Leicesters Premier League title charge was built on exhilarating attacking in the first half of the season, but their mean defence is coming to the fore now. Ahead of their meeting with Southampton on Super Sunday, we take a look at how the high-flying Foxes have adapted… When Leicester sat top of the table at Christmas it was largely thanks to a formidable record of 37 goals in 17 games. Jamie Vardys record-breaking scoring run had propelled the relegation-favourites to unthinkable heights, but when his goals started drying up it was widely anticipated the magic would fade and the Foxes would start to slide.Their defensive record did not exactly cry out solidity, after all. Leicester had conceded 24 times in those 17 games - the same number as relegation-threatened Swansea - and it wasnt until late October that Claudio Ranieri had to come good on his promise of pizza to reward their first clean sheet of the season. Three months on, however, and Leicesters players are dining on pizza almost every week. Last weekends victory over Crystal Palace was their fourth 1-0 win in five games, and Premier League viewers have become accustomed to seeing them at the top of the pile.The Foxes are now just seven games away from making history with a title challenge that is rapidly gathering momentum. Leicesters Premier League record before and after Christmas Leicester 2015/16 Before Christmas After Christmas Games played 17 14 Wins 11 8 Draws 5 4 Losses 1 2 Goals scored 37 17 Goals conceded 24 7 Clean sheets 3 9 Leicester remain a deadly force on the counter-attack, but the statistics illustrate how the emphasis has shifted since Christmas. Before then, the Foxes were averaging 2.2 goals per game, but they have only netted 17 times in 14 outings since then at a rate of just 1.2 goals per game.Despite the drop-off in goals scored, however, Leicesters results have remained consistent, with their average points per game only falling slightly (from 2.4 before Christmas to 2.0 afterwards) while their lead at the top of the table continues to grow. Leicesters Premier League record before and after Christmas Leicester 2015/16 Before Christmas After Christmas Goals per game 2.2 1.2 Shots on target per game 5.1 3.9 Goals conceded per game 1.4 0.5 Shots on target faced per game 4.2 3.4 Points per game 2.2 2.0 A run of four shut-outs in five games has highlighted their defensive resilience in recent weeks, but the stinginess has been apparent for months. Since Christmas, and with help from midfield enforcer NGolo Kante, a first-choice back five of Kasper Schmeichel, Danny Simpson, Robert Huth, Wes Morgan and Christian Fuchs has only been breached seven times.Once we got that first clean sheet, it cemented the idea in peoples heads that keeping a clean sheet is a great foundation to build upon, said back-up goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer on Sky Sports News HQ. Weve got players who will always score goals, so if you can keep a clean sheet when the season gets tighter and the pressure starts to mount, you can win games by the odd goal. Mark Schwarzer highlights Leicesters defence as the key to their recent form Having found defensive shut-outs so hard to come by at the start of the campaign, Leicester have now kept nine in their last 13 games. In the same period, no other Premier League side has managed more than seven. They have the look of champions about them, noted Sky Sports pundit Jamie Redknapp in his Daily Mail column - and hes not the only one to have been impressed.They dont give a lot away, said Crystal Palace manager Alan Pardew after Riyad Mahrezs first-half strike settled last weekends game at Selhurst Park. Theyre underestimated defensively. Theyve got energy and theyre up to the ball all the time. Theyre tight and its difficult to create against them. Most Premier League clean sheets since Christmas Team Clean sheets Leicester 9 Southampton 7 Arsenal 6 Manchester City 6 The two centre-halves are confident in possession, they rarely make mistakes and they dont slash at clearances. They make good clearances from their defensive third and theyre fast. They have a lovely balance to the team and you have to admire them.Leicester have also had to adapt to their opponents attempts to nullify their goalscoring threat. The Foxes thrived in the first half of the season by ceding possession to their rivals, waiting for mistakes and springing forward on the counter-attack, but since their 2-1 defeat to Arsenal the likes of Norwich and West Brom have played them at their own game. Kasper Schmeichel, Robert Huth and Christian Fuchs have shone in recent weeks The Foxes have therefore averaged 53.4 per cent possession in the last five games compared to 40.5 per cent earlier in the season. The enforced change of approach has resulted in fewer opportunities for Ranieris attackers to get in behind, but their defensive solidity has made the difference at the other end.Leicester are now within touching distance of one of the most extraordinary achievements in football history, and while Mahrez and Vardy are likely to battle it out for the player of the year gong, they are certainly not the only individuals who are due a considerable share of the credit. Leicesters remarkable stats We look at the numbers behind Leicesters Premier League title charge Also See: Leicesters remarkable stats Leicester to slip up? Ranieri remaining grounded Mahrez: Title getting close Leandro Paredes AS Roma Jersey
