Leicester City

Season Review: November Defined By Emotional Victory At Cardiff

The Leicester City family came together in November to pay tribute to the Club's beloved late chairman, Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, with an unbeaten run of four fixtures.
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Following Khun Vichai's tragic passing, alongside four others in late October, the Foxes defeated Cardiff City just seven days later on an emotional afternoon in South Wales. 

City's first home game after, meanwhile, included a day of tributes at King Power Stadium ahead of a 0-0 stalemate with Burnley, which was followed by a 1-1 draw at Brighton & Hove Albion.

In Leicester's final outing of the month, on the other hand, a 6-5 victory on penalties over Southampton on Filbert Way sealed a place in the quarter-finals of the Carabao Cup.

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Demarai Gray
Demarai Gray

Cardiff City 0 Leicester City 1
Saturday 3 November, 2018
Premier League
Cardiff City Stadium
Gray 55'

Leicester City’s first game since the tragic passing of Chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha ended in an emotional 1-0 victory over Cardiff City.

Warming up in tribute t-shirts marked ‘The Boss, Khun Vichai, you will be forever in our hearts’ and wearing black armbands, the Foxes summoned the strength to return to action.

Over 3,000 Foxes fans made the 300-mile round trip and also wore tributary t-shirts, as the Club united to pay their respects to a man that touched the lives of so many.

City’s performance was one Khun Vichai would have been proud of. They showed determination and resilience and played some fine, flowing football at Cardiff City Stadium.

After a wonderfully-observed minute’s silence, the game got underway. Bobby Decordova-Reid and Victor Camarasa both had opportunities for the hosts inside the opening five minutes, while Kasper Schmeichel was on hand to hold onto another Decordova-Reid attempt midway through the first half.

It was at that moment that Harry Maguire had to receive some treatment on the pitch following an earlier challenge with Callum Paterson. The central defender tried to carry on, but was eventually replaced by Jonny Evans.

Camarasa then struck the crossbar with a fierce strike, before City midfielder Wilfred Ndidi headed James Maddison’s corner wide of the mark from six yards out.

First Team

Goals: Cardiff City 0 Leicester City 1

Watch Demarai Gray's goal that sealed all three points in an emotional afternoon at the Cardiff City Stadium.

A flurry of goalscoring chances followed for Claude Puel’s men. First, Ricardo Pereira and Maddison were both denied by Neil Etheridge in quick succession, before Jamie Vardy’s strike hit former Fox Sol Bamba’s hand on the line. The ball bounced up onto the woodwork and the visiting side’s penalty appeals were waved away.

Leicester burst out of the blocks after the break, as Maddison and Evans both went close, before Schmeichel did brilliantly to remain alert to Josh Murphy’s effort at the front post.

Then came the decisive moment. Academy graduate Ben Chilwell raced down the left wing and delivered into Demarai Gray, who side-footed home on his first Premier League start since mid-September.

City’s celebration was a particularly poignant one. After Gray had revealed a special ‘For Khun Vichai’ message under his shirt, the squad showed their togetherness by collectively applauding the Blue Army, who throughout the game passionately chanted the name of our late Chairman. 

The Foxes were tested at times after Gray’s goal, but were intent on delivering all three Premier League points, as Ndidi had to clear Bamba’s overhead kick off the line.

Chances to make it 2-0 then fell to Evans and Vardy, as the former headed wide, before the latter saw his shot saved by the legs of Etheridge.

However, Gray’s goal proved to be enough, and after the game, the entire City squad and backroom staff made their way over to the away end, where Khun Vichai’s name continued to ring out.

The Club’s players, staff and fans were not just celebrating a win, but they were also celebrating the life of a man that made the dreams of Leicester City supporters a reality.

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The Leicester City family
The Leicester City family

Leicester City 0 Burnley 0
Saturday 10 November, 2018
Premier League
King Power Stadium

Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha built a family at Leicester City. On Saturday 10 November, that family came together, united as one.

In an expression of gratitude for our late Chairman, we paid respect to Khun Vichai in the only way we know how – with the values of love that he instilled in us.

