Next Up – Stoke

Up Next – Stoke City – Sat Feb 24th 12.30pm

Manager:     Paul Lambert

Founded:       1863             Ground:         bet365 Stadium

Address:       Stanley Matthews Way Stoke-on-Trent England ST4 4EG

Capacity:      30,089    

Squad:

1              England            GK          Jack Butland

2              Austria              DF          Moritz Bauer

3              Netherlands      DF          Erik Pieters

4              Wales                MF         Joe Allen

5              Austria               DF         Kevin Wimmer

6              France               DF         Kurt Zouma (on loan from Chelsea)

7              Rep of Ireland   MF         Stephen Ireland

8              England             DF         Glen Johnson

9              England             FW        Saido Berahino

10           Cameroon          FW        Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting

11           Spain                  FW        Jesé (on loan from Paris Saint-Germain)

14           Netherlands        MF        Ibrahim Afellay

15           Netherlands        DF        Bruno Martins Indi

16           Scotland              MF       Charlie Adam

17           England               DF        Ryan Shawcross (captain)

18           Senegal               FW       Mame Biram Diouf

20           United States       DF       Geoff Cameron

21           Greece                 DF       Kostas Stafylidis (on loan from Augsburg)

22           Switzerland          MF       Xherdan Shaqiri

24           Scotland               MF       Darren Fletcher

25           England                FW      Peter Crouch

27           Senegal                MF      Badou Ndiaye

29           Denmark              GK       Jakob Haugaard

32           Egypt                    MF      Ramadan Sobhi

33           England               GK       Lee Grant

42           England               DF       Tom Edwards

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have tried our best to ensure factual accuracy at the date of going to press – apologies in advance for any errors or out of date information.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

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CITY MAKE HEAVY WEATHER OF STUBBORN BLADES

CITY 1 SHEFFIELD UTD 0

Report by Eddie Blount

City duly progressed to the quarter-finals of the F A Cup but a stubborn performance by the Championship side meant that in boxing parlance this match went the distance. Both sides were at less than full strength but City fielded the strongest side they have used in the competition this season, indicating that Puel regards this as a trophy worth winning. Given that it acts as a doorway to Europe most City fans would agree and an attendance of over 28000 confirms that.

At the start the main focus was on the return of the prodigal son. He was greeted with a mixture of cheers and boos, the former seriously outnumbering the latter. His early touches were accompanied by rather isolated sounds of disapproval but these soon dissipated as Mahrez was involved in all the best things City did (and occasionally in some of the worst). It was as if he had never been away and when he was subbed just before the end he was given a standing ovation which he clearly and genuinely appreciated. Make no mistake we will miss him when he’s gone!

Sheffield set up with a bank of four behind a bank of five, often six, and played a high line in an attempt to compress the play into a patch of ground twenty yards either side of halfway. Thus it was difficult to find a way through the congestion and we saw City playing the ball about happily enough but making about as much progress as a set of First World War generals.

Sheffield to their credit ran, tackled and covered tirelessly and their well -organised ‘parked bus’ routine made for a game lacking in the excitement often associated with cup fixtures. Going forward they had little to offer, short on numbers and short on pace and short on ideas, so the City defence was rarely troubled.

This was no doubt ideal as a first runout for returning skipper, Wes Morgan who sauntered through the game without really breaking sweat. The Blades only had a couple of chances, one in each half. On the half-hour mark a cross from the right was headed by one City defender against another, the ball ricocheting fortuitously for Sheffield straight to Stevens whose effort was brilliantly blocked by Maguire when a goal seemed certain.

In the second half their only real chance came oddly when City were ahead and threatening to run up a score. A lovely first-time cross from the left was met first time by Baldock and from a distance it looked goal-bound, only for Schmeichel to save superbly, low to his left.

