What’s gone wrong for Leicester City this season?

By Liam Harris

Leicester City fans watched on nervously as their side took on Italian footballing giants AS Roma at the Stadio Olimpico on Thursday night.

A tough test awaited Rodgers and his side who had to try and better footballing genius Jose Mourinho in the second leg.

Leicester’s King Power Stadium

Following a 1-1 draw at the King Power Stadium a week prior, it was always going to be a challenge.

Unfortunately, on what was the Foxes’ first ever European Semi-Final, they came up short when Tammy Abraham headed the Romans into the lead in the 11th minute.

Despite going 2-1 down on aggregate, City looked to fight back with a stronger second half performance but it wasn’t to be. Thus, missing out on the Conference League Final and all but confirming another year without European football for the blues following an underwhelming domestic campaign.

Any cup exit is disappointing, but when you pin all of your hopes onto the only remaining route into it for the next season, going out becomes all the more bitter.

Many Leicester fans can’t help but feel deflated at what they have seen this season with many calling it a ‘write off’. Questions have been asked for many reasons by Foxes fans. So what has gone wrong? Why has it been such a challenging season? Let’s break it down.

Injuries

Ah yes, injuries. Let’s just get this one out of the way. After all, we were all thinking it. One thing we can all agree on is that Leicester may have had one of the most abysmal seasons ever on the injury front.

There have simply been too many to count for City this season with seemingly every matchday squad being plagued with absentees. This crisis seemingly peaked around the turn of the year and has slowly improved since.

However, it has certainly left damaging effects on the side’s league position, sitting 14th at the time of writing this. Re-injuries have been a regular occurrence with players such as Castagne and Maddison falling victim.

Possibly more crucially though, a number of City’s key figures have missed out throughout the campaign with Vardy, Barnes, Fofana and Ndidi all repeatedly being unavailable, among others.

With this sort of constant burden forced upon Rodgers, it has to be said that he’s done the best he can with what he’s had at his disposal.

With the end of the season nearing, many will feel relieved at the chance for some much needed rest for the team.

We can only hope that when the 2022-23 Premier League season kicks off in August, a fully fit squad will be available for the first time in almost 3 years.

Tactics

A common opinion felt by Leicester fans this season has been that at times, perhaps too often, tactical decisions have not paid off.

In fact, many of Rodgers’ decisions have been rather puzzling to some, especially when they have backfired. Strange substitutions and tactical mishaps have happened all too often this season.

Sitting back on a one goal lead and bringing on defenders despite no pressure from the opposition has cost City many points.

One example that comes to mind is substituting on Vestergaard and Bertrand at Liverpool despite a 2 goal lead back in December. As many will remember, Liverpool went on to win on penalties despite a considerably weakened lineup.

That isn’t even the worst example as many will recall Leicester threw away a 2-1 lead against Spurs back in January to lose 3-2 in stoppage time. Something that should never happen when your side is ahead with 2 minutes to play.

Another common criticism from City fans has been the style of football that Rodgers has had his side playing. Many believe the tempo has been too slow and performances have been passive.

November’s 1-1 draw to Leeds, December’s 2-1 loss to Aston Villa and more recently the 2-1 defeat to Everton are just some of the games that many believe City had played with a lacklustre style.

Corners and Stoppage Time

Two of the biggest talking points from Leicester’s season has been their inability to defend set pieces, more so corners.

What began seemingly as bad luck began to be exposed as a bad tactical set up for Rodgers’ side.

Fans picked up that Brendan was assigning zonal marking to his side which left many puzzled. Why were players leaving the opposition’s best headers of the ball free?

Of course, this didn’t work and following Abraham’s winner on Thursday night, the marking came under more scrutiny, with Rodgers seemingly suggesting after the game that he ran out of taller players to mark Abraham and so assigned 5’9 Ricardo to do so.

With one of the worst goals conceded from corners rates in the league, this issue urgently has to be sorted out in pre-season season once and for all.

Finally, stoppage time. Leicester’s other biggest problem has come in the final stages of games, with stoppage time being a nightmare for the Foxes.

In recent weeks Leicester have thrown away points against Everton, Newcastle, Tottenham, Brighton and West Ham in the closing moments of games.

Whether it is down to tactical issues or simply a mental problem is something that can be up for debate but it is clear that hanging onto leads has been a major challenge for City this season.


