Category: EPL-English Premier League

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.

Liverpool’s Sadio Mane set to miss out for up to six weeks

Liverpool’s Sadio Mane had been ruled out of action through a hamstring injury for around six weeks.

Mane, 25, was injured on international duty with Senegal and his absence could not have come at a worse time for Jurgen Klopp with Manchester United visiting Anfield on Saturday.

The Senegalese international scored 13 Premier League goals last season despite missing the whole of January because of the Africa Cup of Nations and the final six weeks of the campaign with a knee injury.

There was little doubt that he is amongst Liverpool’s most influential players, and as a result his injury has come at a particularly bad time with Adam Lallana still struggling to regain fitness after a thigh injury.

Lallana has already been sent to the Aspetar sports clinic in Qatar as he continues his rehabilitation and is likely to return in mid-November, along with Mane who will miss the two Champions League games against Maribor and trips to Tottenham and West Ham, as well the visit of Huddersfield Town.  

The Reds will still hope to have Mane in contention for their Champions League fixture in Sevilla on 21 November before they host Chelsea four days later in the Premier League.

“The winger was substituted 89 minutes into Senegal’s 2-0 World Cup qualifying win over the Cape Verde Islands on Saturday,” a Liverpool statement read. “It has now been confirmed that he picked up an injury during that fixture that could keep him out of action for up to six weeks.”

Klopp’s side have often struggled without Mané, since his move from Southampton, averaging 2.2 Premier League goals with him in the team as compared to 1.6 goals in his absence. Last season, their form fell away dramatically while Mané was at the Africa Cup of Nations, winning just one of their seven games, against League Two Plymouth in an FA Cup replay.

Joachim Low: injured Shkodran Mustafi set for “extended layoff”

KAISERSLAUTERN, GERMANY – OCTOBER 08: Shkodran Mustafi of Germany walks injured off the field during the FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier between Germany and Azerbaijan at Fritz-Walter-Stadion on October 8, 2017 in Kaiserslautern, Rhineland-Palatinate. (Photo by Adam Pretty/Bongarts/Getty Images)

Germany national coach Joachim Low says that Arsenal’s Shkodran Mustafi is expected to be sidelined for some time after the German international was forced to limp out of Germany’s 5-1 World Cup qualifying win over Azerbaijan on Sunday.

Mustafi, 24, pulled up clutching his right thigh in the 36th minute of the match just before Azerbaijan scored their only goal in the match through Ramil Sheydaev and Low later confirmed he sustained a suspected muscle injury.

“With Mustafi it seems that it is some muscle tear or some muscle fibre tear,” Low said. “It looks a bit more serious. In any case it could force him to a longer break.”

Bayern Munich’s Niklas Sule was also substituted in the 22nd minute as a precaution, with Chelsea’s Antonio Rudiger coming on in his place.

Having already secured their place in Russia next year with victory over Northern Ireland, Leon Goretzka’s brilliant backheel sent Germany on their way to victory at the Fritz-Walter-Stadion in Kaiserslautern on Sunday. Sandro Wagner also continued his fine form by scoring his fifth goal in five caps as Germany topped Group C.

Despite Seydaev’s equaliser, Azerbaijan fell apart after the break, conceding three times in 12 minutes from Wagner, Antonio Rudiger and Goretzka, with Emre Can adding a stunning late fifth.

Germany finished 11 points clear of Northern Ireland, whom they beat 3-1 in Belfast on Thursday to reach Russia, with a 100% record.

But on club level, with Laurent Koscielny having pulled out of France’s squad last week with an achilles injury and Calum Chambers yet to feature this season due to a hip problem, any enforced absence would be a potential headache for Arsene Wenger before Saturday’s trip to Watford.