Leicester and Swansea share the points

Leicester 1 Swansea 1

Report by Chris Griffin

A turbulent week finished on a frustrating note for Leicester fans. Having dominated the first half Leicester should have sewn up the result by half-time after taking the lead in the 17th minute through Vardy. The second half began with a more front-foot Swansea and it was no surprise when they nicked an equalizer from a corner – yet another goal conceded from a set piece. Despite a spirited Leicester resurgence the Swansea back five stood firm and Leicester had to settle for a point.

Claude Puel made five changes bringing in Simpson, Fuchs, Silva, Iheanacho and Diabaté for his home debut. It was nearly a short-lived debut following Diabaté’s late challenge on Clucas: reckless rather than malicious but referee Taylor showed the newcomer a yellow card nevertheless.

City started really well playing from the back. There was plenty of crisp neat passing with Ndidi and Silva dominating midfield. Swansea scarcely made an attack and when out of possession immediately transferred to a solid 5-4-1. Nevertheless City’s pressing caused pressure and Swansea mistakes. Leicester took the lead after Maguire brought the ball over the halfway line and played a firm and accurate pass to Iheanacho. The young striker’s excellent first touch enabled him to spin past two defenders. Despite being closed down he played a delightful through ball to Vardy who gave Fabianski no chance.

Leicester kept pressing. A rare Swansea counter saw Ndidi make a superb tackle on ex-Fox Dyer who was about to shoot. Ndidi was having a storming first half and was the target for robust treatment from his opponents.  Mr Taylor kept his cards in his pocket to the annoyance of the home fans.

Diabaté and Albrighton swapped wings and it was a rapid surge down the left from Diabaté which gave him the chance to let fly. Fabianski saved his powerful shot but the ball fell to Iheanacho whose firm left foot shot seemed goal-bound till Mawson blocked the effort on the line.

City kept pressing and the crowd celebrated what they thought was the second goal when Ndidi galloped into the box and beat Fabianski. The goal was chalked off because Diabaté had received the ball in an offside position several phases of play earlier. The referee allowed play to continue, not responding to his linesman’s flag. Eventually, after consultation, he ruled in favour of the offside decision: probably the right outcome but reached in a very roundabout way.

Swansea had a little more possession in the last few minutes of the first half. Carroll came on for the injured Fer (a ruptured Achilles according to later medical reports.) Carroll had a cohesive influence on Swansea’s play. Even so, the half finished with Leicester still threatening the away defence.

Conversation at half time was primarily about Mahrez and how the Swansea manager would be telling his team they were still in the game despite chasing the ball for 45 minutes. Sure enough Swansea came out in a more assertive mood, got amongst the City midfield and enjoyed more possession. City’s passing lost the crispness and accuracy so apparent in the first half.

Swansea equalized in the 53rd minute. Ndidi conceded an unnecessary free kick about 30 yards out. An inventive set piece move between Clucas and Sung-Yeung led to a corner. Sung-Yeung whipped it in and the City defence was static while Fernandez helped himself to the easiest of headers from within the six yard box.

Leicester responded well as the game became more open. An Albrighton free kick led to Maguire heading wide. Vardy broke down the right behind the Swansea defence but no one was on hand to take advantage of his centre. A thrilling move down the right again saw Vardy leaving his markers in his wake. His excellent cut back found Diabaté but the youngster’s left foot effort rolled past the post. Vardy then closed down an underhit back pass but Fabianski was alert to the danger.

With 20 minutes left Gray came on for Iheanacho and James for Silva. Swansea were back on the defensive but still made the occasional break. Dragovic had to be quick to deal with one threatening Clucas run. Meanwhile at the other end Gray shot over the bar from a Fuchs’ cross. Then Diabaté was clobbered (again no card.) Albrighton’s in-swinging free kick reached Maguire at the far post but the big centre half could not redirect the ball across the goal and his header went into the side-netting. Bony had come on for Dyer who was given a warm ovation from the Leicester fans. Not so good for Bony are after match medical reports which say he has ruptured a cruciate ligament.

City were having joy attacking down the right but too many crosses were meat and drink to the imposing van der Hoorn in the Swansea defence. Okazaki came on for Iheanacho with ten minutes left and immediately added his energy to the game with a probing run into the Swansea area but he was shepherded away from danger. Fuchs launched a series of long throws but the knock down or the second ball invariably fell to a Swansea player. Maguire headed one throw back across goal but Gray again shot over. City kept going forward but the subtlety of play required to unlock such a tight defence was not apparent. Wonder who on the club’s books could have provided that(?)

M. Puel succinctly shared his feelings: "I'm frustrated…it was a good game against a tough team and they defended very well. I don't think it is a fair result and we have lost two points…we had to score more in the first half. Congratulations to Swansea, but we deserved to win. We finished strong but we didn't get the result in the end."

Leicester: Schmeichel, Simpson (Okazaki 80), Dragovic, Maguire, Fuchs, Diabaté, Ndidi, Silva (James 68), Albrighton, Iheanacho (Gray 68), Vardy. Substitutes: Chilwell, Hamer, Iborra, Benalouane.

