February 28, 2017

FREE KICKS: Ranieri’s sacking was heart-breakingly necessary

by Dan Bilicki In: Soccer

For the second year in a row, the defending Premier League champions have sacked their manager.

And, to be fair, it already looks like the right move.

It’s hard not to feel for Claudio Ranieri, who was dismissed by the flailing Foxes late last week, but it was fairly evident that the team wasn’t competing for him anymore. Just look at Leicester’s record in 2017 and it’s very apparent: Leicester City hadn’t scored a Premier League goal since the calendar turned over and had just a single point, plunging the club into the relegation zone.

Ranieri was heartbroken by the news, understandably. He said his dream had died with the firing and that’s no exaggeration after how he lifted this underdog team to the loftiest of heights last season.

This was different than Chelsea sacking Jose Mourinho last season. Mourinho is known for his short stays with teams, creating a circus-like atmosphere at Chelsea after winning the title and then seeing the wheels explode off the wagon. We know of the Special One as more of a mercenary manager, not like the humble Tinkerman, who legitimately looks like he cares for every player under his charge.

But results are the bottom line and the board couldn’t hold off on the inevitable any longer.

Of course, as predictable as the sun rising in the east, so did the Foxes against Liverpool on Monday.

Jamie Vardy was reinvigorated, scoring twice, while Danny Drinkwater blasted in a highlight-reel volley as well. The high-flying Reds were contained as Jurgen Klopp’s side once again fell to a team far below it in the table.

Where Leicester City goes from here and if the sacking of Ranieri inspires them to achieve safety from relegation remains to be seen, but if this team can turn it around down the stretch, the Foxes may put a happy ending on this tragedy after all.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK

For the second time in six games, Harry Kane netted a hat trick to lead Tottenham to an easy victory.

He also picked up an assist against Stoke, but that’s only a nice bonus to those three goals.

The frustrating thing about Kane is his inconsistency of finding his name on the scoresheet. Sure, those six goals in the two games are amazing, but in the four games in between, he scored once.

Taking a look at the teams he has netted against this season, only one of his 17 goals have come against a top-six side – in a 1-1 draw with Arsenal.

There’s no doubt that Kane is talented and these scoring binges are nice, but for Spurs and their English striker to truly reach world-class level, he needs to step up against the big clubs and do so more consistently.

AROUND THE LEAGUE

Bournemouth keeper Artur Boruc seems to pop up on the highlight shows more for his gaffes than for his positive plays. This weekend, he fanned on a clearing punch and the ball somehow got behind him for an easy winner for West Brom … Swansea may have been level with Chelsea at the half, but this game was never in doubt for the title favourites. As much as the Swans tried to repel the Blues, there was no stopping this irresistible force … Cesc Fabregas is now tied for second in Premier League history with 102 career assists and it’s another Blues legend he shares the mark with: Frank Lampard, who was honoured at halftime on Saturday. The Spaniard has quite the way to go to catch all-time leader Ryan Giggs at 162, though … Sunderland has now spend 175 days in the relegation zone. You have to wonder if David Moyes will make it through the season if the club doesn’t pick things up … Romelu Lukaku’s 60th career goal with Everton ties him for the club record. Did we mention he’s only 23-years-old yet? … That win for Big Sam’s Crystal Palace was a big six-pointer against Middlesbrough in the relegation fight. It was also yet another game that Boro couldn’t find the net.

THE LAST WORD

Manchester United is now the most-decorated club in English football history – but it didn’t come without some controversy.

Manolo Gabbiadini had his hat-trick goal – the potential game-winner disallowed because of offside, despite the fact that the Southampton forward was quite clearly onside.

The Saints player making a run behind him was offside, but he had no impact on the play.

Of course, United could come back down and win it on a nice header from Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Quite simply, the ref got it wrong and Southampton could’ve hoisted the “prestigious” EFL Cup, but such is life. It’s just another case that video review is needed in games of this level and importance. The calls need to be right with so much on the line.

This title is the 42nd for Manchester United, passing Liverpool’s 41 and essentially guaranteeing it will hold the claim as England’s top dogs for at least a calendar year, with the Reds out of the FA Cup and lagging behind Chelsea in the EPL table.

Follow me on Twitter @danbilicki

1 Comment

  1. This article will assist the internet people for building up new weblog or even a weblog from start to end.

Leave a Reply