City on the other hand were continually threatening though rarely dangerously. The main threat came from the Mahrez-Vardy combination though Iheanacho put in a good shift a la Okazaki – without falling over as often. Vardy was slipped in twice in the first half, too wide the first time so the keeper, who played well, was able to block his cross-shot, but Vardy should have done better the second time when his effort met the same fate.

The second half was less evenly contested than the first with City dominant without the killer punch to finish the Blades off. The breakthrough came on 66 minutes when Mahrez received the ball widish right with two defenders in attendance. He went right and so did they. He turned back, they carried on, leaving him in space with the ball on his left foot. He promptly delivered a curving cross beyond the far post where the waiting Vardy was lurking unmarked. A clever, looping header back across the keeper found the far corner of the net, rather to the surprise of the fans who felt the angle was too narrow and expected the striker to head to a team-mate as did keeper Blackman.

For the next five minutes it was all City and we could have had a couple more at least. First Gray, again a mixture of the good and the less so, cut in from the left and delivered a fine shot only for Blackman to make an even better save, then Vardy netted from a Mahrez header across goal only for it to be ruled out for offside. Replays show that Mahrez was as level as makes no difference and the decision could easily have gone the other way. It would have been interesting to see what VAR made of it as it belonged to the same category as the Welsh non-try at Twickenham recently.

1-0 is never game over and thus we suffered the anguish of thinking that whilst never really being in the game United could get lucky at a set piece and force a replay. We should have more faith! One more win and we’re at Wembley.

City: Schmeichel, Simpson, Morgan, Maguire, Chilwell, Mahrez (James 90), Ndidi, Iborra, Gray, Iheanacho, Vardy (Albrighton 84)

Sheffield Utd: Blackman, Basham, Wright (Evans 76), O.Connell, Baldock, Lafferty, Carruthers (Duffy 76), Lundstram, Stevens, Wilson (Brooks 46), Donaldson

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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OUTPLAYED, OUT-THOUGHT AND OUTCLASSED

Manchester City 5  Leicester City 1

Report by Colin Hall

Leicester City suffered their heaviest away league defeat since returning to the top flight in 2014, as hosts and runaway leaders Manchester City handed out a 5-1 hiding.

While the Foxes were far from the first side this season to have suffered at the hands of this particular band of Manchester mercenaries, both manager Claude Puel and captain Kasper Schmeichel will reflect on crucial misjudgements which contributed to this loss.

Puel made two changes to his starting line-up for the trip to the storm-lashed Etihad, with Matty James and Ben Chilwell replacing Danny Simpson and Kelechi Iheanacho.

The visitors began the game with a back five – an experiment undertaken on a number of recent occasions under previous managers. As so often on those occasions, this experiment was undone by the lack of defensive discipline from the wing-backs.

With danger man De Bruyne again dominating the midfield, the home side quickly took the initiative, and took only two minutes to find the opening goal when a cross from the right was allowed to travel deep into the six-yard box before finding an unmarked Sterling to tap home at the far post.

However, despite enjoying far more of the game, Pep Guardiola's team were unable to add to their tally during the opening half. Indeed, they too showed signs of defensive vulnerability, and were duly punished when Jamie Vardy seized upon a stray Otamendi pass in to shrug off two challenges and fire home an unlikely leveller.

This was the fourth goal in successive games for the Foxes and England striker – his best sequence since his record-breaking run two seasons ago. It also made him the first player in Premier League history to score against each of the current “big six” clubs in the same season.

Having seen Fousseni Diabate also unsettle the home side with occasional bursts of pace, many in the visiting contingent entertained hopes at the interval of taking a point, perhaps even a memorable victory, from this clash.

But Puel's tinkering with the system, replacing Adrien Silva with Danny Simpson and pushing Marc Albrighton into another uncomfortable role in central midfield, destroyed the rhythm within the side and served as a prelude to a second-half horror show.

The tone was set just three minutes after the break, when another De Bruyne cross, this time from the left, caused confusion between Schmeichel and Harry Maguire and left Aguero, one of the top finishers in world football, to restore the home lead.