Swansea: Fabianski, Naughton, van der Hoorn, Fernandez, Mawson, Olsson, Fer, (Carroll 36), Ki Sung-yueng, Clucas, Dyer (Bony 71), J Ayew (Routledge 90).
Substitutes: Abraham, Narsingh, Nordfeldt, Bartley.

Referee: A Taylor.           Attendance: 31,179

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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Micky Adams Our Guest at Trust AGM

The Foxes Trust AGM takes place on Monday February 5th at the Rowley Suite at the King Power Stadium with doors opening at 7pm for refreshment before formal proceedings start at 7.30pm.

As always the Trust Board will carry out the formalities that are required at an AGM and then board members will speak about the activities of the Trust over the last 12 months

This years guest speaker is former City manager Micky Adams, seen above signing up to be a Trust member at our launch night in 2002.

Micky will talk about his career in football, of course particularly focusing on his time at our club and members will be able to ask questions

This is a Foxes Trust members event, however if you aren't a current member you can join on the night*

The Trust board hopes you are able to come

* New joiners at the event will not be eligible to vote during the formal elements of the AGM

View from the oppo – Swansea

View from the oppo – Swansea

A bit about you:

Name: Philip Roberts

Current home town: Nottingham

Birthplace: Swansea

How long have you supported your team? Since 3rd March 1978. My dad took me, as a 10 year old, to watch John Toshack¹s first home game in charge against Watford. The old Division 4. Graham Taylor was the Watford Manager and Elton John was still their Chairman and was at the game. It was a 3-3 draw and both teams were promoted that year and again the following year. Swansea were promoted the year after that too in a straight run to the old Division 1. We didn¹t stay there long though.

Overview of your club:

Favourite thing about your home ground: Always a good buzz on match day and you can get to see some real legends arriving if you hang around the VIP entrance before kick-off. Bobby Charlton was one of my best spots.

Favourite match played by your team & why:  Our 2013 League Cup win will never be forgotten not least because Eden Hazard got sent off in the Semi’s for kicking our ball boy but a day out in Wembley is always for the archives.

Favourite player of all time who played for your club: John Toshack. He was my idol as a kid and was the reason I begun supporting Swansea. God forbid if it wasn¹t for him who knows I could have become a bluebird!

About our forthcoming match against you:

Your favourite current player in your squad and why? Alfie Mawson, assuming he hasn’t left us for West Ham before the game kicks off on Saturday. He’s a future England international for sure. He really plays with his heart. (Editor note: he didn’t go!)

Player in your squad we should most fear and why? On current form I would say Jordan Ayew. His confidence seems to be high after his wonder FA Cup goal against Wolves.

Player in our squad you most fear and why? Vardy and Mahrez too assuming he isn’t gonna be sulking.

Up and coming prospect in your squad? Connor “He’s one of our own” Roberts has started to break into the first team squad. He plays right back and was man of the match at Notts County last weekend. Also Olly McBurnie whose just gone out on loan to Barnsley. He has been scoring for fun for the Under 23’s for quite some time now. He’s been on the first team fringes for most of the season but hasn’t really been given a chance yet. Let’s hope he develops at Barnsley.

Where do you think you’ll finish this season? Despite a turn in form under Carvalhal I am still very worried. We will need a miracle to survive but the only consolation is that there aren’t a huge number of points between 9th down to 20th so it could still be any three.

How do you think you’ll do against us? After the Liverpool and Arsenal wins I am hoping our confidence will carry us through. From a survival standpoint it’s still a must win game because we’re still not “out of hospital” yet. I’m going for a 1 – 2 win to the Swans.

General Questions:

What did you think of the transfer window activity both in and out of your club?

It’s nice to have Andre Ayew back and I’m sure it will only boost him having his brother in the team. I still think he will be a real asset because I felt he did fine at West Ham but wasn’t given much chance there. I’m not sure about Andy King. You guys will have more of an idea than me but my fear is that he wasn’t making your first team so can we expect him to make a big impact. I hope he does.

Which three teams do you think will go down? Huddersfield, Brighton and Bournemouth.

Who do you think will win the league? Manchester City. My tip from the beginning.

Any other comments? Our season has been shocking until recently. There are calls for our Chairman’s head, which I don’t agree with. We have been bottom at Christmas for two years in a row so if we do survive it’ll be a an amazing escape and hopefully the reality check we need to get back to the Swansea way. It’s great to see you are showing some more consistency now and some of the quality that brought you the title.

