Cavaleiro gives City cause for concern

 Wolves 1 City 0

Report by Colin Hall

A 25-yard strike by Wolves' Ivan Cavaleiro, just before the hour mark, proved enough to condemn Leicester City to their second defeat of the 2017-18 pre-season.

The win was no more than the Championship side deserved, Looking sharper and hungrier than their visitors throughout the game, they created enough chances to have won the game by a more convincing margin.

Many of the 1700-strong Leicester contingent were disappointed by both the performance and the result. With a virtually full-strength side on display, the general lethargy and lack of cohesion should worry Craig Shakespeare, with less than a fortnight before the season-opener at Arsenal.

City were greeted on arrival by a familiar adversary. Home boss Nuno Espirito Santo was in charge at Porto during their Champions League clashes with the Foxes last season. Why he chose to forsake the scenic delights of northern Portugal for the rather less obvious attractions of the English Black Country is a question only he (and perhaps his bank manager) can answer.

Yet, despite the expensive, extensive revamping of the Wolves squad during the close season, they were the first to settle here. Home winger Jota, on loan from Atletico Madrid, tested Kasper Schmeichel with a drive from distance which took a heavy deflection.

City were stung into a response – and should have gone ahead after 10 minutes when Danny Drinkwater sent Jamie Vardy clear on goal. However, after rounding home goalkeeper Ruddy, the striker slightly underhit his shot, allowing Coady to recover and clear off the line.

That proved to be the most clear-cut chance that City would create all afternoon. With the home side dominant in midfield, the rest of the half saw a string of shots rain in on Schmeichel, but none were quite able to find their target.

The visitors suffered a blow after 34 minutes when Islam Slimani was forced off with a gashed leg following a heavy challenge. His replacement, Shinji Okazaki, was as industrious as ever but proved unable to make any significant impact on the game.

Wolves, meanwhile, continued to press after the break, with Jota again forcing Schmeichel into action, and Doherty firing wide after the City defence had failed to deal with a cross by Cavaleiro.

The home breakthrough finally arrived after 59 minutes, when a wayward Marc Albrighton cross sparked a swift counter-attack which ended with Jota playing in Cavaleiro for a curling drive leaving Schmeichel helpless.

City continued to look to their wide men to fashion a reply, but neither Albrighton or an out-of-sorts Riyad Mahrez were able to raise themselves to the task. Even a string of home substitutions in the closing minutes failed to provide a lifeline to the visitors.

After Ronan and Zyro had wasted chances to seal the home victory, Drinkwater came close to snatching a leveller at the death, but he saw his 20-yard drive fly over when he really should have forced Ruddy into a save at the least.

In truth, though, a draw would not have been enough to paper over the cracks of a dispiriting, disjointed City performance, Of those who appeared at Molineux, only Schmeichel, skipper Wes Morgan and new signing Harry Maguire can take any comfort from their afternoon's work.

On this evidence, many Foxes will hope that the drawn-out Kelechi Iheanacho transfer saga can be brought to a swift and positive conclusion, and that a way can be found, involving a change of formation if need be, to accommodate Vincente Iborra into the starting line-up.

A drastic improvement is needed in the next two games to build up rhythm and confidence before the serious business begins.

City (4-4-2): Schmeichel: Simpson, Morgan (c), Maguire, Fuchs: Albrighton, Drinkwater, Ndidi, Mahrez: Slimani (Okazaki 34), Vardy.

Attendance: 11953 

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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Going to Burton ?

Directions by road  DE13 0AR  37MLS 50 MINS

The ground is situated in North Burton, just off the A5121 (Derby Road). This is about a mile from the A38 which runs across the Midlands. 

From the M1 (Junction 24) via the A50

Exit the M1 at Junction 24 and follow the signs for the A50 (Stoke and Uttoxeter). Keep on this road, heading west until you reach the Toyota Island and the junction with the A38. Head south on the A38 (Burton and Birmingham) until you reach the first Burton turn off. Take this exit (A5121) and proceed along Derby Road, passing McDonald's and the Pirelli factory on your right and a BP Garage and Cash & Carry on your left until you reach a roundabout. Turn right at this roundabout into Princess Way and the entrance to the ground is 300 yards on your right.

