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Brendan Rodgers – The Masterminder Behind Leicester City’s Title Hopes

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Brendan Rodgers - The Masterminder Behind Leicester City's Title Hopes 7

When it comes to success in football, the players are often given endless accolades for their performances and perhaps rightfully so. However, when results just aren’t going their way, the manager is often to blame with calls for their job to end.

This epitomizes the story of the East Midlands-based club in the English Premier League. Leicester took the football World by surprise to win the 2015–16 Premier League, their first top-level football championship. The win, therefore, made the club one of only six clubs to have won the Premier League since its inception in 1992.

A number of newspapers described Leicester’s title win as the greatest sporting shock ever; as a result of their triumph in the League, the team was dubbed “The Unbelievables“, a spin-off harking back to Arsenal ‘s undefeated team ” The Invincibles “. The club’s previous highest ever finish was second place in the top flight, in 1928–29, then known as the First Division.

The 2015/16 season under Claudio Ranieri was a massive season for the Foxes as their performance put an end to the hegemony of the big guns in the League at least for a season. Meanwhile, the success didn’t last long for Leicester as they had to terminate Ranieri’s job in February of the 2016/17 season after series of bad results which made them end the season on the 12th position.

Since then, the powers that be at Leicester have been chopping and changing the managerial role of the team. After the departure of the Italian manager, Craig Shakespeare, a couple of Interim managers (Mike Stowell, Michael Appleton) and Claude Puel have managed the team and nothing changed with the Foxes.

Consequently, none of the four could do the magic as it was only Claude Puel who lasted longer on the job (October 2017 – February 2019). Brendan Rodgers was appointed three days after the sack of Puel. He ensured that with his vast experience in the Premier League, he steadied the ship for the Foxes and brought them to the 9th position at the end of the season.

READ ALSO: Why And How Jose Mourinho Must Succeed At Spurs

In this current season, Brendan Rodgers has done some awesome things as a Leicester manager. Some of which the club didn’t achieve even in the 2015/16 season. They currently sit 2nd on the log and are just one goal (39) adrift of Liverpool (40) and are currently trailing the Merseyside giants with 8 points.

Brendan Rodgers rejuvenated the midfield, got the best out of Jamie Vardy and improved the Foxes’ form since taking over in February. So what exactly is Rodgers getting right? The secret behind Rodgers’ transformation of Leicester is what we put together in this write-up.

Making Jamie Vardy His Go-To Man

Brendan Rodgers - The Masterminder Behind Leicester City's Title Hopes 8

Claude Puel might have repeatedly insisted that there was no lingering issue with Vardy, but Leicester’s striker likely had a different story to tell. Puel’s demise was death via a thousand cuts, but phasing out a club legend without actually improving the team’s performances is a good way to go about losing all goodwill.

It’s not just that Rodgers has made Vardy feel special (although man-management is clearly a large part of the striker’s improvement). He has also found a system that allows Vardy to be more active and involved rather than being left isolated and frustrated.

It is probably the statistic that best describes Rodgers’ impact at Leicester. In his last eight matches, Vardy has scored at least a goal in all making him the first player to do so after Jamie Vardy himself in 2016 in a total of five games. The logic is practically simple; Make him happy, make Leicester tick, make supporters cheer.

Changing The Shape Of The Midfield

Leicester’s default formation under Puel was 4-2-3-1, with two holding midfielders, two wingers and James Maddison playing as a No.10 behind Vardy. That role for Maddison was referenced by Gareth Southgate when explaining why he hadn’t made the England senior squad for their recent friendlies. England doesn’t play with a No.10, so how could Maddison justify a place despite his outrageous chance created statistics? (In Europe’s top five leagues this season, only one player – Memphis Depay – has carved out more.)

Brendan Rodgers - The Masterminder Behind Leicester City's Title Hopes 9

Rodgers has changed Leicester’s midfield shape to a 4-1-4-1 formation that easily shifts to a 4-3-3. Wilfred Ndidi is the deep-lying playmaker who breaks things up but then delivers quick passes when the ball is won, earning significant praise from his new manager. Youri Tielemans has been pushed higher up the pitch and closer to Vardy; a move that has transformed Leicester. The Belgian’s passing has always been exemplary, but now he’s doing his work in the final third.

