The Foxes Trust Predictor mini-League 2019-20

Last season we ran a Foxes Trust mini-predictor league whereby each participant predicts the score of all Premier League matches. It was competitive with the lead changing several times before Darren Handy pulled away from the pack. The mini-league is a maximum of 50 participants whilst in the competition as a whole there were 55,384 taking part nationally. So, you have to register with ‘iknowthescore’ to play but the fun is competing against your fellow Foxes fans.

This year we want to fill the Foxes Trust mini-league with as many Trust members as we can and give them priority prior to sending out invitations. So please join today and ensure that you make your predictions before the matches kick off.

The following sets out the registration procedure and how to join The Foxes Trust Mini League, it really is quite simple.

Step 1 Register Yourself as a Player

 

1.1 Post the link: https://iknowthescore.co.uk to register, even if you played last year you will need to re-register as this year it is not promoted by talkSport.

 

The Home Screen

 

1.2  Select Register/LogIn  

 

 

1.3 Then Select Register – bottom left on the screen below

 

 

 

1.4 Enter your registration details – player name is whatever you want to call yourself and will appear in the League

 

 

 

 

Step 2 Select Mini League

 

By entering your personal details, you will have entered an email address, this cannot be seen by other players. However, to win the Foxes Trust prize we will need your email address.

 

If you want to have a chance of winning the Foxes Trust prize then you can send an email to colmurrant@outlook.com giving your player name as I can identify your email address from your email.

 

Whether you want to enter for the prize or not, selecting The Foxes Trust Mini-League is the same, follow the instructions below. 

 

Once Registered select Mini-Leagues and in box Mini-League Search enter the details as shown

In Mini-League Search:  Name – The Foxes Trust : Team – Leicester : click on search

 

 

 

Enter The Foxes Trust Mini League Code

Enter the code    objbu in the Use Invitation Code box

 

 

 

 

Step 3 Make your predictions

A player enters their scores by going to MY PREDICTIONS. A player has to enter scores before the official kick-off time of the game. If a game is scheduled to start on Saturday at 15:00, a player will be able to enter their score up until that time. The scheduled kick-off date and time can be found on the MY PREDICTIONS page for each match.

A player is able to go into MY PREDICTIONS and change scores and the Banker or Insurance selections up until the game is scheduled to start. This means for example, that if some games are played on a Sunday, the predictions for these games can be entered or changed on the day until the scheduled kick-off.

Select Predictions and enter the scores, Use the Red Banker button for the match you feel most confident about your prediction, The Green Insurance button for the match you feel least confident about your prediction.

If you are going away, click on the Gameweek button and select the weeks you are away so that you can make your predictions as far ahead as you want

 

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View from the Opposition – Wolves

A bit about you:

Name: Dom

Current home town: Wolverhampton

Birthplace: Wolverhampton

How long have you supported your team? My whole life!

Overview of your club:

Favourite thing about your home ground: The Atmosphere in the South Bank (Stan Cullis) & the fact it’s a proper stadium still in the heart of town.

Favourite match played by your team & why: Wolves v QPR 18th of April 2009, Ebanks Blake scored just around half time to give us the goal that sent us up to the premier league. I remember invading the pitch with my Brother and Dad, great memories.

Favourite player of all time who played for your club: You see I never saw any of the old legends who played for us like Bully and Don Goodman. So for me I would say my favorite was Kevin Foley as he was as consistent as you could get at RB, met him on the train on the way to Birmingham once and he seemed like a great bloke.

About our forthcoming match against you:

Your favourite current player in your squad and why? Diogo Jota, never afraid to try and beat a man, and as he showed against Crusaders in our Europa League qualifier against Crusaders he can strike a ball! He has really started to get an eye for goal, and I can see him terrorising defences this year.

Player in your squad we should most fear and why? Same as above.

Player in our squad you most fear and why? Jamie Vardy – For the obvious reasons, I’ve heard really good things about your new signing Tielemans is known for his quality as well and looks a bargain at £40mill so I’m not looking forward to seeing him in action as he could hurt us.

Up and coming prospect in your squad? Morgan Gibbs white is a hot prospect in our squad. He’s played for Wolves since he was 8 and made 26 appearances for us last year, so whilst he may not be “up and coming” he might not be up and coming in the sense he is already getting first team starts, but he still has years and years to improve and  I can see him going from strength to strength over the next few seasons.

Where do you think you’ll finish this season? I’d love to see us improve on last year, maybe 6th if we can string together a good bit of form,

How do you think you’ll do against us? I wouldn’t be a Wolves fan if I didn’t think we’d win! Should be a close game though as always.

