Premier League 2015-16 season preview: Leicester City

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It has been an interesting summer at the King Power Stadium, as Leicester City have a new manager after firing Nigel Pearson.

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Claudio Ranieiri is the new man in charge, as Pearson was let go after a series of off the field incidents. The Foxes managed to pull off the “great escape” last season to remain in the Premier League, as they won seven of their final nine matches of the season to survive. They have spent nine years in total in the PL, and the Midlands club have won the League Cup three times in their 131-year history.

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Regional rivals include both Derby County and Nottingham Forest, both of whom are in English soccer’s second tier, while Aston Villa and West Bromwich Albion are their nearest PL foes in the Midlands.

Best possible XI:

—– Schmeichel —–

 — Morgan — Huth — Wasilewski —

Mahrez — King — Albrighton — Schlupp

Kramaric — Vardy — Okazaki

Transfers In: Christian Fuchs (Free, Schalke), Robert Huth ($5 million, Stoke City), Shinji Okazaki ($11.5 million, Mainz)

Transfers Out: Paul Gallagher (Free, Preston North End), Anthony Knockaert (Free, Standard Liege), Chris Woo ($5 million, Leeds United)

Last season: 14th in the Premier League – It was an incredible season at the KP as the Foxes survived relegation against all the odds. Pearson’s side had some incredible wins during the campaign, as they beat Manchester United 5-3 early on to fill the fans with hope. Some tough months followed however, with speculation around Pearson’s job continuing, but he remained in charge and led Leicester to one of the greatest escapes the PL has ever seen. They won seven of their final nine games to lift themselves out of the bottom three and they ended up finishing in 14th.

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Will Vardy, right, be the star of the show?

Star player: Jamie Vardy – The tireless forward just didn’t stop running all season long and he was rewarded for his fine form with an England debut. Vardy, 28, made his way up through the leagues from semi-pro soccer to the PL in lightning quick time and opposition defenses just couldn’t deal with his pace and direct style of play. If he can improve his finishing and gets the opportunity to spend more time in the box this season, Vardy should enjoy another stellar campaign.

Coaches’ Corner: Ranieri has a really tough job on his hands at the KP. Leicester’s squad was built by Pearson and he seemed to know how to get the best out of them. The Italian manager — infamously dubbed “The Tinkerman” due to his ever-changing starting lineup during his time in charge of Chelsea — has never faced a PL relegation battle during his long managerial career and it has been 11 years since he last coached in England. Is the ultra-defensive coach ready for the cut and thrust of a relegation battle in England’s top-flight? Many believe he is not, but he has kept this squad together over the offseason so a few key additions will be crucial to his and Leicester’s success.

source: AP
Is Ranieri the right man for Leicester?

PST predicts: Expect another relegation battle at the KP as the Foxes will have to adapt to a new playing philosophy and hope second-season syndrome does not kick in. Leicester proved how good they could be in attack towards the end of last season and if they can keep the tempo of their play high, they will gain plenty of points at home as the KP has become a fortress. That said, the jury is still out on whether Ranieri is the right man for the job.

LIVE, UCL last 16: Atletico v. Liverpool; Dortmund v. PSG

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The 2019-20 UEFA Champions League is finally back as the Round of 16 kicks off this week and Atletico Madrid host Liverpool and Paris Saint-Germain head to Borussia Dortmund in what should be two epic battles.

[ LIVE: Champions League scores

Liverpool are the first Premier League club to get going as Jurgen Klopp locks horns with Diego Simeone’s Atleti, who are a very dangerous team to play and they will scrap and battle for every ball against the reigning European champions. With Sadio Mane back fit, he could be the difference for Liverpool as the runaway Premier League leaders return to the stadium where they win their sixth European title at the end of last season. Madrid holds fond memories for Klopp’s boys. Atletico Madrid are struggling along in La Liga but they have played the underdog role very well in recent seasons and this encounter will be full throttle from the start.

Borussia Dortmund host Paris Saint-Germain in the other UCL last 16 first leg clash on Tuesday and that should be a cracking game between two very evenly-matched teams as former Dortmund coach Thomas Tuchel takes PSG to the Westfalenstadion. Kylian Mbappe v. Jadon Sancho equals chef’s kiss.

[ MORE: Which Premier League team(s) will reach last eight? ]

Next week the other four last 16 first legs take place as Man City and Chelsea are in action against Real Madrid and Bayern Munich respectively. Out of the four Premier League teams still in the competition, Liverpool and Spurs will be the most confident of advancing.

