Worrying signs

Huddersfield 1 City 1

Report by Kate Thompson

I hadn't worried that we were only just above the relegation zone, as we had had some difficult matches, but this lacklustre display against Huddersfield was more concerning.  As Shakespeare said, they played in the way we normally play and did it very effectively. 

Frankly, we were awful in the first half although Schmeichel was rarely troubled, so full credit to the defence.  Huddersfield were quicker to every ball and harried and hustled City so that they struggled to get out of their own half.

The Huddersfield goal came almost immediately after the restart and Depoitre out-muscled Maguire, one of the most reliable of defenders so far.  Somewhat surprisingly we equalised almost immediately as King was brought down in the box and Vardy slammed the ball into the net, right in front of the City supporters.  Note to Riyad Mahrez - that's how to take a penalty.

Huddersfield thought they had scored again not long after but it was ruled out for offside.  It was impossible to say as it was the far end from where we were, but it appeared from reports that it was a debatable decision.  For once Jonathan Moss was kind to us! 

In the 70th minute Mahrez burst into life and put a lovely low cross into the box, only for Vardy to miss an easy tap-in from close range.  That would have been rather a travesty but we would have taken it!  Gray, who had come on for Albrighton in the 65th minute went down in the box, but it looked like a dive and was rightly waved away.

The starting line-up showed three changes - King for the injured James, Ineacho for his first start and Ben Chilwell for Fuchs whose eye had been damaged in a freak accident in training.  The midfield was frequently over-run and Ndidi had a poor game; we must however remember how young he is - he will make mistakes but as long as he learns from them he will be alright. 

I agree with those who are saying we need three in midfield and the fit again Iborra would add a bit of stability to the engine room of the team.  Ineacho worked hard but with only a few glimpses of his ability.  We need to give him time, a rare commodity in the modern game.  He was replaced by Okazaki in the 69th minute. 

The final change was Slimani for Vardy, which had a few scratching their heads until it emerged that Vardy had a slight groin strain.  Slimani continues to baffle me - he doesn't look like an athlete and at one point he appeared to be asleep! - but he has scored some important goals. 

Although he is an U21 England international - and speaks beautifully! - Chilwell doesn't inspire the same confidence as Fuchs and he had his hands full in this match.  As for the rest, for once I agree with Ian Stringer about Andy King.  He still has a role to play for this team but because he is not flashy - one of the few players not to have a tattoo, so far as I can see! - his hard work frequently goes unnoticed. 

So it was a fortunate point but as one of the contributors to Radio Leicester said, we only got a point away against Bournemouth in the title-winning season, from a Vardy penalty, so we don't need to press the panic button yet.

Leicester City: Schmeichel, Simpson, Morgan (c), Maguire, Chilwell, Mahrez, Ndidi, King, Albrighton (Gray 65), Iheanacho (Okazaki 68) Vardy (Slimani 82). Unused Subs  Hamer, Amartey, Iborra, Ulloa,

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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View from the oppo – Huddersfield Town

A bit about you:

Name: Jim Chisem

Current home town: Huddersfield                               Birthplace: Huddersfield

How long have you supported your team? Since I was a wee lad, so I’d say about 24 years now.

Overview of your club:

Favourite thing about your home ground: I like the fact that it’s unique. Most modern stadia are relatively soulless affairs, situated in out-of-town retail parks and defined by identikit rectilinear stands. The John Smith’s, or whatever it is they’re calling it these days, is set against the backdrop of a forested embankment, while the stands are semi-circular structures that sit beneath two rows of criss-crossed white steel tubing. I’m reliably informed that it won RIBA building of the year in 1995, so I think it’s fair to say that my opinion has some objective weight behind it.  

Favourite match played by your team & why: The 1994/95 Division 2 Playoff Final against Bristol Rovers, which we won 2-1. I was six-years-old at the time and I remember being completely overawed by the whole occasion.

Favourite player of all time who played for your club: Andy Booth. He’s Huddersfield’s answer to Gary Lineker.

About our forthcoming match against you:

Your favourite current player in your squad and why? After last season’s heroics, it’s hard to choose. But if I had to pick one, I’d go for Christopher Schindler. He’s such a cool customer, and he’s adapted to the pace and quality of the Premier League with aplomb.

Player in your squad we should most fear and why? Aaron Mooy, hands down. He’s a footballing metronome, breaking up play, recycling possession, and dictating the tempo of the game. If you can keep Mooy quiet, you’ve got a very good chance of beating us. 

Player in our squad you most fear and why? Jamie Vardy. If we play a high-line, which we usually do at home, I can see him causing all sorts of bother.  

