The FTPL predictor game came to an exciting climax at the end of Week 38 fixtures as Ultrafox came from third place to snatch the title. Going into the last round of fixtures, Ultrafox trailed the leader Werdy by 40 points and second place Random Dodgers by 20 points. But the winner overturned that deficit to win by 10 points scoring a final day 85 as Werdy scored 35 and Dodgers -30.
What would have been interesting to see would have been the change in league positions as they fluctuated throughout the final round of matches as the goals went in: a ‘SKY Sports’ type update, sorry, I am getting carried away.
Ultrafox finished nationally in 982nd position out of 36051 players and 6th out of all the declared Leicester fans – I am keen to say I am no nerd wading through endless data, you can look it up easily on the Iknowthescore website. The national winner, Steponthefabregas, scored 2670 points, winning by an impressive 75 points.
As a League, FTPL finished a credible 47th out of 2302 mini-leagues with a total score of 14570 points: Barcelona99 came 1st by 15 points with a score of 16285.
FTPL started the season with 46 players and about 33 resilient ones were still active to the final fixtures. Some of those who stopped predicting did so early as they either performed badly or lost interest; a few more did not continue after lockdown as the fixtures resumed in June.
To all who took part a big ‘Thank You’, congratulations to Ultrafox, and please keep in touch with foxestrust.co.uk to see when we launch next season’s League ahead of the EPL start. That should only be about 6 weeks away as the 2020/21 Season is due to start on September 12th so, please enjoy the summer and hopefully you will join us again.
The Foxes Trust has been contacted by a student who is currently working with Loughborough University and a number of Premier League football clubs to investigate how the football stadium experience can be improved for fans.
The focus of this research is to investigate how the football stadium experience will need to evolve in order to attract and retain Gen Z fans.
By participating in this study, you will contribute towards the academic body of work on this subject and help provide an insight to clubs on how football stadiums can be improved to enhance the fan experience.
The research is being collected in association with Loughborough University and will be used as part of a master’s dissertation project.
To participant in this study, you must be aged 18 or over. You should also be a football fan who attends live matches and be born after the 1st January 1995.
Survey Length and Deadline
Completion of the survey should take approximately 10 minutes. Responses will be accepted until 23.59 on Friday 31 July 2020 (extended deadline)
And so the Champions League ambitions fell away. The final score line is harsh. City played well but like so often since the restart lacked the clinical precision needed to turn half chances into goals. In truth, entry to the Champions League should not have come down to this game. Dropped points that pepper the last third of the season are what tripped us up.
From the team at Tottenham Albrighton, Choudhury and Iheanacho came in. Both teams were cautious in the opening ten minutes. Pogba managed to set Martial free in the box but he was offside. Vardy made a good wing break but his cross was easily dealt with. Thomas headed clear a Fernandes corner. Iheanacho went down in the United area but referee Atkinson waved play on.
United were having more possession and were more successful winning knock downs and second balls. Even so Maguire had to resort to a scissors kick challenge on Iheanacho which saw the former Leicester man receive a yellow card. Leicester relied on countering and after good work by Iheanacho, Tielemans fed Ndidi but Wilf sent his fierce shot over the bar.
United were getting some joy from carefully weighted passes through and over the City defence especially from Rashford. But Justin in particular held firm on several occasions. Iheanacho looked a threat especially receiving the ball with back to goal and then turning and running at United’s defenders. After one such run his shot was parried by De Gea. Vardy got to the rebound but was ruled offside.
After the drinks break Leicester continued to make errors in their own defensive third giving United opportunities to attack. Martial put the ball in the net after one such error but was clearly offside. But City had their moments including a brilliant move which saw Iheanacho feed the ball to Thomas. His cross from the left was reached by Vardy but under pressure he sent the ball wide.
The first half finished with United doing the pressing. A Pogba pass set Rashford free but he could not keep his shot down. Then following a corner the ball fell to Rashford who lashed in a goal bound shot that was well saved by Schmeichel at his near post.
