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Brendan Rodgers set to replace Claude Puel at Leicester City

Brendan Rodgers has today verbally agreed to replace Claude Puel as manager of Leicester City as he leaves Celtic to join the Foxes.

Claude Puel was sacked by the club after their embarrassing 4-1 defeat at home to Crystal Palace at the weekend. Tensions have been running high at the club lately and their horrendous form of six defeats in seven was simply too much for the clubs owners.

Brendan Rodgers leaves the Glasgow based club eight points clear of second-placed Rangers and on course for a third successive domestic treble. Celtic fans have questioned the timing of Rodgers departure and it is simply the news they have been dreading. Since taking over at Parkhead in 2016 Rodgers has won every domestic trophy yet it is suggested that he wasn’t getting the boardroom backing which could play a part in his decision to leave the club.

Although Celtic have flourished domestically, Rodgers has struggled to get to grips with their European campaigns. They reached the group stages of the Champions League in his first two seasons but were knocked out in the third qualifying round by AEK Athens this term. Last week, they exited their Europa League campaign at the last 32-stage after defeat at Valencia.

Rodger’s led Swansea to become the first Welsh team ever to gain promotion to the Premier League back in 2011 and became manager of Liverpool in 2012. He led the Reds to their highest ever Premier League finish in the 2013/14 season and was awarded the LMA Manager of the Year Award that year. He was sacked by Liverpool during the 2015/16 season and joined Celtic where he flourished immediately.

He leaves Celtic with a win % of 69% and takes over from a manager with a poor win % of 34.4% – a stark contrast. Leicester’s last victory in all competitions came against Everton on New Years Day which was followed by a humiliating defeat in the FA Cup to League Two Newport County. Despite putting up extremely respected performances against Liverpool, Manchester United and Tottenham, where perhaps the Foxes were unfortunate to not come away with wins in all three points; the defeat at the hands of the Eagles was the final straw for Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha – who took the reigns of the club after the devastating loss of his father and Leicester chairman, Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, in a helicopter crash outside the clubs ground after their game vs West Ham back in last October.

Jonny Evans has revealed their ex-manager was given the chance to say goodbye to his players following his sacking after the defeat to Crystal Palace. He also stated “we feel responsible for a lot of things, when you lose games of football, you feel like you’re letting a lot of people down, not just the manager, the fans, the people working behind the scenes at the club and there’s always that element to it. It’s not a nice feeling.”

It is perhaps Puel’s relationship with his players that was his downfall. Last December, Jamie Vardy exclusively spoke to Sky Sports suggesting the Frenchman’s approach to football did not suit his game but he vowed to remain committed to his approach. The manager’s relationships with his players was obviously a key issue and Vardy’s comments were soon followed by Peter Schmeichel who opened up questions about his son’s future at the club whilst blasting Claude Puel’s managerial methods.

Rodgers will be Leicester’s fourth permanent manager in 23 months and the expectations at the East Midlands club are set extremely high by both the fans and the owners. Since Leicester’s miraculous title-winning season of 2015/16, fans have perhaps expected a lot more from the dugout, however so far neither of Claudio Ranieri, Craig Shakespeare or Claude Puel have delivered.

Rodger’s is set to join the Foxes in an exciting time for the club. They have received vast attention this season for their exciting youngsters who have featured heavily in the Premier League. Players such as Ben Chilwell, James Maddison, Demari Gray, Wilfred Ndidi and Hamza Choudhury are all currently under the age of 23 and their potential is extensive. The club are also preparing to invest £80m in a new state of the art training ground whilst also planning on extending their current home, the King Power Stadium.

The optimism in Rodgers will be high around the club as the Northern Irishman has proved himself already in the Premier League while at Liverpool and Swansea. It may be too late for him to save the Foxes this season with finishing the ‘best of the rest’ possibly out of reach. Yet a top half finish will be expected and European football will definitely be the aim from next season onwards. It is believed Rodgers will be in the crowd at tonight’s fixture vs Brighton at the King Power, expect an impressive Leicester performance in that one.

Eamon Kitching

21. Loughborough University Student developing my writing skills with 90MAAT. Leicester City fan still holding onto our 15/16 Premier League success.

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Premier League Table

# Team MP W D L P
1 Liverpool 29 27 1 1 82
2 Manchester City 28 18 3 7 57
3 Leicester City 29 16 5 8 53
4 Chelsea 29 14 6 9 48
5 Manchester United 29 12 9 8 45
6 Wolverhampton Wanderers 29 10 13 6 43
7 Sheffield United 28 11 10 7 43
8 Tottenham Hotspur 29 11 8 10 41
9 Arsenal 28 9 13 6 40
10 Burnley 29 11 6 12 39
11 Crystal Palace 29 10 9 10 39
12 Everton 29 10 7 12 37
13 Newcastle United 29 9 8 12 35
14 Southampton 29 10 4 15 34
15 Brighton & Hov… 29 6 11 12 29
16 West Ham United 29 7 6 16 27
17 Watford 29 6 9 14 27
18 AFC Bournemouth 29 7 6 16 27
19 Aston Villa 28 7 4 17 25
20 Norwich City 29 5 6 18 21

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