Tag Archives: Peter Schmeichel

Premier League Files: Kasper Schmeichel

Premier League Career: Manchester City (2007-2009), Leicester City (2014-PRESENT)

Kasper Schmeichel’s place in Leicester City history is already secure. The Dane has been a huge part of the Foxes remarkable journey in the last few years with the peak being that unbelievable Premier League title success in 2016. Kasper is still one of Leicester’s best players and rarely misses a match. His achievements with Leicester mean he is the only son of a father to have won the Premier League title so far. His dad, Peter was of course a major part of Manchester United’s dominance on the English game in the 1990s, winning five league championships.

Schmeichel’s breakthrough in the Premier League came 12 years ago at Manchester City. He was handed his Premier League debut in August 2007 by former England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson and made a fantastic start, keeping clean sheets in his first three outings against West Ham United, Derby County and Manchester United.

Schmeichel was competing alongside another young talent in Joe Hart for the goalkeeper berth at Eastlands and ultimately, it was Hart who won the battle. Schmeichel made only another six first-team appearances before leaving Manchester City permanently in 2009. During that period, he’d experienced first-team football on temporary loan periods at Cardiff City and Coventry City.

He joined an ambitious Notts County outfit who were in League Two but aiming high with the shock arrival of Sol Campbell too that summer. He played 43 times and was far too good for the standard of football he was playing in. Schmeichel made PFA Team of the Year in the division and County were promoted to League One at the end of the campaign.

His stay at Meadow Lane would be just a solitary season as Championship club Leeds United snapped him up on a free transfer in summer 2010. Again, he was a solid presence and made 40 appearances for the Yorkshire side. However, like at Notts County, his time at Leeds was restricted to a single campaign.

Keen to find some security after plenty of club movements, Kasper moved to Leicester City in 2011 and it is a relationship that has delivered plenty of joy and success for both parties. His outstanding form in his first campaign with the Foxes saw him named the club’s Player of the Year and he was called up to Denmark’s squad at the 2012 European Championship as a back-up goalkeeper.

An ever-present campaign followed in 2012-2013 and in February 2013, he became the second Schmeichel to win a full international cap for Denmark, making his debut in a friendly match against FYR Macedonia. Although there has been competition over the years from the likes of Jonas Lossl and Frederik Ronnow, Schmeichel has rarely looked under threat in the Danish international setup ever since.

Voted into the PFA Championship Team of the Season in 2013, Schmeichel achieved similar accomplishments in 2013-2014 and this time, there was club success too as Leicester finally returned to the Premier League after a 10-year absence, storming to the Championship title.

The 2014-2015 season started well for Kasper and the team with a memorable 5-3 victory over Manchester United among the highlights. In December though, he broke his metatarsal in training and missed three months of the campaign. The experienced Mark Schwarzer was signed in the January transfer window from Chelsea as suitable cover but there was little doubt in manager Nigel Pearson’s mind that Schmeichel would return to duty when fit. He returned just in time for the Foxes’ amazing escape from relegation. Seven points adrift of safety with nine games left to play, Leicester won seven of their last nine games and Kasper kept five clean sheets in that period to ensure their Premier League survival. What happened next was absolutely extraordinary.

Schmeichel was absolutely outstanding in 2015-2016, barely putting a foot wrong and featuring in every single Premier League match. Leicester did struggle defensively in the early weeks under Claudio Ranieri but once he’d settled on a more defensively-minded full-back pairing of Danny Simpson and Christian Fuchs, clean sheets started becoming a regular occurrence. Schmeichel finished with 15 and only narrowly missed out on the Golden Glove award to Arsenal’s Petr Cech. However, that personal disappointment was easily overcome by the team’s incredible achievement.

On 2nd May 2016, Tottenham’s failure to beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge meant Leicester became Premier League champions. Amazingly, it was exactly 23 years after Manchester United and Peter Schmeichel’s first title success which that season was also achieved by other results going in the Red Devils favour. The Schmeichels became the only biological father and son to win the Premier League, as well as being in the same position to do so.