On the left, Leicester are fluid and hugely effective. Maddison has scope to drift wide and find space, a move that instantly makes him more attractive to Southgate and England. Harvey Barnes is not a natural winger and so drifts infield, but that allows the marauding Ben Chilwell to make forays.

Diplomatic Build-up Play

One of the criticisms of Puel’s tactics was that Leicester too often relied upon counter-attacking football and was stumped against teams that sat back against them. That style of the attack had been so memorably effective in 2015/16 but was undone by Leicester’s defensive deficiency. No team can invite pressure successfully when the team cannot actually deal with it. More so, another factor is Leicester’s frailties and inefficiencies on the break.

Rodgers prefers a different plan; methodical and considered build-up in Leicester’s own half before passing through midfield. That’s the style that he used so successfully at Celtic, honed by the demand from supporters to be proactive rather than reactive.

READ ALSO: Philippe Coutinho Costing Bayern Munich £563,000 A Game

Looking at the passing statistics to note the obvious change. In Rodgers’ first five games, Leicester have completed an average of 402 passes per game, and that includes a game against Burnley during which they played for virtually the entire game with 10 men and gave away possession. In the five matches, before Rodgers arrived, the average was 341 successful passes.

There’s more. The average number of successful passes in their own half in the five games prior to Rodgers’ appointment was 149, but that has risen to a whopping 205 (again, including Burnley). Leicester’s top three matches for passes completed in their own half have all come in Rodgers’ first five matches in charge.

 Approaching Each Game With Magnanimity

It would be one-sided to pour praise on the ‘Rodgers Effect‘ without pointing out that Leicester’s new manager chose the perfect time to take over. If his departure from Celtic before the end of the season was fuelled partly by his deteriorating relationship with Celtic’s hierarchy, he must have also looked at Leicester’s fixture list and realized that this was the perfect opportunity to generate some easy goodwill.

Brendan Rodgers - The Masterminder Behind Leicester City's Title Hopes 10

The Foxes have now won eight consecutive league games for the first time ever in the Top Flight. Their opponents in those eight games are currently ranked 17th(Aston Villa), 20th (Watford), 14th (Everton), 12th (Brighton),  11th (Arsenal), 9th (Crystal Palace), 18th (Southampton) and 13th (Burnley) in the table. It’s not as if Leicester were blowing away bottom-half teams under Puel, but Rodgers has merely done what would have been expected of him in terms of results.

They now face Norwich and Manchester City with the chance to record ten straight league wins for the first time in Premier League history. That would be quite a tedious period for Rodgers.

The Northern Irish manager will be hoping to catch up on the League leaders (Liverpool) after the last season Champions (Manchester City) seem to have lost the League by not doing the needful and are currently sits on the 3rd position trailing The Foxes by 6 points. Liverpool meanwhile will have to play a total of 10 games this month with as they look forward to winning the Club World Cup.

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Bundesliga

2 Potential Manager To Replace Hansi Flick

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2 Potential Manager To Replace Hansi Flick 11

Hansi Flick awesome reign with the Bavarian giant is gradually winding down, as it’s looking likely that he may not further manage the Die Roten next season.

Bayern Munich’s quest to win the Champions League consecutively came to end on Tuesday night, via the UEFA’s away goal rules having lost the first leg at home to Paris Saint Germain in the quarter-finals despite being the better side at home.

The Bavarian giant will now focus on league duty and they’re no doubt the team in pole position to win the Bundesliga, as the 2020-21 campaign is gradually coasting home with fewer games left to be played. In that regard, there is a great need for Die Roten to start preparing for next season administration and coaching wise.

The friction relationship between Hansi Flick and the Sports Director has broken down to such as extent that the manager has decided to terminate his current contract.

Hansi Flick sent shock waves through German football on Saturday after a 3-2 win over Wolfburg which keeps the Bavarian in pole position to retain the league title. Hansi Flick issued a statement about his decision to exit when the current campaign draws to a close.

“I told the team today that I informed the club during the week, after the game in Paris, I would like to terminate my contract at the end of the season.