From A38 North (Derby) and M1 North (Junction 28)

Exit the A38 at the first turning for Burton (North). Take this exit (A5121) and proceed along Derby Road, passing McDonald's and the Pirelli factory on your right and a BP Garage and Cash & Carry on your left until you reach a roundabout. Turn right at this roundabout into Princess Way and the entrance to the ground is 300 yards on your right.

From A38 South (Lichfield, Birmingham)

Take the second exit for Burton (North). Take this exit (A5121) and proceed along Derby Road, passing McDonald's and the Pirelli factory on your right and a BP Garage and Cash & Carry on your left until you reach a roundabout. Turn right at this roundabout into Princess Way and the entrance to the ground is 300 yards on your right.

From M1 South (Jct 22) -A511

From the M1, exit at Junction 22 (signposted Coalville, Ashby, Burton) and stay on the A511 You stay on this road for approximately 17 miles, by-passing Coalville and going through Ashby-De-La-Zouch, then Woodville and Midway (This area is littered with speed cameras - so beware!) When you enter Burton, get into the right hand lane at the bottom of Ashby Road (A511) going straight over the traffic lights and across the Trent Bridge. Staying in the right hand lane, go straight on through both sets of lights at the end of the Bridge, into Horninglow Street, straight on again at the next lights (next to the newly built Magistrates Courts), then turn right at the traffic lights underneath the Brewery fly-over, into Hawkins Lane. Go through the industrial estate, straight across the mini-roundabout and over the Railway Bridge, once over the Railway Bridge, you will come to a roundabout. Go straight across the roundabout into Princess Way and the entrance to the ground is 300 yards on your right.

From M42 Jct. 11 (West Mids) & M5 (South West) -A444

Leave the M 42 at its last exit Junction 11 (Just past Tamworth) and go onto the A444 signposted Burton. Stay on the A444 all the way to Burton, going through Overseal and Castle Gresley on the way. On entering Burton, go past the Black Horse and Copper Hearth pubs, straight across the mini-roundabout and you will come to a roundabout with St Peters Bridge in front of you. Turn right at the roundabout into Stapenhill Road (A444), which runs parallel to the River Trent, and then turn left at the traffic lights onto the Trent Bridge. Get into the right hand lane, go straight on through both sets of lights at the end of the Bridge, into Horninglow Street, straight on again at the next lights (next to the newly built Magistrates Courts), then turn right at the traffic lights underneath the Brewery fly-over, into Hawkins Lane. Go through the industrial estate, straight across the mini-roundabout and over the Railway Bridge, once over the Railway Bridge, you will come to a roundabout. Go straight across the roundabout into Princess Way and the entrance to the ground is 300 yards on your right.

From M6 North Jct. 15 (A50 Uttoxeter, Stoke-On-Trent) -A511

Leave the Motorway at Junction 15, (Stoke-On-Trent South) and follow the signs for Uttoxeter (A50). Stay on this road ignoring the first sign for Burton and continuing along the A50 until you reach the Toyota Island. Come off the A50 here and follow signs for A38 (south). Travel on this road until you reach the first exit for Burton on Trent. Take this exit (A5121) and proceed along Derby Road, passing McDonald's and the Pirelli factory on your right and a BP Garage and Cash & Carry on your left until you reach a roundabout. Turn right at this roundabout into Princess Way and the entrance to the ground is 300 yards on your right.

Car Parking

There is a large car park at the ground which costs £5, however this gets full pretty quickly. Alternatively car parking is available at the Ryknild Trading Estate (also costing £5), just off the roundabout right by the stadium. Otherwise street parking. 

Directions by rail

Burton Railway Station is around a mile and a half away from the Pirelli Stadium. As you come out of the station turn left and go down the hill. Turn right into Derby Road and from there it is a straight road up to the stadium. It should take about 25 minutes to walk. Otherwise there is a taxi rank at the station and the cost up to the ground is around £6.

Trains take under 1 hour but last trains back leave before the match ends.

