CITY RIDE LUCK TO SNATCH FIRST WIN

LEICESTER 2 WOLVES 0

Report by Eddie Blount

Even the most ardent City fan would surely admit that City had more than their fair share of good fortune in recording their first win of the new Premiership campaign. Wolves hit the woodwork three times and conceded an own goal and a deflected goal which is more than enough to convince a manager that this was not to be their day.

The opening minutes took me back many years to when newly-promoted Bolton were the first visitors (to the old Filbert Street). We were confident that they were there for the taking yet they overran us from the start and put five past us! Wolves began in similar style, hitting the bar after two minutes and squandering a simple chance after four when full back, Doherty (more of him to come) mishit a chance from ‘my mother’ distance which struck Chilwell virtually on the line rather than crashing into the net as it should have done. After 10 minutes a shot from Jimenez cannoned off Schmeichel’s right-hand post so we could have been three down at that point!

The threat came from a single source! City’s back four set up narrowly across the pitch leaving space out wide. Wolves ignored their right side and concentrated solely on the left. Ricardo positioned himself relatively high up the pitch leaving a wide space behind and Evans, making his home debut clearly lacked the pace to get across to fill the gap behind Ricardo.

Consequently Wolves chipped the ball into the empty space and got in behind our back four on numerous occasions. All the dangerous Wolves attacking play came down their left flank yet we seemed powerless to prevent its constant repetition. Ricardo went on to have a creditable game especially when going forward; Evans struggled in the first half but was better suited to the change of tactics necessarily employed in the second when City were reduced to ten men.

As we all know a side that fails to take its chances almost invariably pays the penalty and thus it came to pass. City managed to get a foothold in the game after Wolves’ blistering start and managed some attacking moves of their own, especially down the flanks. A fine Albrighton cross to Gray at the far post was comprehensively headed into his own net by the unfortunate Doherty (he’s not finished yet). Amazing that with limited aerial threat up front our first two goals of the season have come from headers!

This changed the complexion of the game with City growing in confidence and none more so than new signing Maddison who showed the priceless ability to receive, control and turn in an instant which marks out a player to watch. Receiving from Ricardo he did all of these things in a flash on the edge of the box getting away a shot which deflected slightly but enough to wrong-foot their keeper and give City a cushion.

This was to prove crucial after 66 minutes when Vardy was over-competitive in pursuing a loose ball, his tackle winning the ball but taking the man – inevitably Doherty – in his follow-through. These days you simply cannot do this and especially when the referee is Mike Dean, with a reputation for courting controversy second only to John Moss!

At least Vardy left the pitch without hesitation but faces a three match ban which we could do without. Doherty was injured in the tackle and played no further part in the game, probably somewhat relieved given all that had happened. I could not support the abuse hurled at him by a section of the crowd as Doherty in no way tried to influence Dean’s decision and the tackle ended his match. Besides with his luck he would probably have conceded a penalty if he had stayed on!

Strangely City were tighter with ten men than eleven, reorganising into a back three with Ricardo and Chilwell as wing-backs and often looking the better side. Evans and Maguire swopped places with sub, Amartey, to the right of Maguire, now even more a crowd favourite. Wolves had odd moments, Jonny hit the post from an impossible angle and Schmeichel saved well from Neves long shot, but in truth City never looked like conceding and finished comfortably in control

My MOM was Mendy who showed speed and energy and a willingness to get the ball forward quickly. He looks like a muscular Kante and could be a force this season if he stays injury-free. His midfield partner, Ndidi, also put in his usual good stint. At the back Maguire was the pick of the defenders

So we weathered a major storm and brought the ship safely into port. However the captain needs to get more wind into the sails at the start to avoid being blown on to some serious rocks in future outings

City:  Schmeichel, Ricardo, Evans, Maguire, Chilwell, Mendy, Ndidi, Albrighton (Amartey60), Maddison (Iheanacho 82), Gray (Silva 82), Vardy

Wolves: Patricio, Bennett, Coady, Boly, Doherty (Gibbs-White 69), Moutinho, Neves, Jonny, Costa (Triore), Jimenez, Jota (Bonatini 45)

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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The Foxes Trust Predictor League 2018-19 – Update

Due to the Foxes Trust mini-league administrator having problems accessing the talkSPORT website at the weekend, we had several participants requesting to join, or being invited to join, who could only be accepted after the first round of matches.

 

There may be some invitees that have not yet joined but these will be few if any. As mentioned, we will continue to accept requests from non-invitees for those joining with zero points.

 

Those requesting or invited are known to the Foxes Trust by user name only (not by email address) and, as such are not eligible for the Foxes Trust prize which is restricted to the 10 applicants who supplied email addresses.

