Claudio Ranieri

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Claude Puel appointed new Leicester City boss

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Claude Puel is back in the game.

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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.

Report: Leicester City consider Claude Puel

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Managerless Leicester City are reportedly interested in appointing Claude Puel as their new manager.

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Following the firing of Craig Shakespeare last week, the likes of Sean Dyche, Chris Coleman and Manuel Pellegrini have been mentioned as potential replacements.

Puel, 56, left Southampton at the end of last season after leading the Saints to an eighth place finish in the Premier League, the League Cup final where they lost to Liverpool and within one goal of making the UEFA Europa League knockout rounds.

Still, this is quite a shock.

Puel has had his odds slashed with bookmakers to become the next permanent Leicester boss and multiple reports suggest he has already started to talk with the Foxes about who his assistant manager will be.

Michael Appleton is currently in interim charge of Leicester and led them to a 2-1 win at Swansea City on Saturday, while Shakespeare’s former assistant manager is said to be keen to stay on in his coaching role.

Puel has a wealth of experience in Ligue 1 and European action, leading Monaco to the French title, Lille to the UEFA Champions League, Lyon to the UCL semifinals and also impressing at Nice before joining Southampton in the summer of 2016.

The slow, possession-based style of play led to a lack of goals for Southampton and Puel’s side failed to score in any of their final five home games in the Premier League last season before he was booed off the pitch at St Mary’s in his final game in charge. His lack of personality in media interviews and on the training ground was also cited as a problem at Saints.

Leicester could do a lot worse than Puel who has a fine record developing young talent as the like of Hugo Lloris, Yohan Cabaye, Eden Hazard and Alexandre Lacazette have all benefited from working with him. However, this is not the kind of appointment fans of the Foxes were expecting.

The last time they were up in arms about a managerial appointment (ahem, Claudio Ranieri) it worked out pretty well for them.

Ligue 1: Falcao, Balde score to keep Monaco close to PSG

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PARIS (AP) French champion Monaco got back to winning ways with a 2-0 home win against Caen on Saturday.

Monaco lost three and drew one of its previous four games in all competitions. But coach Leonardo Jardim’s side was largely in control against a Caen side that started brightly and faded after Keita Balde’s opening goal and first for Monaco.

“It was important to win, to get a bit of confidence back,” Jardim said. “We’ve been working hard and the players were very serious today.”

Captain Radamel Falcao scored his league-leading 13th from the penalty spot in the 59th, confidently sending goalkeeper Remy Vercoutre the wrong way.

The win moved second-place Monaco within three points of Paris Saint-Germain, having played one game more. Unbeaten PSG is away at bitter rival Marseille on Sunday.

Falcao’s partnership with teen star Kylian Mbappe was crucial to Monaco’s charge to the league title and the Champions League semifinals last season. Mbappe left to join PSG in a high-profile move — as did several other key players — but Falcao’s new partnership with the unselfish Balde looks a promising one.

“We’ve lost a few players and we need a bit of time, it’s been a bit difficult for us,” Monaco goalkeeper Danijel Subasic said. “I hope we can stay at the top of the table and that the young players can shine. We have a lot of quality here.”

Balde has been sharp in his handful of appearances since joining from Lazio in the offseason, but mainly as a link player and a provider.

This time, the Senegal forward finished off the move as he ran onto Thomas Lemar’s perfectly weighted pass into his path, cut across a defender on the edge of the penalty area and slotted the ball into the bottom left corner.

Lemar almost created another goal when his corner was headed against the crossbar by Brazilian defender Jemerson late in the first half.

Falcao put the game beyond doubt from the spot after Slovenian midfielder Jan Repas fouled attacking midfielder Rony Lopes.


After a tricky start to his tenure at Nantes, Italian coach Claudio Ranieri has turned things around.

Nantes beat Guingamp 2-1 at home to move up to third place, extending Ranieri’s unbeaten run to eight matches after losing the first two.

Nantes, which scored through defender Chidozie Awaziem and midfielder Abdoulaye Toure, is just two points behind Monaco.

