Leicester City Opinion: Why the Foxes must go for Stephan El Shaarawy?
According to a report from Tuttomercatoweb, Leicester City are interested in AS Roma star Stephan El Shaarawy but they’ll face competition from West Ham.
Stephan El Shaarawy, 26, has enjoyed a solid season with AS Roma, scoring 11 goals and providing three assists in 26 Serie A games. However, the Italy international is out of contract at the Stadio Olimpico in the summer of 2020.
If the 26-year-old winger doesn’t commit his future in the Italian capital, Roma could be forced to cash in on him this summer. His availability on a knockdown price should make him a tempting prospect for the clubs across Europe, and Leicester City must do everything possible to bag his signature.
Leicester have enjoyed an upturn in fortunes since the appointment of Brendan Rodgers in March. The Foxes ended the season ninth on the table, which isn’t a big achievement considering the quality the club has.
Breaking into the top-six next season has to be Rodgers’ priority and the Irishman needs to get the basics right to bridge the gap. Given Leicester already have a fantastic mix of youthful exuberance and experience, they need only a few additions here and there.
What has been most telling under Rodgers is the manner in which he quickly got the best out of the young attacking talents, whilst making Jamie Vardy firing again. In James Maddison, Demarai Gray, Harvey Barnes and Kelechi Iheanacho, the Midlands outfit are an exciting team going forward. Add a player with the quality and experience of El Shaarawy and the Foxes will have a devastating attack next term.
El Shaarawy is a very talented winger, noted for his creativity, skill and goalscoring ability. The 26-year-old can create chances and score goals in equal measure, and he will be able to make an instant impact at the King Power Stadium. He has excellent technical qualities, capable of spotting a runner as well as coming up with worldies.
The ex-AC Milan star primarily plays as a left-winger, a position which allows him to cut into the centre onto his stronger right foot and either go for a pop at goal or create chances for teammates. He has problems with his fitness, though, managing just 26 Serie A appearances this season.
Read more Leicester City news, click here: Leicester latest news
But on the whole, the technically-gifted El Shaarawy can win games single-handedly and Rodgers should go all out for the 26-year-old.
Rodgers has an outstanding squad at his disposal and El Shaarawy would fit right in with the expansive, exciting brand of football Leicester now play.
3 Talking points from Man United 1-0 Leicester City ahead of PL gameweek 6
3 Talking points from Man United 1-0 Leicester ahead of PL gameweek 6
Man United triumphed 1-0 over Leicester City at Old Trafford in the Premier League on Saturday, as the Red Devils ended the Foxes’ unbeaten run and registered their first victory in the league since the 4-0 hammering of Chelsea on the opening day of the campaign.
The game, which was regarded as one of the main attractions of Round 5, turned out to be something of an anti-climax in the end, and the overall lack of creativity over the ninety minutes was quite ridiculous considering the quality of players in action.
There was hardly anything to separate the two teams in what turned out to be a rather dull and boring game of pretty ordinary standards, with Marcus Rashford making all the difference with his goal from the penalty spot early in the first half.
Overall, it was a story of how both the teams failed to live up to the hype surrounding the game, with Man United lacking the composure to keep hold of the ball long for long enough to carve out anything meaningful and Leicester just not showing enough creativity to find a way through a stubborn United backline led by Harry Maguire.
Nevertheless, Ole Gunnar Solskajer should be happy with those three valuable points and more importantly, against a side that has been tipped to overtake them in the race for the top-six. Here are 3 talking points from the dull 1-0 encounter:
1. Maguire gets the better of Vardy
This was the first time that Harry Maguire was facing his old club in the Premier League since his move to Man United earlier in the summer and the Englishman was always going to be Solskajer’s best bet in trying to keep an in-form Jamie Vardy at bay.
And the towering central defender, who seemed to be fully aware of Vardy’s tricks and strengths in the final third, didn’t allow his former teammate to even get a sniff of the goal on Saturday.
Maguire’s flawless reading of the game and his knowledge of Vardy’s strengths were instrumental in United’s efforts to drag the ultimate opportunist out of the game and though it wasn’t a very creative display from the Red Devils, they certainly deserve plenty of credit for a clean-sheet against one of the most potent attacking units in the division.
2. Soyuncu’s bubble finally bursts
Caglar Soyuncu, who has taken over the reins from Maguire at the heart of Leicester’s defence, was showered with praises for his performances in the first four league games heading into the international break but the youngster turned into a villain at Old Trafford this weekend.
Soyuncu’s needless clip on Marcus Rashford’s heels inside the box early in the first half allowed United to open the scoring from the penalty spot and that, ultimately, would go on to be the decisive moment of the game.
Indeed, he has done a fair job at the back but his sudden rush of blood on Saturday, which eventually cost the Foxes the game, would have reminded Rodgers that the Turk is still quite young and relatively inexperienced at the Premier League level.