Up and coming prospect in your squad? Our very own slice of ‘Danish Dynamite’, Philip Billing. He has all the attributes required of a modern-day central midfielder. He’s technically gifted, has a good passing range, has excellent positional sense, and covers a lot of ground. He’s also very tall, which is a bonus at set-pieces. 

How do you think you’ll do against us? I think there’ll be goals in this game, so I’m going to predict that someone will win 3-2.

General Questions:

What did you think to the summer transfer activity both in and out of your club?  We’ve managed to tie down most of last season’s loanees (Mooy, Kachunga, Palmer), improve squad depth (Lössl, Green, Zanka, Malone, Hadergjonaj, Williams, Sabiri), and add attacking talent (Mounie, Ince, Depoitre), so I’d say that our dealings in the transfer market have been impressive. In terms of outgoings, it’s a shame to see Wells and Bunn leave, but life goes on!

Where do you think you’ll finish this season? I’m going to be optimistic and say 17th.

Who do you think will win the league? One of the Manchester teams.

Which three teams do you think will get relegated from the Premiership? Brighton, Crystal Palace, and Swansea.

Any other comments? I’m looking forward to seeing how we’ll set up against you. We struggled against counter-attacking teams last season, and if we press high-up the pitch as a unit, it’s going to leave a lot of space for the likes of Vardy and Mahrez to run into. So, I wouldn’t be surprised if we play a slightly more cautious, withdrawn game than usual.

James is General Secretary of Huddersfield Town Supporters Association – please go to https://htsa-web.com/ for more information

 

Next Up – Huddersfield

Next Up – Huddersfield 16 September 2017

Head Coach: David Wagner

Founded: 1908

Ground:   John Smith's Stadium Huddersfield

Address: Stadium Way Huddersfield HD1 6PX

Capacity: 24,500

Squad:
 

1          Denmark          GK       Jonas Lössl

2          England           DF       Tommy Smith (captain)

3          England           DF       Scott Malone

4          England           MF       Dean Whitehead

6          England           MF       Jonathan Hogg (vice-captain)

8          Denmark          MF       Philip Billing

9          DR of Congo   FW       Elias Kachunga

10        Australia           MF       Aaron Mooy

11        Morocco          MF       Abdelhamid Sabiri

13        England           GK       Joel Coleman

14        England           DF       Martin Cranie

15        Germany          DF       Chris Löwe

17        Netherlands     MF       Rajiv van La Parra

18        England           MF       Joe Lolley

19        USA                 MF       Danny Williams

20        Belgium            FW       Laurent Depoitre

22        England           MF       Tom Ince

23        Germany          FW       Collin Quaner

24        Benin               FW       Steve Mounié

25        Denmark          DF       Mathias Jørgensen

26        Germany          DF       Christopher Schindler (vice-captain)

27        Slovenia           DF       Jon Gorenc Stanković

28        England           GK       Robert Green

33        Switzerland      DF       Florent Hadergjonaj (on loan from Ingolstadt 04)

44        Germany          DF       Michael Hefele

45        England           MF       Kasey Palmer (on loan from Chelsea)

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.htafc.com

 

Going to Huddersfield ?

Huddersfield   HD1 6PX

The John Smiths' Stadium is located just off the A62 Leeds Road. It can be easiest reached from Junction 25 of the M62. Simply follow the signs for Huddersfield (A62) and you will reach the stadium over on your left.

If approaching from the South, then leave the M1 at Junction 38 and take the A637 towards and then the A642 into Huddersfield. As you approach the town centre try to keep to the right hand lane as you will turn right at the roundabout and onto the A62 Leeds Road. The stadium is a short distance down this road on the right.

Alternatively if coming up from the South and looking for somewhere to park then along St Andrews Road there are a number of small businesses that offer parking for around £5. To find these, then aa you approach the town centre you will pass a Lidl store on your left. Go through the next lights and after passing a KFC and Iceland shop on your right, move over to the right hand lane and then turn right at the next set of traffic lights into St Andrews Road. Keep straight along this road and you will soon see the stadium over on your right.

There is also a fair sized car park located at the ground which costs £6. 

Approx 93 mls  1 hr 45 mins

Public Transport

The John Smith's Stadium is walkable from Huddersfield Railway Station, it should take no more than 15 minutes at a comfortable pace. After coming out of the Railway Station, turn down past the front of The George Hotel. Go straight over the crossroads into Northumberland Street and walk down across the Ring Road straight on into Leeds Road. Turn right down Gasworks Street. Straight over the crossroads to the ground.