 

In this way nobody has been accepted to the mini league who was not registered with talkSPORT before round one, and only players applying through the Trust email address are eligible for the Trust prize.

 

Enjoy the enlarged competition and good luck, thanks for your support.

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Déjà vu, but reasons to be cheerful

Manchester United 2 v Leicester City 1
 
Report by Colin Murrant
 
For the third year running Leicester were away for the first match of the Premier League season, at the end of the match they were, as on the previous two occasions, bottom of the table with a goal difference of minus 1. However, whereas at Hull City they were dreadful, and at Arsenal they were ultimately undone by some strange late substitutions, at Old Trafford they were very impressive in defeat and possession having 54% of it.
 
There has been a lot of pressure by the Premier League Trusts to get more reasonable kick off times from the TV companies so that fans can best use public transport, to no avail. With an 8 o’clock kick off at Manchester, and on a Friday night, this fixture provided no options but to endure the M1/M6 either by bus or car.
 
When arriving at Old Trafford the security is quite tight for pedestrians and vehicles alike. The car park at the ground had security staff conducting under vehicle scanning, car boot searches, and bag searches as you left the car park. Some larger bags were not allowed into the stadium and you could leave them for collection later paying £5 (to charity) for the privilege. There were further body searches at the turnstiles and at least three sniffer dogs to pass; such is the need for security requirements of today although this far exceeds anything seen at other grounds.
 
 
Old Trafford itself is a magnificent arena, and the buzz and activities around the stadium is second to none. Replica European Cup, and other trophies, are available to have your photo taken with them, and the number of stalls and non-official scarf sellers leading up to, and outside of the Sir Matt Busby Stand generates a real party atmosphere: all this overseen by the Charlton/Best/Law statue.
 
The place is quite intimidating from its pure size, although the fans are generally so quiet these days that its self-proclaimed title as ‘Theatre of Dreams’ applies these days may not so much for the recent major titles won, perhaps more for the corporates sleeping after their prawn cocktail sandwiches?
 
And, so to the match itself. What you want at Old Trafford is to have a steady start and get through the first 20 minutes without conceding; sadly, it was not to be. After only a minute Amartey, a surprise inclusion to most, handled in the box and Pogba despatched the penalty past Schmeichel who dived the right way but was perhaps deceived by Pogba’s initial walk and later run up.
 
 
Shortly afterwards the City keeper had to be alert to come out of his area to clear and there was a worry City could be swept aside by the early United tempo. Gradually though City came into the game with Maddison and Silva having more influence in midfield and Chilwell and Gray attacking down the left flank.
 
Although City were having more possession they were looking vulnerable to the counter attack. City’s best chance came after 29 minutes, Maddison got the ball in the box and unleashed a shot that seemed to be going in until De Gea got a hand to the ball.
 
 
At half time the City fans were all in agreement that City were the best team, the only problem is that for all their possession they were not creating all that many good chances, even from numerous free kicks and corners.
 
The second-half was more even although it continued in the same vein with City having slightly more possession. Pogba was playing well for United and the Leicester midfield was not so dominant, the tackles were getting tastier without any real nasties although Fred may have seen red on another day for one of his tackles.
 
On 65 minutes Iheanacho could and should have had a penalty, moving into the box from a long ball from Ndidi he was tackled by Bailly who made no contact with the ball as the City striker fell. If this could have been a turning point in the match, City had another great chance 10 minute later. Vardy had just come on and in typical rampaging style robbed Shaw near the corner flag. His cross into the box was flicked towards goal by Gray; unfortunately, the shot had no great pace and De Gea saved with some comfort. Gray had another shot from distance minutes later but easily cleared the bar.
 
United on the counter attack should have scored but for a typical Schmeichel wonder save: Sanchez beating Ricardo in the box laid the ball to Lukaku in oceans of space. He shot but the mountain that is the City custodian got his body in the way and the ball flew up over the bar. Then came the killer blow, Shaw found himself one-on-one with Ricardo, he flicked it over the full-back’s head, and then shot across Schmeichel into the far corner.
 
City kept pushing forward but nothing was created until the game was in added-on time. Firstly, Ricardo found Vardy who volleyed over from 6 yards. Then two minutes later Ricardo shot across goal, hit the post and Vardy headed the rebound in from a yard. There was one last chance in the last minute when Schmeichel, up for the corner, headed wide.
 
 
So, what did we learn from this first match of the season?
 
Puel’s influence on the possession style of football is much in evidence but it needs to be more effective in the last third of the pitch. The style leaves more open to counter attacks and a pacey centre back alongside Maguire will help.
 
Ricardo is a lovely player to watch, but is a lot more inspiring going forward than defending, but bags of promise. He seems uncomfortable one-on one in tight situations noticeable in the World Cup too
Maguire is clearly focussed and the World Cup and transfer rumours have done nothing to detract from his game or commitment.
 
