra play, I could not understand his role in the side. His movement on and off the ball was very slow and several passes were wayward; but this was true of all City players going forward. Two seasons ago, we had Kante winning the ball in midfield, Okazaki offloading the loose one to Drinkwater and he could deliver the telling pass to Vardy or Mahrez to run on to and score – bang, bang, bang. We are missing someone who can provide that third bang.

And where was Iheanacho? I know he was on the teamsheet, but where was he on the field? I was surprised that he came out for the second half and that he was not substituted earlier. He did not link up with Vardy, was often too deep and did little in the way of penetrative passes. Unfortunately for him, a slow reaction from a City clearance led to a booking in the 61st minute and Albion’s goal from a Chadli free kick. Firstly, I was not convinced that West Brom. should have been given the free kick – it seemed a 50-50 ball from my angle. Secondly, from that distance, Schmeichel should not have been beaten. He did not move when the ball was kicked and I believe (storm) Ophelia assisted the speed with which the ball went into the net. This was a disaster. Going down a goal to a defensive West Brom. was not going to be easy to overcome.

Shakespeare’s answer was to make a double substitution, bringing on Chilwell and Slimani for Simpson and Iheanacho and changing the shape of the team from 4-4-1-1 to more of a 3-5-2. This should have been done a lot earlier as there was an immediate change in the balance of control in midfield with Chilwell often having acres of space. He has had success in the past when he has come on in this role of wing back on the left hand side and in this match he was prepared to go past, through or round opposition players. It was from one of his runs that, in the 80th minute, he made a telling cross which Slimani headed down to Mahrez, who had one touch past Gareth Barry and delivered the ball into the net with his right foot.

This made up for a glaring error in the 50th minute after Vardy and Albrighton had combined well on the left wing. The latter took the ball into the penalty area and made the perfect pass to an unmarked Mahrez who blasted it into the crowd with his favoured left foot. If City had taken the lead at this stage it may have ended far more happily for the team at the end of the evening. Generally, he was unimpressive most of the game. Has he lost his confidence in taken on players? I can recall only one occasion when he tried to outpace the defenders down the right wing and he was muscled out by two defenders. We used to call this a sandwich and I thought was a foul, but Mike Dean did not view it in this way and had waved play on.

The second half on the whole was a lot more active and interesting but it was disappointing that City were unable to test a goalkeeper who, five minutes into that half had clashed with Vardy just outside the penalty area and was clearly injured and unable to manoeuvre easily. He was unable to take goal-kicks and shortly after the Vardy incident Myhill just keeled over when preparing to take a kick. I did not know that Ophelia was that strong.

The West Brom. team made full use of his disability to kick the ball by wasting time at every opportunity. This did not please the crowd and we did not understand why he was not substituted. Was the addition of 5 minutes at the end of the half enough to make up for the blatant time wasting? I would also question why Shakespeare decided to bring King on for Iborra during this period when City were definitely in the ascendancy? Crosses were coming into the Baggies’ penalty area from Chilwell and Fuchs on the left and they were accurate. It just needed one more knock down from Slimani for City to get the winner.

I have never seen City beat West Brom. and recently, I have not seen a West Brom. worthy of beating City. They always seem to bring a burly, defensive set up and with the height of Ndidi and Iborra I thought we were able to match them physically. The first half was mainly played in a 20 yard block in the middle of the park. After City’s substitutions, the game became a lot more open and I feel City showed more promise and intention to move forward. But we badly need a midfielder who is creative and can control the direction of the game.

West Bromwich Albion came for a point and showed no intention of trying for more. They duly got their result. City needed 3 points and could have obtained them with more resolve because the opposition was not great, but in the end had to settle for 1 point – definitely a case of 2 points lost.

Leicester: Schmeichel, Simpson (Chilwell 74), Morgan, Maguire, Fuchs, Mahrez, Iborra (King 90+4), Ndidi, Albrighton, Iheanacho (Slimani 74), Vardy. Subs not used: Hamer, Gray, Amartey, Okazaki

West Bromwich Albion: Myhill, Dawson, Evans, Hegazi, Gibbs, Livermore, Rodriguez (McClean 84), Krychowiak, Barry, Chadli (McCauley 84), Rondon. Subs not used: Palmer, Nyom, Yacob, Phillips, Brunt

Referee: Mike Dean                           Attendance: 30,203

This match report was written prior to the announcement of Craig Shakespeare’s departure

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

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Oppos Viewpoint – West Brom

Name: Helen Allport

Current home town:  Great Wyrley    Birthplace: Walsall

How long have you supported your team?  As long as I can remember!

