It was the fairytale story of all fairytale stories ever told in Sport with Leicester City Football Club winning the Premier League in the 2015-2016 season, lifting the trophy in May of 2016. All that glory of the underdog winning against all the odds. This was beyond their wildest dreams. They had achieved it against all the odds and with winger Riyadh Mahrez picking up the PFA Player of The Year award and striker Jamie Vardy scoring in eleven consecutive matches, breaking Rudd Van Nistelrooy’s previous record of ten matches in a row.
Manager Claudio Ranieri once named the “Tinkerman” due to his tendency to tweak the tactics in-game, from back when he managed Chelsea. He came back to the Premier League and won the Premier League with Leicester of all clubs, plus his first ever league title as a manager. How did he do this? “Magic” we say, Italian football “magic”.
But in all seriousness, with the Foxes, Ranieri had the formula with N’Golo Kante in central midfield, picking up all the pieces and using a high paced counter attacking mentality, coupled with no-nonsense defending from the experienced and bullish back line of Wes Morgan and Roberth Huth. What happened?
Leicester City sold N’Golo Kante to Chelsea in the summer and now Chelsea sit comfortably at the top of the league this season. Where do Leicester City sit in the table? They are only one point above the relegation zone in this 2016-2017 season, on February 13th 2017.
Had all the other opposition teams already figured out how Leicester City played? This along with the fact that their center backs being all over the place this season, plus that Jamie Vardy hasn’t even been finding any channels to run into this year.
In the last six league games, Leicester City have lost five and drawn one, only winning in an unrelated FA Cup match last week against Derby County, as if some form of consolation for their miserable league form right now.
Leicester City did also bring in a few players this season, both new midfield players, Amartey and Ndidi in order to try to fill the hole that N’Golo Kante had left them in midfield. Then they bought striker, Islam Slimani and Nigerian striker Musa, but both signings seem to have failed to link in with the system of play that Leicester had used last season and nobody seemingly understands the other systems trained.
In fact, nothing much has worked in any system for Leicester City this season, with Claudio Ranieri often resorting to his “Tinkerman” ways, which makes the “dilly-dong” and lighthearted humour of winning so comfortably last season, as “Champions”, to seeing where you are used to seeing them, which is in a relegation dog fight, so incredibly interesting to see from a football perspective. But, they are still in the Champions League, due to play Sevilla in the first knockout round, where they have done surprisingly well, “dilly-dong”, but they need to make sure they that don’t get relegated from the Premier League.
So, after losing to Swansea in a must win game, 2-0, with Claudio Ranieri saying before the match, “This is our new season”, would surely start to worry many Leicester City fans and even the Chairman of the club at this point.
A relegation this year would be seen as calamitous and a pure disaster. The fun-loving tale, the fairytale and with the magic in which they won the Premier League last season, feels like it happened in some other parallel universe or reality by now.
So, what will happen now? We can only wait and see, but it is clear that in the Transfer market this season, they didn’t bolster the back four, with any noteworthy new centre backs being brought in even in January, plus Leicester City failed to adapt their playing system, once their opposition had started to learn how to play against them, usually playing with deep back four with no space to run in between.
So, is this the rise and fall of Leicester City? Well, at the moment, it’s surely looking like it. Then the story will read, winning the Premier League and then being relegated the very next season. Plus, Jamie Vardy drinks Red Bulls, before a match. That’s what we learned this season.
That story would be even more moving now, than with the earlier proposed Hollywood film idea about the amazing “Champions”, but with a sad ending from the East Midlands. Fingers crossed, that they can get themselves together and stay up.
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Featured Photo Credit: WallpaperPlay