Maddison is class with enormous potential, looked perfectly at home at this level, with much more to come as he gets to know Vardy and vice versa.
 
Schmeichel was dominant, catching the high ball better in this game than I have seen him do for a long while.
 
Chilwell and Gray combined well and add an electric dimension when attacking, Gray covered well at times too.
 
Ndidi was getting back to his best and Ghezzal showed promise in his late cameo.
 
With the new centre backs this is becoming a youthful team which hopefully will develop and serve City for years to come.
 
One swallow doesn’t make a summer, but this was a hugely promising start, with so many reasons to be cheerful!
 
Man Utd XI: De Gea; Darmian, Bailly, Lindelof, Shaw; Pogba (c), A Pereira, Fred; Mata, Rashford, Sanchez. Subs: Grant, Smalling, Young, Fellaini, McTominay, Martial, Lukaku.
 
Leicester City XI: Schmeichel; Ricardo, Morgan (c), Maguire, Chilwell. Amartey, Silva, Ndidi, Maddison Gray, Iheanacho. Subs: Ward, Evans, Vardy, Albrighton, Iborra, Fuchs, Ghezzal.
 
Referee: Andre Marriner                           Attendance: 74,439
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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The Foxes Trust Predictor League 2018-19 – 4 Days To Go

You Beauty, not just the stadium looking splendid, it is also the return of the Foxes Trust Premier League Prediction Game for the 2018/19 season.
 
This season we are using the talkSPORT Selco Predictor league as our format which is open to everyone, please note under 18s can join if they get parental consent, see their T&Cs.
 
This league runs the whole season from week 1 to 34 (I know 38 matches but with mid-week that’s 34 weeks). As well as the TalkSPORT prizes, the Foxes Trust will be offering a prize for the winner of The Foxes Trust Predictor League (TFTPL). The League is open to anyone with a limit of 50 persons.
 
You can join the TFTPL for fun but to be eligible to win the prize you must send your name, email address, and Predictor League Player name to mail@foxestrust.com.  You must join the league with zero points to be considered for the prize.
 
So, get registering, thank you to those who join, good luck and enjoy the season.
TalkSPORT Predictor with Selco https://predictor.talksport.com/public/#/home
 
Remember to press ‘Join’, If the Join button doesn’t work, reload your profile and it should resolve any issues. (if there is a problem with the original joining button there is a "chat" area in the bottom RH corner of the "Dashboard" screen once you have created your account / logged in  and they are VERY helpful in sorting the problem)
 
Then, once Registered –
To enter predictions
Go onto dashboard and click More against Premier League Predictor
 
This is also where you join the TFTPL
 

 

On the right-hand side, you will see a Mini Leagues Icon, click on it

 
 
Then either complete the Mini-League Search by entering The Foxes Trust Prediction League or Use Invitation Code and enter jledg
 
 
Up the Foxes

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City’s Eurostars finish the pre-season with a win

Lille (LOSC) 1 v 2 LCFC

Report by Stuart Dawkins

Claude Puel’s long association with Lille, or LOSC (Lille Olympique Sporting Club) as the locals refer to their team, made this a logical venue for the final pre-season match.  The city’s Eurostar station had the added advantage of making it very accessible to Leicester fans – in effect we walked from home to Lille, with the assistance of a couple of prompt trains.

Lille is a surprisingly good destination for a few days’ stay: a pretty old town with plenty of cafes and restaurants surrounded by a decent-sized city with a textile-based history not dissimilar to Leicester’s.  The world’s first fully-automated metro system made transport to the match and elsewhere very straightforward. 

Around 1,000 City fans made their way to the Stade Pierre Mauroy for the match.  The home team had made the match a ‘fan day’, with pumping music, a pre-match presentation of the LOSC players to the fans and much else, which added to the atmosphere.

The stadium is impressive – 50,000 seats with a retractable roof – and was used for international matches during Euro 2016.  For this match the roof was closed, adding to the sense of theatre for the pre-match festivities.

My experience of overseas pre-season friendlies is that it is quite common for details to change at the last minute.  One year in Sweden it was the location of the match itself which changed a day or two before kick-off.  This time it was the kick-off time, brought forward by 10 minutes – a fact that most people will only have found out after arriving at the stadium.

The other oddity was City’s announced line-up.  On the metro to the match I was asked by a local, in French, whether Vardy would be playing and I confidently said “Non, il est en vacances”.  It was odd, therefore, that his name appeared on the team sheet on the big screen in the stadium.  A confusion further compounded by Maddison playing and wearing the number 9 shirt (as he had against Valencia).  A whole generation of young Lilleois may now be thinking they have seen Vardy play, when they have not!

