Leicester City's Kasper Schmeichel looks dejected after losing to Manchester United 3-0 at home. Darren Staples / Reuters
Leicester City's Kasper Schmeichel looks dejected after losing to Manchester United 3-0 at home. Darren Staples / Reuters

Results, performances, attack, defence, spirit and signings: all are wrong at Leicester City


Richard Jolly

On Friday, Claudio Ranieri was asked if he had ever been relegated. He took his audience on a lengthy tour of his CV, omitting only his time at Atletico Madrid. Then, and though Ranieri was dismissed before the end of the campaign, the Spanish giants went down for the first time since the 1930s. Warnings from that dreadful decade seem to be ignored in ever greater frequency and England’s last defending champions to go down were Manchester City in 1938.

On Sunday, Kasper Schmeichel branded Leicester City’s title defence as “embarrassing” and, inverting the usual defiant player-speak, admitted that if they carry on in a similar vein, they will be demoted.

Welcome to Leicester, where Ranieri is Fifa’s reigning Coach of the Year and now the favourite in the Premier League’s sack race. Sunday marked the one-year anniversary of the 3-1 win at Manchester City that persuaded the Italian his side would win the league. They were massive outsiders, the unlikely lads who orchestrated the most improbable heist in footballing history.

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Read more

■ Team of the week: Lukaku and Hazard are in

■ Round-up: Gabriel Jesus double lifts Man City past Swansea

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Theirs was an outlandish, engrossing adventure, even if the sequel to the heart-warming story of a band of brothers has the feel of a horror movie. Where there was harmony, there now seems discord. Where there was success, failure now beckons. Leicester, a hitherto unexceptional provincial club with a loyal fan base and a status as either one of the smaller clubs in the top flight or the bigger in the second tier, could make a second indelible mark in history.

Collectively, they seem to be having not one but two out-of-body experiences, lifted up and dragged down by forces beyond their control. They appeared to have an unstoppable momentum last season. Now they feel powerless to halt their decline.

The numbers underline the scale of change. Leicester have 29 points fewer than they did last season. They have already lost 10 more games and conceded five more goals than in the whole of that campaign. There has been a 68-point swing between them and Chelsea, coinciding with N’Golo Kante’s move to Stamford Bridge. Leicester have not even scored a league goal in 2017. Indeed, Jamie Vardy has failed to score in 23 of his last 24 appearances.

In a side where individual deficiencies have been highlighted in the absence of the catalytic Kante, where Ranieri’s 4-4-2 has not worked and nor have his attempts to move away from it – remember his disastrous diamond midfield at Southampton? – the unique nature of last season has been illustrated.

Vardy looks the one-dimensional player who, two years ago, had a solitary Premier League goal to his name. Riyad Mahrez scored 17 league goals last season; now he has none, apart from penalties. Wes Morgan and Robert Huth again resemble the one-paced throwbacks who seemed a Championship player and a Stoke City reject respectively. Supermen look distinctly human again.

Yet the most damning indication of Leicester’s shift came off the field when Leonardo Ulloa took to social media to claim he had been “betrayed” by Ranieri and vowed not to play for the club again, a stand-off rendered all the more depressing as the Argentine was trying to engineer a move to a dismal Sunderland side.

Last year, Ulloa was the selfless substitute, the invaluable 12th man, the deputy who stood in when Vardy was suspended. This year, he has been one of those displaced by the £70 million (Dh320m) summer spending spree. Ulloa had a significance because of what he represented. Now he has another, emphasising the sense that Ranieri retains his popularity outside the dressing room, but not inside it.

When Ranieri started saying “everything is wrong”, it felt an exaggeration, not an explanation. Now it seems truer. Results and performances, attack, defence and a Kante-less midfield, spirit and signings: all are wrong. Last year Leicester were in a title race where others failed to present enough of a challenger. Now they are in a relegation scrap where Swansea City and Hull City are staging remarkable revivals. After the glory, ignominy beckons for Leicester.

