Category Archives: Leicester City

The Battle for Sixth

10 to 15 years ago, the Premier League was a far simpler place. The established top four were Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool. Generally, the excitement came from seeing what order those teams would finish in. 

Nowadays, we have a top six after the rise of Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur. And not just that, we appear to have a few more teams who are looking to gate crash the big boys. 

With the recent declines of United, Chelsea and Arsenal, sixth spot, at least, is starting to look like it may be up for grabs. One of the teams vying for it is Leicester City. 

Harry Maguire is 26 years old. He’s probably just about old enough to vaguely remember Man United’s treble, and certainly old enough to have grown up in a time when the Red Devils still dominated English football. 

It’s a frame of mind that may have stuck in his head over the summer, as he eventually got his £85 million move to Old Trafford. At the moment though, a move from Leicester to United could arguably be seen as reducing your chances of finishing in a coveted European spot. 

The two teams now go head to head on Saturday, and it is already looking like the match could be an important marker for both sides this season. 

The Foxes have some excellent players, and their midfield is packed with talent. Wilfred Ndidi has proved himself superbly in a holding midfield role, and Hamza Choudhury is developing into a fearsome player. 

On the more attacking front, Leicester have the talents of James Maddison and Youri Tielemans. Maddison adapted brilliantly from the Championship to the Premier League last season, creating the more chances than anyone else in the league. 

Tielemans, meanwhile, was arguably one of the most underrated transfers of the summer. The talented young Belgian impressed in the second half of last season, and has started this season in great form with a goal and an assist from his opening matches. 

Kasper Schmeichel is a fine keeper, and the Foxes have good options at full back with Ricardo Pereira and Ben Chilwell. And who could forget Jamie Vardy, who has started this season excellently. Keeping him fit will be key to Leicester’s top six charge. 

Things seem to be coming together nicely under Brendan Rodgers at the King Power stadium. The same can’t really be said for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in the north west. 

It would be foolish to label United’s squad as being generally limited. They still have David de Gea. Paul Pogba – for all that pundits like to slander him – is a brilliant player, and they have the talents of Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford up front. 

But nothing seems to have really gelled for the Red Devils. Really, they are a counter-attacking side with two pacy forwards in Rashford and Martial combined with the superb long range passing of Pogba. 

But teams are happy enough to sit back against them. Maybe it’s a hangover from 10 years ago when you’d expect to be beaten by Manchester United, or perhaps most managers have cottoned on to the fact that if United have a lot of the ball, they tend to struggle. 

United lack any true creative presences further up the pitch. Pogba seems to operate better from deeper positions and while they do have a former No10 supremo in Juan Mata, his powers are fading as the pace of the game appears to be getting away from the Spaniard. 

All hope should not be lost though. Maguire and Victor Lindelof have the potential to become a solid defensive partnership, and their backline has been further strengthened by the addition of Aaron Wan-Bissaka. 

And then there is the form of Daniel James, who has exceeded all expectations. His first goal for United may have been a tad lucky courtesy of a deflection, but it seems to have given him great confidence and belief – he is now scoring fine goals for both club and country. 

But United cannot be solely reliant on Pogba hitting long balls to Rashford and Martial, and James smashing in screamers. They need to forge more of a style – perhaps they would be better off hunkering down and attempting to focus on counter-attacking. For the moment at least, they lack the personnel to truly dominate and successfully wear down the opposition. 

They come up against a Leicester side who have a highly technically proficient midfield, one that arguably has the potential to cut through most Premier League sides. 

Getting an edge over United on Saturday will be vital for Rodgers’ and his side, while Solskjaer will be looking to stop the rot at Old Trafford after just three wins in his last 16 games. 

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Brexit: How will it affect the Premier League?

It comes without surprise that all 20 of the current Premier League clubs were against Brexit in the first place. With Britain set to leave the EU on March 29th, and a ‘no deal’ Brexit looming closer by the minute, what will happen to The Premier League and English football in the future? 

 

The first likely outcome of Brexit on English football is the restriction on the movement of players from Europe to the UK, and vice versa. Players will most likely have to acquire work permits when transferring from The UK to Europe. It is estimated that only 60% of all players in the top flight are UK nationals, so there is major potential of future issues within the league. The clarity of movements in the transfer market may be completely hindered, with it being harder for Premier League clubs to sign European talent, and harder for players with UK citizenship to move to European clubs. Furthermore, with the Champions League quarter finals set to take place just two weeks after the March deadline, and four out of eight teams being from the UK, how will the final three stages pan out?