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. According to a report from the Vancouver Province, the Lions are expected to replace former DC Rich Stubler with defensive backs coach Mark Washington.NASHVILLE -- The Pittsburgh Penguins needed a boost to snap a three-game skid. They got it from Tanner Glass, who blocked shot after shot after shot by Nashville Predators captain Shea Weber. Glass got in front of five shots, Matt Niskanen scored his second goal of the game 7:29 into the third period, and the Penguins beat the Predators 3-1 on Tuesday night. "We saw Tanner Glass come up with some huge blocks in the first period on Shea Weber," Pittsburgh coach Dan Bylsma said. "Three in a row on probably the hardest shot in the league taking those, and they did a great job and again we stuck with it. ... I thought we got a great win for our team." Glass said his job is to be in the lane when Weber is trying to shoot on the power play. Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury said the blocked shots off the stick of the Predators defenceman provided a lift similar to a big goal or a fight. "You know its coming hard and heavy," Fleury said of Webers shot. "But (Glass) still goes and makes the save. My hat goes off to him." The Penguins helped ruin the return of Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne in his first game since Oct. 22 following an E. coli infection in his surgically repaired left hip. Niskanens winning goal came during a power play. The NHLs best unit went 1 for 5 with the man advantage. Sidney Crosby found Niskanen for a slap shot that went under Rinnes glove. "Hes a really good goalie, and he is very tough to beat," Niskanen said. "It was a really great effort by us. A lot of guys did well, and it was a good team effort." Chris Kunitz scored a goal, and Crosby had three assists to add to his NHL-leading point total. The Penguins have not lost more than three straight this season, and this win sets them up for the final three games on their longest road trip this season. Patric Hornqvist scored for Nashville, which has lost two consecutive games. Rinne made 16 saves in his return. He had surgery on his hip on May 9 and needed a seconnd operation because of the infection on Oct.dddddddddddd24. He rejoined the Predators on Monday after stopping 33 of 35 shots in a two-game conditioning stint in Milwaukee. "Its great to be back," Rinne said. "Its been a pretty long time so it means a lot to me to be able to be back, play at home, and the fans have been great to me. It made me feel really good but still we lost the game and thats tough to take." Fans welcomed him back with a huge roar during introductions and chanted his name after his first big save. Crosby sent a cross-ice pass to Kunitz that Rinne blocked by sticking out his right pad. The two-time Vezina Trophy finalist stopped Kunitz again on a breakaway later in the first period. Nashville thought it had a 1-0 lead when Paul Gaustad had the puck go off his right shin past Fleury off a rebound of a shot by Nick Spaling. But after a long review, officials disallowed the goal because of a distinct kicking motion by Gaustad. "They called it a goal on the ice," Nashville coach Barry Trotz said. "I looked at it, and there was a motion but it was more of a stopping motion to me. (He) is trying to run to the net and not run over the goalie." The Penguins scored first when Crosby skated around the net and found Niskanen in the right circle for a one-timer that squeezed between Rinne and the post 27 seconds into the second. Nashville answered 12 seconds later as Hornqvists wrister off a rebound beat Fleury. Pittsburgh sealed the win when Crosby fed Kunitz in the slot for a slap shot with 17:05 left. It was the 28th goal this season for Kunitz and the 200th of his career, giving the large contingent of Penguins fans plenty to celebrate. NOTES: Penguins forward Chuck Kobasew played his 600th NHL game after being placed on waivers Monday. ... Pittsburgh has killed 12 straight penalties over four consecutive road games. ... Predators coach Barry Trotz is 6-3-1 in Nashville against the Penguins. ... Hornqvist has two goals and four assists in his last eight games. Cheap NFL Jerseys Wholesale Jerseys Wholesale NFL Jerseys Jerseys From China Wholesale NFL Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys Cheap Jerseys Cheap Jerseys
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