Foxes Strengthen Survival Bid Over April

The Foxes went a long way in securing their Premier League status with victories over Stoke City, Sunderland and West Bromwich Albion, as well as taking on Atlético Madrid in the UEFA Champions League Quarter-Finals. 

Gameday 42: 

Leicester City 2 Stoke City 0 

Saturday 1 April, 2017 

Goals: Ndidi 25, Vardy 47 

Premier League 

Attendance: 31,958 

PI_053 Stoke_Final

Match round-up: 

Leicester City made it five wins on the spin in all competitions by defeating Stoke City 2-0 at King Power Stadium on Saturday afternoon. 

The result meant Craig Shakespeare, who made one change to the side that beat West Ham United after Marc Albrighton reported unwell, became the first British manager to win his opening four Premier League games. 

Wilfred Ndidi broke the deadlock with a strike 25 yards from goal that sailed into the top corner – his first Premier League goal for the Club. 

Just two minutes into the second half, Jamie Vardy turned in Danny Simpson’s pin-point cross from the right, volleying home first time to make it 2-0. 

Craig Shakespeare’s reaction: 

“The game today never felt comfortable. I did feel that the first goal was going to be important and what a goal it was by the way. 

“He (Wilfred Ndidi) has scored one like that before for us but it gave us a foothold in the game and I thought that was important. 

“Then the timing of the second goal was very important to settle everyone down and allowed us to try to express ourselves. 

“We could have scored a few more but Stoke asked a few more questions of us in the second half in terms of putting more balls into our box. I’m really pleased with the clean sheet and the three points.” 

League position: 13 

Gameday 43: 

Leicester City 2 Sunderland 0 

Tuesday 4 April, 2017 

Goals: Slimani 69, Vardy 78 

Premier League 

Attendance: 31,757 

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Match round-up: 

Leicester City extended their winning run to six games in all competitions with a hard-fought 2-0 victory over Sunderland at King Power Stadium on Tuesday. 

The unchanged Foxes equalled their record of five-straight Premier League triumphs thanks to second-half strikes from Islam Slimani and Jamie Vardy. 

It proved to be a tense first period on Filbert Way, with Shinji Okazaki, Demarai Gray and Jermain Defoe all coming close to breaking the deadlock. 

The game turned in City’s favour after the hour mark though as Slimani nodded in, before Vardy rifled a half-volley into the top corner to seal the points for his side. 

Craig Shakespeare’s reaction: 

“I’m really pleased with the impact of the substitutions because that’s what you make them for. 

“Obviously the first goal was going to be important and to have both substitutes involved was brilliant. 

“Islam [Slimani] has had to be patient and he’s been frustrated, as have other players, so it was nice for him to come off the bench and score. 

“[Vardy’s was a] Terrific finish with his so called weaker foot and again Marc [Albrighton] was involved. He took a terrific touch and it’s something he’s capable of.” 

League position: 11 

Gameday 44: 

Everton 4 Leicester City 2 

Sunday 9 April, 2017 

Goals: Davies 1, Lukaku 23, 57, Jagielka 41; Slimani 4, Albrighton 10 

Premier League 

Attendance: 39,573 

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Match round-up: 

Leicester City’s six-game winning streak came to an end on Sunday when Everton recorded a 4-2 Premier League victory over the Foxes at Goodison Park. 

The first half was frantic and yielded five goals, with the opener coming after just 30 seconds. Kevin Mirallas burst through midfield and teed up Tom Davies, who fired in to give Everton an early lead. 

But the Foxes were behind for just three minutes as Islam Slimani rounded off a swift counter-attack to score his first away goal for the Club – Demarai Gray the man assisting the Algeria international striker. 

Just six minutes later, City went ahead through Marc Albrighton, whose free kick from the left flank caught Joel Robles unawares and flew into the top corner on the 10-minute mark. 

Gray was unfortunate not to extend the Foxes lead when he saw a low strike turned away by the legs of Robles and that save proved to be vitally important as Romelu Lukaku netted twice and Phil Jagielka added another to seal it for the hosts. 

Craig Shakespeare’s reaction: 

“We played okay in bits. We got off to the worst start possible after 35 seconds but we then managed to show a lot of character quickly. The response was what I was after in terms of the attacking threat and we got two goals in quick succession but overall I think we struggled at times to deal with Everton’s movement and attacking threat. 