Five minutes later, the destiny of the game was sealed when Schmeichel, with far easier options available, opted to punt a Maguire backpass into a crowded midfield. Fernandinho and De Bruyne exploited this error to the full, setting up Aguero for a powerful drive which the Foxes keeper could only help into his own net.

Even the introduction of Iheanacho and the returning Riyad Mahrez – for the disappointing Chilwell and tiring Diabate respectively – proved unable to stem the tide.

Schmeichel's wretched evening at his former club went from bad to worse when he miskicked another backpass straight to the feet of Aguero, who gratefully accepted the gift to complete one of the easiest hat-tricks of his career.

The Argentinian striker's appetite for goals was not entirely sated, though, as in the closing minutes, he took advantage of space offered to him by a thoroughly demoralised Foxes defence to fire home his fourth of the match.

It is to be hoped that the management will study the reasons for this setback and correct the weaknesses within the side in time for the crucial FA Cup tie with Sheffield United.

With no relegation battle, title challenge or Champions League journey to distract the squad, there really is no excuse for Puel to field anything other than his strongest team for that fixture. In addition, however much it may discomfort certain sections of the fanbase, it is also evident from the past three games that Mahrez remains an important component of that team.

The outcome of this campaign, which has been far more troubled then our current league position may suggest, now stands or falls on our progress in the FA Cup.

Neither the current management nor the playing staff can afford to pass up the opportunities that competition offers to them.

Manchester City (4-3-3): Ederson; Walker, Otamendi (Stones 81), Laporte, Zinchenko (Danilo 65); Fernandinho (Foden 80), Gundogan, De Bruyne; B Silva, Aguero, Sterling.

Goals: Sterling (3), Aguero (48, 53, 77, 90).  Booked: Laporte, Gundogan. 

Leicester (5-3-2): Schmeichel; Albrighton, Dragovic, Maguire, Fuchs, Chilwell (Iheanacho 62); Ndidi, James, Silva (Simpson 45); Diabate (Mahrez 62), Vardy.

Goal: Vardy 24        Booked: Ndidi, Vardy, Maguire.

Referee: Mike Jones.                   Attendance: 54,416

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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Next Up – Manchester City

Next Up Man City 10 February 2018 5.30pm

Manager        Pep Guardiola

Founded       1880            Ground         City of Manchester Stadium

Address       Etihad Campus M11 3FF

Capacity        55,097  

Squad:

1          Chile              GK      Claudio Bravo

2          England         DF       Kyle Walker

3          Brazil              DF       Danilo

4          Belgium         DF       Vincent Kompany (captain)

5          England         DF       John Stones

7          England         MF      Raheem Sterling

8          Germany        MF      İlkay Gündoğan

10        Argentina      FW      Sergio Agüero

14        France           DF       Aymeric Laporte

17        Belgium         MF      Kevin De Bruyne

18        England         MF      Fabian Delph

19        Germany        MF      Leroy Sané

20        Portugal         MF      Bernardo Silva

21        Spain             MF      David Silva

22        France           DF       Benjamin Mendy

24        England         DF       Tosin Adarabioyo

25        Brazil              MF      Fernandinho

30        Argentina      DF       Nicolás Otamendi

31        Brazil              GK      Ederson

33        Brazil              FW      Gabriel Jesus

35        Ukraine          MF      Oleksandr Zinchenko

42        Ivory Coast    MF      Yaya Touré

43        England         FW      Lukas Nmecha

47        England         MF      Phil Foden

55        Spain             MF      Brahim Díaz

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.mcfc.co.uk/

 

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Going to Manchester City ?

Manchester City     M11 3FF

The stadium is located in the North East of Manchester.  Approx 108 miles 2hr 30min

From the South M6:
Leave the M6 at Junction 19 and follow the A556 towards Stockport and then join the M56 going towards Stockport. Continue onto the M60 passing Stockport and heading on towards Ashton Under Lyne. Leave the M60 at Junction 23 and take the A635 towards Manchester. Branch off onto the A662 (Ashton New Road) towards Droylsden and Manchester. Stay on the A662 for around three miles and you will reach the Stadium on your right.