Overview of your club:Favourite thing about your home ground: The seat next to me which is kept free in memory of my dear friend and legend Les James aged 91. His scarf and cap are on his seat every game.

Favourite match played by your team & why:  Still the great escape of 2005! Because we never believed it could happen.

Favourite player of all time who played for your club: Super Bob Taylor he was so swift on the ball

About our forthcoming match against you:

Your favourite current player in your squad and why? Craig Dawson. He is all over the pitch so versatile. Works so hard.

Player in your squad we should most fear and why? Ben Foster will be hard to get past. He’s been consistently good this season. Player of the season.

Player in our squad you most fear and why? Got to be the Vardy monster but I've heard he's not feeling too well (ha)

Up and coming prospect in your squad? Sam Field a home grown young talent has done well when he's played. 

How do you think you do against us? Would take a point but like to nick the win.

General Questions:

Where do you think you will finish this season? Hopefully where we are now as tough few games to come.

What did you think to your transfer activity over the pre season? It was ok for us by we never splash the cash everyone knows that. 

Which three teams do you think will be relegated? I got this right last season !!!!! so Stoke (hopefully) Palace and Brighton.

Who do you think will win the league? The real team of Manchester. .....City

Any other comments? Well done Matt Davis on keeping this view feature going.

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Up Next – West Brom

Up Next – West Brom 16th October 2017

Manager      Tony Pulis 

Founded       1878             Ground         The Hawthorns

Address       Birmingham Road, West Bromwich, B71 4LF

Capacity        26,852       

Squad:

1              England                              GK          Ben Foster

2              Cameroon                           DF           Allan Nyom

3              England                              DF           Kieran Gibbs

4              Wales                                 FW         Hal Robson-Kanu

5              Argentina                            MF         Claudio Yacob

6              Northern Ireland                   DF         Jonny Evans (captain)

7              Scotland                             MF         James Morrison

8              England                              MF         Jake Livermore

9              Venezuela                          FW         Salomón Rondón

10           Scotland                              MF         Matt Phillips

11           Northern Ireland                    MF         Chris Brunt

13           Wales                                  GK          Boaz Myhill

14           Republic of Ireland                MF         James McClean

17           Scotland                              MF         Oliver Burke

18           England                               MF         Gareth Barry

19           England                               FW         Jay Rodriguez

20           Poland                                  MF         Grzegorz Krychowiak (on loan from Paris Saint-Germain)

22           Belgium                                MF         Nacer Chadli

23           Northern Ireland                     DF         Gareth McAuley

25           England                                DF         Craig Dawson

26           Egypt                                   DF           Ahmed Hegazi (on loan from Al Ahly)

28           England                               MF         Sam Field

40           England                               GK          Alex Palmer

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: www.wba.co.uk

Board Profile – Sarah Hubbard

A bit about you:

Name: Sarah Hubbard

Current home town: Leicester

Birth place: Leicester

When did you first support LCFC: I went to my first match in 1970 after losing the "69" cup final and receiving a "city" scarf as a Christmas present

When did you first join the Trust Board: I joined the Trust board in May 2016 as a co-opted member as I felt it was important to have the view of more than 1 female.

If you were to say one thing about why you feel other supporters should join the Trust:  As a passionate, like minded group of supporters, we the Trust have the opportunity to meet face to face with Susan Whelan to express any concerns we have about the club, and make suggestions for improvement.

 

Overview of LCFC

Favourite thing about the ground: Hearing The Post Horn Gallop being played as it is a sign the match will soon be underway.

Favourite view and/or where do you sit: East stand block J.on the halfway line opposite the tunnel

Favourite match & why: i don't have a 1 favourite match...several were memorable for various reasons!

Favourite player of all time who played for our club: Am I allowed 2? Gary Lineker and Muzzy Izzett

 

Our 15/16 Season

At what stage did you think we would win the league: Probably with about 6 games to go. 

Where were you when the  final whistle went at the Chelsea v Spurs game and how did you feel: In a pub in town. I felt lost for words and privileged to be a LEICESTER CITY fan.

Where were you when we were presented with the trophy and how did you feel: At the ground in my usual seat. I felt in a dream...I never thought I would see "MY" team win the premier league.

How has Leicester winning the league changed the perception of the club: I'm not sure if people think we are no longer a small club, but it has made other smaller clubs believe that they too COULD win the title. 

