Shakespeare sacked by Foxes after sorry run

Leicester have moved to avoid a winter of discontent by sacking manager Craig Shakespeare.

The Foxes relieved Shakespeare of his duties on Tuesday following Monday's 1-1 draw with West Brom which left the 2015-16 champions 18th in the Premier League on the back of one win and three draws. 

Ex-England boss Sam Allardyce is the early 7-4 favourite with Sky Bet, while Paddy Power go 3-1 about the former Crystal Palace, West Ham and Newcastle gaffer.

Northern Ireland and Ireland are odds-against to reach the World Cup finals after being drawn to face Switzerland and Denmark in the playoff round.

Of the pair Ireland (a best-priced 5-4 to qualify and 4-5 to fall short) are perceived to have the better chance of making it to Russia and have the advantage of playing the second leg of next month's tie in Dublin.

However, Martin O'Neill's side will have to play the first leg in Copenhagen without midfielder David Meyler, who serves a one-match suspension.

A tougher task awaits Northern Ireland, who take on Switzerland in Belfast before playing the decisive second leg at St-Jakob Park, Basel.

Michael O'Neill's men are 5-2 to become the first Northern Ireland side to make it to a World Cup finals since 1986 and 4-11 to miss out.

There will be some relief in the Ireland and Northern Ireland's camps to have avoided the two big guns - Italy and Croatia.

Italy do battle with Sweden, starting with the first leg in Stockholm, while Greece play Croatia.

Italy are 2-5 to reach the finals, Sweden 2-1, Croatia 4-11 and Greece 5-2.

If Italy were to fall short it would be the first time they have failed to qualify for a World Cup since 1958.

Sweden must play the first leg of the tie without Celtic defender Mikael Lustig, who picked up two yellow cards during the group stage campaign.

Match in Focus

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Cologne v Arsenal

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  • Cologne are bottom of the Bundesliga with two points
Expert verdict
Arsene Wenger has sent out his reserve players throughout this Europa League campaign and that's unlikely to change now Arsenal have secured their spot in the last 32. Cologne are having a shocking season so even a makeshift Gunners outfit could come out on top and Alex Iwobi, fresh from a double for Nigeria against Argentina, can notch first.

 

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