Despite rumours of a move away after Leicester’s success, Schmeichel stayed loyal and signed a contract extension in August 2016, even though Ranieri had brought in stiffer competition for him in Ron-Robert Zieler who had arrived from German side Hannover 96. Leicester’s form completely vanished but Schmeichel’s didn’t and he was voted Players’ Player of the Year at the club’s 2016-2017 awards evening. He kept clean sheets in his first four UEFA Champions League matches and the only games he missed were down to groin and hand injuries – the latter keeping him out for six weeks during the winter months.

Ranieri was controversially sacked in February 2017, less than 24 hours after defeat in the UEFA Champions League Round-of-16 first leg tie to Sevilla. Schmeichel was very vocal on both social media and in television interviews in the days afterwards, saying there was no plot whatsoever involving the under fire players wanting to get Ranieri dismissed.

In 2017-2018, he kept eight clean sheets, making an important penalty save in an away win at Brighton & Hove Albion when the score was 0-0 and despite missing the closing five matches with an ankle problem, he was Denmark’s first-choice goalkeeper for their 2018 World Cup effort in Russia. Schmeichel kept clean sheets in the group stage games against Peru and France and in the Round-of-16 match against Croatia; he saved three penalties during the match and penalty shootout. It ended in defeat for the Danes but Schmeichel’s reputation as a great and classy goalkeeper had been enhanced.

2018-2019 has been a tough season for everyone connected with Leicester City Football Club and Kasper witnessed the horrific helicopter crash outside the ground in October 2018 which killed five people including the owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha. Former manager Claude Puel confirmed his goalkeeper had seen some terrible things which didn’t need description.

Despite the overwhelming sense of tragedy, Schmeichel has continued to deliver on a regular basis for Leicester and is still one of the best goalkeepers currently in the Premier League.

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Premier League Rewind: 20th-22nd December 1997

Results: Aston Villa 1-1 Southampton, Blackburn Rovers 3-0 West Ham United, Derby County 0-0 Crystal Palace, Leeds United 2-0 Bolton Wanderers, Leicester City 0-1 Everton, Liverpool FC 1-0 Coventry City, Sheffield Wednesday 1-4 Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur 3-0 Barnsley, Newcastle United 0-1 Manchester United, Wimbledon A-A Arsenal

This was the final round of matches before Christmas 1997, so the 1997-1998 Premier League table was beginning to take shape.

Defending champions Manchester United came into this round of fixtures four points clear. Whatever happened over the course of the weekend, they would spend Christmas Day on top of the table. They visited Tyneside to take on Newcastle United, who had been their closest challengers for the title in the last two seasons.

Newcastle though were not a factor this season and were beaten by their former hero, Andy Cole, whose second half header was enough to ensure a fifth successive victory for Alex Ferguson’s side since their November loss at Highbury to Arsenal. Peter Schmeichel though played a major part in them claiming the three points. His amazing save from a John Barnes header would earn him the ‘Save of the Decade’ at the Premier League 10 Seasons Awards in 2002.

Newcastle were 17 points off the pace and languishing in ninth spot having not won a single game in December. Instead, the nearest challengers to the Red Devils were the only other former Premier League title winners in Blackburn Rovers. Roy Hodgson’s side had lost just twice all campaign and responded brilliantly to a 4-0 loss at Old Trafford three weeks earlier. They consolidated second spot in the table, as they swotted aside West Ham United 3-0 at Ewood Park. Young prodigy Damien Duff scored twice for the home side whilst West Ham had Steve Lomas sent off.

Chelsea were enjoying their best run of form in the season and Ruud Gullit’s side would complete the top three on Christmas Day. They won 4-1 at Hillsborough against Sheffield Wednesday. Former Owls player Dan Petrescu, Gianluca Vialli, Franck Leboeuf from the penalty spot and Tore Andre Flo all scored in another impressive away display from the Blues. It was Ron Atkinson’s first home defeat since returning to Wednesday for a second spell as manager.

Leeds United were having a good campaign in George Graham’s first full season in the dugout. They beat Bolton Wanderers 2-0 at Elland Road to remain in the top four. Liverpool FC edged out Coventry City 1-0 to move into fifth and above Arsenal, who were now trailing United by 13 points in the table. The Gunners had lost four of their last six Premier League games and their title hopes looked slim at this point in the season. However, they couldn’t respond to all their rivals winning earlier in the weekend.

