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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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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Board Profile – Stuart Dawkins

Name: Stuart Dawkins.

Current home town:  Leicester.

Birthplace:  Leicester.

When did you first support LCFC? I went to my first game in the 1969/70 season – although I remember watching the 1969 FA Cup Final on TV.

When did you first join on the Trust Board? 2011.

Why did you join? I joined the Trust at the time the Club was in Administration.  I had been writing match reports for the Trust website for a couple of years before I volunteered to join the Board.  Supporters Trusts play an important role in trying to ensure that the governance of football is as good as it can be.  Professional football is an important part of life for many people, trying to ensure that it is run in a manner that reflects supporters’ needs is important.

What is your main role? I tend to look after matters where there are links with politics – for example I drafted the successful application for the King Power Stadium to be added to the Asset of Community Value register.  I also tend to be the one who sub-edits documents – so if there are any typos or grammatical errors in this piece, I will have failed!

If you were to say one thing about why you feel other supporters should join the Trust, what would it be? The current ownership of Leicester City Football Club has been positive and generally responsive to supporters’ views, but the experience at other clubs shows that is not always the case.  Having a strong, representative Trust membership helps with our interaction with the Club.  We have regular liaison with the Club at various levels, from Chief Executive downwards, and are always happy to raise and discuss issues which are important to our members.  Finally, the existence of an active Trust at the majority of clubs – including in the Premier League – helps lobbying on national issues, too.

Favourite thing about the ground: I can walk to it from home, and there are great views from everywhere in it.  The noise that can be generated is phenomenal.  I know people talk about the loudness of the home Champions League games, but I still think the roar when Ulloa scored the winner against Norwich a couple of seasons ago the loudest thing I have ever heard at a football match.

Favourite view and/or where you sit: Block J1, about half-way up.  I have been in that area since the ground opened.  I like the view from around the half-way line for home matches.

Favourite match & why:  This is really hard, as many in the Premier League-winning season stand out, as well as the Champions League games, of course.  The 5-3 game against Manchester United was special.  However, my absolute favourite was the 3-3 draw at Filbert Street against Arsenal in the 1997/98 season.  Arsenal were coasting to a 2-0 win, before three goals were scored in injury time – including Bergkamp’s goal of the season!

Favourite player of all time who played for our club:  There have been so many over the years that I am not sure I have an absolute favourite. 

Our 15/16 Season:

At what stage did you think we would win the league? When Hazard equalized for Chelsea against Spurs.  For much of that season, I thought Leicester were the best team in the league, but in the final few games prior to that match Spurs were looking the better team; I expected them to win all the games in their run-in and feared City might falter.

Where were you when the final whistle went at the Chelsea v Spurs game and how did you feel? Watching it at home on TV.  I felt stunned really … the whole season seemed so unreal.  My girlfriend and I had already shared a bottle of wine during the match.  When it finished, we opened a bottle of bubby and watched pretty much the whole match again in shock!

Where were you when we were presented with the trophy and how did you feel? In Block J1, amazed at how much heat is generated by those fire-cannon gizmos.  I felt proud of the team and what it had achieved.  I thought that whole day was well organised – walking around the ground seeing all the people from many nationalities just wanting to be there despite not having tickets, the Andrea Bocelli introduction, the fact that the biblical rainstorm did not happen whilst the fans were getting to the ground nor during the post-match celebrations.  It was a special afternoon.

How has Leicester winning the league changed the perception of the club? It has clearly lifted the profile of the club immensely.  It also lifted the profile of the City, particularly coming so soon after the Richard III discovery.

Has it made a difference to you personally? It resulted in mini-holidays to Porto, Seville and Madrid.  It significantly increased the number of away matches I attend: partly for the buzz of visiting as ‘Champions’, partly to get my Away Points topped-up for the Champions League games. 

Any other comments in relation to that incredible season? It still seems unreal.  I would love there to be European football in Leicester again soon.  The feeling in the town centre on home match days was really good.  My favourite memory, however, was of the celebration party on Victoria Park.  I have never seen (pretty much) all of Leicester gathered together in one place before: all ages, colours, creeds and nationalities each involved in a positive, uplifting experience.  It is amazing that the game of football can have such an effect

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Foxes Trust Premier Prediction League Launched

Today the Foxes Trust launches its Premier League Prediction competition, with the timing of launch based on the League commencing following the close of the transfer window.

 

The League is open to all Leicester City fans and is based on forecasting the result and score of every Premier League game for the rest of the season.

 

The competition is free to enter and played for fun, although if the interest is high we may award a prize to the fan topping the League at the end of the season.

 

To take part you need to initially register by e-mailing foxiles@foxestrust.com please include your name and the username you would like displayed on the League table