Bouncebackability: a word coined for the play-offs that fits them perfectly

The best preparation a team can have for a play-off final is the experience of losing one the year before By Richard Foster, author of The Agony and the Ecstasy Iain Dowie coined the word bouncebackability in the 2003-04 season when describing how his Crystal Palace team had gone from the fringes of relegation in December to winning promotion through the play-offs in May. Not many managers have been responsible for adding words to the English lexicon but Dowie shared the honour with Sir Alex Ferguson in 2005 when both “squeaky bum time” and “bouncebackability” entered the Oxford English Dictionary. It is fitting that Dowie came up with the word while discussing a side promoted in the play-offs, as bouncebackability has been remarkably common in so many sides who have won promotion in these showpiece finals. Of the 10 beaten finalists who have returned to the same fixture the Continue reading "Bouncebackability: a word coined for the play-offs that fits them perfectly"

Manchester City will have to pay Leicester in region of £75m for Mahrez

  • Considerable add-ons will supplement basic fee of £60m
  • Guardiola turned to Mahrez after Sanchez joined United
Manchester City will have to pay a basic fee of £60m for Riyad Mahrez, with Leicester City also to demand considerable add-ons which could push the final price closer to £75m for the 27-year-old. The total would still be closer to the champions’ own valuation and is considerably lower than the total package of £95m demanded by the 2016 title-winners in January. That resulted in the Manchester club walking away, with the hierarchy believing the demand to be particularly unrealistic. Continue reading...

Leicester agree deal to sign Portugal defender Ricardo Pereira

• Porto player, 24, will join on five-year deal
• Pereira has previously played under Claude Puel on loan at NiceLeicester have agreed a deal for the Porto defender Ricardo Pereira, who will move to the King Power Stadium on a five-year contract once the transfer window opens formally on 9 June. The 24-year-old, who has been named in the Portugal squad for the World Cup this summer, was in Leicester on Saturday to finalise personal terms and complete a medical. He spent time on loan at Nice when Claude Puel was in charge there. Continue reading...

Tottenham fight back to beat Leicester in thriller and seal third spot

The Tottenham Hotspur support chanted that they were going home and there is certainly excitement among their number at the prospect of returning to the rebuilt White Hart Lane next season. Yet what a send-off they gave to Wembley. The merits of the club’s temporary accommodation at the national stadium have been a talking point throughout a season in which they have secured third place in the Premier League and a third consecutive Champions League qualification. Continue reading...

Tottenham v Leicester: match preview

Leicester’s 3-1 win over Arsenal on Wednesday was welcome, not least for Claude Puel but the mutterings continue that the manager is set to be replaced. Before midweek, his team had taken one point from an available 15 but three against Tottenham could drive them to an eighth-placed finish – surely a decent effort? Mauricio Pochettino worries that nothing is ever good enough for some Spurs fans. He wants to make sure of third. David Hytner Sunday 3pm Continue reading...

Premier League: 10 things to look out for on the final day

A wake is in store in Swansea, Klopp faced with a juggling act and a swansong for Conte and Benítez? This feature, you will note, is called ‘10 Things to Look Out For’ rather than ‘10 Things to Look Forward To’. Thank goodness for that, because there might not be much to look forward to at the Liberty Stadium on Sunday. The match between Swansea and Stoke is likely to be a wake, with both clubs wondering how the hell they got into this mess. A number of players will be making their last appearance for both sides, seeing no contradiction in the belief that they are far too good to play in the Championship. Swansea could still stay up, but they need snookers, a miracle and, most unlikely of all, at least one goal. RS Continue reading...