13 seconds into the second half of their Monday Night Football match with Wimbledon at Selhurst Park, the floodlights failed with the scoreline at 0-0. The lights didn’t come back on and incredibly, a third Premier League match in the season had been abandoned because of floodlight failure.

After two heavy losses, there was some relief for new Tottenham boss Christian Gross as his side comfortably beat Barnsley 3-0 at White Hart Lane, ensuring the Tykes would be bottom of the table at Christmas. Despite the win, Spurs remained in the bottom three as did Everton, who recorded their first win and goal in five matches. Gary Speed’s 89th minute penalty beat Leicester City 1-0 at Filbert Street.

What else happened in December 1997?

  • There is a political wedding as the leader of the Conservative party, William Hague marries Ffion Jenkins.
  • Football legend Tom Finney and singer Elton John are among those knighted in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List.
  • After 44 years in service, the Royal Yacht, Britannia is decommissioned.
  • Inside Long Kesh prison in Northern Ireland, Ulster loyalist paramilitary leader Billy Wright is assassinated.
  • The highest grossing film of all-time, Titanic makes its premier in the United States.
  • The Kyoto Protocol is adopted by a UN committee.
  • The capital of Kazakhstan is moved from Almaty to Astana.

Premier League Rewind: 26th-27th August 1994

Results: Aston Villa 1-1 Crystal Palace, Blackburn Rovers 4-0 Coventry City, Leeds United 2-3 Chelsea, Manchester City 4-0 Everton, Newcastle United 5-1 Southampton, Norwich City 1-0 West Ham United, Nottingham Forest 1-0 Leicester City, Queens Park Rangers 1-2 Ipswich Town, Tottenham Hotspur 0-1 Manchester United, Wimbledon 0-1 Sheffield Wednesday, Liverpool FC 3-0 Arsenal

Going into the third set of fixtures in the 1994-1995 Premier League, 20 teams had played two games each and just two sides had 100% records. They were Newcastle United and Tottenham Hotspur. The Magpies had already scored seven goals in their opening two victories over Leicester City and Coventry City. They were about to add five more to that tally in a 5-1 destruction of Southampton.

The rout against the Saints was set-up by three goals in a 10-minute period. Defender Steve Watson, who was playing in a wide midfield position, benefited from a more attacking approach by scoring the first two goals of the afternoon. Andy Cole added another brace to his growing collection as Kevin Keegan’s side consolidated top spot in the early season table.

Tottenham’s maximum start to the season disappeared as they were beaten 1-0 by champions Manchester United at White Hart Lane. United skipper Steve Bruce scored the only goal, heading home after Ian Walker came for a Ryan Giggs corner and got nowhere near it. Bruce then blotted his copybook by giving away a penalty for body checking Ilie Dumitrescu. However, Teddy Sheringham couldn’t convert the spot-kick. He was denied by Peter Schmeichel. It was a second failure from the penalty spot for Sheringham in four days.

With work still being done to the new Kop all-seater stand, Liverpool FC hadn’t played in the first midweek round of the season but the new era at the ground began on Super Sunday with Arsenal the visitors to Anfield. It would produce one of the most groundbreaking historical records that would stand for over two decades. Young forward Robbie Fowler was already making a name for himself. On this day, he scored the fastest hat-trick in Premier League history – a record that would last for 21 years. The 19-year-old found the net three times in just four minutes and 33 seconds. It was a record that would stand until Sadio Mane managed a quicker treble for Southampton against Aston Villa in May 2015. Liverpool won the game 3-0 and a star was well and truly born.

That meant Liverpool had won two games from two and so too had Chelsea, who produced the comeback of the round. They went 2-0 down to Leeds United inside 18 minutes, courtesy of goals from South African Phil Masinga and Leeds’ own young talent in Noel Whelan. The fightback was inspired by Dennis Wise, who scored from the penalty spot before half-time. Then, his free-kick in the 61st minute was saved by John Lukic but only into the path of John Spencer to equalise. Spencer scored the winner with two minutes left with his shot from outside the area squirming underneath Lukic’s body to complete a great turnaround from the Londoners.

