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English Premier League

How Leicester have saved themselves with Nigel Pearson



A cold February evening in Leicester, and Nigel Pearson’s future at the King Power looked like it was swiftly coming to a halt. During his side’s drab 1-0 defeat at the hands of Alan Pardew’s rejuvenated Crystal Palace, Pearson had been involved in a touchline incident with Palace midfielder James McArthur. For the next couple of days or so, heavy speculation persisted regarding his future with the club. Sitting 4 points from safety at the bottom and with a relegation straight back to the Championship on the cards, things didn’t look good for Nigel Pearson and Leicester.

Earlier in the season, Pearson had been involved in yet another altercation. This time a scathing reaction to a fan during his team’s 3-1 loss at home to Liverpool. He was filmed turning round and telling a fan to ‘F*** off and die’ and the video soon spread on various platforms of social media. Pearson was eventually reprimanded by the FA and had to undergo a one game touchline ban and a £10,000 fine. Much like the incident with McArthur, Pearson’s job with the Foxes seemed in serious doubt.

The Foxes’ revival has been grounded on hard work and togetherness.

However, after clearing the hurdles regarding his future, he managed to turn Leicester’s season around after a string of wins which have given them a superb chance of beating the drop. In their first 29 games in the Premier League this season, they managed only 4 wins altogether and sat bottom of the league for most of it with a minuscule chance of staying up. However, in their last 4 games they have won all 4 – giving them a 5 point cushion from bottom placed Burnley and an astonishing chance of playing Premier League football again next season.

After walking through their Championship winning season, few expected Leicester to stay up in what was their first time back in the top flight since 2004. In their first five games, however, they showed promise of survival with two wins and two draws, including a hugely impressive 5-3 victory over Manchester United at the King Power, which many people saw as a sign of things to come. However, a thirteen match winless streak followed for Pearson’s side, as they found themselves bottom of the league on Boxing Day, 6 points from safety.

Two wins over New Year looked promising for them, but again they couldn’t really put together some substantial kind of form over the next few months to try and stay in the division. Again, Leicester disappointed with only 2 points picked up from a possible 24. With many brandishing their season as done and dusted, Nigel Pearson evidently had other ideas.

At the beginning of April they struck a home win against West Ham, which was followed by three results after that have transformed the look of their season altogether. With 8 goals scored and 3 conceded, they look like a team who can’t be stopped. They’ve picked their form up at the perfect time, and are now in pole position to survive for yet another season. Last year we saw Sunderland shock us all and beat the drop, and this year very few expected it to be Leicester who would plummet their way from the bottom upwards.

Leicester fans celebrate victory at Burnley.

It hasn’t been a wealth of quality that has dug Leicester out of the gloomy looking hole that they were in. In fact, it has been pure grit and determination that has found them this form that they have been looking for all season. Accompanied with a hard working manager, the tenacious team have made it clear that they wanted it more than the opponents that they have been faced with.

It has been Nigel Pearson who has turned the fortunes around at Leicester. When everyone doubted them, he believed his players could reach the points total required to stay in the division. They look well on course to do so and despite his dislikable and frustrating arrogance, he has to be given credit for it.

They did lose to soon to be champions Chelsea, but put up an impressive fight against the blue’s, and it will not dent their hopes of survival too much. Still with 4 games remaining for the midlands side, they could definitely think of worse run-ins to save themselves. After home games against Newcastle and Southampton, they go away to Sunderland before wrapping up their season at the King Power against QPR. If the Foxes continue in the manner that they have done for the last few weeks, they stand a fantastic chance of surviving relegation.

A struggling QPR fan that still travels the country supporting the team, for some unknown reason.

English Premier League

Shani Tarashaj is back in action for Everton, but does he have future at club?

The Swiss international has struggled with injury and illness at Everton.



Friday evening saw Everton play their final under-23 game of the season. The side battled to a 2-2 draw with Manchester United, with Matty Foulds and Luke Garbutt the unlikely goalscorers. The fixture also saw the appearance from the bench of a forgotten Everton player – Shani Tarashaj.

Back in January 2016, the then Everton boss Roberto Martinez signed Swiss international Shani Tarashaj from Grasshoppers Zurich. The fee involved, according to the Liverpool Echo, was around £3 million for a player that Martinez had high hopes for.

(Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

The young attacker had come through the ranks at Grasshoppers and was immediately loaned back to them until the end of the season. He continued his fine form, which saw him earn a first Swiss cap and make the national squad for Euro 2016.

All the signs pointed to a future Everton star, but that has not been the case. Instead, Tarashaj has flopped at Everton and it would be no surprise if he was sold by the club this summer.