Allardyce not interested in Leicester City, Dyche the early favorite

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Amid plenty of calls for Leicester City to shoot for the moon as they search for a new manager, a more realistic name has emerged as an early frontrunner.

Craig Shakespeare, the man rumored to have engineered the downfall of Claudio Ranieri at Leicester City to take the reigns himself, was canned after just 26 games in charge. That has left a managerial opening at a club that to this point nobody can quite figure out how attractive a position it truly is.

There are calls for a run at top managerial names without a job, such as Carlo Ancelotti and Laurent Blanc, but instead the choice could come from within the current Premier League ranks.

Journeyman Sam Allardyce has ruled himself out of the running, saying on Talksport, “As big a club and as much as I would love to manage Leicester I don’t think it is time for me to manage yet. I’m not ready I don’t think. Having been in the game so long and done it so long, and looking at how I felt at the end of last season, I feel I am enjoying my life too much. Yes, it would have interested me and yes, I would take the Leicester job, but not at this time.”

Those quotes should also do much to quell rumors of a USMNT stint for Allardyce as well.

Next in line for the Leicester opening is Burnley boss Sean Dyche, who according to the Daily Mail is “interested” in the position, whatever that means. However, the catch is that due to his current post at Turf Moor, the Foxes would owe Burnley $3.4 million should he break his contract and move positions, a number which comes along with Dyche’s new Burnley contract signed this past summer.

Other names mentioned include the likes of former Borussia Dortmund manager Thomas Tuchel, Huddersfield Town’s David Wagner, and Wales boss Chris Coleman. Tuchel would be a stretch with the German likely looking for a bigger name, while Wagner would be tough to pry from Huddersfield after their solid start to the Premier League season plus likely competition from the United States national team. Coleman seems the most likely of the bunch, with his time in charge of Wales proving rocky in the recent past, especially as they narrowly missed out on World Cup qualification.

Leicester City fire manager Craig Shakespeare

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Leicester City have pulled the trigger much early than many expected.

Official confirmation arrived on Tuesday that Craig Shakespeare, who only took charge permanently of the Foxes over the summer, had been fired after just eight games of the 2017-18 Premier League season.

He becomes the second PL boss to lose his job this season after Crystal Palace fired Frank De Boer after just four PL games in charge.

To many it will come as no surprise that Shakespeare, Claudio Ranieri‘s former assistant coach, has been fired by the ruthless Leicester owners with the Foxes winning just one of their opening eight Premier League games of the season.

In an official statement on the club website, here’s what Leicester had to say as Michael Appleton has been placed in caretaker charge for their trip to Swansea this Saturday.

Leicester City Vice Chairman Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha said: “Craig has been a great servant to Leicester City – during his spells as an Assistant Manager and since taking over as Manager in challenging circumstances in February. His dedication to the Club and to his work has been absolute and the contribution he made to the most successful period in Leicester City history is considerable.

“However, our early promise under Craig’s management has not been consistently evident in the months since and the Board feels that, regrettably, a change is necessary to keep the Club moving forward – consistent with the long-term expectations of our supporters, Board and owners.

“Craig is and will remain a very popular, respected figure at Leicester City and will be welcome back at King Power Stadium in future, both professionally and as a friend of the Club.”

The Foxes sit third from bottom and on six points and on each of the last three occasions Leicester have gained six points or less in their opening eight games of a PL season they have been relegated.

Stats like that would have surely alarmed their Thai owners.

The last time Leicester went six PL games without a win Ranieri was fired but this is still a shock considering  Shakespeare, 53, had been in charge for only four months.

Shakespeare was in interim charge at the end of last season after Ranieri was fired in February and led Leicester to seven wins from their final 13 games which saved the then reigning champs from relegation.

However, he never seemed like the long-term man to lead the shock 2015-16 PL champions back to the upper echelons of the Premier League and he is now on his way out of the King Power Stadium.

New signings have failed to deliver early in the season and Shakespeare’s inability to make the Foxes tough to break down is what ultimately cost him his job.