After three sets of games, eight clubs were still awaiting their first victory of the campaign. Among them were Aston Villa, who were pegged back at home in the closing stages for the second successive match. Newly-promoted Crystal Palace earned a 1-1 draw thanks to Gareth Southgate’s 87th minute equaliser. Coventry City were another side without a victory and they took a second consecutive 4-0 beating on their travels. This time, it was Blackburn Rovers dishing out a thrashing, with their new striker, Chris Sutton scoring a hat-trick. Coventry had Mick Quinn sent off.

There were worrying signs too for Mike Walker at Everton whose side caved in dramatically in the second half at Maine Road. Uwe Rosler and Paul Walsh both scored twice as Manchester City eased to a 4-0 victory and Walker would only win one match in the league before being dismissed in early November by the Toffees hierarchy.

What else happened in August 1994?

  • The IRA announces a “complete cessation of military operations.”
  • The 1994 Sunday Trading Act comes into force, permitting retailers to start trading in six-hour slots on Sundays.
  • Britpop band Oasis releases their debut album Definitely Maybe; and it becomes the fastest selling debut album in the United Kingdom.
  • Sky Sports launch their second television channel, as Sky Sports 2 is born.
  • Norwich Central Library is destroyed by a huge fire, with most of the city’s historical records lost in the blaze.
  • The last traces of Eastern Europe’s Soviet occupation disappear as the Russian army vacates Estonia and Latvia.

Premier League Rewind: 2nd-4th March 1996

Results: Coventry City 2-2 West Ham United, Leeds United 0-1 Bolton Wanderers, Manchester City 1-1 Blackburn Rovers, Middlesbrough 0-2 Everton, Queens Park Rangers 1-1 Arsenal, Sheffield Wednesday 1-3 Nottingham Forest, Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 Southampton, Wimbledon 1-1 Chelsea, Liverpool FC 3-0 Aston Villa, Newcastle United 0-1 Manchester United

Just over six weeks earlier, Newcastle United had established a 12-point lead at the top of the Premier League table. Kevin Keegan’s side looked to be virtually uncatchable. Then, the jitters started to hit his team.

Defeat at West Ham United, followed by a 3-3 draw at relegation-haunted Manchester City meant their lead had been chopped to just four points by Manchester United, who were running into form at just the right time. The Red Devils had won their last five Premier League matches and they were heading to St. James’ Park with the momentum. The eyes of the footballing world were on Tyneside for a Monday Night encounter on 4th March 1996.

Newcastle made the brighter start and should have led by half-time. Peter Schmeichel had to deny Les Ferdinand twice from close-range before Philippe Albert’s free-kick hit the crossbar with the Danish goalkeeper beaten. The visitors had survived the onslaught and scored crucially six minutes into the second half. Eric Cantona peeled away on the back post and met Phil Neville’s cross with a clean strike which defeated Pavel Srnicek and gave Alex Ferguson’s side a lead they wouldn’t relinquish for the rest of the match. Newcastle still had a one-point lead but their first home loss of the Premier League season prompted the bookmakers to make the Red Devils the new title favourites.

Liverpool FC couldn’t be ruled out though. They were just six points off the top spot after tearing Aston Villa apart 24 hours earlier. They scored three goals in the first eight minutes to register a 3-0 victory. Roy Evans’ side were now unbeaten in 13 top-flight matches after this clinical display. Steve McManaman scored inside the first 60 seconds and Robbie Fowler added two more goals to his growing tally. It was only Aston Villa’s second league reverse of 1996 and they’d both come at the hands of Liverpool FC. Their outside title challenge had been destroyed on Merseyside.

Whilst the top four were playing against each other, Tottenham Hotspur continued their strong season under the guidance of Gerry Francis. Jason Dozzell’s 64th minute goal was enough to defeat Southampton 1-0 at White Hart Lane and drop Southampton into the bottom three. Manchester City climbed out of the relegation places after a late equaliser to draw 1-1 with defending champions Blackburn Rovers, who were mired in mid-table. Blackburn’s home form was strong all season but away from home was a different story. They’d recorded just one away victory to this point in their title defence.