Trains take 2hr 30min to 3 hrs off peak return £42-60

Where to drink

'The Head of Steam pub at the railway station is pretty good and serves food too. Also near to the railway station is the Cherry Tree pub. This Wetherspoons outlet is located on John William Street and is popular with away fans. Otherwise if you like your real ale, then Huddersfield has a number of entries in the CAMRA Good Beer Guide. Those in the town centre closest to the ground include; The King's Head (very near to the Head of Steam), The Sportsman on St John's Road, the Vulcan in St Peter's Street and Slubbers Arms on Halifax Old Road.

There is also a cinema and entertainment complex behind the North Stand, which also contains the Rope Walk pub.

All information is provided in good faith but the Foxes Trust cannot be held responsible for any errors. Thanks to the Football Ground Guide

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TOO LITTLE TOO LATE

LEICESTER CITY 1 CHELSEA 2

Match Report by Paul Weston

It seemed like the season has started again when I approached the KP stadium on Saturday. The distractions of the transfer window and international break made me wonder what team would be selected and what would be our approach in taking on the Premier League champions Chelsea.

The team Shakespeare selected was interesting. Okazaki did not even make the bench, presumably because of jet lag and Slimani was selected to partner Vardy instead of Iheanacho. Otherwise it was the same team that fought valiantly against Man United. Mahrez was selected despite spending a lot of time waiting in airports for bids. Drinkwater looked on from the Chelsea bench (how many games will he play?). Silva, whom we have signed as a replacement and apparently pay his wages yet are not permitted to play, watched from the stands. I have no idea who is to blame but it is a farce and needs to be resolved quickly.

The match started with City playing quite slowly and cautiously and Chelsea looking confident in possession. Alonso and Moses were being given a lot of space on the flanks. Morata nearly stole in for a goal when played in down the middle. However, our defence looked strong and Wes Morgan put in some strong blocks.

Our midfield, although striving manfully, were struggling to create anything. The Slimani/Vardy combination was just not working, and never has worked in my opinion, and the team seemed somewhat disjointed, often losing possession quickly. However, City’s first chance came when Vardy’s first time shot from a typical Mahrez pass slid wide of the goal when he could have done better.

Then the key point in the match happened. City broke fast with Mahrez, and Slimani and Vardy alongside against a retreating Chelsea defence. Mahrez passed to Slimani whose shot was saved by Courtois. We shall never know whether Vardy would have scored, given the opportunity, but I know on whom my money would be!

Chelsea scored soon after when a fairly innocuous cross from the right was glanced in by Morata who got on the wrong side of Morgan. It looked a fairly soft goal and came from nowhere.

Not much else happened in the first half which ended with City 1-0 down and left to muted applause. Chelsea looked comfortable and City were not moving quickly enough or passing accurately to make inroads.

Shakespeare also decided something had to change and made two changes at half time. Slimani was replaced by Gray and Albrighton somewhat surprisingly replaced by Andy King. This was a good chance for Gray to show that he is a good as he thinks he is.

However, despite the substitutions, nothing really changed until City left Kante completely free in the middle and he decided he might as well have a shot. It was a long way out and the shot was not fierce yet somehow ended up the corner of the net. I think midfield, defence and Schmeichel were all culpable. Another soft goal had been conceded and City were 2-0 down.

The tempo of the match changed completely when, after a move by Gray, Vardy cleverly dashed in front of Courtois who brought him down for a rather dubious penalty. Vardy smashed it down the middle. 1-2 and we had a match at last.

City upped the pace in a frenetic last half hour and Fuchs in particular did his best to make things happen by pushing forward at every opportunity. Crosses bombed in from both flanks but often the final pass went astray, with Mahrez sadly often the culprit. Iheanacho was brought on late for James as City went for it but it was all too late. This left the midfield exposed and Willian nearly scored close to the end as he and Hazard looked an immediate threat.

The match ended with a feeling of frustration. There is no doubt that Chelsea have world class players with the luxury of players like Hazard and Willian coming on from the subs bench. However, City could, and should, have got something from this match if they had played with the same intensity as in the second half.

City fans look with trepidation as the team sits close to the bottom of the league after admittedly a tough start to the season. Okazaki, Huth and Iborra need to be fit for selection, Silva registration resolved and then the next matches against Huddersfield and Liverpool will become a critical benchmark for the season ahead.

Leicester City: Schmeichel, Simpson, Morgan (c), Maguire, Fuchs, Mahrez, Ndidi, James (Iheanacho 77), Albrighton (King 45), Slimani (Gray 45), Vardy. Unused Subs  Hamer, Chilwell, Amartey, Ulloa

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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