City’s line-up was roughly what might be expected given the absence, for various reasons, of Vardy, Maguire, Gray and Evans.  Pereira was deployed as a right-midfielder, ahead of Amartey.

Despite their usual pre-match warm-up routine, City’s players did not seem to have told their internal clocks that the match started early.  Only an outstanding double-save by Schmeichel prevented them from going a goal down after twenty seconds; quite an achievement from your own kick-off.  Albrighton sloppily gave the ball away and LOSC had two shots well-parried by the keeper.

By the time LOSC actually scored, which was a mere three minutes into the match, it was already well-deserved.  City looked all over the place, particularly defending on the left, and a cross found Mothiba unmarked on the edge of the six-yard box with time to chest the ball down before firing home.

Things took a while to get much better.  LOSC looked sharper in midfield and faster on the break, whilst City offered very little.  Critically, few good chances were created in this period and slowly Leicester began to get some shape into their game. 

he equaliser, after 35 minutes, was a little out of the blue.  A trademark looped cross from Albrighton from the left looked to be behind Iheanacho, but the in-form striker managed to head the ball in via the inside of the far post.  What was also positive was Pereira’s position – coming in behind the striker in a way that suggested he could well have made the header himself had the striker not done so.

The teams were well-matched for the remainder of the half, but LOSC’s earlier spark had dwindled and City were becoming the more dominant team.

City were far more convincing in the second half.  By the time they scored the winner, it was well-deserved.  It came from an impressive phase of play.  Amartey played an excellent cross-field ball.  Albrighton and Chilwell exchanged passes before Chilwell crossed for Iheanacho to score his second of the game with a low shot from an un-marked position.

The first half had largely progressed in the low-key way that pre-season friendlies often do.  There were no yellow cards – despite a couple of pulls and pushes from each side that might have warranted them.  The second half, however, became quite a feisty affair.  The referee carded a LOSC player only a few seconds into the half, and then another a few minutes later. 

I’m not sure whether this was a deliberate change of policy to ‘protect’ the players – but for some reason it had the opposite effect and as the second half progressed both sides were putting in full-blooded, and occasionally illegal tackles and each acquired several yellow cards.  Both Maddison and Silva received injuries and were substituted – the latter only having come on at half-time for Iborra.

In the 70th minute, Puel began to make a large series of substitutions which, understandably, upset the flow of the game.  City were still the better side, but both sides had chances and Schmeichel again had to make a good save to keep City ahead and to close out the win.

So, what did we learn from this performance?

Despite the clamour for three-at-the-back, Puel seems committed to four.  Pereira looks very lively – he played a number of ‘tricks’ and got forward very well.  His defensive attributes were not particularly tested by LOSC.  Amartey looks steady at right-back although, again, he was not overly tested.

As the game progressed, Maddison began to be more of an influence.  Both in this match and against Valencia, he showed a great ability to find space and to hold onto the ball when challenged.
Iheanacho is clearly in good goal-scoring form.  How or whether that will continue once Vardy returns will be interesting.  Chilwell looked strong going forwards – making a couple of 70-yard runs – and was tidy in defence once the lethargic first 10-minutes had been completed.

City looked a bit more creative with Silva rather than Iborra – but Silva is also capable of trying one trick too many and losing the ball, so the debate as to which should partner Ndidi will continue.

It was interesting that Morgan was one of the very few players to play the full 90-minutes – the others being Schmeichel, Chilwell and Albrighton.  He looked slow to react to the LOSC goal – but so did the entire City team.  He made one impressive lung-bursting 60-yard chase towards the end of the first half to chase a LOSC attack, which boded better for his fitness.

Benalouane was sound and played an impressive number of attacking passes during the match.  If he can finally erase the defensive howlers from his repertoire, he is a good presence in the squad.

Each of the various fringe/young players who performed – here and against Valencia – did a decent job, although it is risky to make judgements based on 15/20-minute cameos in friendlies.

Overall, it was a competent City performance, in a match with plenty of atmosphere from the home and away fans, in a great stadium, in a welcoming and interesting City.  A good way to end the pre-season phony-war … now bring on United!

Lille: Maignan, Soumaoro (c), Fonte, Xeka, Benzia, Bamba, Celik, Mothiba, Pepe, Maia Alencar, Ballo Toure

City: Schmeichel, Chilwell, Morgan (c), Benalouane (Johnson 72), Amartey (Knight 83), Iborra (Silva 46 (Ndukwu 87)), Ndidi (Elder 72), Albrighton, Maddison (Diabaté 56), Ricardo (Fuchs 72), Iheanacho (Gordon 72). Subs not used: Ward

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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