Bottom of the table were Bolton Wanderers but they gave their faint survival hopes a real boost with a surprising 1-0 win at Elland Road over Leeds United. Gudni Bergsson scored the only goal of the game as they made it back-to-back victories on their travels. Leeds had now lost their last four games and seemed to be in no form whatsoever with a League Cup final date with Aston Villa looming.

Elsewhere, Nottingham Forest returned to winning ways with a 3-1 success at Hillsborough over Sheffield Wednesday and Coventry’s 2-2 draw with West Ham United kept them clear of the bottom three for now.

What else happened in March 1996?

  • 16 school pupils and one teacher are killed in a massacre at Dunblane Primary School in Scotland. The gunman, an unemployed former shopkeeper commits suicide.
  • The European Union prohibits exports of British beef as a result of the BSE crisis.
  • Nelson Mandela is granted a divorce from Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.
  • Braveheart wins Best Picture at the 68th Academy Awards in Los Angeles.
  • John Howard defeats Paul Keating in federal elections to become the new Australian Prime Minister.
  • Chechen rebels attack the Russian government headquarters in Grozny. 200 people are killed.
  • Sri Lanka defeat Australia to win the 1996 Cricket World Cup.

Iconic Moments: Schmeichel scores! (October 2001)

During the first decade of the Premier League, Peter Schmeichel was arguably the best goalkeeper seen. He won five Premier League titles with Manchester United and developed an art for spectacular saves. However, he did like to score the occasional goal too.

In 1995, he headed home from a corner in a UEFA Cup tie against Rotor Volgograd at Old Trafford. United went out on away goals so his efforts counted for little. Six years later, he was at it again, this time playing for Aston Villa.

Villa were at Goodison Park, playing Everton and trailing 3-1. Schmeichel decided to come up into the Everton penalty area for a corner and when the Toffees’ defenders failed to clear, Schmeichel smashed the ball into the back of the net with a volley that Thierry Henry would have been proud of.

Everton held on to claim all three points on the day but it was the Dane who made all the headlines afterwards. In its 10th season, Schmeichel had become the first goalkeeper to score a goal. He ended his career in 2003 with Manchester City, having scored nine goals professionally at club level. Not a bad achievement for a player who was an expert at keeping them out at the other end.

Memorable Matches: Newcastle United 0-1 Manchester United (March 1996)

Goalscorer: Eric Cantona 52

Teams:

Newcastle United: Pavel Srnicek, John Beresford, Philippe Albert, Steve Howey, Warren Barton, David Batty, Rob Lee, Peter Beardsley, David Ginola, Faustino Asprilla, Les Ferdinand

Manchester United: Peter Schmeichel, Phil Neville, Steve Bruce, Denis Irwin, Gary Neville, Nicky Butt, Roy Keane, Ryan Giggs, Lee Sharpe, Eric Cantona, Andy Cole

Referee: David Elleray, Attendance: 36,584

On Monday, 4 March 1996, the eyes of the football world were fixed on Tyneside and the eagerly-anticipated meeting between the top two in the 1995-1996 title race. Newcastle United had set the pace all season but they were now under the most scrutiny they’d ever experienced.

In mid-January, Newcastle beat Bolton Wanderers 2-1 to go a staggering 12 points clear but February had brought about a damaging defeat away to West Ham United and a 3-3 draw with relegation candidates Manchester City. They arrived into the match just four points clear of Manchester United.

The Red Devils’ were in great form. Alex Ferguson’s side had strung together a five-game winning sequence which had included a 6-0 thumping of the league’s bottom side Bolton in their last away match. They had the confidence and the momentum. This looked like being the most crucial game of the season for both teams.

It was Andy Cole’s first return to St James’ Park since his surprise departure 14 months earlier in a £7 million transfer to Manchester United but he and Eric Cantona barely got a look-in during a first half completely dominated by the hosts. Unfortunately for Kevin Keegan’s side, Peter Schmeichel was saving his best form for this match.

Twice in the opening five minutes, Schmeichel show his uncompromising attitude to the game by denying Newcastle star striker and top scorer Les Ferdinand. He had no chance though with a Philippe Albert free-kick. The Belgian defender was desperately unlucky to see his effort crash off the crossbar. From the rebound, Ferdinand hoisted the ball over the top. The Newcastle faithful might have been beginning to get the feeling that this wasn’t going to be their night.