So what went wrong?

Firstly, the change of manager. It was Martinez who brought Tarashaj to the club in the same window he had signed Oumar Niasse. Once the Spaniard left, getting into Ronald Koeman ’s plans was always going to be a more difficult task.

Tarashaj then spent 2016-17 on loan at German side Eintracht Frankfurt. He struggled to make an impact in Germany and to compound his misery, injury and illness have struck.

(during the International Friendly match between Republic of Ireland and Switzerland at Aviva Stadium on March 25, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland.

Benign angina and severe tonsillitis have disrupted the sickly Swiss’ career on Merseyside before he suffered knee ligament damage last summer, which required surgery.

This season, the attacking midfielder has managed just two appearances for Everton’s under-23s and his career as a Toffee has, so far, been one to forget.

There is still hope for the Swiss international. He still has two years left on his contract at Everton and perhaps there is still a chance he can make it at Goodison Park. But two-and-a-half years after first signing for the club, Tarashaj is still waiting to make his Everton debut.

The Manchester United tie may very well prove to be his last as an Everton player.

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Manchester United

Tottenham’s decision to rush back Harry Kane cost them in the FA Cup

The England international has only recently come back from injury.



Harry Kane
Photo: Getty Images

Harry Kane was a shadow of his former self against Manchester United in the FA Cup semi-final Saturday afternoon, contributing little as Tottenham Hotspur fell to a 2-1 defeat.

The English international struggled to influence the match and was clearly off the pace. It is glaringly clear that Mauricio Pochettino rushed Kane back from his ankle injury far too soon; a decision that may well have cost Spurs their best recent chance at silverware.

Back in March, the striker crumpled under an awkward challenge from Bournemouth‘s Asmir Begovic and left the match on crutches. Spurs fans held their breath in fear and were crushed when it was later revealed Kane had suffered ligament damage.

It was a blow that was widely expected to keep Kane on the sidelines for the next couple months, but remarkably the striker returned just three weeks later in a 3-1 away win against Chelsea.

However, in the following run of matches leading up to the season-defining encounter against Manchester United, Kane had largely looked unfit and missing his classic verve and intensity that has come to define his game.

(Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

This lethargy was notably on show in the midweek fixture against Brighton. Although the 24-year-old scored a goal, he appeared tired and unwilling to make his characteristic attacking runs behind the defence.

On the biggest stage of them all, Tottenham’s star striker was well off his prolific best. It was a shame that Kane could not rise to the Wembley occasion and send Spurs to the FA Cup final.

However, it is through no fault of the Englishman, as the blame must be placed on the over-eager Tottenham backroom staff. There was no need to rush Kane back for the league matches before the massive semifinal, and the striker should have been saved for the United match.

As a result of Pochettino’s poor decision, Spurs are trophy-less and Kane is damaged – a tragic turn of events for the north London club.

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Conor Coady shows Liverpool what they’re missing in masterful Wolves campaign

The Wolves captain was tipped for big things at Liverpool but never made the grade.



Back in 2011, Liverpool had one of their young starlets being tipped to become the ‘next Steven Gerrard.’ It was a tag being occasionally branded around the club about young talent Conor Coady. With good reason as well. The teenager was looking like the most natural successor to Gerrard yet.

The summer previous, he had helped England win the UEFA under-17 Championships, which is where the hype all began. Liverpool had unearthed a gem who immediately found himself tipped to become a future Kop captain.

But it never happened for the young man.

(Photo by Feng Li/Getty Images)

Instead, he headed to Sheffield United on loan – where he excelled. After getting a taste for regular football, the idea of returning to the reserve life with Liverpool clearly did not appeal to the utility man. Therefore, he left Liverpool in 2014, joining Huddersfield Town.

Liverpool fans soon forgot about him. Just another hyped up youngster who could not match the expectations laid at their door?

Well, this season Coady has finally looked like the real deal.

(Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)

The Melwood talent did not stick with Huddersfield for long. In 2015 he joined Wolverhampton Wanderers and he is now looking like the talent Liverpool thought they had at Molineux.

One issue with Coady has always been his position. Often moved around the park, this season he has played as a settled central defender. The results have been exceptional. Coady has been one of the best players in the Championship this campaign. That was highlighted by his inclusion in the Championship team of the season. The 25-year-old is now looking like a future Premier League star and will be playing in the big time next season after captaining Wolves to the Championship summit.

When Liverpool sold Coady to Huddersfield, they did so for a fee reported to be just £500,000 by the Liverpool Echo. The Reds obviously felt he would not live up to those once lofty expectations.

Based on his form this season, Liverpool could be rueing this mistake in the not so distant future.

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