Next Up Swansea – 03 February 2018

Next Up Swansea – 03 February 2018

Manager           Carlos Carvalhal

Founded       1912            Ground         Liberty Stadium, Swansea

Address       Liberty Stadium, Landore, Swansea, SA1 2FA

Capacity        21,088      

Squad:

1          Poland              GK       Łukasz Fabiański

2          Ivory Coast        FW       Wilfried Bony

4          South Korea      MF       Ki Sung-yueng

5          Netherlands       DF        Mike van der Hoorn

6          England            DF        Alfie Mawson

7          England            MF       Leon Britton (captain)

8          Netherlands       MF       Leroy Fer

10         England            FW       Tammy Abraham (on loan from Chelsea)

11         Netherlands       MF       Luciano Narsingh

12         England            MF       Nathan Dyer

13         Sweden             GK       Kristoffer Nordfeldt

14         England            MF       Tom Carroll

15         England            MF       Wayne Routledge

16         Sweden             DF        Martin Olsson

17         England            MF       Sam Clucas

18         Ghana               FW       Jordan Ayew

19         Ghana               FW       André Ayew

22         Spain                DF        Àngel Rangel (Captain)

24         Wales                MF       Andy King (on loan from Leicester City)

25         Netherlands       GK       Erwin Mulder

26         England            DF        Kyle Naughton

27         England            DF        Kyle Bartley

33         Argentina          DF        Federico Fernández

35         Portugal            MF       Renato Sanches (on loan from Bayern Munich)

52         Wales                DF        Connor Roberts

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.swanseacity.net

DEADLINE DAY DEBACLE ON AND OFF THE PITCH

EVERTON 2 FOXES 1

Match Report by Graham Tracey

 A long and intense day for all of us connected with the club ended with a second 2-1 defeat on Merseyside since Christmas. With our players no doubt distracted by the Mahrez saga, we threw away the game with two soft first half goals Ben Chilwell completed a sobering month in his still fledgling career following his red card at Chelsea by being at fault for both the Everton goals.

It was a below par performance by the whole team, with more misplaced simple passes than I can remember for a long time. Nonetheless, there was much to regret, as we could still have taken something from the game, hitting the woodwork three times and enabling the Toffeemen to close the gap on us in the league.

News came through around 5.00 that talks with Man City about Mahrez moving had broken down. I supported our stance, and hope that the player can take on board that he will have our blessing to leave in the summer when we have the luxury of time. Meantime, why not try and win us the FA Cup! Reports of him alienating his teammates by wagging training are of course though worrying.

In other news, I was gobsmacked that we have let both Slimani and Ulloa go out on loan. For me, one of these ariel threats on the bench is crucial and was sorely missed tonight. I remember Matt Eliot scoring a brace as a stand-in centre forward on this ground. It was also a sad day to see Andy King prepare to wear another shirt. For many years, I would have reckoned that Leicester would be simply too strong for him to feature as unlikely as my boyhood hope that we would one day be better than Forest! Finally, not taking the chance to offload Calamity Benalouane, especially now that Huth is back, is unfathomable to me.

Despite the changes and uncertainty in our ranks, we played well for the first 20 minutes. James, Amartey and Dragovic all showed composure in their roles, finding their feet in their extended runs in the team. The Puel way of controlling games through greater possession was in evidence. However, our only threat was the crosses of Albrighton, notably when Ndidi headed against the bar from a corner. Vardy could not get a touch of the ball, and Gray unfortunately had his worst game for us, just when he could have made a statement about his succession to Mahrez.

The home crowd were quiet at a normally atmospheric ground, and I was conscious that we should not let them get the first goal. However, Chilwell dallied ridiculously in his own box rather than clearing, and the ball was squared for Theo Walcott to score his first goal for his new club. Niasse then missed a sitter from Amartey’s lame clearance. However, the reprieve was short-lived, as Rooney had time to float the ball into the box, and it was headed across goal where Chilwell lost Walcott at the far post who scored again. From the kick off, we gave Niasse a one-on-one but luckily he overran it. We were lucky to be only two down at half time, but there looked little chance of a revival.

I recalled a comment by Ruud Gullit on Match of the Day a while ago: “football is a game of the least mistakes”. Wise words, unlike the moronic utterings of Danny Murphy about us every time he is on the same show.

The weather deteriorated in the second half, and the streets were actually starting to flood outside at full time. I had a dismal view on the front row by the corner flag, actually below pitch level and got soaked, but sat near a lovely bunch of seasoned fans from a coach and our disabled supporters

We got a lifeline through an unexpected penalty that could only be seen by watching TV later – it looked soft with a tug on Ndidi by Rooney. However, Vardy got us back in it with his much improved tactic of aiming for the corner with his spot kicks.

Diabate and Iheanacho came on as subs, as did Fuchs as we went 3-5-2. From a corner, the more confident-looking Iheanacho flicked then hooked the ball onto the bar and post within seconds of each other. It was an agonising moment. Shortly after, James could not steer home a great cross from Chilwell, which he may well have done in dry conditions. Everton ran down the clock, and the ‘not our night’ feel was  summed up by the last act of the game, when Fuchs wound  up for a long throw but could not grip  the ball and it went straight up in the air.

There have been countless ups and downs in the season and a half since we were champions. At the weekend, I felt we were in a great place, but with word that Mahrez may not be mentally fit to play for some time, our season stands at a crossroads once again. We have seen Puel the tactician – now we must hope to see Puel the man manager.

CITY: Schmeichel  7, Amartey 6, Chilwell 2, McGuire 7, Dragovic 7, Albrighton 7, Ndidi 6, James 6, Gray 4, Vardy 6, Okazaki 5. Subs: Diabate, Iheanacho, Fuchs

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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