At the end of the 2014/15 Premier League season, Burnley, QPR, Hull City all were relegated to the Championship, England’s second football tier, meaning that Leicester City, who were the bookies’ favourites to go down in February after a prolonged spell at the bottom of the table, were to stay up in a miraculous relegation battle victory.
Since then the Foxes have signed only a handful of players, sacked and hired managers and have defied all odds to sit at the top of the Premier League table. But what has really changed? The available funds haven’t dramatically increased, except for the added TV money, the players weren’t particularly young and are now hitting their potential and the belief couldn’t have been that high, given the quality of Leicester’s performances last season. In my opinion, manager, Claudio Ranieri has not been given enough praise for Leicester’s phenomenal turnaround this season-much has been said of how striker, Jamie Vardy deserves a call up to the England National team for the Euros this summer and about how Riyad Mahrez merits a move to a bigger club. Without Ranieri, the current, very mediocre players would not be experiencing such things today. He shored up a mistake-prone defence and found a balance in the team the very best managers in football would be proud of. Next up for Leicester this weekend will be Norwich, you can check out all the football betting tips on matchstat.
However, the players are those who score the goals and keep goals out so of course they deserve some praise as well. Kanté in the centre of midfield was originally dubbed the ‘poor-man’s Yaya Touré’-I am almost sure that Touré’s club, Manchester City, would take Kanté over Touré if offered in the summer. He has managed to control the game, tackle, run and assist Jamie Vardy, and spread passes left, right and centre all season long.
Mahrez has been compared to Lionel Messi, of course he is not as talented as the Argentinian but he has been one of, if not the best, winger in the Premier League this season. Going on mazy runs or finding the net in crucial games this season is his speciality and is what Leicester fans are reveling in at the moment.
Jamie Vardy, compared to a more modern version of Gary Linekar or Ian Wright, has been the main target man and goal-scorer for the Premier League leaders; it still feels bizarre to write that. He has been in the right place at the right time and has offered a different dimension every time his wide players need it. He has a good touch; he is good in the air and can finish with aplomb.
When a team has players compared to Touré, Messi and Wright (some of the sport’s biggest ever names) they most definitely have the capabilities to succeed. However, being first in February isn’t worth a trophy, being first at the end of May is. Whether Leicester can maintain their current form and go on to be the most unlikely Premier League Champions there has ever been is another matter. Let’s just hope that they continue offering us the scintillating football that they have been so far this season.
To see how Leicester has fared against their rivals in the last matches, you can search for their Head to Head stats here.