Leicester Staring Down Relegation

Many of the fans of the defeated big names stated that Leicester’s Premier League win last year was a fluke. Perhaps it was just their way of being sore losers… or was it just a fluke. Those who said so last year are perhaps a game or two away from saying “I told you so!” BBC Sports reports on the close brush with relegation that is now Leicester’s reality.

Premier League champions Leicester were plunged deeper into relegation trouble as they were beaten by Swansea, whose vital victory gave their own hopes of survival an enormous lift.

After a cagey start, Alfie Mawson’s thumping volley and an incisive team goal finished by Martin Olsson gave the hosts a commanding 2-0 half-time lead.

Leicester offered more resistance in the second half – substitute Islam Slimani was denied by a fine save by Lukasz Fabianski – but fell to a fifth successive defeat, increasing the pressure on manager Claudio Ranieri.

The Foxes, who are just one point above the relegation zone, are the only side in the top four English divisions without a league goal in 2017.

They are also the first reigning champions to lose five consecutive top flight matches since Chelsea in March 1956 and now find themselves embroiled in a congested relegation battle in which the bottom six teams are separated by just five points.

Leicester in freefall

Winless in the Premier League in 2017 and without a goal in their previous five league outings, Leicester entered this fixture in apparent freefall.

Goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel described their faltering title defence as “embarrassing” after last Sunday’s 3-0 home defeat by Manchester United, while Wednesday’s FA Cup replay win over Derby was preceded by a dreaded vote of confidence from the club’s board for manager Ranieri.

The Italian cut a forlorn figure on the touchline at the Liberty Stadium, standing motionless as he watched his side surrender two goals in a potentially defining eight-minute spell at the end of the first half.

There was little Schmeichel could do to stop Mawson’s brilliant swerving volley, but the goalkeeper was at fault for Swansea’s second.

Attempting to launch a counter-attack, the Dane’s throw landed at the feet of Swans midfielder Tom Carroll, who started a slick one-touch passing move which involved Fernando Llorente and Gylfi Sigurdsson and ended with Olsson, whose firm strike Schmeichel should have saved.


As impressive as the goal was from a Swansea perspective, it was indicative of Leicester’s porous defence – a far cry from the solid backline which formed the foundation for their improbable title success last season.


Will they manage to steal victory from the jaws of defeat and keep their hopes alive or will they return to the lower echelons of football in Britain and bask in the memories of their short lived reign? Only time will tell. Can you tell?  Share your views in the comments section. I’d like to hear from you.


Arsenal target Jamie Vardy should stick with Leicester – Danny Simpson

Danny Simpson is of the view that Jamie Vardy should stick with Leicester despite Arsenal’s wooing.

Leicester City defender Danny Simpson has said everyone at the club is desperate for Arsenal target Jamie Vardy to stay at the King Power Stadium this summer.

Vardy, 29, is currently weighing up whether to make the switch to the Gunners, with sources telling ESPN FC that he has already undergone the first stage of his medical at the club.

The former Fleetwood Town player is currently on international duty with England and reports claim he will not make a final decision on his future until after Euro 2016.

“I have spoken to Jamie. Everyone wants him to stay. We would like everyone to stay, even if it’s just for one more year,” Simpson told BBC’s Sportsweek.

“It’s his decision, and he says he wants to concentrate on the European Championships. Jamie knows what I think of him as a lad and a player.

“No money can buy the bond that we have got at the club. It’s a special group. Why not carry on and kick on as a group and squad?”

Vardy was left on the bench by Roy Hodgson for England’s Euro 2016 opener against Russia on Sunday, which ended in a 1-1 draw.

Simpson, 29, was frustrated not to see his teammate given a chance in Marseille, but is hopeful he will feature for the Three Lions in Thursday’s game against Wales.

“I was disappointed he didn’t start, never mind that he didn’t come on. I am sure he will get an opportunity soon,” Simpson said. ~ Via ESPN


Napoli president could sue Chelsea over Kalidou Koulibaly uncertainty

Napoli president could sue Chelsea over Kalidou Koulibaly uncertainty:

Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis has claimed Kalidou Koulibaly has cost the club millions of euros in merchandising revenue — and warned that he could take legal action against Chelsea.

Last week, Senegal international Koulibaly said he was likely to leave the Serie A club in the summer and expected rumoured interest from the Blues to become more concrete.

The defender told L’Equipe: “If nothing happens with Napoli, I’m going to start making contact with other clubs.

“I’m going to make the most favourable choice, not only financially but also on a sporting level — clubs of a high standing want me, and I’ve had no sign from Napoli.”