Has it made a difference to you personally: I had the privilege of meeting Riyad Mahrez when he brought the trophy to a school I work in. It is a day I will NEVER forget.

Any other comments in relation to that incredible season: It more than made up for all the years of disappointment and heartache of being a LEICESTER CITY FAN.

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Board Profile – Colin Murrant

A bit about you:

Name: Colin Murrant

Current home town: Desborough

Birthplace: Long Itchington, Nr Leamington Spa, (could have been a Sky Blue)

When did you first support LCFC? 1964, first game v Stoke City and Stanley Matthews. There was no family history of being supporters, so I was in my teens when I first went to Filbert Street. Last season my 2 sons, 2 granddaughters and 2 grandsons attended a match at the KP together for the first time so the Dynasty is established.

When did you first join on the Trust Board? Co-opted in 2016 but elected in 2017

Why did you join? I have done many various things in local football but, apart from supporting the City, nothing of note at the senior level of the game. Semi-retirement has given me more time to devote to new activities, and having the opportunity to discuss issues that affect City and the game at National and local levels appealed to me. We all have our opinions on what is good and bad about the game and how we would like to see it be improved. To be able to participate in discussion of these issues in a formal way seems to me to be more meaningful.

What is your main role? I have no specific role but have attended meetings at the Club and National level representing the FT. I have also produced a format for assessing clubs impact in their local Community. I also regularly write Trust match reports on away matches.

If you were to say one thing about why you feel other supporters should join the Trust, what would it be? Probably the same reasons as I mentioned as to why I joined. I would like to see younger people be proactive in the FT as I think that each generation has its own opinions on what is important to them. I have sons and grandchildren who attend matches when they can and I like to take their viewpoints into consideration when forming my opinions. So, the one thing I would say is join and express your views

Overview of LCFC:

Favourite thing about the ground: Somethings that are not by definition tangible, the memories of the last two seasons that I doubt will ever be surpassed. The mantle of home has not yet fully passed for me from Filbert Street to the King Power, but it is has its own part in my heart.

Favourite view and/or where you sit: I sit in A1 on the angle, I suffer from neck problems and it suits me best sitting there, not having to move my head too much.

Favourite match & why: Unquestionably Manchester City away on 6 February 2016. We dominated the match from kick off to final whistle with the Mahrez goal being the cherry on the icing of the cake. It was the day most of us really started to believe we could win the Title. The applause from the Mancs was moving, it also heralded the world-wide love-in with The Foxes

Favourite player of all time who played for our club: Gary Lineker, probably because he was a local lad and Leicester fan. His prime time at Leicester was also when I started to take my sons to the games and he was there hero: he seemed to score in every game. It is great to see he has not lost his love for Leicester having played for bigger clubs.

Our 15/16 Season:

At what stage did you think we would win the league? The week before we had been to Crystal Palace and won 1-0 when the fans stayed behind for 20 minutes singing 'We're gonna win the League'. I remember coming out of the Southampton home game on April 3rd and the Sahara sand got in my eyes. I kept saying to my friend, we are going to do this, we are really going to do it. That was the moment, I had no doubts after that.

Where were you when the final whistle went at the Chelsea v Spurs game and how did you feel? At home. I couldn't bear to watch to be honest. Then I learnt we were losing 2-0 so I thought ‘what the hell’ and watched the remainder of the match. Hazard 83 min 28 secs ingrained in my memory.

Where were you when we were presented with the trophy and how did you feel? In the ground and the whole thing was totally surreal and emotional. I don't think any supporters experienced what we did that day and Andreas Bocelli added to that. The match itself was a sideshow and had no meaning other than that we won the League by 10 points. The thought was that I had supported city for 50 years and this had happened in my life time: My two grandsons (5 and 7) think City winning the league is the norm.

How has Leicester winning the league changed the perception of the club? Incredibly, everywhere you go home and abroad people recognise the badge or learn where you come from and want to talk about the Team. It has put Leicester on the match. Unfortunately, the ill-informed pundits and bad press around Claudio's sacking dented this love for Leicester but not killed it off.

Has it made a difference to you personally? Just that uplifting feeling that you have witnessed something special, even unique that can never been taken away from you. I feel very privileged to have been a part of it.

Any other comments in relation to that incredible season? I went to every away game, Victoria Park, Kasabian at the KP. It was the greatest party ever. The starters were the end of the previous season, the dessert the Champions League but the 15/16 season the main course. I am ready to dine again!

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