Tag Archives: Leicester City

Two Leicester want-aways audition to join Arsenal…

As Leicester flirt continue to keep relegation at arm’s length, two want-away players may be assessing how best to scure a move away come summer. Rumours have swirled around both James Maddison and Youri Tielemans joining Arsenal, and while the mention of neither name seems to cause any change in my blood pressure or heart rate, Saturday at least gives us a chance to see how they stack up against the side that’s currently top of the league. Put simply, I don’t see either one as competition with, and certainly not an upgrade on, who we currently have. That said, they’re just good enough in fits, starts, and even stretches to keep a close eye on lest they try to impress us.

Tielemans is 25 and Maddison is 26; both should be in their prime years. They are in part inhibited by their current squad; then again, together, they represent 22% of the outfield players and occupy two positions that constitute the spine of the team. One might expect one or both to at least occasionally transcend their dire surroundings. I will admit that Maddison has managed to trouble Tottenham, scoring twice against them and has been somewhat of a shining light in an otherwise dismal season, but he hasn’t shown enough to convince me that we should be after him. There’s at least a drive in there somewhere, something resembling desire, that could rekindle if he were to leave. The Foxes valued Maddison at some £70m this summer. With a another year still on his contract, that number could slump should Leicester slip into relegation or should his pre-World Cup knee injury continue to trouble him (although he did play a full 90 against Man U last weekend).

By contrast with Maddison, I don’t see much of a drive or desire in Tielemans. Playing deeper, one might expect him to be snapping into tackles, making interceptions, and driving up the pitch to link defense to attack. He just doesn’t do enough of that, not for a side that averages 50% possesion. Despite a reputation for lacking tenacity, Leicester insist that the Belgian’s fee would have to exceed £50m—and that was post-Mudryk transfer-fee madness. Speaking only from my guy, I rate Tielemans as a little better than Elneny but not nearly as good as Xhaka, Partey, or Jorginho. Would it be worth £50m to bring in Tielemans in the summer, knowing that he’d be riding the bench most of the time, knowing also that such a move might rule out the bigger, bolder move for Rice or Caicedo? It would take an epic performance on Saturday and through the Foxes’ final fifteen fixtures to justify that fee…but such a purple patch would only drive that fee even higher.

Having said all that, I’ll say the following without any malice whatsoever toward the club that pipped us to win the Prem in 2014: let’s do what we can on Saturday to send Leicester closer to relegation, the better to drive down those aformentioned transfer fees, and see what each player can be had for come summer. By then, we may or may not have won the Prem and/or Europa League and find ourselves in a very commanding position to negotiate. 

Thoughts? Do I have it wrong on either player? If any of you are so bold as to go toe-to-toe with me, step up the plate in the comments-section below.

[Title based on obligatory pun on Partey scoring a goal] oh, and a Player Ratings Poll!

This feels…weird. Not that we defeated Leicester. That’s basically de rigueur these days. No, what I’m referring to is how we won. Thomas Partey scored AND we were awarded a penalty for a handball in the box. It’s almost as if…I can’t quite put my finger on it, but it’s almost as if things are kind of, sort of, almost thinking about considering the possibility of going in a direction that to some degree might resemble a facsimile of being ours? Whatever it is is strange enough that I don’t know how to describe it or even put my finger on it. I mentioned to the wife that it felt like it was on the tip of my tongue, but she said it looks more like a canker sore. So it goes. 

The good news is that the result, by whatever process we followed to get it, elevates us once more to fourth, a point above Man U and three above West Ham having played three fewer than either one. The clean sheet, kept largely due to Ramsdale’s brilliant save and a few last-ditch clearances, and the two goals scored pad our goal difference just a touch, and that could become a very significant factor in the race for fourth. Those dreaming of catching Chelsea may have had a bit of cold water thrown on them as the lucky sods found a late goal to overcome Newcastle. There’s a joke in there about dirty oil money failing, but I’m not clever enough to find it. 

Thomas’s goal came courtesy of a fine corner sent in by Martinelli, and it seems that Thomas’s wastefulness in front of goal is simply a matter of being too far away from it when he shoots. His headed goal came from about four yards out. As if to confirm my very scientific hypothesis, Thomas took a shot later on from about 16 yards out that hit the crossbar. I come to the irresistible conclusion then that he should only ever shoot from about six yards out, from which distance it is scientifically impossible to send a ball over the bar. If someone can just get Arteta to read this, I’m sure we’ll be talking up Thomas as a Golden Boot candidate by week’s end.

The other goal when Çağlar Söyüncü, who almost has enough accented vowels in his name to play for the Arsenal, cruelly denied Thomas a brace by handling his header just enough to allow Luke Thomas to clear. However—and make sure you’re sitting down and have the smelling salts handy—Anthony Taylor awarded us the penalty after—wait for it—consulting VAR! It’s like opposite day. I just can’t wrap my mind around it. Whatever has discombobulated the space-time continuum, let it last just a few more days. Between now and then, here is the post-match player ratings & MOTM poll for those of you who care to rate the lads.

Before you go, join the conversation in the comments section below. 

Leicester 0-2 Arsenal: Post-Match Ratings & MOTM

After a confident if not entirely commanding performance, it’s starting to look and feel like Arteta’s project is taking shape. Although Leicester dominated the second half, created numerous chances, and were denied by several vital Ramsdalian saves, we came away with all three points and now find ourselves level with Manchester United and just three points from Manchester City. The season isn’t even one-third over, though, so let’s not get too worked up just yet. The season is long, and rough patches are almost inevitable. Still, the signs are encouraging. It’s not easy to go into King Power, even less so with such a young squad, but we showed no fear. For now, let’s enjoy where things stand without blowing them out of proportion. Here, then, with 752 votes votes, are the results of the post-match ratings poll!

Leicester 0-2 Arsenal: Vote for Player Ratings & MOTM!

Gabriel headed a dart past Smeichel from a Saka corner early on, and Emile Smith-Rowe pounced on a ball in the box to make it 0-2 before the 20th minute. From there, Arsenal had to defend tenaciously with Ramsdale coming up with save after vital save. Leicester had 65% possession but nothing to show for it. After several wins against overmatched opponents, we can point to this result and clean sheet as a more-encouraging sign of our mettle and ambition.

Click the link below to open a Google Form to cast your ballot. For a bit of calibration, consider a six to mean “put in a decent shift without really impressing or damaging either way”, ten to mean “did every single thing right and possibly shortened the Insulate Britain protests”, and zero to mean “scored several own-goals after which he tore off his shirt to reveal a ‘Tot ‘num 4 EVA’ halter top”.

Once we have a chance to process the results, I’ll post a graphic to show how our lads fared. Remember: this is a deeply and thoroughly scientific and sociological process that far exceeds most peer-reviewed journals, so, for the love of all that is holy, don’t throw a spanner in the works by voting all 10s across the board. At a bare minimum, thrown in the occasional six or seven to create the appearance of objectivity.

Here is the link to the poll!

Arsenal 3-1 Leicester—Vote for Player Ratings & MOTM!

After a tepid first 30 minutes to start the match in which Leicester not only scored but looked likely to score again, Arsenal finally came alive as Özil found an equaliser just before halftime. On the hour, Aubameyang came on and almost immediately bagged a brace, latching onto Bellerín’s pass (from an absolutely perfect through-ball from Özil) and then tapping home from Özil himself, who had started the move by dummying to Lacazette and slipping through the defense to find Lacazette’s pass. Özil is now the highest-scoring German in Prem history—Klinsmann had 29—and Arsenal have now won ten in a row! Let’s get down to the poll…