3. Scott McTominay the standout performer for Man United
On a day where both the teams lacked creativity and finesse in the middle of the park, Scott McTominay put in arguably his best performance of the season so far and repaid Solskjaer’s faith in his abilities.
Playing alongside Nemanja Matic as a part of a double pivot in the midfield, the Scottish international completely bossed the midfield with his tireless running up and down the pitch, while his physical presence put off the likes of Hamza Choudhury and Youri Tielemans.
McTominay broke down the play really well with his tackles and interceptions, carried the ball forward with intent and was always at the right place and at the right time to safeguard United from Leicester’s forays.
The 22-year-old won 9 out of 16 duels on the ground, 3 out of 3 duels in the air, completed 2 out of his 2 attempted tackles and chipped in with 2 interceptions and 3 clearances.
Apart from that, he was instrumental in circulating possession in the midfield and switching the play, with the youngster registering 60 touches on the ball and completing 31 passes (accuracy rate of 79.5), including 6 successful long balls.
McTominay has shown signs of maturing into a powerful defensive midfielder this term and Man United have every reason to be pleased with his rapid development.
3 Realistic contenders for a 7th place finish in the Premier League including West Ham
3 Realistic contenders for a 7th place finish in the Premier League
With most of the media hype focussed on the title race in the Premier League, we often tend to forget that several other teams also compete in the division to achieve their desired goals.
Indeed, the race for the top-four or Champions League qualification, the battle for the Europa League spot and the relegation dogfight at the bottom of the table ensure that each season of Premier League football has plenty in store for all sets of fans to savour and admire.
Given the recently-established big-six hierarchy in English football involving Man United, Man City, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea and Spurs, the other clubs have found it difficult to break the top-six lock.
Instead, they have shifted their focus towards battling it out for the best-of-the-rest or the 7th spot in the Premier League standings to earn themselves a coveted spot in the qualifying rounds of the Europa League.
The likes of Southampton, Everton, West Ham, Burnley and Wolves have all secured the best-of-the-rest position in recent years and with that in mind, let us take a look at 3 potential contenders for that spot in the 2019-20 Premier League season.
1. Leicester City
Having narrowly missed out on the seventh spot last season following a late flurry since the appointment of Brendan Rodgers, Leicester City will be hoping to make a return to Europe this term.
And if the first four games of the ongoing campaign are anything to go by, few would back against the Foxes being the favourites to finish as the best-of-the-rest in the Premier League this term, with Rodgers’ side currently placed third in the standings just behind Liverpool and Man City.
It might be too early to make a call but Leicester have certainly got the firepower in all departments to mount a strong challenge for a Europa League qualification spot, especially after a summer of heavy spending which saw the club acquire the services of Youri Tielemans, Dennis Praet, Ayoze Perez and James Justin.
Jamie Vardy and James Maddison continue to be the club’s key driving forces in the attacking third and with youngsters like Hamza Choudhury, Caglar Soyuncu, Filip Benkovic, Wilfred Ndidi and Harvey Barnes in the ranks, Leicester certainly look strong enough for a good run this season.
Everton have always been considered as one of the odds-on favourites to finish as the best-of-the-rest in recent times but the Toffees have failed to replicate their heroics since Ronald Koeman guided them to a 7th-place finish back in the 2016-17 season.
A late flurry of positive results towards the end of last season, which included victories over Arsenal, Chelsea and Man United, reignited hopes of replicating such a feat under Marco Silva but the Merseysiders fell agonisingly short of achieving their desired target.
Now with Silva still in charge and after a couple of summers of heavy recruitment to enrich the squad with quality signings like Richarlison, Bernard, Theo Walcott, Moise Kean, Jean-Philippe Gbamin, Andre Gomes, Yerry Mina, Fabian Delph and Andre Gomes, it’s now or never for Everton to fulfil their ambitions.
The Toffees, though, will need to keep up their consistency levels to be successful in their pursuit of a Europa League qualification spot, as opposed to last season, where they dropped points against some of the lesser fancied sides in the league.
3. West Ham
West Ham did ever so well to secure a top-ten finish in their first season under Manuel Pellegrini, and the club invested heavily to bring in Pablo Fornals and Sebastien Haller this summer. This clearly outlines their ambitions to kick on and challenge for a European spot.
A well-oiled attacking unit consisting of Felipe Anderson, Haller, Fornals, Manuel Lanzini, Andriy Yarmolenko, Jack Wilshere, Robert Snodgrass and Michail Antonio will definitely be the key to their success, although Pellegrini should ideally look to shore up his defensive midfield and central defence in January.
With such quality attackers at their disposal, the Hammers look capable of beating any opposition on a given day but consistency in the latter stages will be the primary deciding factor in the race for a European spot.
Premier League gameweek 4: Winners and Losers from the weekend including Chelsea’s slip and Leicester’s rise
2019-20 Premier League: Winners and Losers from Round 4
There was plenty to savour and admire for all sets of fans, as Round 4 of the 2019-20 Premier League season lived up to the expectations, with none of the games failing to produce a goal.