So what next?

Fear not though Foxes, for the summer is almost upon us. This means a chance for the players to get that well needed rest after a long gruelling campaign. For Rodgers, it is a chance to sort his squad out and get it back to where he wants it to be. He certainly needs to address some issues such as the corners and defending as a whole. That alongside fixing his side’s mentality is a must in the coming months. He will have the summer transfer window to do what he feels he needs to in order to strengthen and one can only assume that Khun Top will allow him to do so following the last 12 months.

A fresh start is something that everyone connected with Leicester City will be keen on and it is certainly needed. A chance to put this campaign in the past and put full focus into the 2022-23 season. A fresh mentality with a fresh squad is to be desired. Rodgers will seemingly look to trim his squad down for the upcoming campaign with the absence of mid-week football for the first time in 2 years. Fresh faces are a must for City come July.

Despite everything though, there have been some positives. The emergence of Dewsbury-Hall in the midfield and Luke Thomas improving spring to mind. This alongside Maddison’s great return on goal contributions has given fans some optimism for the future. Every team goes through bad spells and Leicester are no different. One off season does not define a club. They will bounce back from this and there is no doubt about it. The summer will prove crucial for City, but one thing that won’t change is the belief from the stands. The club prides itself on doing the unimaginable and they will look to do it once more next season. Be optimistic City fans, things will get better. In the words of Jersey Budd, ‘When you’re smiling’.

Both Hinckley AFC and Leicester Road FC likely to be promoted – meaning still no local derby

by Maciej Wojcik

After some perturbations caused by COVID-19 pandemic, Midlands Football Leaugue has been dissolved and replaced by United Counties Leaugue. Teams was placed in two groups of Premier Division and one group of Division One.

Hinckley AFC players (red tops) enter the pitch for one of their matches

Hinckley AFC has been placed in Division One. Club’s Chairman, mr. Bryan White, said: „It based on results from two previous seasons. Top three teams of each groups were placed in Premier Division, and our team was fourth – first below the line. Bad luck.”

As a result, there will be no derby match between local rivals. „There is a high level of hostility between fans of AFC and Leicester Road” – comments mr. White. „The derby game was always very crowdy with record attendances” – he add.

Hinckley AFC had an impressive series of 13 wins in a row in Leaugue and highest victory ever: 18:0 over St Martins in FA Vase competition. However, Mr White believe that the fact that attendance on home matches of AFC doubled is rather an effect of moving the venue closer to Hinckley – from Heather over 20 miles away to Barwell, a neighbour village.

Match day at Hinckley AFC

„We have large number of fans who supporting the team on away matches, as big as 70 people and over” – mr. White said. „The team is performing well and I am happy with work done by team coach, Ryan Conneely.

We were looking for opportunity to play home games in Hinckley, but all options were too expensive for us. Now we have 10 years tenency agreement with Barwell F.C., so we will play home matches in Barwell for at least 8 more years” – said mr White.

Meanwhile, Leicester RoadFC is on the second position of leaugue table in Premier Division South, having played one match less than leading Harborough Town FC and 3 point less than them. Thus, it is unlikely to see Hinckley’s derby in next season.

Christian OnlyFans model Nita Marie on her ‘threesomes’ with God

Faith is a powerful thing – especially when it enters the bedroom. Here, Thomas Carter tells the story of a connection to the Lord that goes far beyond the pulpit…

Christian OnlyFans model Nita Marie, who says she has 'threesomes' with God
IN GOD SHE TRUSTS: Nita Marie (above) believes that a strong connection to faith improves her intimate life (Photo credit: Nita Marie)

By most accounts, Nita Marie is your everyday mother. Loving husband, twin daughters, and a job in sales. Very normal. Apart from the small fact that she is also a nude model. And not just any one at that – but a nude model with a calling from God.

“When I started modelling, I just wanted to learn the art of seduction,” she says, “but now I really feel like God led me to this.”

Nita (or ‘Mama Nita’ as she’s known to her fans) is a lively Colorado native, with striking blonde hair and an unshakeable connection to her faith.

“Some people thought I was being led by Satan!” she says, holding her crucifix necklace.

“Anytime someone is a believer, they’re always asking God what the next steps should be, and I’ve done that throughout my whole career.”

First modelling back in her college days, Nita would take a lengthy hiatus from adult photography, returning to the scene four years ago on a religious mission to rediscover her sexuality.

