Wes Morgan

Tottenham – Leicester City stream: How to watch, start time

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Tottenham – Leicester City preview: There are high stakes for the managerial tenures of Jose Mourinho and Brendan Rodgers at Tottenham and Leicester City when the two sides meet in North London on Sunday (Watch live at 11 am ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

Spurs can no longer make the top four but sixth is an option and the Europa League has clearly been circled by Mourinho as he’d love a third UEFA Cup (with a third club).

STREAM TOTTENHAM – LEICESTER CITY LIVE

Rodgers, meanwhile, will need two memorable results against European candidates to avoid unceremoniously dropping out of the top four after ages in the top three. Leicester is a point back of third-place Chelsea and ahead of Manchester United on goal differential with two matches to play. The Foxes meet United on the final day of the season.


Team news

Tanguy Ndombele and Dele Alli are out injured, and only the latter could return this season. Eric Dier will serve the last match of his suspension versus Leicester.

The Foxes will again be without injured James Maddison, Ricardo Pereira, Ben Chilwell, Christian Fuchs, and Marc Albrighton, as well as suspended Caglar Soyuncu. Youngster Luke Thomas starts once again.


What they’re saying

Jose Mourinho on finding form too late for the UCL: “Mathematically I think now it’s impossible to get top four. So we know now that for us it’s a fight until the end to try and get a Europa league position. I always thought part of the position in the table would be nice for us if we could feel good things in this part of the season. Because in the end, a new season is always a new season but there’s always a little relation to what you do in the previous one. So to end this season with the majority of the players back, the team being more solid, being more compact and having better results, I think is also good in relation to next season.”

Leicester defender Wes Morgan on the task at hand: “This performance today was to show that we’re still a force. Probably since 2020, we’ve not had the best period of games where results have not gone our way, but we always try to fight. We’re always trying to find the right solutions to win games and today was a great example of that. It’s still alive at the top. Obviously, we’re under no illusions. It’s very, very tight, but it’s in our hands, so to speak, and we’ve just got to put the performances in and get the points and we’ll see where we’ll be.”


Odds and ends

Spurs are slight favorites at home, +130 according to DraftKings compared to Leicester’s +215 (A draw is +240).

Rodgers’ Leicester got a signature win of sorts at the King Power Stadium in September, with VAR playing a big role in a 2-1 win.


Prediction

A win would be a big achievement for the Foxes, who are missing two great defenders, another good one, and its top playmaker in James Maddison. Spurs are not without injury but you’d fancy them to get a win with an extra day’s rest to boot. Tottenham 2-1.


How to watch Tottenham – Leicester City stream, start time

Kickoff: 11 am ET Sunday
TV Channel: NBCSN
Online: Stream via NBCSports.com

Transfer rumor roundup: Sandro to Arsenal; Morgan, Rodriguez to Newcastle

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The Premier League season is coming to a close and most sides know where they’ll be playing their football next season.

That has newly-promoted teams active in the market, relegated sides quizzing their future, and clubs with European ambition buttressing their talent with depth.

And then there’s Manchester United, who as we told you earlier may need UCL qualification to nab James Rodriguez.

Ah, to the rumors:

Newcastle United boss Rafa Benitez had been vocal that another big summer of turnover would be headed to the Northeast if his Magpies clinched promotion. They did, and are dancing through the rumor mill today.

Benitez has been linked with 27-year-old Southampton striker Jay Rodriguez, who has failed to gain a lot of playing time under Claude Puel. He’s also been tipped to make Christian Atsu‘s loan from Chelsea a permanent transfer, and to make a push for Leicester City captain Wes Morgan.

And is an upgrade between the sticks coming? Newcastle may lead the way for $11 million goalkeeper Orestis Karnezis of Udinese.

Talksport has reports of another Serie A import to the Premier League, as Arsenal may be ready to shell out big for Juventus left back Alex Sandro. The Gunners are said to be preparing a $43 million bid, though the club has long been linked with the addition of Schalke left back Sead Kolasinac.

Elsewhere, injury-hit Bournemouth man Max Gradel sounds ready to hit the market:

“It’s unfair. Of course. My situation at Bournemouth is unfair. Like I said before, I won’t let them put me down. I continue to do what I need to do. I have three years left on my deal after this season. I don’t have too much pressure. If I have to leave Bournemouth, I’ll leave, but I won’t do so for the sake of it, that’s for sure.”

Claudio Ranieri dug his own grave at Leicester City

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Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri admitted two weeks back that he’s been too loyal to his title-winning players who aren’t performing up to standards this season. He followed that up by handing starting spots to out-of-form Christian Fuchs, Jamie Vardy, and Wes Morgan in the Champions League loss to Sevilla.

