Demarai Gray terrorises Stoke defence as Leicester claim point in away draw

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A second half header from Peter Crouch secured a 2-2 draw for Stoke City at home to Leicester City.

Vicente Iborra bagged the first goal while Riyad Mahrez restored the visitors’ lead after Xherdan Shaqiri equalised.

Here we look in-depth at the performance of Demarai Gray.

STATS

Shots – 0

Touches – 43

Passes – 21

Pass Accuracy – 95.2%

Key passes – 3

Crosses – 9

Dribbles – 0

Dispossessed – 1

EFFECTIVENESS

After starting in Claude Puel’s first game in charge and impressing, Gray was handed another start away to Stoke. He absolutely terrorised the Potters’ defence with Kurt Zouma in particular facing the brunt of it.

Playing on the left flank in the absence of Ben Chilwell, he was Leicester’s biggest threat, particularly in the first half. While his pace and dribbling was on show again, it’s his crossing that impressed against Stoke.

It’s almost criminal that he didn’t register an assist in the first 45 minutes considering the chances he created. His two crosses for Shinji Okazaki were probably the best of the lot and the striker should’ve tucked away at least one of them.

On the flip side, like in the previous game, he did seem to fade after half-time, making little impact in the second period. He was subbed off for Marc Albrighton with 10 minutes to go.

Demarai Gray (R) vies with Kurt Zouma

Demarai Gray (R) vies with Kurt Zouma

KEY MOMENTS

11th min CROSS: Gray drives at Kurt Zouma on the left side, squares him up and beats him on the outside. He does well to drill a ball in towards Jamie Vardy as well but the striker’s attempt to steer it in is thwarted by Kevin Wimmer.

19th min FOULED: Gray cuts in from the left flank at pace and is brought down on the edge of the box by a combination of Zouma and Diouf. Mahrez hits the wall from the ensuing free-kick.

21st min CROSS: Zouma can’t live with Gray. The youngster causes more problems on the left before lobbing a delightful ball to the far post where Okazaki is in space but can’t direct it on target with his effort on the stretch.

37th min CROSS: Gray storms down the left flank again and finds Okazaki with a cross at the end of a great run. The Japanese connects with a good header but Jack Butland makes the save.

38th min CROSS: ANOTHER good cross from Gray. He receives a short corner and whips in a delivery for Iborra who heads over.

53rd min PASS: This time, Gray plays a short pass into Mahrez inside the box and the Algerian unleashes a great effort that drags just wide of the far post.

VERDICT

Plenty of promising signs from the England youngster again and certainly justified his new contract at the club this week. He’s brought a spark back into Leicester’s play and while he’ll need to work on doing it throughout 90 minutes, his manager will be pleased with the impact he had on Saturday. Unfortunate not to bag an assist.

7/10

All statistics are compiled using whoscored.com

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David Moyes confirms he would consider return to Everton

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The Scot spent 11 years at Goodison Park.

Former Everton boss David Moyes has refused to rule out returning to Goodison Park – admitting he would say “yes” to the club if he was offered the job again.

The Scot, who spent 11 years at the Toffees before departing for his ill-fated spell to Manchester United in 2013, is currently without a club having been relegated with Sunderland last season.

And following Ronald Koeman’s departure from the Merseysiders’ hot seat last month, the 54-year-old has been linked with a return to Everton as the club’s board weigh-up several options and current interim boss David Unsworth for the post full-time.

Moyes, who is a studio pundit analysing the Premier League for beinSPORTs this weekend in Doha, was asked by presenter Richard Keys whether he would like to become Everton manager again and he hinted at a return.

“Well, the answer would be, of course it would have to be yes (to taking the job on again),” he said on Saturday.

“But I’ve got other things ongoing and it might not be too long before I’m back in work. If the job came up (at Everton) then there would have to be an interest, but I have other interests as well.

“Bill Kenwright I think is one of the best chairmen so whoever does get the job will be working with a really good chairman who is incredibly supportive.”

Moyes believes that an Everton manager has to have a connection with the club and understand both its history and Evertonian fanbase to truly succeed, hinting that Koeman failed to do just that.

Sitting alongside former Everton great and beinSPORTs pundit Andy Gray, Moyes, who famously labelled the blues the Peoples Club, said: “Andy played there and played in the best team, under the best manager there’s ever been at Everton, in Howard Kendall.

“Everton for me was an industrial football club, it was a tough area it came from, the people demanded a type and yes they wanted good football, of course they did. But they wanted honesty, commitment and I think we gave them that.”

