Leicester City sacks Craig Shakespeare after poor start to season

Leicester City has sacked their manager Craig Shakespeare, who was only four months into a three-year contract.  

Shakespeare’s record as manager for Leicester reads 1 win, 3 draws and 4 defeats after eight games — and had remained third bottom in the Premier League table for several consecutive weeks.

While the Foxes had difficult fixtures in that period against the likes of Arsenal, Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool which hardly helped Shakepeare’s tenure, it was clear that Leicester’s owners still expected more than only one league victory at this stage.

Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha, the club’s vice-chairman, 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.”

Jon Rudkin, Leicester’s director of football, informed Shakespeare of the news at the club’s training ground, where the 53-year-old had overseen a friendly match against a Nottingham Forest side earlier in the day.

Michael Appleton, Shakespeare’s assistant, has been asked to take charge of the team for Saturday’s game at Swansea as the Leicester City board of directors puts together a shortlist with a view to making an appointment as soon as possible.

Leicester has also remained tight-lipped other than to categorically rule out the prospect of Nigel Pearson returning to the club. Pearson was recently appointed head coach of OH Leuven, the second-tier Belgian side owned by the Srivaddhanaprabha family, who also control Leicester.

RB Leipzig rally to deny Dortmund 100% record in Bundesliga

RB Leipzig came from behind to win 3-2 and deny Borussia Dortmund an unbeaten start to their Bundesliga season, with both sides having a man sent off in the second half.

The entertaining match at Westfalenstadion also marked an end to Dortmund’s 41-game unbeaten streak at home in the Bundesliga, and began with a goal from the German top flight’s current top scorer Pierre Emerick Aubameyang after just four minutes.

The Gabon international stole the ball off Stefan Ilsanker for break, and had no trouble in slotting it into the far corner for his first goal. However, Leipzig struck back through Marcel Sabitzer, and Yussuf Poulsen  gave Leipzig the Bulls lead before half-time.

Dortmund’s Sokratis Papastathopoulos was then sent off shortly after the break and Jean-Kevin Augustin extended Leipzig’s lead from the penalty spot, before the visitors also went down to ten-men after Stefan Ilsanker received a second yellow card in the 56th minute.

Nonetheless, while Aubameyang managed to pull a goal back for Dortmund shortly afterwards by converting a VAR-approved penalty, the skipper could not find the net again even as Dortmund threw everything at the visitors in the closing stages in an attempt to preserve their unbeaten run.

Although Peter Bosz’s team would remain top of the table following the first breach of the Yellow Wall since April 2015 —when Jurgen Klopp was still in charge — their lead was now cut to two points by Bayern Munich, who thrashed Freiburg 5-0 in Jupp Heynckes’ first game in charge as manager.

It was also clear that Bosz was not happy with his team’s performance.

“We played too many backwards balls — that is not our game — and we defended badly,” the Dutchman said after the match. “We had a lot of trouble with Leipzig’s pressing, particularly in the first half. We tried to change that in the second half but then we went 3-1 behind and the red card happened.”

Meanwhile, RB Leipzig — runners up to Bayern last season — move up to third in the table, three points off top spot.

Gerard Pique right to voice out — Filipe Luis

Atletico Madrid defender Filipe Luis believes that Gerard Pique, his counterpart at FC Barcelona is right to speak his mind publicly, especially in regards to the recent Catalan independence referendum.

Luis, 32, added that more footballers should aspire to be like the controversial Spanish International, who had often made headlines in recent weeks in respect to his support for the disputed independence vote.

Spanish football fans had went so far as to jeer Pique during an open training session while away on international duty, with sections of their support questioning his commitment to Spain. However, Luis, who will face Pique when Barca visits Atletico in La Liga on Saturday, has come out in support of the former Manchester United youngster’s attitude.

“I am a fan of Pique, although I often disagree with what he says,” he said. “But he dares, like [Alvaro] Arbeloa. They are people who are not afraid to say what they think, who do not hide behind their fame.”

“They are admirable and hopefully more footballers will be like them.”

Nonetheless, Brazilian international Luis — who had spent most of his footballing career in Spain — cannot fathom the Catalonian desire to split from the country.

“It [the referendum] is a subject that I follow daily and I cannot understand,” he added. “I respect it, but in a world that tends to unite and open frontiers, it doesn’t sound right to me that a community wants to close itself.”

“I guess it’s because I have the vision of a Brazilian and in Brazil, with all its flaws, if the national anthem sounds, people are proud. Left, right, it does not matter. People are proud of being Brazilian and something I cannot understand is why that doesn’t happen here [in Spain].”

“Why do you want to separate? What do you think will be better?”