Now 46, she spends her days selling nude pictures and videos on streaming site OnlyFans to a loyal following of more than 100,000 paying subscribers.

“It was a leap of faith to even start doing it because nobody I knew was in the adult world,” she says. 

“I come from a place that is totally different, very conservative, no one would have ever expected me to do it.

“It was definitely a shock to most people, and it still is.”

Perhaps highest on the ‘surprised’ list were her parents, who found out about their daughter’s new career via an email from some mortified friends.

“They had a little heart attack!” says Nita. She lets out a nervous laugh, reliving the moment her parents learned the news.

“It’s not that I didn’t want them to know, I just didn’t feel like it was necessary for them to find out – I thought it would add a lot of stress.

“In my other work the uniform makes you feel frumpy, all buttoned up, so when I started posting pictures with cleavage or without a bra on, that’s where I got the craziest reaction.”

Astonished as some may be, her success is indisputable. Over a short period Nita has appeared on ITV’s This Morning and racked up more than half a million followers on social media.

Besides what is there to be ashamed of, she says, when making more money in the space of a day selling pictures through OnlyFans than she would in a month at her sales job.

Financial prosperity aside, Nita is still keen to emphasise her role as a religious servant, even if nude modelling is somewhat of a far cry from the Ten Commandments.

“I feel like God called me to this because there are lonely men out there who just need someone to talk to,” she says.

“One part of my calling is to fulfill that ‘mommy’ role for them, because there are actually a lot of men that have ‘mommy issues’. 

“There’s a huge kink of step-mom attraction, and it’s a fantasy they like to play out on my page.”

Even though Nita is “taking care of her boys” in a virtual sense, the relationships formed are, she insists, genuine emotional connections.

And there is perhaps no better evidence of this than her husband, whom she met during his time as a fan on her site.

“We met because of my modelling, in a Facebook group, and his comments always popped out at me,” she says, grinning.

“I actually reached out to him for help on a project, and he didn’t want anything in return, which was super attractive to me.”

Having spent the eight years prior in a (somewhat ironically) asexual relationship, Nita’s fan romance was a welcome change to her life, with marriage following shortly after meeting.

This time round Nita was determined to not repeat mistakes of the past, meaning the Lord would enter her marital life on a far more intimate level – in the bedroom.

“A threesome with God is really just inviting him in,” she says.

“God prepares me, and gives me confidence to talk about certain issues. It gives me the opportunity to be more open, and as I’m more vulnerable, the sex is amazing.”

“I have always made a point that God would be in our intimate life as well as our emotional life, and it has really made a difference with us being connected.”

Her husband, a spiritual person but far from a devout church-goer, is supposedly fine with this arrangement, or as Nita puts it: “He isn’t going to say no.”

But while affairs in the bedroom seem to be agreeable, Nita’s partner is slightly more agnostic in his view of her work.

“He gets more protective of me when I do content with other people, so I’ve tamed it back,” she explains.

“Now I do more solo content, as it’s something he wanted me to do. It’s good because we’re evolving.”

With motherhood at the heart of everything she does, Nita believes transparency regarding her work should be extended to her entire family, including her nine-year-old twin daughters.

“A lot of people have said I shouldn’t do modelling because of the girls, but the interesting thing is they are very supportive of it,” she says.

“My kids call it ‘body positive’ modelling, and they say: ”Mom, we’re so lucky you do OnlyFans!”

But still the question remains; is it really worth selling revealing pictures online if it means being shunned by friends and those in your religious community? Her answer, quite simply, is yes.

“A lot of my Christian friends are now very inspired by what I’m doing,” she says.

“They come to me saying about how a woman needs to feel empowered in her body and sexuality because we don’t talk about it enough in the Christian faith.

“Plus who knows what I’ll be doing in three or four years, I may be doing something completely different!

“If we put people in boxes it doesn’t give them the chance to change, to evolve and grow.”

In this view, Nita Marie is in fact your canonical mother. The only differing factor, of course, is found in her religious calling of truly unorthodox proportions.

Why time should be up for Arteta

Long-time Arsenal fan and DMU journalism student Vivek Julka shares his views on the Gunners’ manager.

Mikel Arteta is still in a job at Arsenal. Somehow.