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Mercer, the investment consulting arm of US services company Marsh & McLennan, expects its wealth division to at least double its assets under management (AUM) in the Middle East as wealth in the region continues to grow despite economic headwinds, a company official said.

Mercer Wealth, which globally has $160 billion in AUM, plans to boost its AUM in the region to $2-$3bn in the next 2-3 years from the present $1bn, said Yasir AbuShaban, a Dubai-based principal with Mercer Wealth.

Within the next two to three years, we are looking at reaching $2 to $3 billion as a conservative estimate and we do see an opportunity to do so,” said Mr AbuShaban.

Mercer does not directly make investments, but allocates clients’ money they have discretion to, to professional asset managers. They also provide advice to clients.

“We have buying power. We can negotiate on their (client’s) behalf with asset managers to provide them lower fees than they otherwise would have to get on their own,” he added.

Mercer Wealth’s clients include sovereign wealth funds, family offices, and insurance companies among others.

From its office in Dubai, Mercer also looks after Africa, India and Turkey, where they also see opportunity for growth.

Wealth creation in Middle East and Africa (MEA) grew 8.5 per cent to $8.1 trillion last year from $7.5tn in 2015, higher than last year’s global average of 6 per cent and the second-highest growth in a region after Asia-Pacific which grew 9.9 per cent, according to consultancy Boston Consulting Group (BCG). In the region, where wealth grew just 1.9 per cent in 2015 compared with 2014, a pickup in oil prices has helped in wealth generation.

BCG is forecasting MEA wealth will rise to $12tn by 2021, growing at an annual average of 8 per cent.

Drivers of wealth generation in the region will be split evenly between new wealth creation and growth of performance of existing assets, according to BCG.

Another general trend in the region is clients’ looking for a comprehensive approach to investing, according to Mr AbuShaban.

“Institutional investors or some of the families are seeing a slowdown in the available capital they have to invest and in that sense they are looking at optimizing the way they manage their portfolios and making sure they are not investing haphazardly and different parts of their investment are working together,” said Mr AbuShaban.

Some clients also have a higher appetite for risk, given the low interest-rate environment that does not provide enough yield for some institutional investors. These clients are keen to invest in illiquid assets, such as private equity and infrastructure.

“What we have seen is a desire for higher returns in what has been a low-return environment specifically in various fixed income or bonds,” he said.

“In this environment, we have seen a de facto increase in the risk that clients are taking in things like illiquid investments, private equity investments, infrastructure and private debt, those kind of investments were higher illiquidity results in incrementally higher returns.”

The Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, one of the largest sovereign wealth funds, said in its 2016 report that has gradually increased its exposure in direct private equity and private credit transactions, mainly in Asian markets and especially in China and India. The authority’s private equity department focused on structured equities owing to “their defensive characteristics.”

The Specs

Engine: 1.6-litre 4-cylinder petrol
Power: 118hp
Torque: 149Nm
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
Price: From Dh61,500
On sale: Now

ESSENTIALS

The flights 
Emirates, Etihad and Swiss fly direct from the UAE to Zurich from Dh2,855 return, including taxes.
 

The chalet
Chalet N is currently open in winter only, between now and April 21. During the ski season, starting on December 11, a week’s rental costs from €210,000 (Dh898,431) per week for the whole property, which has 22 beds in total, across six suites, three double rooms and a children’s suite. The price includes all scheduled meals, a week’s ski pass, Wi-Fi, parking, transfers between Munich, Innsbruck or Zurich airports and one 50-minute massage per person. Private ski lessons cost from €360 (Dh1,541) per day. Halal food is available on request.