But De Laurentiis responded angrily, with Corriere dello Sport quoting him as saying: “I had thought Koulibaly was a good man.

“The moment I realise you and your agent haven’t read the contracts properly before signing them… I cannot tolerate that.

“Napoli were about to sign new commercial deals to use Koulibaly’s image, but his statements cancelled those opportunities. His jersey cannot be sold now.

“He created damages worth millions of euros, and I have specialists studying the issue now.”

De Laurenttis said that “if we discovered that Chelsea were behind this, we could sue them for damages too. Koulibaly is 24 years old, he is not a kid.”

And he stressed that the player “will continue working for us for the three years on his contract — maybe many more, until he’s paid off the damages to Napoli.”

The president added that he did not believe star striker Gonzalo Higuain, who has been linked with clubs including Liverpool, would leave.

“Gonzalo is a good man and Napoli will become for him what it was for Maradona. Diego entered world football history thanks to Napoli,” he said.

“If Higuain were to listen to the siren song of the European giants, he’d have to take into account that in certain contexts you only play if you do well.

“I have already put the money on the table to improve his contract, which is what he deserves. I have the feeling he will not betray us.” ~ Via ESPN


Jose Mourinho confirmed for Old Trafford

Jose Mourinho confirmed for Old Trafford.

Jose Mourinho will be in the Old Trafford dugout as early as June 5.

The Portuguese boss will replace Louis van Gaal as Manchester United boss with an announcement expected in the coming days.

But United fans needn’t get too excited, Mourinho won’t be managing the Red Devils when he steps foot in the Theatre of Dreams just next weekend.

Instead, he’ll be in charge of an all-star England line-up against the Rest of the World for Soccer Aid 2016.

Football legends will join stars from the world of music of TV for the Old Trafford encounter, all in aid of UNICEF.

Mourinho will link up with Sunderland boss Sam Allardyce and Robbie Williams to take on Leicester title-winner Claudio Ranieri – who will be flanked by One Direction’s Niall Horan.

And the big names don’t stop there with the likes of Robbie Fowler, Jamie Carragher and Jermain Defoe donning the Three Lions shirt.

They won’t have it easy though with Ranieri calling upon the services of Ronaldinho, Fabio Cannavaro and Samuel Eto’o at Old Trafford.

Tickets are available for the all-star clash, priced at £20 for adults and £5 for Under 16s.




Jose Mourinho

Sam Allardyce

Robbie Williams


David Seaman

Jamie Carragher

Phil Neville

Sol Campbell

Robbie Fowler

Jermain Defoe

Danny Murphy

Kieron Dyer

Ben Shephard

Danny Jones

Jack Whitehall

Jamie Theakston

John Bishop

Damian Lewis

Jonathan Wilkes

Louis Tomlinson

Mark Wright

Marvin Humes

Olly Murs

Paddy McGuinness

Rest of the World


Claudio Ranieri

Niall Horan



Dimitar Berbatov

Edgar Davids

Jaap Stam

Samuel Eto’o


Fabio Cannavaro


Sir AP McCoy

Patrick Kielty

Gordon Ramsay

Mathew Morrison

Michael Sheen

Nicky Byrne

Rickie Haywood-Williams

Sergio Pizzorno

Shayne Ward

Iwan Rheon

Sean Fletcher

Thom Evans




Joey Barton moves to Rangers on two-year deal

Joey Barton completes move to Rangers on two-year deal

Rangers have completed the signing of Joey Barton on a two-year deal.

Barton, 33, will join the club officially on July 1 on a free transfer after rejecting a new one-year contract from Burnley, where he was named player of the year after helping them win promotion to the Premier League

The midfielder, who has one England cap to his name, visited Rangers’ training ground nine days ago and spoke with manager Mark Warburton.

He becomes Rangers’ fourth summer signing, joining Accrington pair Josh Windass and Matt Crooks as well as former Liverpool midfielder Jordan Rossiter.


“When I first found out there was potentially the opportunity to come up here, from that moment on the blood got pumping,” he told the club’s website.

“I’m fully aware of the situation that this club has been in in the few years, but to be part of a group that is going to put this football club back where it belongs was an opportunity that if I didn’t take, I would have regretted for the rest of my life.

“The gaffer and players here have made incredible progress in the last 12 months. When given the opportunity, I was mindful that the club had a huge game in the Cup Final at the weekend, and I didn’t really want anything to distract from that.

“I also wanted to speak to my friends and family, but I knew instantly that I was going to come here. Once I had walked into the building and seen what this club is about, I knew it would fit perfectly with what I wanted.