It has been just over two years since Arteta was appointed as Arsenal boss back in December 2019.

It is safe to say there have been a few highs, but many lows, in his current reign at the Emirates.

I am going to take a dive into his reign and show why I feel he should have been sacked by now.

He took over from fellow Spaniard Unai Emery in late 2019 which raised some eyebrows due to Arteta’s only managerial experience coming from sitting next to Pep Guardiola at Man City, where he was Pep’s number two.

However, there was some optimism from sections of Arsenal supporters and pundits alike due to feelings that he might bring elements of Pep-esque football to North London.

Two years on we know this has far from happened, Arsenal fans are instead treated to drab, boring football with little freedom given to the players.

Arteta did get off to a positive start in the second half of the 19/20 season. Despite being dumped out of the Europa League in the round of 32 by a much weaker Olympiacos team and finishing a disappointing eighth in the Premier League outside any European places, he did manage to win Arsenal’s fourteenth FA Cup. It was an impressive run too, as Arsenal beat Man City 2-0 in the semi-final and Chelsea 2-1 in the final, with world-class performances coming from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Emi Martinez especially.

However, the FA Cup triumph became a distant memory after the end of the 20/21 season for Arsenal fans who have real ambition and hold their club to a high standard as Arteta finished eighth again and finished his first full season without a trophy, which resulted in a first season without any European football for 25 years for Arsenal. Another record that Arteta has broken.

He also threw away the FA Cup in the fourth round against Southampton by fielding a weak starting line-up, even though he had his best players available – the same trophy which gave him a bit of credit in the bank. He then did this once more this season against Nottingham Forest and we went out again.

He has managed to turn £45 million man Thomas Partey, who was world class at Atletico Madrid, into a poor midfielder who has struggled for consistency. Though saying that, it does make a huge difference from being coached from Diego Simeone, one of the best managers around, to then being coached by a rookie in Arteta.

Also, in his first full season as Arsenal boss, one of the best strikers in the world at that time, Aubameyang, had his worst ever season in his career. However you could argue he lost motivation after his big contract, but it doesn’t help when your role is to score goals and you are being ordered by your manager to stay on the halfway line and play left wing. He should have been playing up front in a two with Alexandre Lacazette as they were lethal together under Unai Emery.

To make matters even more embarrassing the former boss Emery schooled Arteta in both legs of the Europa League semi-final last year and went on to win the trophy making him the most successful manager of that competition.

When it comes to transfers Arteta and technical director Edu Gaspar, have barely got a thing right since they have started dealing with recruiting players for Arsenal.

They sold Emi Martinez for £20 million to Aston Villa off the back of his stunning performances during the FA Cup run and instead opted for a clearly worse goalkeeper in Bernd Leno. Despite that, the mistake was rectified this season when Aaron Ramsdale was brought in for £30 million which again raised a lot of eyebrows myself included, as he was relegated three times previously. However this gamble has paid off so far as he has been Arsenal’s best player this season.

Paying £50 million for Ben White was a bad decision as he is nowhere near the quality required to get Arsenal competing for major honours again. He has often looked shaky and simply not good enough. How Arteta and Edu went to Brighton with £50 million and came back with White not Yves Bissouma a top midfielder which is what Arsenal desperately need, switched-on club fans will never know.

Also, the permanent signing of Martin Odegaard from Real Madrid was another mistake as his loan stint in the previous season was inconsistent, which is what is his performances this season have been too.

If Arsenal were a serious club, they would go all in for someone like James Maddison instead who has proved it in the Premier League for a few seasons now.

New contracts being given out to deadwood players like Granit Xhaka and Rob Holding is another problem. Xhaka has been a liability since he has arrived at Arsenal and should have been moved on a long time ago. But Arteta still persists and constantly plays Xhaka who continues to cost the team from his stupid challenges and gets a pass from the manager and sections of supporters who in their eyes he can do no wrong. On the other hand, when Nicolas Pepe got sent off one time, Arteta outed him in front of the press. One rule for one and one rule for another.

Lastly, the treatment and man-management of some players by Arteta has been a disgrace. Aubameyang was stripped of captaincy for allegedly being late to training and now has been forced out the club. It is okay for Xhaka to do much worse though, according to Arteta’s actions. We have not heard the player’s side of the story so we cannot judge on this situation.