 

Another potential issue Brexit may reveal regards the 1995 Bosman ruling. The Bosman ruling has made a vital development to football around Europe, allowing players to act as free agents once their contract with the club has expired. The ruling came after three separate legal cases between Jean-Marc Bosman and UEFA, The Belgian FA and Bosman’s club at the time – Royal Football Club De Liege. Bosman won his case at The European Court of Justice in 1995. With the UK departing European jurisdiction, and it no longer being a requirement to follow EU law, UK players could potentially be at risk from a lack of free movement. 

 

The FA has already made a pre-Brexit statement regarding all teams in the Football Leagues. Back in November, they stated that every roster must consist of a minimum of 12 players from a UK background. This could have a positive and negative effect on the league; forcing managers to train with a more ‘British’ based team, leading to further player development and possibly lead to a stronger English, Welsh and Scottish national teams. However, it could lead to a lack of European talent in Premier League teams. Talented players such as Van Dijk, De Bruyne, Sane and Hazard may aim to look at joining major clubs in Europe, to mitigate against the uncertainty that Brexit may bring. Premier League scouts will most likely put their focus on British talent, and the number of European players brought to the top flight could be dramatically reduced. Furthermore, more pressure may be weighted on football academies, as there is an increased need for young English talent. This would lead to the increased development of young English players, the likes of Phil Foden, Jadon Sancho, Marcus Rashford and Callum Hodson-Odoi all generated their success through excelling in their respected football academies. Could Brexit result in a breakthrough for unseen flair?

 

The main question on everyone’s mind is “Can Britain beat Brexit?” Although the outcomes still remain indistinct, it is clear that it could be rough. Lets just hope that it doesn’t tarnish our league and restrict the luminous football we are all so familiar with. 

Should Leicester move for this 20 million pound striker?

Leicester city are reportedly in the hunt for Columbian striker Alfredo Morelos. The Foxes have competition from German giants Dortmund and other Bundesliga rivals, newly appointed Brendan Rodgers may be looking for a new frontman as Jamie Vardy enters the business end of his career and Kelechi Ihenacho never hitting the heights people expected when he signed. Morelos told a Columbian radio station last week “There are many teams interested in me and a lot of them have watched me play. Most likely my transfer will be this summer” This undoubtedly has dropped huge hints and may have increased the interest from other clubs more.

Morelos has been in fine form in the 2018/2019 season netting 16 times making him the leagues top scorer , and an additional 4 assists makes him a target for a whole host of clubs. Morelos arrived at Rangers in 2017 for an undisclosed fee from HJK Helsinki , the Columbian has scored 30 goals in 59 appearances for the ‘Gers. However the strikers discipline could be one of his only downfalls , conceding 9 yellow cards and 3 red cards in just 24 matches this season.

Why would Morelos suit the Premier League?

As many people believe, the Premier League is one of the most challenging and competitive leagues in world football. Numerous  players are unable to adapt to the Premier League’s intensity and style of play , however we also see many people adapt well like Leicester’s James Maddison who has performed outstandingly with 5 goals and 5 assists in all competitions. Despite having a small sized frame compared to the average centre back, Morelos has scored plenty of headers and the large majority of his goals have been inside the penalty area. This shows that Morelos has the ability to outwit defenders and is clinical inside the “18 yard box”, which is vital in the Premier League as chances may not come as often. As well as been a prolific goalscorer the Columbian is still only 22 years old which leaves plenty of room for improvement. Despite the majority of his goals coming from inside the penalty area , Morelos tends to cut in from wide areas adding that extra bit of creativity in his game. Not only that but the striker can be dangerous from crosses aswell , which flaunts his adaptability as an attacker who’s of playing across the front three. Its rumoured that Leicester have been tracking Morelos’ progress for a few weeks now. Although the arrival of Brendan Rodgers may change these rumours, there’s no doubt that Morelos is a highly touted player.

Would Alfredo Morelos make a good addition to a Premier League team like Leicester or would he be better suited for the Bundesliga?

Top 3 Welsh Wonders in the Premier League

Since the evolution of the Premier League, there have been a flurry of Welsh players such as Joe Allen and 2016 Premier League winner Andy King. But who are the top three players?