General Questions:

What do you think of the transfer activity both in and out of your club this summer? Very happy with the signings we’ve made, brought in some exciting talent and kept a lot of the key names we needed at the club.

Which three teams do you think will go down? Norwich, Sheffield and Brighton

Who do you think will win the league? Still can’t see past City (Manchester)

What are your thoughts on the introduction of VAR this season? Might ruin the flow of some games, think it will lead to fairer games overall though.

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Some light shed on City’s new season

LCFC 2 v 1 Atalanta

Report by Stuart Dawkins

City maintained their strong pre-season showing by defeating a more-than-decent Atalanta side – who had finished third in Serie A – on a warm Friday evening.  It provided the home fans with the first chance to see Pérez and what will probably be City’s First XI (barring, perhaps, the return of Ndidi after his period at the Africa Cup of Nations) playing in Rodger’s preferred 4-1-4-1 formation.

The 7.30pm kick-off clearly caught a few people unawares, including me!  The fact that such an unusual proportion of the crowd was going through the Media and Corporate Hospitality entrances lead to a queue of around 100 people after the match had kicked off.  I suspect there are a couple of lessons for the Club to learn there, but everyone was in a good pre-season mood and no real harm was done.

The stadium was around half-full, and one noticeable fact was how popular the new pink shirts appeared to be.  Obviously, blue home kits dominated the crowd, but there were plenty of pink ones on show, too.

Having got into the ground, two minutes late in my case, it appeared as though City’s players had not really understood the 15-minute earlier start either.  City’s slow starts were a common feature last season, which we hope will not be repeated this, but for the first 25 minutes of the match, Atalanta looked sharper across the pitch.  Atalanta looked a physically big side, and their pressing in midfield was too fast for City at times. 

City also looked repeatedly vulnerable down on the right-side of their defence.  This may be an understandable ‘settling in’ issue, with Pereira and Pérez forming a new partnership there.  Chilwell was uncharacteristically out of position a couple of times, and the City midfielders did not hold onto the ball at all well.  Atalanta created a couple of good chances, notably on their left wing, but one was fired wide and Schmeichel saved the other.  The Centre-back partnership of Evans and Söyüncü was looking steady.

Approaching the half hour, City began to come into their own.  A Maddison free-kick and a couple of short-corner routines looked threatening and on the half-hour mark Evans headed over from a corner.  They also created other chances before the half-time whistle blew with City looking the better and more creative team.

Atalanta had all their substitutes warming up at half-time, City none of theirs, and Atalanta made four substitutions whereas City kept the same eleven players on the pitch for the re-start.

City created chances from the first minute, with Maddison, in particular, looking threatening.  Söyüncü played a great long ball to Chilwell, but his cross was just missed by City’s attackers, Pérez had a one-on-one with the keeper saved and then Vardy and Pérez linked well to create a chance for Albrighton that was headed over.

As the sun set, a new problem appeared for the fans.  Apparently a new ‘state-of-the-art’ floodlight system is being installed at the King Power Stadium.  It was not ready for this match, however, and the temporary floodlights used were poor.  It became increasingly difficult to see what was happening at the far end of the pitch and eventually many fans were waving their phone-torches in an ironic way.  It did not seem to be a problem for the players, however.

In the 61st minute, City got the lead they deserved, and it was debutant Pérez who scored it.  He took possession outside the box, cut in to the left and then curled a left foot shot around the keeper into the far post: a very cool finish and a good way to introduce yourself to the home crowd.

Atalanta made three more substitutions as Brendan Rodgers made his first change of the evening replacing Chilwell with Fuchs.  A few minutes later. Maddison and Albrighton were taken off, and it was Barnes and – to the surprise of almost everyone – Silva who came on.  Silva got a good reception from the crowd, recognising what a difficult couple of years he has had through no fault of his own.

In the 75th minute, Fuchs’ long-throw ability led to a goal in an unusual way.  His throw-in was from the half-way line, but it went directly to Vardy who was behind the Atalanta defensive line.  Vardy collected the ball and calmly beat the keeper to roll the ball into the goal and make the score 2-0.  

Pérez was replaced by Gray, gaining warm applause from the City fans.  He had started hesitantly, losing the ball a few times in midfield early on, but his attacking qualities were clear to see, and he took his goal very well.

City continued to press, with one bullet-shot from Fuchs being denied by an offside decision.  At least that is what I think happened as, in the gloomy lighting, no-one in the section I was sitting in could tell if the ball had gone into the net or the side netting.  Atalanta continued to make substitutions.  Indeed, by full time all eleven players had been switched, bar-one.