There was penalty area action at both ends at the start of the second half. Justin was very quick to dispossess Martial as the striker prepared to shoot. At the other end a neat one-two between Iheanacho and Albrighton led to a City corner but the follow up kick came to nothing. Perhaps surprisingly to some Iheanacho was replaced by Perez in 58th minute.
Perez was soon in the action winning a free kick outside the United area. Vardy back-headed Tielemans’ freekick against the angle of post and crossbar with De Gea rooted. Then a Tielemans effort was blocked after a good pass from the impressive Thomas.
Since half time the game had become pretty equal but events were about to turn. Leicester played the ball out of the penalty area but Choudhury, just outside the box, was robbed by Greenwood who played a good ball into the area for Martial. The striker was tackled from behind by Evans who despite getting a touch on the ball was penalised and yellow carded. Referee Atkinson did not hesitate to give the penalty – United’s 14th of the season – and Fernandes stroked the ball into the net from the spot.
City made three substitutions immediately, bringing on Gray, Barnes and Praet for Tielemans, Albrighton and Choudhury. City’s impetus increased and after Gray found Barnes in the box the ball fell to Vardy but his shot on the turn lacked power. United brought on Lingard for Greenwood but City kept pressing. One ball from Thomas fell for Morgan in the United box but the City defender completely miskicked.
Then Gray cut in and his firm shot was deflected by Maguire but the referee missed the deflection so no corner. Then Maguire clattered into Vardy from behind on the edge of the United D. He was penalised but no second yellow card was forthcoming. Gray’s free kick was headed for a corner off the wall.
United brought on McTomminay and City brought on Hirst for Thomas. Hirst jumped well to head a Schmeichel free kick but the header lacked power and De Gea caught it comfortably.
As the game went into over time more incidents awaited. Firstly Evans overstretched in the tackle and caught McTomminay late. Evans barely waited for the referee’s straight red card before leaving the pitch. Then Schmeichel in the dying seconds of the game tried to dribble past Lingard in front of goal. He lost possession and the United player had the easiest job to roll the ball into the empty net.
So Europa Cup it is. Back in August many City fans would have settled for that. Obviously the squad needs more depth. That will be even more important when the Europa competition starts. But we should not forget some of the great moments this City team gave us earlier in the season.
Sunday July 26th 4pm – Sky Sports Main Event (coverage starts at 3pm)
Preview by Paul Weston
It all comes down to the wire on the last game of the season- a home game at the King Power against Manchester United. There have been so many permutations but, following Wednesday night’s matches, both of which went in City’s favour, it is now quite straightforward.
All City have to do is win against Manchester United (simples!) and a guaranteed Champions League spot is the prize. However, if Chelsea lose to Wolves (a distinct possibility given Wolves’ form) then a draw against Manchester United would be sufficient. There are a few other possibilities which are very remote that are not worth considering.
If you were a glass half empty person you might think that the Foxes have no chance and let’s face it, the last few matches have proved that we have nowhere near a good enough squad to compete in the Premiership and the Champions League.
At the time of writing I have assumed that Chilwell, Maddison, Fuchs and Albrighton are injured so, with Soyuncu suspended, that leaves us dependant on a 36 year old in defence and a 19 year old rookie youngster at left back. That leaves Rodgers with few options so team selection I expect is likely to be the same as the match against Spurs unless Rodgers is more pragmatic.
Manchester United looked sluggish against West Ham but surely their forwards will raise their game. They will relish the chance of breaking from defence into attack quickly, similar to how Spurs picked the weaknesses in our defence even though City had 24 shots at the other end with no result.
The glass half empty conclusion is that Manchester United will probably score early and then comfortably hold off City’s efforts, perhaps ending in a 2-0 victory. City then end up a gallant fifth and with a Europa League spot. It will be disappointing given our fantastic early form but most City fans would probably have taken this at the beginning of the season
However, if you a glass half full person (as I am) there is always another scenario even though form favours Manchester United. Vardy is leading the race for the Golden Boot and what better time to slam in two goals against Manchester United and Harry Maguire on the last match of the season in front of the TV cameras.