“I knew it was a place that offered me an incredible challenge and an incredible opportunity, and I am so grateful and so happy to finally be a Rangers player, and I am really looking forward to the challenges ahead.” SOURCE: SKYSPORTS



Jose Mourinho won’t stay at Man United for long – Phil Neville

Jose Mourinho will last only two or three years at Manchester United but can bring success back to Old Trafford, according to former Red Devils defender Phil Neville.

Mourinho has agreed a deal to become United’s next manager, sources close to the deal have told ESPN FC, and is expected to be officially confirmed by the club early next week.

This season, United finished fifth in the Premier League and missed out on the Champions League under current boss Louis van Gaal.

United beat Crystal Palace at Wembley on Saturday to win the FA Cup but the victory is not expected to save Van Gaal, who has failed to produce either a Premier League title challenge or brand of football in line with the club’s traditions.

Mourinho was sacked by Chelsea in December after a miserable start to the season. Despite widespread success in his career, the Portuguese has never managed a club for longer than the three years and three months he spent at Chelsea in his first spell.

“I can’t see him staying too long at Man United, maybe two or three years, that seems to be his shelf life at a football club,” Neville told BBC Five Live’s Sportsweek programme.

“When Jose finishes at a club it tends to be a pattern where he falls out with a few players, he gets disgruntled and the team dips.

“It happened at Chelsea, it certainly happened at Real Madrid where there were rumours he fell out with a few players.

“It’s a pattern with Jose, he comes into a club, he gets success but he doesn’t stay for too long.”

United have now failed to finish higher than fourth in any of the three seasons since Sir Alex Ferguson retired.

Mourinho has a proven track record in England, having won the title three times with Chelsea, and Neville believes the former Madrid boss will already have a plan to achieve success again.

“He’s a proven winner, a proven champion. United fans want a team that will challenge for the league title, not a team that finishes seventh or fifth, and Jose is probably the man for the job,” Neville said.

“Knowing Jose as I do, I think he will have done his homework and he’s meticulous in his planning.

“Don’t be surprised if United in the next month, and particularly before the Euros, sign three or four players and when he gets to pre-season he has his squad already in place.

“He knows who he wants and at the start he will demand United sign those players for United to become championship challengers again.”


Can Rooney End The FA Cup Drought

Hey Rooney fans!  There is talk swirling about the ‘old’ Rooney and the ‘new’ Rooney.  Richard Prolly is of the view that

Wayne Rooney can end his long wait for an FA Cup win with Man United.

Towards the end of his reign as Manchester United manager, Sir Alex Ferguson took to marvelling that Rio Ferdinand had never won the FA Cup. He neglected to mention one major reason — that the defender was serving an eight-month ban for missing a drug test when United triumphed in 2004 — but, three years after the Scot’s retirement, there is a more glaring omission from any list of the oldest cup competition’s success stories.

Wayne Rooney has never won the FA Cup. That could, perhaps should, change on Saturday when he captains United against Crystal Palace at Wembley. Victory would end a 14-season quest and give him the only major domestic medal he lacks. It would also alter the impression that, as far as the FA Cup is concerned, Rooney has tended to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

He was born in 1985, five months after his two clubs, Everton and Manchester United, contested the final. He was at Wembley a decade later for their final rematch, a cheering Evertonian when Paul Rideout scored the goal that secured the Goodison Park club’s last major trophy. He joined United in 2004, three months after their 11th and most recent FA Cup win.

Rooney signed for a club that, at that time, had won record number of FA Cups, including eight in the previous 28 seasons and five in the last 14. The last dozen have brought none. It is a sign of several things: Of Ferguson’s shifting priorities when United were genuine contenders to win the Champions League, of their decline since his exit, of personal misfortune and penalty shootout disappointments.

Rooney has become both the exception and the epitome. He has played 519 times for United. No one else has made as many appearances without winning the FA Cup. Yet, since Darren Fletcher’s January 2015 move to West Bromwich Albion, no one in the squad at Old Trafford has lifted the Cup in their colours. Robin van Persie won it against United in 2005. His departure last summer to Fenerbahce left Juan Mata, a 2012 victor with Chelsea, as the lone winner.

Rooney stands out among his peers. It is notable how many of England’s so-called “Golden Generation” not only won the FA Cup but, in the case of their more attacking members, scored crucial goals in finals: Paul Scholes, Michael Owen, Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard all did, but not Rooney. Ashley Cole won the FA Cup a record seven times. That is seven more than Rooney, who has won 12 trophies of varying significance, but no FA Cup.