I think Arteta cannot deal with top experienced players like Aubameyang. Yes, his performances have not been as good as they once were, but Arteta’s failing system has ruined him, and he will show his class at FC Barcelona. Remember this is the player who has kept Arteta in a job effectively as he won Arsenal the FA Cup.

Similarly Mesut Ozil was another victim of Arteta’s treatment. Another world class player and big character Arteta could not handle. A victory that Arteta fanboys still laud up to this day even though it was nearly two years ago. Some fans and the manager have short memories and should remember what Aubameyang has done during one of Arsenal’s toughest periods.

Another pair of players who have received disgusting treatment by Arteta are French duo William Saliba and Matteo Guendouzi.

Saliba, who is currently out on loan to Olympique de Marseille, has not even made one appearance for Arsenal despite joining back in 2019 for £27 million. He is a highly rated prospect and is consistently included in the French pundits’ Team of the Week in Ligue 1. His best performance came recently against Paris St Germain when he kept world class players like Kylian Mbappe and the best football player of all time Lionel Messi quiet.

However Arteta decides to opt for clearly worse defenders in Ben White and Rob Holding.

Matteo Guendouzi who is at the same team as Saliba, has been pulling up trees in France too with a tenacity and quality in midfield that Arsenal lack. I feel Arteta has exiled him due to his quick temper but there is nothing wrong with showing passion for the team. Which again shows Arteta cannot deal with big personalities and characters who challenge him.

Also, the over reliance on Bukayo Saka has made the young player go backwards in his development. Arteta even said in a press conference ‘he should learn to play through injury’ which is absurd. He is a good player but should be in and out the team, learning his trade. However, the experienced players he has to look up to include figures like Granit Xhaka due this to ‘youth project’ which is a sham and is a cover for the failings of this club for the past decade.

There is no doubt that Arteta should be sacked but it is up to the fans to raise the standards of the club and push him out as he is clearly not good enough to get Arsenal competing with the likes of Man City, Chelsea and Liverpool. Instead, most of the deluded fan base go for an easy target in Stan Kroenke the owner of the football club who apparently does not spend money on transfers, even though Arteta has had about £200 million spent on players he wanted. This is mostly his squad of players now, due to players he brought in and contract renewals to players that were there before, and we are nowhere near we should be.

Arsenal missed a trick in not getting Antonio Conte as we would be competing if we gave him £200 million to spend. A manager like Graham Potter would be great too as he would bring exciting football to the Emirates. He has shown what he can do with a weak squad at Brighton.

All in all, time should be up for Mikel Arteta now and in reality, he should have been sacked a while ago.

Vivek Julka

‘Homeless people are just like everyone else – they’re just having a tough time. We want to help them & give them a second chance’

Riverside Café has partnered with Change Please to tackle homelessness in the UK – through their love of good quality coffee. Maryam Goncalves reports.

Change Please launch at Riverside Café

Riverside Café, one of the coffee shops in the DMU campus, has recently partnered with Change Please, a social enterprise which invests 100% of their profits into making the lives of those experiencing homelessness better, by giving them a living wage job, training, housing, and opportunities to progress.

Change Please CEO, Cemal Ezel, was at Riverside on Wednesday, January 26, to explain the enterprise, the coffee, and the lives they have changed.

Ezar talked about one of the most impactful cases he has ever seen – the case of Adan Abobaker, a former homeless man who jumped into a frozen river Thames to rescue a woman who attempted to commit suicide.

After risking his life, having his clothes and possessions stolen, and contracting hypothermia due to the low temperatures he braved, Abobaker was presented with the highest civilian award for bravery.

The former chef then shared a flat with his partner, thinking his life was coming back together. But the relationship came to an end, and Abobaker found himself back on the streets while battling depression.

This is when Change Please came along and offered Abobaker a part-time job as a barista on a coffee cart in Borough Market, London, which gave him a second chance to improve his quality of life.

“It’s incredible that we can walk past someone like Adan on the street and we don’t stop to think who they are or what value they can have on society,” Cemal Ezel told the crowd at Riverside.

“In Adan’s case, he won the highest civilian award for bravery and is a real hero. Yet because he was on the street he was disregarded with the same stigma as all homeless people.

“Homeless people are just like anyone else – they are people who have fallen on incredibly tough times. Change Please is trying to help as many like Adan as possible – people who we walk past every day – and give them a second chance at life.”