His form has been improving all the time since lockdown and, if only his colleagues could create chances for him, you feel that he is due a goal. He always plays well against Manchester United, whose defence is not their strength. City will be at the King Power and, although home form is different without crowds, perhaps familiar surroundings will help.
The Foxes resolve has strengthened since the shambolic, embarrassing and shocking performance against Bournemouth and they know their fans will expect a committed performance. The other possibility, however unlikely, is that the pressure gets to Manchester United and that they do not play to their potential. Let’s face it- all the pundits will expect a “big team” like Manchester United to beat City. Wouldn’t it be just great if we could prove them wrong with a 2-1 victory?
So sit back and enjoy the ride on Sunday. Come on you Foxes!
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
Leicester City’s hopes of a place in next season’s Champions League now hang by a slender thread, following a 3-0 defeat by Tottenham in the final away game of the Premier League campaign.
While the Foxes played better on their first-ever visit to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium than the score line indicates, individual errors were ruthlessly punished by a strike force that would have troubled even a first-choice defence.
In addition, sections of the Blue Army had cause – and not for the first time during a highly disappointing second half of the season – to question tactical decisions taken by the management.
Although Brendan Rodgers could not be blamed for keeping faith with the same starting eleven that performed so impressively in the previous fixture, fears that the pace and power of the Spurs attack might overwhelm the makeshift City back line proved to be only too well-founded.
And while there have been times and places this season where a gung-ho approach has brought rich rewards for Rodgers and the team, this was never likely to be one of them.
The tone was set after only six minutes, when Son, a regular thorn in City’s side in past fixtures, sprang a particularly ill-judged offside trap. Although the defence was able to recover, the Korean’s shot was diverted past Kasper Schmeichel by the retreating James Justin.
Some referees in this league might have judged Kane, in an offside position directly in front of Schmeichel when Son shot, to have been interfering with play. However, this one allowed the goal to stand – not the last time the Mancunian official Taylor and his colleagues in the VAR studio would leave City aggrieved.
City made an instant response, with Jamie Vardy heading over from close range when he would usually have expected to find the target. With Youri Tielemans and young wing-back Luke Thomas playing prominent roles, the visitors created a string of chances during the next half-hour, only to be thwarted by fine goalkeeping and a resolute home defence.
However, the high pressing by City’s back three left them vulnerable to swift counter-attacks, and when Harvey Barnes was caught in possession deep inside the Spurs half, Moura immediately sent Kane clear to double the home side’s lead.
As City were still reeling by this hammer blow, the same combination struck again to put the game beyond their reach. Kane was allowed space on the right-hand side to curl home a shot which the defence might have done more to block.
With the destiny of the game settled, the only question that remained during the second half was whether City could find the scoresheet to repair, at least in part, further damage caused to their goal difference. Despite a number of further attempts on goal – the final tally of 24 was the most by any visiting Premier side in this venue’s short history – the answer proved negative, although Jonny Evans had a strong penalty claim denied when apparently flattened by home defender Sanchez at a corner.
The immediate withdrawal of Tielemans and Wilfred Ndidi after this incident suggested that the manager’s thoughts had already turned to next week’s crunch clash with Manchester United. But the manager’s dismal record against top-seven opponents this season – just ONE win to date in twelve attempts – gives little grounds for optimism, especially in view of the long list of players unavailable for the showdown.
While the City fanbase will welcome a return of European football to the King Power Stadium, for the team to finish outside the top 4 would be intensely regretted as an opportunity squandered, particularly given the number of months spent during the season inside the elite group.
This outcome would also have a severe adverse impact on the club’s ability to retain and recruit key players, and in such troubled economic times, could potentially also hinder its plans for future development.
It is therefore to be devoutly hoped that this manager and his squad can somehow conjure up a positive result next week.
Tottenham (4-2-3-1): Lloris (c); Aurier, Alderweireld, Sanchez, Davies; Sissoko, Winks (Skipp 90 + 2), Moura (Bergwijn 77), Lo Celso (Lamela 77), Son (Fernandes 89); Kane. Subs not used: Gazzaniga, Foyth, Vertonghen, Sessegnon, Tanganga.