“It was important to me that the team learn this from me because there was already a lot of hallway rumours going around.

“We’ve done a great job together for almost two years. I’m absolutely impressed with this team, their quality and their attitude.”

He added: “I also want to thank the club that gave me the chance to manage this incredible team.

“This decision was not easy for me. I’m a fan of this club. Gerd Müller, Paul Breitner, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge all were childhood idols for me.

“I’m eternally grateful to the club for the chance they gave me to become head coach here.”

It’s quite evident that a new manager would be appointed to pave way for a new rebuild of the team especially with the looming departure of David Alaba, Jerome Boateng, and Javi Martinez.

Two potential top managers that could succeed Hansi Flick, should he accept Die Mannschaft managerial position.

  • Julien Nagelsmann – (RB Leipzig)

2 Potential Manager To Replace Hansi Flick

Nagelsmann has been rumoured as a possible replacement to succeed not one but many managers in Europe’s top-flight leagues whose future with their respective clubs are not guaranteed. This time around, the 33-year-old has been rumoured to be one of the possible potential managers to succeed Hansi Flick.

It could be argued that Nagelsmann is the tailor-made manager to take over the reins at the Allianz Arena, and there is no doubt RB Leipzig manager would certainly harbour the dream of managing one of the biggest clubs in Europe.

Nagelsmann is presently focusing on the job at hand with RB Leipzig, plus the fact that he’s still under contract with his employers until the end of the 2022-23 season.

With RB Leipzig and Nagelsmann flying high in the Bundesliga in terms of team performances, with next season European football spot already secured, the club’s Executive Director Oliver Mintzlaff may consider letting him leave to join their rival.

However, it’s left to be seen how things would shape up at the end of the campaign.

READ ALSO: 10 Managers Currently Managing Former Clubs

  • Jurgen Klopp – (Liverpool)

2 Potential Manager To Replace Hansi Flick

The relationship the German tactician has achieved thus far with Liverpool started in 2015 when he joined the Kop from Borussia Dortmund, since then he has achieved quite an incredible success with the Reds winning their first league title after thirty years and a Champions League triumph.

Liverpool were eliminated early in both domestic cup competitions and failed to progress past the quarter-finals of the Champions League, and it’s quite impossible to say that the Kop will defend their title with their current epileptic form in the Premier League especially when it’s looking done and dusted that the cityzen would clinch the title.

Having used close to six years with Liverpool since he joined the Anfield side, this could be the perfect time for the former Borussia Dortmund manager to take up a new challenge. However, despite Liverpool’s unpalatable 2020-21 campaign, the German has often reiterated that he is in no way finished at Liverpool, despite been link to the Bayern Munich and Die Mannschaft managerial position.

Given his incredible success with BVB, it’s quite evident that he would one day go on to manage either Die Roten or Die Mannschaft. Should Bayern secure the service of Klopp, he would certainly be the right and wise choice for the Bavarian giant.

 

Conclusion:

At the end of the campaign, there would be a breath of fresh air in the Bavarian giant camp, with the new CEO Oliver Kahn taking the mantle of leadership from Karl-Heinz Rummenigge. In that sense, it’s left to be seen if the incoming leader would sanction the appointment of a new manager or stick with Hansi Flick. Only time would tell.

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Europe

3 Premier League Flops Who Made It Big Elsewhere

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3 Premier League Flops Who Made It Big Elsewhere

The English Premier League has welcomed some of the best players in the history of football. Players from different continents have made a huge impact on the league with impressive performances. There are others who failed to impress and can be termed as flops.

The League is quite unique from other European leagues. It is more competitive, fierce, physically challenging in nature. Needless to say, a player who isn’t mentally and physically geared up for this will stumble under the pressure.

Established stars can fall by the wayside with their former successes and triumphs becoming nothing more than a footnote in the EPL. Impressively, some of these players put in impressive performances when they moved to other leagues.

3 Premier League Flops Who Made It Big In Other Leagues

  • Paulinho

3 Premier League Flops Who Made It Big Elsewhere

Following the impending sale of Gareth Bale to Real Madrid, Tottenham bought several players, one of the players they bought was Paulinho.

