Getty Images

Claude Puel appointed new Leicester City boss

1 Comment

Claude Puel is back in the game.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays

Leicester City appointed the former Southampton manager on Wednesday, with the Foxes giving the Frenchman a second chance to shine in the Premier League.

It’s safe to say his appointment hasn’t been met with widespread euphoria from Leicester’s fans but the last time they felt underwhelmed by a managerial appointment (ahem, Claudio Ranieri) it worked out pretty well for them…

Puel — who has signed a contract until 2020 — replaces Craig Shakespeare who was fired last week after just eight games in charge of the Foxes on a permanent basis, with assistant coach Michael Appleton stepping in as caretaker but Appleton will now become Puel’s assistant.

Speaking about his appointment, Puel was delighted to take charge of the 2015-16 Premier League champions.

“It’s a great privilege to become the new manager of Leicester City – a club whose values and ambitions are closely aligned to my own. The opportunity to help the Club build on its remarkable recent achievements is a truly exciting one and I’m looking forward to working with the owners, players, staff and supporters to deliver further lasting success.”

Leicester City’s vice chairman Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha described Puel as a “perfect fit” for the club and lauded his “attention to detail, knowledge of our squad, understanding of our potential and his vision to help us realize it.”

In his only previous campaign in English soccer, last season Puel, 56, led Saints to an eighth place finish in the Premier League and the League Cup final, plus within one goal of reaching the UEFA Europa League knockout rounds.

However, the former Monaco, Lille, Lyon and Nice manager was fired at the end of last season following a run of five home games without scoring as Southampton’s fans lambasted the team for a bland style of play and a lack of goals.

In his homeland Puel won the French title with Monaco, plus led Lille and Lyon in the UEFA Champions League, with the latter reaching the semifinals. He has also been responsible for giving many young players a chance to shine with Eden Hazard, Hugo Lloris and Alexandre Lacazette all given their chance by the former Monaco midfielder.

With the Foxes in the quarterfinals of the League Cup, plus grabbing a win at Swansea City last weekend under Appleton’s guidance, their situation is looking pretty healthy right now and Puel won’t need time to adjust to a new league and country this time around.

Let’s see if Puel can reignite Leicester and get Riyad Mahrez, Jamie Vardy and Co. firing on all cylinders.

Wigan player races off for son’s birth after scoring 2 goals

Twitter/@talkSPORT
Leave a comment

WIGAN, England (AP) It was better than a hat trick.

A player for English soccer team Wigan had a night to remember when he scored his second goal before dashing off the field and to the local hospital, where his girlfriend was in labor.

[ MORE: Chelsea advances to UCL Round of 16 after win over Qarabag ]

A picture of Ryan Colclough holding his new-born baby, Harley, while still in his soccer uniform was shared on social media by Wigan chairman David Sharpe.

Colclough said his father, sitting in the stands on Tuesday for Wigan’s 3-0 win over Doncaster in the second division, “gave me the action that the waters had broken,” but he didn’t want to come off until the ball was out of play.

“My head was a little bit battered, but I went and scored, looked at the manager and he said we’ll bring you off now,” Colclough said Wednesday of his 58th-minute goal, which he celebrated by pretending to rock a baby. “I came off and was straight down the tunnel, grabbed my keys and my phone, and went to hospital.”

Colclough had visited the midwife that day, and was told the baby was unlikely to arrive for “another couple of days.”

Lille suspends coach Marcelo Bielsa

Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images
Leave a comment

LILLE, France (AP) French club Lille has provisionally suspended coach Marcelo Bielsa following a string of poor results in the top tier.

[ MORE: Basel stuns Man United late to keep UCL hopes alive ]

The northern side said in a statement that Bielsa has been suspended “as part of a procedure started by the club.” Lille did not elaborate.

Bielsa joined Lille this season but has failed to make the club competitive again, with the team second to last after 13 matches.

The 2 Robbies podcast: PL sides in the UCL, Pulis sacking and more

Twitter/@SkyFootball
Leave a comment

In today’s Euro Pod Edition, the Robbies breakdown the latest Champions League action. Man United lose at Basel, Chelsea cruise at Qarabag, Spurs impress against Dortmund, Man City continue to win, Liverpool surrender a 3-goal lead against Sevilla. Plus, the guys weigh in on the Oumar Niasse ban for diving and the Tony Pulis sacking.

Join Earle & Mustoe on The 2 Robbies Football Show, Saturdays at 5pm ET. Listen on the NBCSports Radio App and call 855-323-4622 in the U.S. for lively passionate debate.

All of the The 2 Robbies content can be accessed by clicking on this link:

Click here for The 2 Robbies archive ]

Listen to the latest pod by clicking play below.

Follow them on Twitter @The2Robbies

Europa League preview: Arsenal looks to wrap up Group H and more

Mike Hewitt/Getty Images
Leave a comment

While several teams have already booked their place in the knockout phase, the Europa League reaches its penultimate round on Thursday with many big matches in hand.

[ MORE: Yannick Bolasie finally returns to Everton training ]

Of the two Premier League sides in the competition, only one will advance to the Round of 32, as Arsenal have all but assured themselves of the top spot in Group H. The Gunners can do so tomorrow with a win over Koln or a Red Star Belgrade defeat.

The other end of the spectrum features Everton, who has already been eliminated from reaching the next round after acquiring just one point in its first four matches.

European giants AC Milan can lock up a spot in the knockout phase on Thursday despite the club’s ongoing struggles in Serie A, while fellow Italian side Atalanta can move a step closer to the Round of 32 in Group E along with Lyon.

Here’s the full rundown of Thursday’s UEL matches.

Astana vs. Villareal — 11 a.m. ET
Konyaspor vs. Marseille — 1 p.m. ET
Rosenborg vs. Real Sociedad — 1 p.m. ET
Lazio vs. Vitesse — 1 p.m. ET
Viktoria Plzen vs. Steaua Bucuresti — 1 p.m. ET
Lokomotiv vs. Copenhagen — 1 p.m. ET
Zenit vs. Vardar — 1 p.m. ET
Red Bull Salzburg vs. Vitoria — 1 p.m. ET
Athletic Bilbao vs. Hertha Berlin — 1 p.m. ET
BATE vs. Red Star Belgrade — 1 p.m. ET
Ostersund vs. Zorya — 1 p.m. ET
Koln vs. Arsenal — 1 p.m. ET
Nice vs. Zulte Waregem — 1 p.m. ET
Lugano vs. Beer-Sheva — 1 p.m. ET
Ludogorets vs. Istanbul — 3:05 p.m. ET
Braga vs. Hoffenheim — 3:05 p.m. ET
AEK vs. Rijeka — 3:05 p.m. ET
AC Milan vs. Austria Wien — 3:05 p.m. ET
Lyon vs. Apollon — 3:05 p.m. ET
Maccabi Tel Aviv vs. Slavia Praha — 3:05 p.m. ET
Sheriff vs. Zlin — 3:05 p.m. ET
Partizan vs. Young Boys — 3:05 p.m. ET
Skenderbeu vs. Dynamo Kyiv — 3:05 p.m. ET
Everton vs. Atalanta — 3:05 p.m. ET