Foxes, the party-poopers on Frank’s big day

Chelsea 1 Leicester City 1

Stamford Bridge 18th August 2019

Report by Colin Murrant

Frank Lampard’s homecoming was a day for celebration at The Bridge; met with pyrotechnics, he entered the pitch side to tumultuous applause from the Chelsea faithful. By the end of the match the party had not hit the expected heights and the home fans were less than complimentary about some of their own players. The game was the archetypical game of two halves and the Foxes were disappointed not to take all three points.

As if wrapped up in the party atmosphere, Chelsea started like a whirlwind and could have been three nil up within the first seven minutes. In the first minute Giroud chested down to Pedro who hit the side netting, within another minute Giroud again set up a chance as Schmeichel parried a Mount shot. The ball was scrambled away for a corner which flashed across the six-yard box with Chelsea players failing to get a touch on it.

In the seventh minute the breakthrough came as City playing out from the back were caught, Evans laid the ball to Ndidi centre of goal and 25 yards out. Ndidi, facing his own goal did not see the danger, he took a touch too many and was closed down by Mount who robbed the ball from the City midfielder and shot into towards goal as he fell: Schmeichel was left wrong footed and the ball found the net for Mount’s first goal for Chelsea.

It was all Chelsea with City getting no time on the ball and losing the majority of the challenges. On 20 minutes Mount might have scored again as he headed straight at the City keeper, six minutes later and a timely tackle by Fuchs, in for the injured Chilwell, prevented Kante scoring. City’s only real threat of the half came on the half hour as Vardy closed down a hesitant Kepa only for his interception to rebound away from the goal.

Late on in the half, City had a free kick for a foul on Tielemans but were frustrated in that the referee failed to play advantage when it looked promising for the Foxes. Referee Langford had previously played advantage for Chelsea in a similar situation, so it was doubly frustrating. Overall, referee Langford had a good performance in his first Premier League game, he was a late replacement for Graham Scott who was apparently held up on the M40.

As the first half came to an end, City had mustered one solitary shot on target in the first 135 minutes of Premier League football this season. City looked very narrow and it appeared that Chelsea were exploiting the wide spaces, there also seemed few outlets when we did have possession. Little did City fans know that the game was about to change: if Chelsea and Mount had dominated the first half, it was Leicester and Maddison who were to be party-poopers.

Not much changed tactically, Maddison looked to play more inside than out left, generally City played 20 yards more advanced perhaps, but it was the tempo and intensity and aggressiveness of their play that swung things.

Vardy was marginally offside as he was fed through by Maddison, Maddison went around Kepa but his subsequent cross was cleared to Fuchs who, from outside the box, shot over the bar. These and other opportunities came in the first five minutes of the restart.

On 57 minutes Fuchs fed Maddison inside the box, he turned his defender right and left before his cross shot went wide of the far post. Ten minutes later it was another Fuchs ball into the Chelsea area that was deflected for a corner. Maddison’s immaculate cross found Ndidi beating the static Chelsea zonal-marking defenders and his bullet header hit the back of the net.

Now one of the great things with Leicester’s players for a long time has been the camaraderie and support for each other, never was this more so than with Ndidi. He was clearly distraught after the Chelsea goal but his team mates were openly seen encouraging him, telling him to forget it no doubt. When he scored the equaliser, Tielemans, Vardy and others were rallying him, tapping their foreheads, telling him to keep focussed.  Wilfred Ndidi is such a nice, honest guy and he deserved that goal; he must have run Maddison close for man-of-the-match.

On 70 minutes another first. Dennis Praet made his debut; and it was a really good cameo appearance. Given the pace and intensity of the game, and his first in the Premier League, he was straight into his stride, passing, winning the ball, dribbling: what selection headaches Rodgers might have! His first impact was immediate, he fed the ball into Fuchs who in turn fed Maddison in the box. Maddison crossed the area trying to work an opening but, as he shot, the ball popped up and the ball cleared the bar. This was followed by several other City efforts, the most notable being a Vardy shot across goal and a Tielemans shot that Kepa could only parry.

The final whistle brought several Leicester players lying on the grass, exhausted by their efforts and disappointed at not claiming all three points. This was a much better performance than against Wolves, the second half tempo is what they need to play at. Perez, just turned 26, is the old man of the five midfielders, they can and will improve as a unit.