That has probably assumed more importance as lifting other silverware has become less feasible, especially since every United club captain since Ray Wilkins had a brief spell in the armband in 1982 has led the club to at least one honour. After two seasons as the senior figure on the playing staff, Rooney is yet to open his account.

The temptation is to say that Rooney’s FA Cup career began terribly and scarcely improved. His debut in the competition came in 2003 when Everton were beaten by a Shrewsbury side that would be relegated from the Football League at the end of the same season.

He also played in United’s 2006 0-0 draw with non-league Burton and, four years later, the 1-0 defeat to League One Leeds United. Yet Rooney’s goal-per-start ratio for United in the FA Cup — 21 in 30, or 0.7 per game — is actually superior to his record in other competitions.

And United’s failure in the FA Cup is not Rooney’s. He has only played in two losses in the last eight years; that upset to Leeds and last season’s 2-1 defeat to Arsenal; even then he scored. He was injured when they exited the competition in 2012 to Liverpool, in 2013 against Chelsea and in 2014 when Swansea won at Old Trafford.

He was controversially suspended in 2011 for swearing into a television camera at Upton Park, meaning he missed the semifinal loss to Manchester City. Two years before that, he was rested for a semifinal against Everton, when a quadruple-chasing Ferguson fielded a weakened team and went out as Dimitar Berbatov and Ferdinand missed spot kicks after a 0-0 draw.

In both 2009 and 2008, when Portsmouth won at Old Trafford, United had grievances about the officiating. They may have hard-luck tales but the fact remains that this is their first final in nine years. Rooney played in the competition’s showpiece in two of his first three seasons at Old Trafford, a start that lent a feeling of inevitability that he would go on and secure a winner’s medal.

If he was subdued in the 2007 final, which Chelsea won 1-0, he excelled against Arsenal in 2005, playing with verve, striking the post and winning the man-of-the-match award. He also scored his penalty after the game finished 0-0 but Jens Lehmann had already saved from Scholes and that proved decisive. Eleven years on, Rooney’s long wait might finally end.

Richard Jolly is a football writer for ESPN, The Guardian, The National, The Observer, the Straits Times and the Sunday Express.


Aston Villa bought by Chinese Mogul

CNN Money has dropped news that Aston Villa is being bought by a Chinese business man!!

A Chinese businessman is buying up a storied English soccer team that’s fallen on hard times.

Tony Jiantong Xia’s Recon Group is taking control of Aston Villa, a 140-year-old club, from American tycoon Randy Lerner, the former owner of the NFL’s Cleveland Browns.

 It’s the latest high-profile move by a Chinese investor to put money into European soccer. Recent investments have included elite clubs like Spain’s Atletico Madrid and the U.K.’s Manchester City.

But Xia is buying into a very different proposition with Birmingham-based Aston Villa. The team has a rich history of winning top trophies in the past, but it was recently relegated from England’s lucrative Premier League after a disastrous season.

The drop into the second-tier division is expected to cost the club tens or even hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue, as it will miss out on a massive increase in the Premier League’s domestic TV deal.

A fan of Aston Villa for “many years,” Xia has grand plans for returning it to its glory days, according to a statement on the club’s website announcing the deal. He’s aiming to steer the team back into the Premier League and then to finish among the top six teams.

“He plans to make Aston Villa the most famous football club in China with a huge fan base,” the statement said.

It didn’t say how much Xia was spending to buy the team or how much he plans to invest to turn it around. The deal requires approval from soccer authorities in the U.K.

Xia’s private holding company owns businesses involved in range of industries, including technology, energy, financial services, sports and tourism, according to a profile posted on the club’s website.

His investment comes amid a push spearheaded by President Xi Jinping to boost China’s standing on the global soccer stage. The country has plans to build thousands of soccer schools, and its leading clubs have been splashing out huge sums in the transfer market.

Two of China’s richest men — Alibaba founder Jack Ma and real estate mogul Wang Jianlin — have both pumped money into clubs. Alibaba bought a 50% stake in top Chinese team Guangzhou Evergrande in 2014, and Wang’s Dalian Wanda Group took a 20% stake in Spain’s Atletico Madrid last year.


Brilliant Goal by Kone- Sunderland v Everton

⚽️GOAL⚽️. Kone – 42mins. Sunderland 2-0 Everton.

Leicester City Wagonists

Aerial shot of Leicester’s leicsterfansvictory parade yesterday where over 100,000 people turned up.-The question is, did they have over 100,000 fans before they won the league? -#lcfc#leicestercity#parade#premierleague#title#champions#premiersh