Jamie Vardy and Leicester make 10-man Arsenal pay for misdemeanours

It is a week when all good things come to an end for Arsenal and this was in keeping with that theme as Arsène Wenger suffered his first defeat against Leicester City in 23 matches, leaving his team without a point away from home this year and enduring their worst run of form on the road since 1966. In many ways the evening felt like a microcosm of Arsenal’s season as they pressed the self-destruct button not once but twice. Konstantinos Mavropanos was sent off after only 15 minutes for hauling down Kelechi Iheanacho, who had earlier punished some poor defending to put Leicester ahead, and although Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang equalised early in the second half, Wenger’s side handed the initiative to the home team again when Henrikh Mkhitaryan brought down Demarai Gray. Continue reading...

Premier League: 10 talking points from the weekend’s action

Aubameyang can revive Arsenal, Butland lays bare Stoke’s shameful truth and West Ham would be foolish to ditch Moyes Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang might not be a classic Arsène Wenger signing because he cost a lot of money and is already close to his peak but at 28 he is certainly a man who can lead the next incarnation of Arsenal. Alongside Alexandre Lacazette the duo showed how exciting Arsenal can still be even if Burnley looked like a team packed for their summer holidays as they made up the numbers, offering less energy than the post-match speeches, in what was effectively a testimonial at the Emirates. Wenger might rue the fact he missed bringing the Gabonese international Aubameyang to England earlier – a striker not deemed good enough by Milan in his youth would have made the perfect project for the outgoing manager – but he is still leaving behind something Continue reading "Premier League: 10 talking points from the weekend’s action"

Santi Cazorla returns to first-team training after 18 months out

As per a report published by Goal, Arsenal’s Santi Cazorla has returned to first-team training on Saturday after enduring an 18 month spell on the sidelines, having undergone several vital operations on a career jeopardising Achilles injury sustained in October 2016, which also required a skin graft. The 33-year-old midfielder, as part of the process […]

Leicester City v West Ham United: match preview

If there was ever a good time for West Ham to be travelling to the King Power Stadium, then this is surely it. Leicester have won only four of their previous 18 league games, they were booed off in the last home match and go into this fixture off the back of a 5-0 defeat at Crystal Palace with a long injury list. It has not exactly been plain-sailing lately for West Ham either but Andy Carroll is set to be involved after patching up his differences with David Moyes. Stuart James Saturday 3pm Continue reading...

When Fulham’s dreams of promotion died in a game that never ended

Fulham looked certain to be promoted to the top flight in the 1982-83 season but they lost four of their last five games and were left cursing the final 78 seconds of the campaign By Steven Pye for That 1980s Sports Blog of the Sport Network Sometimes it is hard to be a football fan. Take the example of Fulham in the 1982-83 season. Promoted to the Second Division in the previous campaign, the club were flying under the management of Malcolm Macdonald. With a team full of quality players – keeper Gerry Payton; defenders Tony Gale, Roger Brown and Jeff Hopkins; midfielders Ray Houghton, Robert Wilson, Sean O’Driscoll and Ray Lewington; and strikers Gordon Davies and Dean Coney – back-to-back promotions were a serious possibility. They played an entertaining brand of football and put four goals past Bolton, Newcastle, Middlesbrough, Grimsby and Wolves in the first three months of Continue reading "When Fulham’s dreams of promotion died in a game that never ended"

Burnley close on Europe as Chris Wood and Kevin Long sink Leicester

Burnley made it five successive top-flight wins for the first time in half a century as the prospect of European football at Turf Moor next season drew ever closer. It is more than 50 years since the Clarets have been involved in a continental competition but their 2-1 victory over their closest rivals, Leicester, gave them a nine-point advantage with only five games left. Provided Southampton do not win the FA Cup, seventh place would be enough for a spot in the Europa League. Continue reading...

Burnley v Leicester City: match preview

Sean Dyche was briefly linked with the Leicester job when it became vacant early in the season, mainly because of his Midlands connections, and Saturday’s visitors to Turf Moor might consider that a chance missed now that Burnley are likely to end up in Europe. Six points currently separates the two sides, a gap that could easily increase as Burnley enjoy the luxury of good home form and a stress-free run-in. Paul Wilson Saturday 3pm Continue reading...