Mon | Aug 21, 2017

History beckons for Leicester's manager

Published:Friday | April 7, 2017 | 4:15 AM
Liverpool’s James Milner (left) and Leicester’s Jamie Vardy battle for the ball during an English Premier League match earlier this year.

 

LONDON, AP:

A place in the Premier League history book is available for Craig Shakespeare when the Leicester manager takes the resurgent champions to Everton on Sunday.

Since taking over from title-winning coach Claudio Ranieri in February, Shakespeare has steered Leicester away from relegation danger and into the comfort of mid-table with five straight league wins. One more at Goodison Park and he’ll match the record of consecutive victories at the start of a managerial career in the Premier League, shared by Pep Guardiola (Manchester City) and Carlo Ancelotti (Chelsea).

Whether Shakespeare joins that esteemed pair may depend on what line-up he selects against Everton because he might have one eye on the first leg of Leicester’s Champions League quarter-final match against Atlético Madrid on Wednesday. Is it worth Shakespeare risking the likes of Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez ahead of possibly the biggest game in Leicester’s history, especially now that the team is up to 11th place in the 20-team Premier League and appears safe from relegation?

Chelsea holds a seven-point lead with eight matches remaining and visit Bournemouth. Second-place Tottenham, who appear to be the only team capable of stopping Chelsea, host Watford.

SPAIN

Real Madrid will have the Spanish league lead on the line when it hosts Atlético Madrid in the city derby tomorrow.

Madrid will be defending their two-point lead over Barcelona against an Atlético team in its best spell of the season, coming off five straight wins and with its stout defence working well again.

Madrid also have won five games in a row, and their attack has scored at least a goal in the last 51 games in all competitions.

Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale, and Karim Benzema ­ Madrid’s strikeforce ­ will be fully rested for the match at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium after being left out of the team’s win at Leganes on Wednesday.

Defending champions Barcelona visit Málaga, who ended a six-game winless streak by beating Sporting Gijón on Wednesday.

GERMANY

The biggest game in German football is also in danger of being overshadowed by the looming resumption of the Champions League.

Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich and fourth-place Borussia Dortmund meet tomorrow, yet both could be preoccupied by what awaits them in the quarter-finals of Europe’s top competition in the coming days. Dortmund host Monaco on Tuesday, and Bayern are at home to Real Madrid on Wednesday.

Tomorrow’s game sees the top scorers in Germany go head-to-head. Dortmund’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang leads with 25 goals, while Bayern’s Robert Lewandowski has 24 before he faces his former club.

Aubameyang scored the winner in Dortmund’s 1-0 victory over Bayern at home last November. That defeat in Dortmund was Bayern’s first of the season.

Dortmund are under more pressure as they bid to overtake Hoffenheim for the last automatic Champions League qualification place.

FRANCE

Boosted by victory in last weekend’s League Cup final, Paris Saint-Germain have their sights set on catching Monaco in the title race.

PSG trail Monaco by three points, although it is effectively four given Monaco’s huge goal difference of plus 61 ­ more than 20 goals better than PSG.

But PSG hope the 4-1 win over Monaco in last Saturday’s final can crank up the pressure, with the teams facing each other in the French Cup semi-finals. Monaco also have extra games in the Champions League, playing Borussia Dortmund in the quarter-finals, and have a smaller squad than PSG.

 

EPL standings


                   P  W D L GA GF GD Pts

1. Chelsea 30 23  3  4  62  24   38 72

2. Tottenham 30 19  8  3 60 22 38 65

3. Liverpool 31 17 9 5 66 39 27 60

4. Man City 30 17 7 6 57 34 23 58

5. Arsenal 29 16 6 7 61 36 25 54

6. Man United 29 14 12 3 43 24 19 54

7. Everton 31 14 9 8 53 34 19 51

8. West Brom 31 12 8 11 39 40 -1 44

9. Southampton 29 10 7 12 36 37 -1 37

10. Watford 30 10 7 13 36 48 -12 37

11. Leicester City 30 10 6 14 37 47 -10 36

12. Stoke City 31 9 9 13 33 45 -12 36

13. Bournemouth 31 9 8 14 44 56 -12 35

14. Burnley 31 10 5 16 32 44 -12 35

 15. West Ham 31 9 6 16 41 57 -16 33

16. Crystal Palace 30 9 4 17 39 50 -11 31

17. Hull City 31 8 6 17 32 61 -29 30

18. Swansea City 31 8 4 19 37 66 -29 28

19. Middlesbrough 30 4 11 15 22 37 -15 23

20. Sunderland 30 5 5 20 24 53 -29 20