On the basis of his cameo performance, it would not be a surprise if Praet (25 years old) will be a big player for City this year. Soyuncu is fast becoming a fans’ favourite and is improving with each match. These are exciting times to be a City fan.

Chelsea (4-3-3): Arrizabalaga, Azpilicueta, Christensen, Zouma Emerson Palmieri, Kante, Jorginho**, Pedro, Mount, Pulisic*** Giroud*. Subs: Alonso, Barkley, Abraham*, Willian***, Caballero Kovacic**, Tomori.

Leicester (4-3-3): Schmeichel, Ricardo Pereira, Evans, Soyuncu, Fuchs Ndidi, Perez~~, Tielemans, Choudhury~, Maddison, Vardy. Subs: Justin, Morgan, Albrighton~~, Ward, Iheanacho, Barnes, Praet~.

Referee: Oliver Langford                               Attendance:  40,629

Read More

Going to Chelsea ?

Chelsea – Sunday August 18th 4.30pm

Directions by road  SW6 1HS

Fans are advised NOT to drive to Stamford Bridge due to parking restrictions in the area, especially on matchdays.

Driving from The North, East or West:
Use the M25 to Junction 15 and turn off onto the M4 towards London. Follow the M4 which becomes the A4 up to Hammersmith. Go over the Hammersmith Flyover and a further 1.5 miles before turning off for Earls Court. Go past Earls Court station and across Old Brompton Road, eventually reaching Fulham Road. Turn right at the traffic lights. After 600 yards, the ground is on the right. Parking is difficult very close to the ground.

Driving from The South:
Cross the river at Wandsworth Bridge and head up Wandsworth Bridge Road. At the junction with New King's Road, turn right and then immediately left. This will take you up to Fulham Broadway. Turn right onto Fulham Road and the ground is 400 yards on the left. Parking is difficult very close to the ground.

Approx 102 miles and 2 hours travel time.

Directions by rail

The nearest tube station is Fulham Broadway on the District Line.  Take a train to Earls Court and change for Wimbledon-bound trains.   The closest overground station near to Stamford Bridge is West Brompton this is on a direct line to Clapham Junction station amongst others.
 

Trains take approx 1hr 40 mins to get to London plus crossing London and tube/bus

Super off peak return + travel card £72.00

BY BUS:
There are two bus stops outside Stamford Bridge on the Fulham Road. Fans can get to the stadium using the number 14, 211 and 414 buses.

PUBS

There are many pubs close to the ground and the Courtfield Tavern, near Earls Court tube station is recommended.

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

Read More

VAR Saves City

Leicester City 0 Wolves 0  –  11 August 2019

Report by Tish Krokosz

For the fans, it was like the first day back at school after the summer holidays. There were polite exchanges of travel stories, there was general agreement that the club had done well to secure the services of Tielemans on a more permanent basis and there was speculation on how effective the new signings would be and whether Maguire would be badly missed. There was optimism too that, after a good finish to the last season, this could well be one that would lead us into Europe next year. The Birch was his old cheery self and the pre-match film once again raised the spirits as the fox was on the prowl.

And then the referee blew his whistle for the start of City’s 2019/20 campaign.

There had been talk of this being an open match as Wolves had a reputation of playing attractive, attacking football. They had just won comfortably in their European match the previous Thursday and the team list suggested that they would wish for a bagful of goals again. Yet, their approach was rather negative and City’s statistics for possession of the ball were increasing steadily as the first half wore on. Despite this, the pressure was being soaked up by the visitors and City’s attacks were not penetrative and all shots on goal were woefully off-target. Ndidi, Maddison and Choudhury were all guilty of wayward shots.

Ndidi and Choudhury were very effective in stopping the Wolves approaches on goal but they were slow in instigating counter attacks. We had heard over the summer that Brendan Rodgers was expecting to see his middle-men move forward rapidly, yet such movement was rationed. When doing so, Maddison, Tielemans and Perez were working well as a unit but time and again they came up against a five-man, stubborn defence which was not averse to carrying out a cynical tackle.

The nearest that City came to a goal scoring opportunity in the first half was when Tielemans picked up the ball on the right-hand side of the penalty area, after Maddison had tried a shot on goal, and drilled it into the danger area. Vardy was there but could not untangle his feet to pop it into the net.

Although City dominated possession for most of the half, the better chances fell the way of Wolves, especially right at the end of the half when Pereira was dispossessed of the ball on the halfway line by Jota, who took the ball all the way into the penalty area where, to the sarcastic jeers of the home crowd, he fell over his own feet and Soyuncu was able to clear the ball.