Man United kicked off the action on Saturday away from home at Southampton, with the Red Devils looking to bounce back from a shock 2-1 defeat to Crystal Palace the week before.
Daniel James continued his fine run of form early in the campaign and put United in the lead just 10 minutes into the game before Jannik Vestergaard’s headed equaliser in the second half ensured that both the teams shared the spoils.
United, though, will be bitterly disappointed for failing to break down a 10-man Southampton unit after Kevin Danso was sent off for a second bookable offence on Scott McTominay.
Elsewhere, Chelsea failed to capitalise on Tammy Abraham’s second brace of the season, as the Blues squandered a two-goal lead at home against Sheffield United to earn a 2-2 draw.
Callum Robinson’s strike followed by Kurt Zouma’s unfortunate own goal towards the dying stages of the game meant that Frank Lampard’s side went into the international break with only a solitary win in their first four games in the Premier League.
However, there weren’t any hiccups for defending champions Man City after Pep Guardiola’s side put in yet another dominant performance to claim all three points with a resounding 4-0 victory over Brighton, thanks to a brace from Sergio Aguero and goals from Kevin de Bruyne and Bernardo Silva.
Similarly, Liverpool continued their merry way with a rather straightforward 3-0 victory over Burnley at Turf Moor, as an own goal from Chris Wood followed by goals from Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino meant that Jurgen Klopp’s side went into the international break with a perfect record.
Shifting the focus to the North London Derby, there was nothing to separate the two teams, as Arsenal and Spurs played out a thrilling 2-2 draw at the Emirates.
Christian Eriksen opened the scoring for the visitors and Harry Kane’s spot-kick doubled the advantage for Mauricio Pochettino’s side after Son was brought down inside the box by a reckless lunge from Granit Xhaka.
However, Lacazette handed the Gunners a lifeline just at the stroke of the interval before a lively second-half performance saw Aubameyang bag the equaliser with an intuitive finish from Guendouzi’s perfectly-weighted lobbed pass.
Meanwhile, Leicester City continued their unbeaten run in the Premier League with an emphatic 3-1 victory over Bournemouth at home, thus registering their second victory in a row after a 2-1 result against Sheffield United last week.
Jamie Vardy’s early opener was cancelled out by Callum Wilson but Youri Tielemans restored the lead for the hosts towards the end of the first-half before Vardy bagged his third goal of the season later in the game to cap off a dominant display from Brendan Rodgers’ side.
Tielemans, though, was lucky to have escaped a red card for a horrible studs-up challenge on Callum Wilson, with the VAR surprisingly not spotting a clear and obvious error in the on-field referee’s decision.
Elsewhere, Watford opened their account in the Premier League this term with a 1-1 draw away at Newcastle, registering their first points of the season after three consecutive defeats.
Will Hughes’ opener handed the Hornets an early advantage before Fabian Schar drew Newcastle level just before the interval.
The West Ham fans will be happy with what they saw from their team in the 2-0 victory over Norwich City at home, as goals from Sebastien Haller and Andriy Yarmolenko on either side of the interval handed Manuel Pellegrini’s side their second victory of the campaign.
The Hammers created plenty of opportunities and it could have been four or five in favour of them, whilst Todd Cantwell was left to rue his missed chance from just a yard out.
There weren’t any heroics from Aston Villa this weekend as Crystal Palace followed up their surprise victory over Man United with another tidy 1-0 triumph over the Lions at home, thanks to a solitary goal from Jordan Ayew midway through the second half.
Meanwhile, Wolves’ unbeaten streak came to an end at Goodison Park on Sunday as Everton bounced back from a defeat away at Aston Villa last week to register a well-deserved 3-2 win at home.
A moment of miscommunication between Rui Patricio and Conor Coady allowed Richarlison to fire home the opener before Romain Saiss equalised moments later, tapping it in off Adama Traore’s cross from the right.
Alex Iwobi then restored the lead for the Toffees before the interval, only for Raul Jimenez to make it 2-2 in the 75th minute.
It was Richarlison, though, who headed home the winner with ten minutes to go and Wolves weren’t able to muster any meaningful reply after that, as Marco Silva’s side went into the international break on a positive note. Not to mention, Wily Boly’s red card that worsened things for Nuno Santo.
Arsenal3 weeks ago
Focussing on Emery’s tactical change against Tottenham – what does it mean for Arsenal moving forward?
Bristol City3 weeks ago
EFL Championship round 6: Winners and Losers of the weekend including high-flying Swansea and struggling Huddersfield
Arsenal2 weeks ago
Premier League gameweek 4: Winners and Losers from the weekend including Chelsea’s slip and Leicester’s rise
Arsenal2 weeks ago
Premier League gameweek 6: 5 Talking points from the weekend including Chelsea’s slip and Leicester’s surge