Weblog: The football punter

Puel can make flying start to Foxes job

Sky Sports Premier League, 4pm Sunday

Claude Puel can get his reign in the Leicester hotseat off to flyer against managerless Everton at the King Power Stadium.

The Frenchman's appointment met with a muted response from fans, but it was the same when Claudio Ranieri was given the job, and that didn't work out too badly.

There is a lack of charisma about Puel which does him few favours in press conferences and in terms of connecting with supporters, particularly when he talks in broken English. But he arrived from France with a decent reputation and was possibly unfairly treated at Southampton.

Saints would no doubt settle for eighth place and a cup final appearance this season, while their record of 41 Premier League goals scored under Puel does not tell the whole story as on all key performance indicators the club was considered unlucky in the final third.

However, the lack of excitement surrounding the appointment means Puel could do with hitting the ground running and City can do just that by landing a hat-trick of wins.

Riyad Mahrez has got back to something like his best in recent weeks and with Jamie Vardy up front Leicester possess two things missing in the Everton ranks - a proper centre-forward and pace.

Sacking Ronald Koeman earlier in the week may well have lifted the dressing-room morale and improved the mood of supporters, but popular caretaker coach David Unsworth is still having to select from a squad which is clearly unbalanced.

Koeman bemoaned Olivier Giroud's decision to turn down the Toffees in the summer, although failing to replace Romelu Lukaku is only part of the problem.

Everton conceded 14 shots on target against Arsenal in last week's 5-2 hammering and Unsworth's first match in charge saw them knocked out of the League Cup at Chelsea.

The away support at Stamford Bridge were quick to acknowledge an improvement in attitude from the squad and at some stage Everton are likely to leave their lowly position well behind, although the opening of the transfer window in January can't come soon enough.

However, the Merseysiders have still won just twice in their last 14 matches and lost eight of their last 12, while only a Wayne Rooney last-gasp penalty in a 1-1 draw at Brighton stopped Everton arriving at the King Power on a run of five straight away defeats.

Rooney has scored four Premier League goals and Oumar Niasse, unfancied by Koeman but at least a proper number nine-type forward, has three but nobody else has scored in the top flight.


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