An overwhelming day for everyone associated with the Football Club started, for many, in Jubilee Square, where thousands of supporters gathered for a march across the city of Leicester, ending at the floral tributes which have consoled and comforted us all.

Others came from further afield. There were tales of fans travelling from Australia, the United States and South Africa. Some didn’t even have match tickets. They just wanted to be there to say a final goodbye to a man who transformed the Club beyond all recognition.

Following two weeks of mourning, after a helicopter accident at King Power Stadium which claimed five lives, the Club has forged an unbreakable togetherness in such tragic circumstances.

“Without him, none of it would have been possible,” said Alan ‘The Birch’ Birchenall, our Club Ambassador, stood in the centre of the pitch, referring to Leicester's stunning 2016 Premier League title. 

As the players - wearing tribute t-shirts - completed their preparations amid the privacy of the dressing room, the Blue Army, scarves aloft, held back tears as a beautiful tribute video played on the big screens.

There were tears for the people we lost and cheers for the memories we shared. As Khun Top wrote in his programme notes: "Together, we’ll help each other come to terms with this."

City's players - in shirts embroidered with 'Khun Vichai: Forever In Our Hearts' around the Club's crest - emerged soon after to the familiar tune of the Post-Horn Gallop.

Then came a two-minute’s silence, in honour of Khun Vichai, his four on-board companions, and the sacrifices of servicemen and women in conflicts past and present.

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Emotional Khun Vichai Tribute Played On Big Screen

The Blue Army, scarves aloft, held back tears as a beautiful tribute video played on the big screens on Saturday.

It was beautifully observed by both Leicester City and Burnley supporters. For two minutes, the football family put old rivalries aside in respect of a man who changed the landscape of English football.

The match which followed, a 0-0 draw, saw City’s players battle their emotions to deliver a performance of spirit and courage that Khun Vichai would have been immensely proud of.

Jamie Vardy went close early on, forcing Matt Lowton to clear off the line, while Rachid Ghezzal was unfortunate to send a header onto the bar. At half-time, the squad returned to the action with poppies on their shirt, as part of the Club's annual Remembrance Fixture tributes. 

On 60 minutes - to mark Khun Vichai's age when he died - all four stands took to their feet once again. 'Champions of England, you made us sing that,' they sung.

Ultimately, Sean Dyche's Burnley, who were defensively excellent, did enough to stop the home side from scoring.

There may not have been a goal to celebrate, but Saturday 10 November was about more than football. The images of Leicester which have been broadcast across the world - of the Club and the city - is proof of that.

At full-time, Khun Top appeared from the tunnel, first as a silhouette, before emerging in full to thank the Leicester City family for their words of comfort.

He was followed by Claudio Ranieri, Nigel Pearson, Craig Shakespeare, Steve Walsh, Robert Huth and Esteban Cambiasso, six people who need no introduction to anyone with Leicester City in their hearts.

The sight of them alongside the modern day squad, an exciting, young collective, was yet another expression of the family Khun Vichai built. 

He was a family man and a father to four loving children; Aiyawatt, Apichet, Voramas, and Aroonroong, and husband to Aimon.

In 2010, he welcomed us into that family. This weekend, that extended family said goodbye. 

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Jamie Vardy
Jamie Vardy

Brighton & Hove Albion 1 Leicester City 1
Saturday 24 November, 2018
Premier League
Amex Stadium
Murray 15'; Vardy pen 79'

Leicester City recovered from a goal and a man down to register a hard-earned 1-1 Premier League draw with Brighton & Hove Albion at AMEX Stadium.

Claude Puel made three changes to the side that drew 0-0 with Burnley before the final international break of the year, as Vicente Iborra, Shinji Okazaki and Demarai Gray all returned to the starting XI.

The Foxes had a penalty appeal turned down inside three minutes when Okazaki – making his first Premier League start of the season – appeared to be fouled in the Brighton area, but there was nothing given.

On 12 minutes, Kasper Schmeichel made a crucial save to deny Beram Kayal from a one-on-one situation, before former Fox Anthony Knockaert had two efforts blocked just two minutes later.

Knockaert turned provider on 15 minutes, though, as he sent a corner into Glenn Murray, who headed in at the front post to open the scoring on the south coast.