The Wolves manager must have given instructions to his players at half-time to be more positive as they came out with much more intent – worryingly so for City. Just for once the home side looked out of sorts, the passes were going astray, the tackles were more panicky and there was a general loss of concentration. Jimenez should have done better with the first shot on target in the match but Schmeichel saved it.

Wolves had the first corner of the second-half and Moutinho sent the ball perfectly into the danger area where it hit Boly and dropped for Dendoncker to sweep into the net. After the dominance of the first half without result, it seemed City would be punished by one effective move from the opposition. The away fans were still singing and chanting when the crowd became aware that VAR was being used to check the goal.

There had been no protests from City players and it was not obvious what the misdemeanour might be. There was a roar from the home crowd when the screens showed that the goal was disallowed and that the reason was an accidental handball by Boly in the lead up to the “goal”.

There is no doubt that this changed the game. City became much more confident and positive again, whereas Wolves seemed to lose their spirit and retracted into their defensive mode.

Each side made two substitutions in the half. Barnes came on for Choudhury to try and add more impetus at the front. Perhaps he should have come on earlier because he was the only one who managed to break through the defensive wall and make crosses from the left wing. His shot on goal in the 82nd minute was City’s only shot on target in the whole match. It was probably too much to ask of lady-luck when, in the second minute of added time, Barnes reached the bye-line and crossed the ball into the six-yard area, only to see it bounce off Boly for a corner rather than an own goal.

The initial expectation of an open match would have suggested several goals at the end. The outcome of a goalless draw was unforeseen, yet, with hindsight, probable due to the defensive way that Wolves set about. Their fans would go home marginally happier than City fans, but with a feeling that VAR had stolen two points from them. By the end of the season these decisions will probably even themselves out so we need to be prepared for similar disappointments.

What was discouraging for City fans this time was the inability to penetrate an organised defence that sat back in numbers. This happened too many times last season and there were hopes that the new attacking approach would eliminate the old problems. Teams lower in the division will know what to do if they need to come away from the King Power Stadium with at least a point. We have yet to see the skills of Praet – he may be the answer and I feel that Rodgers will use him sooner rather than later to find out. City had far more corners than Wolves and not one was dangerous. This may be where we will miss Maguire and his height.

Leicester: Schmeichel, Pereira, Evans, Soyuncu, Chilwell, Ndidi, Choudhury (Barnes 61), Maddison, Tielemans, Perez (Albrighton 76), Vardy. Subs not used: Ward, Morgan, Justin, Iheanacho, Praet.

Wolves: Patricio, Bennett, Cody, Boly, Doherty, Dendoncker, Neves (Saiss 81), Moutinho, Jonny, Jimenez, Jota (Cutrone 76). Subs not used: Ruddy, Neto, Gibbs-White, Vinagre, Traore.

Referee: A. Marriner                                     Attendance: 32,050

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

Read More

Khun Aiyawatt, Leicester City’s 31st Chairman

On the eve of the new season, Khun Aiyawatt’s appointment has been announced as the Chairman of Leicester City FC, with his brother Apichet as Vice-Chairman.

 

 

Khun Top has shown great strength since the tragic death of Khun Vichai. Whilst the uppermost thoughts of City fans are naturally on the Club, Top and his co-directors have been involved in securing the Duty-Free franchises in Thailand’s airports that are an integral part of the King Power enterprise, and hence significant to City’s future progression. Handling these two major undertakings at the same time must have put immense strain on young but strong shoulders.

 

Beyond the business side there is a genuine warmth between Khun Top and the City fans, and perhaps living through and sharing the emotions of the Srivaddhanaprabha’s family great loss has strengthened that bond. Top’s public show of emotion whilst viewing the flower tributes, the walk around the pitch at the end of the Burnley game, the joy at seeing Cleonte win at Ascot, all help to endear him to us.

 

The enormous steps Leicester City has taken since the then-Raksriaksorn family took ownership in 2010 is well documented. The vision that Khun Vichai had for the Club is one that drives Khun Top on with even greater determination. The investment in players, the new training ground and the stadium extension plans show that the vision has not diminished.

 

The Foxes Trust wish Top and all the Board members every success in delivering that vision. We welcome and congratulate Khun Top’s appointment as Chairman; there could be no one more fitting or worthy to be at the helm.

Read More