In the 90th minute, Atalanta were given a penalty when Pereira clipped an attacker’s foot following a good move by the visitors.  Muriel duly beat Schmeichel to make the score 2-1, which was probably a pretty fair result given the balance of play in the match overall.

City played well, against more-than-competent opposition, although as often happens, Atalanta got less good as they swapped and changed with multiple substitutions.  City’s central defenders started the post-Maguire era with good games and City also looked a real threat going forwards.  There probably needs to be more work on ensuring that Pérez’s attacking prowess does not lead to gaps defensively on his side of the pitch, but that can be worked on.  Overall, Brendan Rodgers must be pleased with pre-season progress.  Now it’s time to bring on the real games!

City: Schmeichel; Pereira, Evans, Söyüncü, Chilwell (Fuchs, 62); Choudhury; Pérez (Gray, 76), Tielemans, Maddison (Silva, 68), Albrighton (Barnes, 68); Vardy.

Unused subs: Ward, Justin, Morgan, Benkovic, Mendy, King, Iheanacho.

Atalanta: Gollini (Sportiello, 90); Castagne, Hateboer (Reca, 87), Djimsiti (Okoli, 90), Masiello (Ibanez, 65), Gosens (Palomino, 45); De Roon (Pessina, 62), Malinovskyi (Gomez, 45), Freuler (Pasalic, 45); Ilicic (Barrow, 65), Zapata (Muriel, 45).

Unused subs: Rossi, Colley.

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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VAR: like it or not it is here to stay – Part Two

Trust Board member, Steve Moulds concludes his report on the EPL VAR educational programme, he attended along with other FSA PL Network members, attended an information and demonstration session at IMG HQ, Stockley Park.

VAR match day operation

Adam Watts, Select Group Director at PGMOL, explained how VAR will operate during matches.

There is currently a pool of 18 Select Group referees for EPL matches. The VAR will be from this group and referees will alternate between on-field duties and VAR duties. The aim here has been to build trust between refs at matches and refs on VAR duty.

The VAR will be stationed in the VAR Hub/Centre at IMG Studios in Stockley Park. This is a room with a workstation for each match configured with multiple screens for viewing the play from different angles. There are enough stations so that all matches on the final day of the season can have a separate workstation. There is also a separate booth were an overall supervisor monitors the decisions being taken by VAR referees.

At each workstation, there will be a VAR, a VAR’s assistant and a technician who operate the various camera angles and Hawkeye system. The technician has no input to the decision-making.

During the match, the VAR can hear the on-field referee’s microphone. The VAR watches the main TV feed (as you would view it at home) on a large screen (the assistant watches on their own screen). In front of the VAR are two buttons, one red, one green. If the VAR spots an incident for review, they hit the green button. This sends a bookmark to the technicians screen so they can identify the exact time point the incident occurs. The VAR hits the red button to communicate to the on-field referee a simple message, such as, “Hold play at next stoppage, looking at incident”.

The VAR then has around 80 seconds (on average) to view the incident on a four-way split screen. They ask the technician to replay the incident from multiple angles and close-ups. The VAR can discuss the incident with the VAR assistant but the on-field ref cannot hear any of this conversation. If the VAR is sure there is an incident or error worthy of correcting they will communicate this to the on-field referee.

Meanwhile the game will be proceeding until the next stoppage. Spectators will not be aware of most incidents under review unless the VAR deem it necessary. Spectators will be made aware of a review in progress via the big screens in the stadium that will feature EPL VAR branding and read, for example, “Checking red card”. Where there are no screens, e.g. Old Trafford, PA announcements will be made.

The ref will hold the game at an appropriate stoppage/dead ball (unless it is an off-the-ball incident when they can halt play). They will be informed of the VAR review decision. If it is a subjective review, the on-field referee can go over to the screen on the sidelines and review the incident in question. The on-field referee will then make the decision, using our example above, issuing a red card. The stadium screens will then display the message: “Red card” and will play video evidence of the incident – the hope being this will show supporters why the VAR has intervened and why a decision needs reversing or taking on-field.

Two things to note. The communications between the on-field referee and the VAR will not be made public (there are no plan for supporters to be able to listen to the ref’s mic at present, such as, the system used in rugby). On-field referees have been instructed to use the sideline screen only when absolutely necessary for subjective reviews, as their original decision should take primacy and to avoid the time taken for such reviews. However, where these reviews do take place, compensatory time will be added on at the end of a half.

Confused or convinced? Well the proof of all this, as they say, will be in the pudding. The EPL have embarked on an open educational programme for all those involved in the game, including players, managers and fans. Players have been warned that demanding VAR intervention will be viewed as dissent and will result in a yellow card.