Everton's English goalkeeper Jordan Pickford applauds after the English Premier League football match between Manchester City and Everton at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, north west England, on August 21, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Oli SCARFF / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. / (Photo credit should read OLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images)

Moyes rates Jordan Pickford as a future England shot-stopper.

Having worked on a shoestring budget in comparison with the Premier League’s top clubs during his extensive tenure at the Blues, Moyes said he had to gradually build his team and improve year-on-year rather than splash big cash like Everton splurged in the summer.

Indeed, the likes of Tim Cahill, Mikel Arteta, Phil Jagielka and Leighton Baines were all signed for small fees in comparison to the business the club did before the season began.

But, he said not all of the signings the Blues made for this season have been bad.

“We didn’t have 40m at the time to go out and buy a player, we had to bring our own young players through. And through my time there, because I was given time, you are allowed to develop the team by getting a certain type of players in and change things a bit.

“Jordan Pickford, who I had at Sunderland last year, is a future England international, Michael Keane is a future England centre-half, I think Everton have signed good players – I really do. I think they’ve signed two or three that you’d say you don’t know which one is better than the other one but I think a lot of the players the club have signed are good players.”

Pressed over whether he himself would have re-signed Wayne Rooney – the man who he gave his debut to back in August 2002, Moyes was in no doubt: “Yes, I would.”

He continued: “Wayne is as good a goalscorer as there is in the Premier League if he plays No.9 often enough but maybe you do need to get a different type of legs around him and in other positions to help him.”

MUNICH, GERMANY - APRIL 09: David Moyes, manager of Manchester United gives instructions to Wayne Rooney during the UEFA Champions League Quarter Final second leg match between FC Bayern Muenchen and Manchester United at Allianz Arena on April 9, 2014 in Munich, Germany. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Moyes twice managed Rooney during his Toffees breakthrough and at the Red Devils.

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Jose Mourinho declines opportunity to meet disgruntled Man United fans

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Jose Mourinho

Jose Mourinho has declined an invitation to meet fans of Manchester United to discuss tension between manager and supporters.

Criticism of United’s playing style in recent games against Liverpool and Tottenham has irked Mourinho.

The Red Devils boss wrote in his programme notes ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League clash with Benfica: “I hope that you enjoy the game more than some of you did against Tottenham.”

Mourinho then hit out at fans for what he perceived as a lack of support for striker Romelu Lukaku during his current goalless run.

The Manchester United Supporters Trust invited Mourinho to talk to fans’ representatives about his concerns, but the Portuguese said: “I cannot meet a quarter of the planet.

“I think a quarter of the planet is Manchester United red. I cannot meet them.”

Mourinho could face heat on Sunday, although not from his own fans, as he takes United to Stamford Bridge to face former club Chelsea.

The reception for Chelsea’s most successful manager on his first return with United 12 months ago was hardly warm, and it was a grim day all round for Mourinho as the home side romped to a 4-0 win.

Mourinho insisted he has no problem with Chelsea fans reacting negatively to him during the match.

“That’s not a problem at all,” he said. “I walk in the street and outside the football heat I get so many Chelsea fans, especially in the area where I live, and I didn’t have one single one that wasn’t nice.

“What happened in the football stadium is a different thing. When I go to Stamford Bridge, I am the manager of their opponent so I accept every possible reaction with the utmost respect.”

The match will be a barometer of where both teams are at. Chelsea have stumbled so far in defence of their title while United are battling to maintain the pressure on Manchester City.

There is little love lost between Mourinho and opposite number Antonio Conte, with the pair’s latest verbal spat coming when the United boss appeared to aim a jibe at his rival’s complaints about injuries.

Mourinho expects to again be without up to six players, and he accused his critics in the media of wilfully ignoring how well United played earlier this season when the likes of Paul Pogba were available.

He said: “I think it’s my fault because I should cry every week about our injuries.

“I think any other manager would be speaking about Pogba every day – ‘Oh I don’t have Pogba, oh when I have Pogba, oh 10 matches without Pogba, oh all the Champions League group phase without Pogba, oh all the big matches against Liverpool, against Chelsea, against Spurs without Pogba’. I don’t speak about Pogba one single time.

“I really think that you and the specialists, you know the football that we were playing in the beginning of the season.

“I know that you know that, you just pretend because it’s convenient for you to pretend that this didn’t exist. We miss our players of course and we had to play big matches without them, and probably we are going to play one more without them again.”

Provided by Press Association Sport

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