KEY DATES IN AMAZON'S HISTORY

July 5, 1994: Jeff Bezos founds Cadabra Inc, which would later be renamed to Amazon.com, because his lawyer misheard the name as 'cadaver'. In its earliest days, the bookstore operated out of a rented garage in Bellevue, Washington

July 16, 1995: Amazon formally opens as an online bookseller. Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought becomes the first item sold on Amazon

1997: Amazon goes public at $18 a share, which has grown about 1,000 per cent at present. Its highest closing price was $197.85 on June 27, 2024

1998: Amazon acquires IMDb, its first major acquisition. It also starts selling CDs and DVDs

2000: Amazon Marketplace opens, allowing people to sell items on the website

2002: Amazon forms what would become Amazon Web Services, opening the Amazon.com platform to all developers. The cloud unit would follow in 2006

2003: Amazon turns in an annual profit of $75 million, the first time it ended a year in the black

2005: Amazon Prime is introduced, its first-ever subscription service that offered US customers free two-day shipping for $79 a year

2006: Amazon Unbox is unveiled, the company's video service that would later morph into Amazon Instant Video and, ultimately, Amazon Video

2007: Amazon's first hardware product, the Kindle e-reader, is introduced; the Fire TV and Fire Phone would come in 2014. Grocery service Amazon Fresh is also started

2009: Amazon introduces Amazon Basics, its in-house label for a variety of products

2010: The foundations for Amazon Studios were laid. Its first original streaming content debuted in 2013

2011: The Amazon Appstore for Google's Android is launched. It is still unavailable on Apple's iOS

2014: The Amazon Echo is launched, a speaker that acts as a personal digital assistant powered by Alexa

2017: Amazon acquires Whole Foods for $13.7 billion, its biggest acquisition

2018: Amazon's market cap briefly crosses the $1 trillion mark, making it, at the time, only the third company to achieve that milestone

Sarfira

Director: Sudha Kongara Prasad

Starring: Akshay Kumar, Radhika Madan, Paresh Rawal

Rating: 2/5

EMIRATES'S REVISED A350 DEPLOYMENT SCHEDULE

Edinburgh: November 4 (unchanged)

Bahrain: November 15 (from September 15); second daily service from January 1

Kuwait: November 15 (from September 16)

Mumbai: January 1 (from October 27)

Ahmedabad: January 1 (from October 27)

Colombo: January 2 (from January 1)

Muscat: March 1 (from December 1)

Lyon: March 1 (from December 1)

Bologna: March 1 (from December 1)

Source: Emirates

The specs

Engine: 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8
Power: 666hp at 6,000rpm
Torque: 850Nm at 2,300-4,500rpm
Transmission: 8-speed auto
On sale: Q1 2023
Price: from Dh1.15 million (estimate)

UAE athletes heading to Paris 2024

Equestrian
Abdullah Humaid Al Muhairi, Abdullah Al Marri, Omar Al Marzooqi, Salem Al Suwaidi, and Ali Al Karbi (four to be selected).
Judo
Men: Narmandakh Bayanmunkh (66kg), Nugzari Tatalashvili (81kg), Aram Grigorian (90kg), Dzhafar Kostoev (100kg), Magomedomar Magomedomarov (+100kg); women's Khorloodoi Bishrelt (52kg).

Cycling
Safia Al Sayegh (women's road race).

Swimming
Men: Yousef Rashid Al Matroushi (100m freestyle); women: Maha Abdullah Al Shehi (200m freestyle).

Athletics
Maryam Mohammed Al Farsi (women's 100 metres).

Company Profile

Company name: Hoopla
Date started: March 2023
Founder: Jacqueline Perrottet
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 10
Investment stage: Pre-seed
Investment required: $500,000

A cheaper choice

Vanuatu: $130,000

Why on earth pick Vanuatu? Easy. The South Pacific country has no income tax, wealth tax, capital gains or inheritance tax. And in 2015, when it was hit by Cyclone Pam, it signed an agreement with the EU that gave it some serious passport power.

Cost: A minimum investment of $130,000 for a family of up to four, plus $25,000 in fees.