Paulinho was signed from Corinthians in Brazil where he helped them win the Copa Libertadores, Brasileirao, and the FIFA Club World Cup.

They defeated Chelsea in the latter to lift the trophy. Importantly, he had just won the FIFA Confederations Cup with Brazil and was voted as the third-best player at the tournament.

He joined Tottenham as the club’s record signing in 2013, so a lot was expected of him. However, his performance was not as impressive as the club had envisaged. He was later sold to Guangzhou Evergrande in China at a loss.

The Brazilian’s transfer to the Chinese league resulted in a change of fortunes, as helped the club claim the Chinese league and the AFC Champions League title in his first season.

In the second, he was voted into the Chinese League team of the year in recognition of his performance. Also, he won the league, FA Cup, and Super Cup.

Although critics downplayed his performance, citing the standard of the Chinese league compared to the English league, Paulinho impressed in Spain too following a €40 million move to Barcelona.

Paulinho helped the club claim the league and the Copa del Rey trophy. His performance in his only season with Barcelona impressed Ronaldinho who said: “He really stood out.”

  • Iago Aspas

3 Premier League Flops Who Made It Big Elsewhere

Most Premier League fan remembers Aspas only as a Liverpool flop with the number 9 jersey. Aspas moved from boyhood club Celta Vigo to Liverpool for a deal estimated to be around £7.7 m, with Liverpool hoping to have unearthed a gem. However, that gem turns dregs, failing to score in any of his 14 league appearances.

After just one season, Liverpool decided that they have seen enough so they sent him on a season-long loan to Sevilla with an obligation to buy. In his season-long loan at the club, he was the joint top scorer in the Copa del Rey alongside Neymar with 7 goals and won the UEFA Europa League.

At the end of his season-long loan at Sevilla, the club signed him from Liverpool but sold him to Celta Vigo in the same transfer window. In every of his first 5 seasons at Celta Vigo, he scored in double digits.

In fact, in three of the 5 seasons, he won the Zarra Trophy awarded to the Spanish player with the most league goals in a season. As of December 2020, Aspas had won La Liga player of the month four times.

READ ALSO: 10 Premier League Players With Most Own Goals

  • Diego Forlan

3 Premier League Flops Who Made It Big Elsewhere

Perhaps, the most notable and interesting English Premier League flop who became a star in another League. He was not just impressive in another league; he was extraordinary with his National team Uruguay.

Sir Alex Ferguson signed Forlan in 2001 following the attacker’s impressive form at Independiente in Argentina. In his first season in England, Forlan made 18 appearances but failed to score a single goal. The two seasons after were not impressive either, hence his transfer to Villarreal.

Impressively, Forlan scored 25 league goals in his first season with Villarreal and won the league’s top scorers award (2004/05). Also, he was awarded the European Golden Shoe award alongside Thierry Henry the same year. He left the club two seasons later for Atletico with 59 goals scored in 128 matches.

In his second season with Atletico Madrid (2008/09), Forlan beat Samuel Eto’o to the Spanish league’s top scorer’s award. He scored 32 league goals in 33 league appearances that season which earned him the Pichichi trophy. Again, he won the European Golden Shoe but this time it was not shared with anyone.

The next season (2009/10), Forlan played a key role as Atletico won the Europa League. He scored six times in the tournament, including two in the 2-1 win over Fulham in the final. He was voted as the man of the match in the final.

With his national team, he was just as impressive; he scored the most goals at the 2010 FIFA World Cup alongside Thomas Muller, Wesley Sneijder, and David Villa.

Furthermore, he was voted into the FIFA World Cup dream team and won the Golden Ball and goal of the tournament title. By the time he retired, he was Uruguay’s highest goal scorer in history, a record which has since been broken by Luis Suarez.

Forlan eventually became so good that some Football fans think he is the caliber of player that could have won the Ballon d’Or.

 

Conclusion

There are several reasons why players struggle when they change clubs, especially to other countries. Culture, language, teammates, family are some factors that can affect their performances.

These 3 cases show that a player may fail to perform in one league but go on to become a star in another league.

 

 

 

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