Now Ranieri has been sacked. It’s a sad story, but it’s easy to see why.

Should the eventual replacement truly hope to salvage Leicester City’s Premier League status, he must do what Ranieri failed to, and what he will be better equipped to do: put aside loyalties built from overachieving last season and and sit both Fuchs and Morgan, two critical players from last season’s incredible run who have sorely underperformed since. Just against Sevilla on Wednesday, Morgan gave away a blatant penalty with an ugly, petulant hack at Joaquin Correa’s legs, while Fuchs completely misjudged a cross en route to Pablo Sarabia’s opening goal.

Both have been equally as miserable in Premier League play. Morgan, the Leicester City captain, has looked every bit of his 33 years old, lumbering around the pitch unable to keep up with attackers slicing through the box. His successful tackle percentage is just 33%, and his pass accuracy is 69%, a shambolic combination for a defender. Fuchs, meanwhile, has been just as bad. Turning 31 himself in April, Fuchs was one of the worst players on the pitch in the 3-0 loss to Manchester United, and was yanked at halftime in the 2-0 loss to Swansea as he continued to struggle.

It’s surprising that Ranieri had kept faith in the two players after his comments on loyalty. One of the truest managers to his word in European soccer, the Italian said two weeks ago, “I could be [too loyal], could be. It is difficult when you achieve something so good, you want to give them one chance, two chances, three chances. Maybe now, it is too much. Of course I must change something because it is not possible to continue in this way.” He never backed up his words.

They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Ranieri had started his two aging defenders time and time again hoping they will recapture last season’s lightning. That flat out wasn’t happening. Just prior to Ranieri’s comments on loyalty, I wrote about how the failing defense was most responsible for this season’s struggles. Since that moment, despite both the obvious shortcomings of which were written and the manager’s statement on failing loyalty, nothing changed.

Now, after they struggled again midweek, the two must sit immediately to avoid the otherwise inevitable. The last time Christian Fuchs started the game on the bench was the last time Leicester City won in the league, when young Ben Chilwell started at left-back and the Foxes shut out West Ham. Wes Morgan hasn’t sat a single minute in Premier League play, but he was rested for an FA Cup win over Derby County plus the subsequent loss to Millwall.

Obviously sitting a pair of defenders, with the Foxes still goalless in league play since Islam Slimani‘s winner against West Ham an appalling 610 minutes ago. The midfield is being overrun, the attack can’t deliver a competent cross, and set pieces appear to be the only time Leicester looks dangerous. Still, if the Foxes are to give themselves a chance of survival, now it’s up to the new manager to do what is right.

No, you’re right, the manager can’t step out on the field and perform; that is up to the players. The manager must be judged by the players he puts on the pitch, his tactics on the field, and his man-management between fixtures. Ranieri will always have last season to cherish, but he never left the title run behind. With Fuchs and Morgan – and to an extend Vardy and Riyad Mahrez as well – failing to perform to the standards of a Premier League team, Ranieri failed to ignore the human temptation of loyalty and instead base his present decisions on what stared him right in the face.

Claudio Ranieri will always be remembered in Leicester for the miracle he achieved rather than the failures to follow. There’s plenty that isn’t his fault: the thin makeup of the squad, the sale of N'Golo Kante, the failure by the board to truly spend the newfound coffers wisely, and the inexplicable drop in form of playmaker Mahrez. Nevertheless, relegation is a financial doomsday that clubs will attempt to avoid at all costs – even the cost of a newly born legend. The end to the Italian’s Leicester City story is a sad, harsh one, but he only has himself to blame.

Defensive regression biggest culprit of Leicester collapse

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Rome wasn’t built in a day, but Leicester City’s title run last season seemed to be.

They have both gone up in flames just as quickly.

Leicester City is fighting relegation just a season removed from one of the most improbable championship campaigns of all-time. Plenty has been written about the reasons for their continuing collapse. Some have blamed manager Claudio Ranieri, hailed as a hero less than a year ago. Others point to the utterly eye-opening goalless streak, now at an ugly 610 Premier League minutes thanks in large part to the sudden ineptitude of Riyad Mahrez. Many point to the departure of midfield adhesive N'Golo Kante, who is nearing a second title in two seasons.

[ RECAP: Leicester City falls to Swansea City, fifth loss in a row ]

Those would all have merit. However, the overwhelming perpetrator is a massive regression of the back line, and unlike the other factors which have seemingly come from nowhere, this one we all should have seen coming.

Robert Huth, Christian Fuchs, and captain Wes Morgan played a combined 9,550 Premier League minutes last season as both Huth and Morgan played every tick of the clock. This year, those three players are 32, 30, and 33 years old. How the Leicester City board never found capable replacements or backups for those players is mind-boggling. Could we really have expected that trio to continue playing at an all star level as they climbed further above the 30-year-old mark?