Having seen the technology in operation, I am convinced it will help with improving the obvious inaccurate decisions. I was shown an offside situation. A 2D line drawn across the pitch indicated that the foot of the defender had played the attacker (who went on to score) onside. However, when the 3D crosshairs were used, it showed the torso of the attacker was offside – and so offside, no goal would have been awarded.

All goals will be reviewed for offside. Just to be clear, any part of the body that can be used to score can be deemed to be offside – apparently, the tricky bit comes when judging where the arm meets the shoulder!

And for those of you who think this is all unnecessary, there were 41 incorrect calls for offside last season – not bad out of all the EPL matches played. However, in 31 of those decisions they led to goals where teams were either level or behind by one goal – so VAR could have a decisive impact on a match outcome.

The good news is there are no plans to review every penalty to see if the goalkeeper has moved off the line by a centimetre (as per the women’s World Cup) – that decision will remain with the on-field officials. And one other thing, those useless goal line officials deployed in UEFA matches are history thanks to VAR – I was never really sure why they were there anyway.

When reviewing penalties, VAR will check for: Double touches by the kicker; feigning at the point of kicking; encroachment by other players who have a significant impact on subsequent events.

VAR will only have a small window in which to intervene for unseen incidents: ball in play – the next restart; ball out of play – the second restart.

VAR reviews can only go back as far as the phase of play that leads to the incident e.g. a goal but not multiple phases that lead to that incident nor from when a team takes possession if that includes multiple phases of play.    

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VAR: like it or not it is here to stay – Part One

Whether you approve or not, have doubts about how it will change the flow and pace of Premier League matches, the Video Assistant Referee is here to stay – well at least until further notice.

As part of the EPL VAR educational programme, FT Board member Steve Moulds along with other FSA PL Network members, attended an information and demonstration session at IMG HQ, Stockley Park.

The session began with a presentation on how the EPL expect VAR to operate for the 2019/20 season. Based on IFAB (International Football Association Board) protocols, the aim is for VAR to have “minimum interference – maximum benefit”.

EPL advise this means they want on-field referees and assistants to control the game, have primacy over decisions and for VAR to have “minimum intervention”. They are well aware of the shortcomings highlighted by the use of VAR at the men’s World Cup tournament last year, and more recent controversies at the women’s World Cup. EPL claim they have been adapting protocols and training of on-field and VAR officials so that the pace and tempo of matches will not be effected. Of course, this remains to be seen in practice – the demonstrations were certainly convincing.

It is worth pointing out that EPL’s own data indicates that on-field refs currently get 82% of their decisions right with assistant’s decisions at 79%. Whilst they make no claim that VAR will make decision 100% accurate, they do believe that they can raise the level to 95%.

VAR Principles

On what basis can VAR be used? Alongside commitments to improve accuracy of decisions and keeping the pace of the game, there are a few key principles:

·         VAR can be used for ‘clear and obvious errors’ or ‘serious missed incidents’ in four match changing situations – goals, penalties, direct red cards, mistaken identity.

·         VAR will automatically check these situations – refs do not have to signal for VAR checks.

·         The final decision is always taken by the on-field referees.

·         Players must always play to the whistle.

·         VAR officials are part of the select group and are subject to the same disciplinary procedures as on-field referees.

In relation to the first bullet point, VAR can be used for:

·         Goals – offside, fouls, ball out of play.

·         Red cards – incidents for direct reds and not second yellow cards.

·         Penalties – awarded or not awarded; players inside or outside the penalty area; foul by attacking player; ball out of play.

·         Mistaken identity – red or yellow card issued to the wrong player.

The above principles and interventions mainly deal with ‘factual’ errors e.g. it is clear if the wrong player had been carded or if the ball is out of play. VAR can also assist with more subjective decisions such as disciplinary interventions:

·         Simulation – penalty awarded but review shows clear simulation; red card issued but review shows clear simulation.

·         Goal – attacker deliberately handles the ball into the net.

·         Violent conduct – review identifies missed red card; when read card is issued, the opponent can also be cautioned if the review identifies a yellow card offence.

·         Serious foul play – review identifies red card offence, a red card is issued; a red card is issued but on review downgraded to a yellow.

·         Denying obvious goal scoring opportunity (DOGSO) – review identifies red card offence.

EPL realise that some of these decisions will remain controversial. Every yellow card decision will not be checked, that will remain with the on-field referee (unless VAR deems it to be a missed red card offence). VARs have been set what has been termed a “high bar” for subjective intervention, with the on-field referees decision taking primacy. For example, if a ref issues a red card, it will take a ‘clear and obvious error’ for that to be overturned.

Part two of the article will be published on Wednesday July 31st and explains the VAR Matchday operation

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