“They had great movement and rotation between the lines which caused us a lot of problems, but I suppose ultimately we were done by two set plays which is disappointing from our point of view as a team because we’re usually very, very good on that. 

“Everton has some very good offensive players but in general it was the set plays that were the most disappointing because ultimately they have won the game on two set plays.

“We weren’t aggressive enough and didn’t have enough intent to go and attack the ball, so from that point of view it was more of how we defended as a team.” 

League position: 11 

Gameday 45: 

Atlético Madrid 1 Leicester City 0 

Wednesday 12 April, 2017 

Goal: Griezmann pen 28 

UEFA Champions League 

Attendance: 51,423 

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Match round-up: 

Leicester City’s hopes of advancing in the UEFA Champions League remain intact after they were narrowly beaten 1-0 by Atlético Madrid at the Vicente Calderon Stadium on Wednesday evening. 

City, despite impressing early on, fell behind just before the half-hour mark. The recovering Marc Albrighton was deemed to have fouled Antoine Griezmann in the area and the France international dispatched the penalty to fire his side in front. 

Opportunities to equalise followed after the break. Robert Huth, who will miss the second leg on Filbert Way after being booked, saw a strike from close range blocked early on in the second period, while Riyad Mahrez curled the rebound over. 

But there would be no breakthrough for City, who had to defend resolutely in the late stages to ensure Diego Simeone’s men would not extend their advantage. 

Craig Shakespeare’s reaction: 

“We are still alive and want to stay in it. We still have a challenge ahead against a very good team. We know it is bound to be a very difficult return match, but we have very good record at King Power Stadium. 

“Our fans enjoy these nights, but we have to create more chances and attack more than we did tonight. We are aware of what we need to do for the second-leg. 

“There are always moments in any game in terms of momentum. We knew it would be a frantic start, but grew in game. 

“We had to change at half time because Griezmann getting between the lines, but in terms of endeavour, I thought we were exceptional.” 

Gameday 46: 

Crystal Palace 2 Leicester City 2 

Saturday 15 April, 2017 

Goals: Cabaye 54, Benteke 70; Huth 6, Vardy 52 

Premier League 

Attendance: 25,504 

PI_048 Palace_Final

Match round-up: 

Leicester City were denied all three points after Crystal Palace came from two goals down to snatch a 2-2 Premier League draw at Selhurst Park on Saturday afternoon. 

The Premier League champions burst out of the blocks in the capital and were ahead after just six minutes. Christian Fuchs sent a long throw into the box and Robert Huth was there to nod in to break the deadlock. 

City’s second goal came from a lightning counter attack, as a cleared corner fell to Riyad Mahrez on the half-way line. The Algerian turned and slipped in Jamie Vardy, who cut back onto his left foot to get past former Fox Jeffrey Schlupp before curling the ball into the far corner. 

But Palace replied just two minutes later to halve the deficit through Yohan Cabaye, who helped his side mount a comeback. The Frenchman found space 10 yards from goal and swept the ball home past Schmeichel. 

Momentum turned in Palace’s favour and they capitalised on that with 20 minutes to play. Christian Benteke climbed above Yohan Benalouane to head in Andros Townsend’s cross and make it all-square. 

Craig Shakespeare’s reaction: 

“I think there is a hint of disappointment, especially after you go 2-0 up away from home. I felt that Crystal Palace’s first goal was all important for them. 

“It was two minutes or less from when we got our second so if we could have held out at 2-0 for a little longer things could have been different. 

“They asked a lot of questions of us throughout the game but especially in the second half in terms of their aerial threat and we probably need to be pleased with a point. 

“I’m not sure how many points it’s going to be for survival but we had to make sure that we picked a team to come here and get a result.” 

League position: 12 

Gameday 47: 

Leicester City 1 Atlético Madrid 1 

Saturday 15 April, 2017 

Goals: Vardy 61; Saul 26 

UEFA Champions League 

Attendance: 31,548 

PI_051 Madrid FinalWeb

Match round-up: 

A 1-1 draw with Atlético Madrid at Leicester City Stadium on Tuesday evening was not enough for the Foxes to advance to the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League, as they bowed out of the competition with a 2-1 aggregate defeat. 

Already a goal down from the first leg, City’s task of was made even more difficult on 26 minutes when Saul Niguez headed home a Felipe Luis cross to open the scoring on Filbert Way. 

In the second period, Leicester were level, as Ben Chilwell’s deflected effort fell to Jamie Vardy, who side-footed in from close range to make it 1-1 on the night. 