[ LISTEN: 2 Robbies talk Leicester City ]

Squawka Statistics ranks Leicester City as the third-worst defensive team in the Premier League by its Performance Score, but it shows directly on the pitch as well. Fuchs was undressed in the recent 3-0 loss to Manchester United, and was yanked at halftime in the loss to Swansea on Sunday. Huth has looked slower and slower, and should have been sent off by referee Jon Moss for a terrible challenge on Swans midfielder Tom Carroll. Morgan should have been called for a handball when he clumsily went to ground to block a shot. The mistakes are there for all to see, and they’re getting more and more glaring.

Sky Sports tweeted this out on Saturday before the Swansea loss. It’s meant to put the loss of Kante into an image, but doesn’t this simply serve to display the defensive frailties? Look at the massive increase in defensive errors leading to goals.

It must be said that the disappearance of both Mahrez and Jamie Vardy is a troubling trend, and Leicester can’t win if they can’t score, that much is true. As the club grows increasingly incapable of scoring goals against Premier League opposition, their chances of survival get slimmer and slimmer, and the pair may end up finding themselves benched, Mahrez just a year removed from winning Player of the Season.

Ultimately though, the defense must improve if the club is to survive, and it likely won’t come with Huth, Fuchs, and Morgan all on the field together. Expect them to start seeing less time, with Ranieri saying after the Swansea loss, “Am I too loyal to my players? I could be, could be. It is difficult when you achieve something so good. You want to give them one chance, two chances, three chances. Maybe now, it is too much.”

The club failed to strengthen in this department in January, and ultimately Ranieri may be unfairly blamed for the sudden ineptitudes of the squad he led to the title just a year ago.

Southampton 3-0 Leicester City: Saints swarm from start to finish

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Southampton dominated from beginning to end, putting a stop to their four-match losing streak thanks to a 3-0 win over Leicester City at St. Mary’s. James Ward-Prowse and Jay Rodriguez both hit first-half goals as the Foxes remain without an away win in Premier League play this season, while Dusan Tadic finished it off late from the spot.

The game’s first opportunity fell to Southampton, who had pushed forward more in the opening 10 minutes. A cross from the left by Nathan Redmond picked out Dusan Tadic in the area, and the Serbian rose high above Christian Fuchs, but his header from close range soared just above the bar.

The Saints flooded Leicester’s box as they pressed high early, and they worked a shot for Pierre-Emil Hojbjerg on nine minutes in that he blasted into the stands. Hojbjerg had a better chance as Tadic fizzed a low ball across the box on 19 minutes, and it deflected across to the far post where Redmond had a shot, but Kasper Schmeichel slid low to make the save.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

It remained all Saints as the clock ticked past 25 minutes, and they eventually found the deserved goal. Cedric Soares burst down the right edge of the box, and he clipped the ball to Ward-Prowse who hammered the a curling ball past Schmeichel into the back of the net, a beautiful finish to put Southampton up 1-0 with England manager Gareth Southgate in attendance.

Leicester never truly built themselves into the game in the first half as they continue to search for their first away win of the season. Five minutes before halftime, Southampton pushed the game further out of reach with a second. A free-kick by Ward-Prowse came barreling in, and Maya Yoshida got a head to it, pushing the ball towards the post where Rodriguez was there to crash it into the net.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

There was a worry after the break for Southampton as Virgil van Djik went down injured and had to come off. With Jose Fonte already sold this window, it forced the club to bring on 22-year-old Jack Stephens. They had a chance to put the game away on the hour mark as Fuchs sent Hojbjerg clean through, but he put it wide with just Schmeichel to beat.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

The Foxes slowly began to work themselves into things with 20 minutes to go, but it was too little too late. Wes Morgan somehow missed for Leicester with a great chance on the half-volley. He was relieved down the other end as it appeared Morgan had put the ball in his own net for a third Southampton goal, but referee Michael Oliver disallowed it for offside after conferring with the assistant. Replays showed Maya Yoshida may have his arm in an offside position, but otherwise there was little to suggest the flag should have gone up.

The Saints did get one last goal as Morgan barreled over Shane Long in the penalty area, earning him a yellow card and forcing Michael Oliver to point to the spot. Tadic obliterated the ball, pummeling it into the top right corner from the spot for his second goal of the season and Southampton’s third of the day.

With the win, Southampton moved above both Bournemouth and Burnley into 11th, while Leicester City remains just five points above the relegation zone in 15th position. On the season, Leicester has garnered just three points on the road, with draws against Tottenham, Stoke City, and Middlesbrough, having lost all the rest.