City’s difficulties intensified on 28 minutes, as James Maddison, booked two minutes prior, received a second yellow card for simulation inside the Seagulls box.

First Team

Jamie Vardy Levels Against Brighton

Jamie Vardy scores from the penalty spot to secure the Foxes a point at the AMEX Stadium.

Then, just after the half-hour mark, Iborra was forced off after picking up a knock, capping a tough first half in Brighton.

Puel’s men were much improved after the break, however, and the introduction of Jamie Vardy on 55 minutes provided City with a huge boost.

A minute later, Schmeichel had to be alert to a hooked effort from Brighton defender Shane Duffy, but from then on, Leicester dictated the play.

A scrappy period ensued, but when substitute Kelechi Iheanacho was brought down in the area by Kayal, Vardy had the opportunity to level matters.

The No.9 stepped up and slammed his spot kick into the top corner, sending Mat Ryan the wrong way before celebrating in front of the Blue Army.

Iheanacho, who was earlier denied by Ryan, had the chance to win it for City with two minutes to play, only for his low effort to fly just inches wide of the post.

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Caglar Soyuncu
Caglar Soyuncu

Leicester City 0 Southampton 0 (6-5 on pens)
Tuesday 27 November, 2018
Carabao Cup Fourth Round
King Power Stadium

Leicester City beat Southampton 6-5 on penalties following a goalless draw at King Power Stadium to advance to the Carabao Cup Quarter-Finals.

A much-changed Foxes side saw just two players remain from the clash with Brighton & Hove Albion, as Demarai Gray and Jonny Evans retained their spots in the starting XI.

Danny Simpson was handed a first start of the season at right-back, while goalkeeper Danny Ward continued his Carabao Cup involvement following his shootout exploits in the previous round against Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Despite midfielder Adrien Silva stabbing an effort on goal inside the opening 60 seconds, goalscoring opportunities were at a premium throughout the 90 minutes.

Silva’s long-range effort on 20 minutes was then easily saved by stopper Angus Gunn, while Ward was on hand to smother Michael Obafemi’s shot just moments later.

On the stroke of half-time, Jamie Vardy got in behind the Southampton backline and his cross to Gray was nearly turned into the back of his own net by central defender Jannick Vestergaard.

After the interval, Nigeria international Kelechi Iheanacho headed a deflected Gray strike off target on the hour mark, before a double change saw Shinji Okazaki and Papy Mendy introduced.

First Team

Penalties: Leicester City 6-5 Southampton

Watch the full penalty shootout between the Foxes and the Saints as City booked their place in the Carabao Cup Quarter-Finals...

City were awarded a huge let off on 63 minutes. Nathan Redmond struck the underside of Ward’s crossbar and Obafemi side-footed the rebound wide in front of an open goal.

Half-chances for Fousseni Diabaté, Okazaki and Gray came as the game began to gather pace, while on 84 minutes, substitute Steven Davis found the back of the net. However, after a VAR decision, the Saints midfielder’s effort was ruled out for handball.

City also had VAR review of their own when Evans appeared to be fouled in the Southampton box, but there was nothing given.

Deep into stoppage time, with penalties looming, Ward had to pull off a brilliant stop to tip Manolo Gabbiadini’s free-kick onto the crossbar, as Southampton nearly snatched victory with seconds to go.

Having saved three penalties in the third round against Wolves, all eyes were on Ward in the shootout – and rightly so.

After Christian Fuchs, Marc Albrighton, Çağlar Söyüncü, Gray and Vardy all converted for City, while Davis, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, Redmond, Vestergaard and Cedric Soares were all on target for Southampton.

Gabbiadini – brought on with a minute to play – was Southampton’s sixth penalty taker, but he would not be their sixth scorer, as a full-stretch Ward brilliantly palmed the Italian’s effort to safety.

That provided Mendy with the opportunity to book City a Carabao Cup Quarter-Finals spot, and the Frenchman did exactly that, sending Gunn the wrong way to win it for the hosts.

November in numbers:

LCFC goals: 2
Top scorer: Gray, Vardy (1 goals)
Premier League standing: 10th

Leicester City Crest

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