Below is the full schedule for the two UCL last 16 first leg games on Tuesday, with bothgames kicking off at 3 p.m. ET. You can follow the action live by clicking on the link above.


Tuesday Champions League action

Atletico Madrid v. Liverpool
Borussia Dortmund v. Paris Saint-Germain

Champions League score predictions: Round of 16

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The 2019-20 UEFA Champions League is finally back as the Round of 16 kicks off this week and two of the four Premier League clubs are in action.

[ LIVE: Champions League scores

Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur, the two finalists from last season, are first up and both will be happy enough with their draws in the last 16.

That said, Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool know that Diego Simeone’s Atleti are a very dangerous team to play as they will scrap and battle for every ball against the reigning European champions. As for Spurs and Jose Mourinho, the news that Heung-min Son has broken his arm and could be out for the rest of the season is a huge blow but they host an inconsistent RB Leipzig.

Borussia Dortmund host Paris Saint-Germain and Atalanta host Valencia in the other last 16 ties this week and both should be cracking encounters between two very evenly-matched teams.

[ MORE: Which Premier League team(s) will reach last eight? ]

Next week the other four last 16 first legs take place as Man City and Chelsea are in action against Real Madrid and Bayern Munich respectively. Out of the four Premier League teams still in the competition, Liverpool and Spurs will be the most confident of advancing.

Below we predict the scores for the UCL round of 16 games taking place over the next two days. Feel free to make your own predictions in the comments section below, too.


Tuesday
Atletico Madrid 1-2 Liverpool
Borussia Dortmund 3-2 PSG

Wednesday
Tottenham Hotspur 2-2 RB Leipzig
Atalanta 2-1 Valencia

Lampard issues Chelsea injury update; Pulisic remains out

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Chelsea boss Frank Lampard issued a lengthy injury update after their 2-0 defeat against Man United and USMNT fans will not be happy to hear that Christian Pulisic remains out.

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Ahead of Chelsea’s pivotal top four clash at home against bitter rivals Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday (Watch live, 7:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com), Lampard could be without as many as five key players.

Andreas Christensen broke his nose and came off at half time against United, while N’Golo Kante was subbed off early after yet another leg injury for the French superstar.

“Callum, no. Pulisic, no. N’Golo, no, from that today. Tammy is a maybe. It is not going our way with injuries at the moment but the players who come in they have to show that. That is what the squad is there for. It is frustrating,” Lampard told Chelsea TV when asked about availability for Saturday.

Lampard then gave an extra update on Kante, who walked through the mixed zone after the game looking okay and told the French journalists who were assembled that it wasn’t too bad.

“It is an adductor injury,” Lampard confirmed. “We will have to assess it and scan it. It doesn’t look great. It is on the same leg [as he injured before].”

With four wins in their last 14 Premier League games Chelsea are not in good form and are just one point ahead of fifth-place Tottenham ahead of their game this weekend.

They also have a nasty habit of dominating matches but are failing to put multiple chances away and with these injuries piling up it certainly makes Chelsea’s decision to not spend in the January window to strengthen their squad, especially in terms of strikers, very surprising.

With Bayern Munich coming up in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League last 16 tie next week, Lampard will hope Chelsea’s luck turns and plenty of players return from injury.

FC Cincinnati coach Jans resigns amid investigation over remarks

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CINCINNATI — FC Cincinnati coach Ron Jans resigned amid an investigation by Major League Soccer of his use of a racial slur in the locker room.

Jans resigned late Monday, FC Cincinnati President Jeff Berding said: “The club had suspended Jans pending the investigation, which was prompted by a complaint from the MLS Players Association.

“As Major League Soccer’s investigation unfolded and some themes emerged, Ron offered his resignation and we agreed that it was the best course of action for everyone involved with FC Cincinnati,” Berding said.

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The club designated Yoann Damet as interim head coach while the team conducts a search. Cincinnati is training in Florida for its second season in MLS.

Cincinnati has been through two head coaches during its brief stay in the league. It fired Alan Koch after its 11th first-tier match, which left the expansion club with two wins, seven losses and two draws.

Damet also was the interim head coach while the team conducted a search that resulted in Jans’ hiring last August.

Cincinnati finished with the worst record in MLS in its inaugural season, with six wins, six draws and 22 losses. It scored a league-low 31 goals in 34 matches.

Cincinnati gained entry into MLS after a successful debut under Koch, who led the team to the semifinals of the United Soccer League’s playoffs in both 2017 and 2018.