Criteria: Applicants must have a minimum net worth of $250,000. The process take six to eight weeks, after which the investor must travel to Vanuatu or Hong Kong to take the oath of allegiance. Citizenship and passport are normally provided on the same day.

Benefits:  No tax, no restrictions on dual citizenship, no requirement to visit or reside to retain a passport. Visa-free access to 129 countries.

UAE currency: the story behind the money in your pockets
The five pillars of Islam
The Roundup : No Way Out

Director: Lee Sang-yong
Stars: Don Lee, Lee Jun-hyuk, Munetaka Aoki
Rating: 3/5

The Breadwinner

Director: Nora Twomey

Starring: Saara Chaudry,  Soma Chhaya,  Laara Sadiq 

Three stars

'How To Build A Boat'
Jonathan Gornall, Simon & Schuster

Match info

Liverpool 3
Hoedt (10' og), Matip (21'), Salah (45+3')

Southampton 0

How to help

Call the hotline on 0502955999 or send "thenational" to the following numbers:

2289 - Dh10

2252 - Dh50

6025 - Dh20

6027 - Dh100

6026 - Dh200

The biog

Siblings: five brothers and one sister

Education: Bachelors in Political Science at the University of Minnesota

Interests: Swimming, tennis and the gym

Favourite place: UAE

Favourite packet food on the trip: pasta primavera

What he did to pass the time during the trip: listen to audio books

ROUTE TO TITLE

Round 1: Beat Leolia Jeanjean 6-1, 6-2
Round 2: Beat Naomi Osaka 7-6, 1-6, 7-5
Round 3: Beat Marie Bouzkova 6-4, 6-2
Round 4: Beat Anastasia Potapova 6-0, 6-0
Quarter-final: Beat Marketa Vondrousova 6-0, 6-2
Semi-final: Beat Coco Gauff 6-2, 6-4
Final: Beat Jasmine Paolini 6-2, 6-2

Need to know

Unlike other mobile wallets and payment apps, a unique feature of eWallet is that there is no need to have a bank account, credit or debit card to do digital payments.

Customers only need a valid Emirates ID and a working UAE mobile number to register for eWallet account.

65

Directors: Scott Beck, Bryan Woods

Stars: Adam Driver, Ariana Greenblatt, Chloe Coleman

Rating: 2/5

MATCH INFO

Real Madrid 2 (Benzema 13', Kroos 28')
Barcelona 1 (Mingueza 60')

Red card: Casemiro (Real Madrid)

'The worst thing you can eat'

Trans fat is typically found in fried and baked goods, but you may be consuming more than you think.

Powdered coffee creamer, microwave popcorn and virtually anything processed with a crust is likely to contain it, as this guide from Mayo Clinic outlines: 

Baked goods - Most cakes, cookies, pie crusts and crackers contain shortening, which is usually made from partially hydrogenated vegetable oil. Ready-made frosting is another source of trans fat.

Snacks - Potato, corn and tortilla chips often contain trans fat. And while popcorn can be a healthy snack, many types of packaged or microwave popcorn use trans fat to help cook or flavour the popcorn.

Fried food - Foods that require deep frying — french fries, doughnuts and fried chicken — can contain trans fat from the oil used in the cooking process.

Refrigerator dough - Products such as canned biscuits and cinnamon rolls often contain trans fat, as do frozen pizza crusts.

Creamer and margarine - Nondairy coffee creamer and stick margarines also may contain partially hydrogenated vegetable oils.

Book Details

Three Centuries of Travel Writing by Muslim Women
Editors: Siobhan Lambert-Hurley, Daniel Majchrowicz, Sunil Sharma
Publisher: Indiana University Press; 532 pages

Company Profile

Company name: Namara
Started: June 2022
Founder: Mohammed Alnamara
Based: Dubai
Sector: Microfinance
Current number of staff: 16
Investment stage: Series A
Investors: Family offices


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