Leicester City: Claude Puel’s future hangs in the balance

Claude Puel has to prove to Leicester City that he is the right man to lead the club into next season amidst growing unease about his management style and the poor run of results that has led to the first signs of supporter unrest.

Thus far, Leicester have won only four of their past 17 league matches and there is growing concern within the club that they are in danger of heading into a critical summer, when there is expected to be a significant turnover of players.

Their final four games of the campaign — against Crystal Palace, West Ham, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur — could be critical in terms of whether Leicester decide to stick with Puel.

Puel was appointed as Craig Shakespeare’s successor in October, but the second half of the season has fallen well short of expectations and it is also clear the Frenchman’s approach to the job has gone down badly among some of the playing squad.

Nonetheless, players have been left bemused by Puel’s chopping and changing of the team, not least because it is not his style to explain the thinking behind his decisions to those who are left out, and that have also been questions over the intensity of his training sessions.

It was a lack of communication is understood to be an issue across the board, with Puel described as distant.

The supporters made their thoughts clear last Thursday at the end of an uninspiring 0-0 draw against Southampton, a result which was greeted with loud booing as Leicester dropped points at home for the fifth game in succession, with three of those opponents now in the bottom four.

Jurgen Klopp: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain suffers ‘really bad injury’

 

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp believes that midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain have suffered a “really bad” injury during Tuesday’s 5-2 Champions League win against Roma.

Oxlade-Chamberlain, 24, was taken off on a stretcher in the 15th minute after appearing to hurt his knee when challenging Roma’s Aleksandar Kolarov.

When asked if he expected the player’s season to be over, Klopp replied: “Yes, that is how it is unfortunately. We don’t know yet but when all the medical department are concerned without a scan then you know it doesn’t look good. The season is not that long anymore.”

“I am a very positive person and hope it only feels bad but the reason I am not flying mood-wise tonight is because we lost a fantastic player. I am not in the mood to talk about fantastic things. Since I have been here Liverpool has always had to take the more difficult way but in the end Liverpool have always succeeded.”

Oxlade-Chamberlain has enjoyed an impressive debut season for Liverpool since joining from Arsenal for £35m last August, and made 41 appearances in all competitions, scoring five goals.

However, should the injury prove to be extensive it would put in doubt his availability for this summer’s World Cup, which gets under way on 15 June.

Reds full-back Trent Alexander-Arnold says the players will be determined to reach the Champions League final for the midfielder, if his injury is serious.

“Obviously we’re all gutted for him,” he said. “If he can’t play, we’ll be looking to secure the place in the final for him and the other lads who can’t be involved.”

Napoli reignites title race with victory over leaders Juventus

Napoli reignited the Serie A title race in dramatic fashion on Sunday when Kalidou Koulibaly scored with a towering header in the last minute to give them a 1-0 win at the league table leaders, Juventus.

Maurizio Sarri’s side cut the gap between them and the Turin side to one point with four matches to play, setting up a dramatic finale to the Serie A season.

Juventus, chasing a seventh successive title, still face difficult matches away to Internazionale and Roma.

Napoli dominated the match but seemed to have run out of ideas and energy until the final minute when Jose Callejon’s outswinging corner was met by the Senegal international with a mighty header which left Gianluigi Buffon helpless.

Juve had needed steel in defence to nullify Napoli’s forward line but a key figure was removed from the back three early on when Giorgio Chiellini suffered an injury during a clash with Lorenzo Insigne.

Stephan Lichtsteiner replaced him and despite the disappointment of the enforced change to the game plan, Juve came close to scoring with a little over a quarter of an hour on the clock in Turin.

Napoli will hope to capitalise on any slip-up by their modern rivals when they tackle the likes of Torino, Sampdoria and Crotone across their remaining fixtures.