 

Ryan Giggs

The former Manchester United captain has won (nearly) everything there is to win in club football, from league titles, to cups, including European glories and the FIFA Club World Cup. He also holds a unique record of scoring in every Premier League season (except in 2013/14).

Just a pity he never played in any international tournaments, but at least he was part of Team GB.

 

Gareth Bale

Since being plucked from Southampton by Tottenham Hotspur, Gareth Bale went from strength to strength, having first experienced Champions League football with the North London side back in 2010/11, and captured the imagination of fans with a memorable hat-trick against Inter Milan. Since then, he’s achieved more than he could ever imagine with Real Madrid, having won a league title, one Copa Del Rey, and four Champions League titles. Three of which were consecutive.

 

Aaron Ramsey

Aaron Ramsey signed on at Arsenal from Cardiff City in the summer of 2008. During the period, he showed promise, and his confidence improved from there on. Although he was showing he was the real deal, it all came crashing down in February 2010. A horror tackle by Ryan Shawcross saw Ramsey out for the rest of the season.

Thankfully, he recovered from that, and returned to form to help his Arsenal side end their wait for a trophy in 2014, and win two more along the way.

 

Special mentions: Ashley Williams – He’s been instrumental in the rise to prominence of Welsh football, having been part of the Swansea City side that won promotion in 2011 – thus being the first Welsh club to compete in the Premier League, and the side that won the League Cup two

 

Joe Allen – comically known as “the Welsh Xavi”, like Williams, he was part of a successful Swansea City side that won promotion, and was a regular feature at Liverpool until his unfortunate injury just before the 2015/16 season.

 

Andy King – Having signed for Leicester City as a teenager in 2006, the Barnstaple-born (qualified to play for Wales through his grandmother who is from Wrexham) midfielder didn’t experience Premier League football until 2014. His side stayed up in their first season back in the top flight, which included a memorable 5-3 win over Manchester United. He was a instrumental part of the incredible 5000-1 side that exceeded expectation. In doing that, he became just the fourth Welsh international to win the Premier League.

 

So, those are my top three Welsh players who have graced the Premier League. What are yours?

From a bhoy to a Fox? Brendan Rodgers to Leicester?

After sacking Claude Puel on Sunday Leicester city have moved quickly to get their man and it seems that man is current Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers. Reports today suggest that the Bhoys have allowed Rodgers to travel to Leicester to discuss a move to the Midland club. Many suggested that any move for the Irishman would have to wait until the summer but it seems Rodgers has made his wishes clear to the Celtic board to leave now.

Is this a good move for Leicester City?

Currently in 14th position in the Premier League the Foxes are without a win in 7 games which includes the 2-1 loss to league 2 Newport County in the FA Cup 3rd round.

Some positivity and confidence is needed and a new manager often provides this, Brendan Rodgers wants another shot at the Premier League after a disappointing end to his Liverpool tenure and with Leicester, a club that has won the Premier League, has solid owners with deep pockets and a squad of talented players he has the ideal place to make a great start and rebuild his reputation to a degree.

One of Rodgers main strengths is his coaching ability and with the likes of Demarai Gray, Ben Chilwell and James Maddison there he really could get those players to the next level like he did with Raheem Sterling in his early years. Oliver Burke transferred to Celtic at the start of the season because of Rodgers, Burke felt that the Irishman could get his career back on track, and possibly the biggest compliment Rodgers has received came from Brazilian icon Pele when he said “I think Celtic are very lucky to have a manager with the qualities of Brendan. Luis Suarez was a really good player when he went to Liverpool but I believe Brendan gave him great coaching, guidance and advice and made him a better player and a better person”.

So what would Leicester be getting in Brendan Rodgers?

Someone with the ability to coach players and make them better, a coach who has managed at the top level and who came within 2 points of delivering Liverpool their first Premier League title, a title they’ve never been closer to winning since. Rodgers has plenty of experience in the premier league having managed Swansea after he guided the Welsh club up from the championship and Liverpool, showing his ability to manage clubs at both ends of the league, so he’s no stranger to life in a club outside the ‘top 6’.

Time will only tell if Brendan Rodgers will be a good fit for Leicester city but with his pedigree and track record of trophies and success, the Foxes will be in good hands.

Wayne Edge @oasis1711