Pubs

The nearest pub is probably the 'The Beech Inn' which is around a ten minute walk, up the A5121 Derby Road (going in the opposite direction to Burton town centre) on the left. Otherwise there is the Great Northern pub, which serves Burton Bridge Beers, along with a guest ale. This pub is located on Wetmore Road, which leads off the roundabout near to the stadium entrance, go up and over the railway bridge and the pub is on the left

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

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What a disappointment

MK Dons 0 City 0

Report by Kate Thompson

In his interview after the Luton game, Michael Appleton said the team would start scoring goals soon.  Instead they failed to score at all for the first time this pre-season.  The 11 who started contained one or two who might hope to feature in the first Premier League match alongside some fringe players, but it gave them an opportunity to show why they should be higher up the pecking order.  There were only four substitutes, none of whom was needed.

On a filthy night in Milton Keynes we settled down in the above-average seats and, as my sister noted, very few City fans were standing up.  Would that it were always so at away games! 

Sadly, the football did not match the excellent view of the game.  There were some slick passing moves on a tricky pitch but very little to get the pulses racing; the best one can say is that the players did a full 90 minutes which would have improved their fitness.  MK Dons gave them a much sterner test than Luton had, and Hamer in goal had to make some good saves.

Some things hadn’t changed; Gray, in his first pre-season match, flattered to deceive again.  He got forward well, on a couple of occasions racing to catch a ball that looked as if it were going out for a throw-in, but he continued his habit of shooting from range and way off target.  Ben Chilwell is better going forward than defending, which demonstrates that Fuchs is unlikely to lose his place for now.

I was particularly pleased to see Matty James back to his imperious best and hope he can maintain these high standards.  Iborra looked very assured and was involved in one or two clever moves in the second half.  I wouldn’t be surprised if these two were the first-choice midfield pairing, along with either Drinkwater or Ndidi.  Andy King, a player I have a lot of time, was captain on the night but we only saw the occasional glimpse of the player he can be.

The outstanding player for me was Tom Lawrence, someone who has had his ups and downs with the club and who looked to be on his way out a couple of seasons ago.  There are rumours that Brighton have bid £8m for him but I really hope Leicester don’t let him go.

The biggest disappointment for me, Gray apart, was Ulloa – another player I like and who was apparently signed because the defenders at the time said he was the hardest player they had faced.  Clearly being the lone striker doesn’t suit him and apart from one effort that cleared the bar very early one, he was largely anonymous. 

Amartey, playing as a central defender as he does for Ghana, looked assured and Benalouane did not create any heart-stopping moments.  The youngster Johnson at right back made one or two errors but he can be reasonably pleased with his performance.

So hopefully the management team have learnt some valuable lessons but I hope the match against Wolves, presumably with most of the starting 11, is more exciting.

Line up here https://twitter.com/LCFC/status/890991509356527616/photo/1

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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A proper pre-season

Luton Town 0 v 1 Leicester City

Match Report by Stuart Dawkins

Whilst the Asia Trophy had proved, rather unexpectedly, to be a decent competition with some entertaining matches, this was back to a proper, old-fashioned pre-season schedule for City.

Kenilworth Road is a throw-back to a different footballing century.  The Away end is entered through a row of terraced houses, the view is obscured by all manner of steel girders, the bar was not open, the catering sold out of everything but sausage rolls well before the match, and the pitch begins about 10 feet from the supporters.  One City fan asking a steward “can we sit anywhere” was greeted with the response “wherever you like mate, they’re all crap”.

The game itself provided reasonable entertainment for the 4,000+ crowd.  Luton made a match of it, despite having very little of the ball.  City, in each of the varied formations they tried, looked the better team throughout without really threatening to overwhelm the lower-league opposition.

It would be unwise to draw too many conclusions from a game with 20 City players involved, played against League Two opposition.  However, here are a few thoughts, based on what we saw:

Iborra is huge and looked classy.  Whenever he had the ball he looked to have so much time – although Luton in a friendly is clearly not the same as a Premier League match – it was a solid half of football from that newcomer.  I hope, too, that the newly-minted chant sticks too: “He came from sunny Spain to live on Saffron Lane” deserves its place amongst the City classics!

