Sunday, December 4, 2022

Leicester City’s Fall From Grace Has Been A Sad Story And Here’s Why

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Sarthak Mondal
Armchair analyst. Engineering dropout by choice. Sports Management student.

The 2015-16 season turned a lot of heads around in English football, primarily for two reasons. The first being the horrible title defence of Chelsea and the second being the freak rise of Leicester City. The 2014-15 and 2015-16 had only one thing in common though; it was Eden Hazard’s goal that decided the title.

However, things have gone downhill for the Leicester since and they have not been able to balance the pressure of playing simultaneously in domestic and continental competitions. Jamie Vardy was at his best, prolific in front of goal, while Riyad Mahrez ripped apart the opposition with his dribbles and ball control that the media termed him as Algerian Messi.

However, there is one man, whom they are missing. The player was silently a vital cog in Leicester’s road to glory last season is the French central defensive midfielder, N’Golo Kanté. The 25-year old has been a key player for his former club, making numerous interceptions and tackles in the midfield, providing stability to Claudio Ranieri’s plans, who otherwise has a habit of tinkering with his lineup in every single game.

Leicester City played the entirety of the 2015-16 season in the simple 4-4-2 formation, allowing the opposition to have the ball, absorbing the pressure, and breaking away with the pace of Jamie Vardy. However, for the same to be successful, quality ball players are needed in the defensive midfield, which is unsurprisingly missing for them after Kante’s transfer to Chelsea at the start of the season.

Leicester City are now sitting only one point above relegation zone, above Hull City and are on their way to make this season the worst title defence by a team in the history of Premier League, surpassing Blackburn Rovers. It would not come as a surprise if Leicester are relegated and they have to ply their trade in the Championship next season.

Ranieri and his men need to take inspiration from Nigel Pearson’s Leicester City of 2014-15 season, who spent 29 weeks in the relegation zone, only to win 7 of the remaining 9 games and stay in the Premier League. With no FA Cup in the coming months and an unlikely chance of progressing to the last 8 in the Champions League, it is high time for the Tinkerman to get his priorities straight if he wants to save Leicester City from relegation.

The target laid by him to save relegation at the start of the season was 40 points and Leicester City are currently 19 points shy of it. With 13 gameweeks to go, getting 19 points may be difficult, but not impossible, given they did something similar 2 seasons ago. It is the right time for the Foxes to start firing on all cylinders and save their season.

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