Six minutes into the second half, Manchester United struck the significant blow in clinical fashion. Cole was involved in the build-up, evading challenges on the edge of the penalty area. Phil Neville produced a delightful cross to the back post, where an unmarked Cantona arrived. He hit his shot into the ground and there was enough power on it to spin past Pavel Srnicek’s dive. The celebrations from Cantona’s teammates indicated what a big goal this was.

Newcastle had 61% possession in total and 16 attempts on goal but simply couldn’t find a way through. This was their first home defeat of the season and it trimmed their advantage down to just a single point, but with a game in hand. After this result, Manchester United were made favourites by the bookies’ to win the title for the first time since the 1995-1996 season began.

Ferguson’s side grew even stronger after this result. They dropped just five more points in their remaining matches and eventually won their third Premier League title by four points. This was the night where the destiny of the 1995-1996 championship swayed in favour of Manchester United.

Memorable Matches: Manchester United 0-1 Arsenal (March 1998)

Goalscorer: Marc Overmars 79

Teams:

Manchester United: Peter Schmeichel, John Curtis (Ben Thornley 52), Denis Irwin, Henning Berg, Gary Neville, Phil Neville (Ole Gunnar Solskjaer 77), Ronny Johnsen (David May 79), David Beckham, Paul Scholes, Teddy Sheringham, Andy Cole

Arsenal: Alex Manninger, Nigel Winterburn, Lee Dixon, Martin Keown, Tony Adams, Emmanuel Petit, Patrick Vieira, Ray Parlour (Remi Garde 70), Marc Overmars, Christopher Wreh (Nicolas Anelka 66), Dennis Bergkamp

Referee: Alan Wilkie, Attendance: 55,174

It wasn’t quite a title decider but this match between Manchester United and Arsenal in March 1998 was a pivotal one in deciding who would claim the advantage in the season. Two weeks earlier, United had beaten Chelsea 1-0 at Stamford Bridge. Most bookmakers’ stopped taking bets and some even started paying out on another title for the men from Old Trafford.

However, Arsenal dug in and were starting to be rewarded. Three days earlier, they had won at Wimbledon to close the gap at the top to nine points with three games in-hand. Defeat at the Theatre of Dreams would all but end their aspirations for a title tilt. Victory would put them within striking distance of their opponents, who still had European action on their minds.

Alex Ferguson’s options were restricted by injuries. Ryan Giggs, Roy Keane and Nicky Butt were among those on the treatment table whilst Alex Manninger passed a late fitness test to keep his spot in-goal for the Gunners’ with David Seaman still absent through injury.

After early pressure from the home side, it was Arsenal who looked the more energised. Marc Overmars was the most threatening player to Manchester United. His best chance of the first half was a shot into the side netting after splitting the defence. Gary Neville and youngster John Curtis were struggling to handle the pace of Overmars throughout. United’s best opening came seven minutes before the interval. Andy Cole looked in an offside position but the flag stayed down. This meant Cole was played through but he was to be thwarted by Manninger.

There was little change in terms of the momentum in the second half. Arsenal were the more likely side to score but were passing up opportunities to inflict the damage. Finally, they broke the deadlock 11 minutes from full-time. Substitute Nicolas Anelka flicked the ball onto Overmars, who once again ran beyond Gary Neville. His header gave him the advantage to run onto the ball and saw him beat Peter Schmeichel as the Dane started to close down his angles. It was the first goal Arsenal had scored at Old Trafford since 1991 and what a crucial one it was.

As they tried to rescue the game, there was worse to come for Manchester United. Schmeichel decided to make a run into the Arsenal penalty area for a corner but when the move broke down and he tried to sprint back, he pulled his hamstring, ruling him out of the UEFA Champions League quarter-final second leg with French side AS Monaco.

Arsenal had done it and became just the second side to double Manchester United in a season in Premier League history. They wouldn’t drop another point before wrapping up the title in early May. Arsene Wenger became the first foreign manager to win the Premier League and the platform for this success was this result at Old Trafford.