Mahrez was … Mahrez.  At times, he was a completely different class to everyone else on the pitch, and then a couple of times he would attempt the impossible and miss the productive, easy choice.  To be fair to him, he put a lot of effort in – both going forward and chasing back.  This performance, together with those in the Asia Cup, has seen him play at a level he did not reach even towards the end of last season.

Callum Elder looked very steady and confident at left back.  It was interesting to get my first ‘live’ sighting of Johnson, who came on as right back.  Again, he looked confident and assured – and huge!  He had played well for the England Under 19 team at centre back, and deserved his run out at Luton.

The standout player was Musa.  He was the only City outfield player to play for the whole 90 minutes, mostly wide on the left, but with freedom to roam depending on exactly who was on the pitch for Leicester at the time.  He still does not look confident in front of goal, but a few performances like this in ‘proper’ games would go a long way to winning over round City fans. 

He set up the only goal, which occurred five minutes from the end when a goal-less draw looked the most likely result despite City’s dominance which had included hitting the bar after 25 seconds.  Slimani played a loved through ball, Musa again chose to cut back rather than shoot, but this time the cut-back found a City player – Mahrez – whose shot from short range had too much power, despite Luton’s keeper getting a lot of hand on it.

Slimani continues to give his all, but still has not got his goal touch.

Maguire is a big, confident and cultured-looking player.  He looks a good signing, although did have just a couple of ‘John Stone’ moments when his very apparent ease on the ball led to over-complication and City losing the ball in potentially dangerous positions.

Jakupovic had nothing of note to do all match, Luton Threatened so little.  The most worrying aspect, of a largely un-worrisome evening, was that Luton did get two free headers from corners.  Neither of them came close to scoring, but it was two too many for confidence leading into a Premier League Campaign.

Of the various midfield combinations on show, that of Iborra and Ndidi looked the most impressive.

Tom Lawrence was fairly quiet, although his acknowledged eye for goal included a firm shot on target with his first meaningful touch of the ball.

The final mention should go to the Luton Town keeper, Shea.  He made a number of fine saves, almost stopped the goal, was named man of the match by the sponsors and handled with a nice, humorous touch the stick being given to him – in good humour also – by City fans standing no more than 10 feet behind him.

In two weeks’ time it will be off to the Emirates – quite a contrast to Kenilworth Road in so many ways!

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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Going to Wolves ?

Wolves - Sat July 29th 3pm kick off

Directions by road  - WV1 4QR

From Leicester easiest route may be down the M69 to the M6, then follow directions from the South East

By road from the north:

Exit M6 at junction 12.At island take third exit onto A5 for Wolverhampton. At the next island turn left onto A449. After six miles the A449 passes under the M54.

Carry straight on and at the sixth island (Five Ways) take the third exit onto Waterloo Road. Molineux is one mile straight on.

By road from the south west:

Exit M5 at junction 2. Follow the signs for Wolverhampton on the A4123 for eight miles to the Ring Road.Turn left on Ring Road, following signs for Molineux.

Take second exit at next two islands, pass Banks’s Brewery and swimming baths on left and then turn left at next set of traffic lights. Molineux is 500 yards on the right.

By road from the south east:

Exit M6 at junction 10. Take A454 via Willenhall to Wolverhampton Ring Road.

At fi rst Ring Road island, take the fourth exit (A449 to Stafford).Straight on at next two sets of traffic lights.Filter right at third set of lights into Waterloo Road. 

Molineux is 500 yards on right.

From Wolverhampton railway/bus stations, follow the Ring Road, walking down the side of the Chubb buildings.

Then at the major crossroads you will see Molineux to the left.

Approx 60 mls     1hrs 30 mins

Parking

City centre car parks can be busy on Saturday, might be easier to park further out and walk to the ground. There is a limited amount of parking at the stadium.

Directions by rail

From Wolverhampton railway/bus stations, follow the Ring Road, walking down the side of the Chubb buildings.Then at the major crossroads you will see Molineux to the left. Walking takes approx 15-20 mins

Trains take 1hrs 30mins

Off peak return £19.90

Pubs

There are no pubs as such near to the stadium.  

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 Wolverhampton Wanderers FC

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