City piled on the pressure and were without doubt the better team going forward. But for all their domination, they couldn’t breach the defiant Atléti back line for a second or third time in the game. 

Craig Shakespeare’s reaction: 

“I’m disappointed to go out but immensely proud of our performance tonight. I thought we ran an excellent team [close] in the form Madrid and we gave it a real shot. 

“The players can be immensely proud of their performance, but we’re ultimately disappointed to go out. 

“I hope the benefit is that they want some more of it (Champions League football). They’re very disappointed but they can be proud of what they’ve achieved. 

“As a Football Club we can be proud of how we’ve conducted ourselves but they should want more of this because the Champions League is the highest level. To do that we have to get back to winning ways in the Premier League.” 

Gameday 48: 

Arsenal 1 Leicester City 0 

Wednesday 26 April, 2017 

Goal: Huth o.g. 86 

Premier League 

Attendance: 59,829 

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Match round-up: 

An incredible moment of misfortune saw Leicester City narrowly beaten 1-0 by Arsenal at Emirates Stadium on Wednesday evening. 

For nearly 90 minutes, the Foxes repelled everything Arsene Wenger’s men threw at them, while they were also close to breaking the deadlock at the other end during an entertaining encounter in north London. 

The winning goal came four minutes from time. Nacho Monreal connected with a cross from the right and his half-volley deflected off defender Robert Huth and into the back of the net. 

City did not give up, though, and felt they should have been awarded a penalty following a goalmouth scramble in the Arsenal area. Shinji Okazaki flicked a shot towards goal and Laurent Koscielny got in the way of it – the ball appeared to hit the Frenchman’s arm, but the decision went the other way and Arsenal held out for the win. 

Craig Shakespeare’s reaction: 

“My analysis is we defended really resiliently for 85 minutes. We had to against a very good side in Arsenal. We had to put blocks in and when we had to defend, we defended. 

“We would have liked to have attacked a bit more but to lose in the manner we did was very disappointing. 

“Obviously it was a deflected shot. Yes, of course when you are losing and you know you are running out of time you throw caution to the wind. We did but it wasn’t to be.” 

League position: 15 

Gameday 49: 

West Bromwich Albion 0 Leicester City 1 

Saturday 29 April, 2017 

Goal: Vardy 43 

Premier League 

Attendance: 24,611 

PI_033_West_Brom_Final

Match round-up: 

Jamie Vardy scored his 15th goal of the season to fire Leicester City up to 11th in the Premier League with a 1-0 success at West Bromwich Albion – putting them on 40 points with four matches still to play. 

The Foxes have found The Hawthorns to be fertile ground in previous seasons with two successive 3-2 victories proving crucial to achieving their objectives at both ends of the table. This encounter, however, was always likely to be a more conservative affair and so it proved to be the case in the West Midlands. 

With 43 minutes on the clock, Salomón Rondón squandered possession deep in the Baggies’ half, allowing a lively Shinji Okazaki to jump into action. The Japanese striker skipped inside his man and slid it into Vardy’s path – who converted beyond Ben Foster, scoring his 64th goal for the Club. 

After Vardy’s opener, reminiscent of so many memorable strikes from the England man, Leicester were settled with their lead. Riyad Mahrez nearly added to it on the hour-mark with a devastating gallop down the right flank, leaving Chris Brunt in his wake, but his low effort nestled in the side-netting. 

Craig Shakespeare’s reaction: 

“We’re not mathematically safe so unfortunately you won’t hear me saying too much about it. 

“Obviously I’m delighted with the three points today and it takes us a giant step towards safety, but until we’re mathematically safe we have to keep on. Even then, we have a duty to perform in every game and that’s what we’ll do. 

“It was a scrappy game. It felt like that in the first half and I always felt like the first goal was going to be important today, as I’ve said on many occasions. 

“For the goal I thought the weight of pass from Shinji Okazaki to Jamie Vardy was terrific. Jamie is in that purple patch that strikers can sometimes go through and he’s got a cool head in front of goal at the moment. He put it away very, very well.” 

League positon: 11 

Top scorer: Jamie Vardy (five goals) 

High point: After a series of important Premier League results, the Foxes ended April a healthy eight points clear of the bottom three. 

Low point: While the Foxes exited the UEFA Champions League at the quarter-final stage at the hands of Atlético Madrid, they could certainly take positives from their two performances against the Spanish giants.

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