From The M62:
Leave the M62 at Junction 18 and then join the M60 Ashton Under Lyne.  Leave the M60 at Junction 23 and take the A635 towards Manchester. Branch off onto the A662 (Ashton New Road) towards Droylsden/Manchester. Stay on the A662 for around three miles and you will reach the Stadium on your right. 

 You could also try leaving the M60 at Junction 24 and take the A57 (Hyde Road) towards Manchester. Turn right onto the A6010 (Pottery Lane). There are quite a number of unofficial car parks on both sides of Pottery Lane, costing around £8 per car. Pottery Lane becomes the Alan Turing Way and goes right past the stadium on your left.

Car Parking:
There is some parking available at the stadium itself which costs £10 per car. The East Car Park is nearest to the away entrance. Please be aware that there is a residents only parking scheme in place in the streets near to the ground, which extends about a mile out from the stadium. So if you want to street park, it means parking further away and then walking to the stadium. Some unofficial car parks have sprung up mostly charging around £5 per car

By Rail:

The closest train station is Ashburys which is a short five minute train ride away from Manchester Piccadilly Station. The stadium is about a 15 minute walk away from Ashburys station. As you come out of the station turn left and after proceeding up the road you will come to the stadium on your left.

Otherwise if you have time on your hands then you can embark on the 20/25 minute walk from Piccadilly Station to the stadium. At the bottom of the main station approach turn right into Ducie Street. At the end of the road turn right onto Great Ancoats Street. Cross over the road, then the canal and turn left into Pollard Street – this is well marked as a walking route to "Sportcity". Continue straight along Pollard Street which leads onto the A662 Ashton New Road and you will come to the stadium on your left. 

A shorter route from the station is to use the new exit to Fairfield Street (the taxi rank). As you come off the platforms, it’s in the left hand corner of the main concourse. Lifts or escalators down. (There’s also an exit from the little concourse off the bridge near platforms 13/14.) At the street exit head toward the railway over bridge, under that, then left again under the railway (Travis Street continuing into Adair Street), left at the end and right into Pollard Street (then as above).

Alternatively you can get a taxi from Piccadilly Station (around £5.00) or a bus from Piccadilly Gardens –  Go down the main approach from the station, then along London Road to Piccadilly Gardens; normal service and special matchday buses leave from the right hand side of the square (between Lever Street and Oldham Street) – £1 each way. 216 and 217 the main service buses, but 185, 186, 230, 231, 232, 233, 234, 235, 236, 237, X36 and X37 also go from the city centre to the stadium (and 53 and 54 from the city's ring road). On the return, the special buses leave from Ashton New Road just across from the away end.

 Trains take approx 3hrs off peak return £49.80

Last train back 20-27pm

Where to drink

'The Stanley' (aka Sports Bar) pub does let in away fans in small numbers. It is about a ten minute walk away from the stadium, just set back from the main A6010 (Pottery Lane) , going towards Ashburys train station. The easiest way to find it is to locate the large Asda store behind one side of the stadium (there is also a McDonalds outlet next door to the store, plus there is a cafe located inside it) and on facing the superstore turn right and proceed down the main road, you will come to the pub on the left. It does cost  for adults to enter the pub, but children are admitted free. Inside there is a large screen showing SKY Sports, good service and a good mix of home and away support.

 Otherwise the Townley on Albert Street, which is only a five minute walk away from the stadium Is recommended. The pub has a good atmopshere and as long as away fans arrive early and are discrete (i.e. no colours) then they should be okay.

There are plenty of places to eat and drink in the town centre.

Please check the cost and times of trains etc. All information is provided in good faith but the Foxes Trust cannot be held responsible for any errors.

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