EPL

Rodgers: High-flying Leicester can compete for Europe's top players

By Sports Desk December 06, 2019

Brendan Rodgers believes Leicester City's stellar results and playing style will begin to attract top European players to the King Power Stadium.

The Foxes have won seven straight games in the Premier League to sit second behind leaders Liverpool.

Their only defeats have come away at Manchester United and Liverpool and comparisons have been drawn with Claudio Ranieri's title-winning team of 2015-16.

That side was built on a hard-working cast of unheralded underdogs but Rodgers, appointed in February, expects to soon be competing for more glamorous names.

"We sit outside the so-called bigger clubs but where we sit in the table will make people sit up and take notice," Rodgers said.

"There's also the style in which we play and hopefully that's a marker for players to want to be a part of it.

"Our mission has always been clear, we want to play European football and of course the best players want to play in those competitions.

"I think people can look at ourselves and see how we work and how we play, they will know about the recent history of Leicester. It can be a fantastic club to come and work for. We're playing a style of football where players will improve.

"With the training facility and progress we're making, it's a really exciting prospect."

Rodgers has been linked with a move to managerless Arsenal, but the former Celtic and Liverpool boss quashed speculation earlier this week when he insisted he was "very happy" at Leicester.

The Foxes visit Aston Villa on Sunday.

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    "Another sad day for football. Jack was the type of player and person that you need in a team to win a World Cup," he tweeted.

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    Paul McGrath and John Aldridge were key members of Charlton's Ireland squad and they expressed their sadness at his passing.

    Former centre-back McGrath tweeted: "Absolutely gutted. Father figure to me for 10 years, thanks for having faith in me. Sleep well Jack, Love ya."

    Aldridge, the prolific ex-Liverpool striker, posted on Twitter: "Absolutely gutted that BIG JACK has passed away! What a football man. Loved and adored, specially [sic] in Ireland.

    "The best manager I was lucky to play for. The times we had on and off the pitch was priceless! My thoughts are with Pat and the family! RIP my good friend Never Forgotten !!"

    A message on the Football Association of Ireland's Twitter account said: "The FAI is deeply saddened to learn of the death of Jack Charlton, the manager who changed Irish football forever."

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    Juventus were 2-0 up and coasting at Milan on Tuesday before collapsing in utterly abject fashion.

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    Overall, La Dea have 20 victories this term, which is one shy of the single season record Gasperini set during his first campaign at the helm in 2016-17.


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    If Duvan Zapata manages one more league goal, Atalanta will be the first side to have three players with 15 or more to their name in a Serie A season since Juventus in 1951-52, when Ermes Muccinelli, Giampiero Boniperti and John Hansen accomplished the feat

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    The dazzling firecracker at the creative centre of this explosive attack is Alejandro 'Papu' Gomez, who is set to make his 300th Serie A appearance against Juventus.

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    Gomez has provided at least 10 Serie A assists in each of his four seasons under Gasperini and the former Catania man has 128 goal involvements in Italy's top flight overall (61 goals and 67 assists).


    GATECRASHING EUROPE'S ELITE

    A rampaging last-16 win over Valencia booked Atalanta's place in the Champions League quarter-finals, where they will take on Paris Saint-Germain when Europe's elite club competition lands in Lisbon for its concluding mini-tournament next month.

    Their performances truly are among the very best on the continent

    Only Bayern (100) and Manchester City (86) have scored more league goals than Atalanta's 85 in 2019-20.

    That amounts to an average of 2.74 per game, again the third best in Europe. Dominant Bundesliga winners Bayern edged up to 2.94 per game, while PSG averaged 2.78 across the truncated Ligue 1 season.

    Along with City and Barcelona, Atalanta have scored five or more goals in five separate matches. That can only be bettered in the Bundesliga, where Bayern and Dortmund each did it six times.

    Things are also looking pleasingly tight at the back. In 2020, La Dea have five Serie A clean sheets, edged in the calendar year so far by Juventus and Milan with six apiece.

    Juve certainly should not bank on adding to that number when they host Gasperini's great entertainers. If Atalanta manage to storm Turin, it will be 10 wins in a row and the gap will be six points with six games to play.

    They can't... can they?

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