It’s been 5 years since the unthinkable happened in the Premier league – Leicester City, a club whose best season in the top division in English football was finishing second in 1928-29, left the football world and supporters alike in complete disbelief when they finally won the title in 2015-16.
A team that just the season before, were bottom of the table at the halfway mark, and narrowly avoided relegation. A team that was given 5000-1 odds of winning the title at the beginning of that famous 2015 season. This one is my personal favorite because it cost bookies A LOT of money, the only other thing I’ve heard of with 5000-1 odds is Tupac being alive.
Fast-forward 5 years later… Can it be happening again?
Granted the odds are slightly more even now at a measly 33/1, at the end of Match Day 19, LCFC are sitting in 3rd ahead of last years champions Liverpool. They are only behind current leaders Manchester united by 2 points and are level on points with Manchester city only behind on goal differential. The question now is how did they get themselves there? Let us look at three reasons why.
If you look over some of the transfers Leicester City made before their championship winning season, they found some diamonds in the rough. There are three names in particular, that have been great business for the club, starting with Danny Drinkwater who was transferred from Manchester United for $990,00 and bought from Chelsea for a little over $41 million. Riyad Mahrez was bought from AC Le Havre for around $500,000 and later sold to Man City for $74.5 million. Finally, Harry Maguire was brought in from Hull City for around $15 million which sounds like a lot but was then acquired by Man United for close to $96 million. Selling those three players led to nearly $200 million in profit! The sale of Mahrez directly led to the buys of James Maddison, Ricardo Pereira, Caglar Soyuncu who, when fit, are all key players for the club.
And it isn’t just the transfer market LCFC are excelling in, their academy is producing top quality talent as well. Not every player bought during the transfer window is a home run and some end up being bust, but when superstars are being made in the academy you wipe out those big money mistakes. Take Ben Chilwell for example,he is a Leicester graduate that recently sold to Chelsea for 55 million. The academy also has brought in, notably, Harvey Barnes and Hamza Choudhury. Barnes is already a mainstay for the club and Choudhury is on the cusp of being a regular Premier League player.
The Rodgers Effect
Since Brendan Rodgers has taken over Leicester City near the end of February 2019, LCFC have been back to their winning ways. He led the foxes to a 5th place finish last season, which is the highest result since their championship season. After Leicester won the league, they went through a little rough patch, thefollowing seasons saw Leicester finish 12th, 9th,and 9th, respectively, while going through three managers in that time.
Rodgers has had a positive effect on his squad and has been able to get the most out of his players. This is evident when you check the stats – Rodgers has the Highest winning percentage among Leicester City managers (excluding interim manager) at 52.94%. Rodgers is also benefiting from managing a club of Leicester’s size because, as we have seen in the past, Brendan could struggle managing one of the “big” teams like Liverpool. It seems like Rodgers at Leicester is a win-win.
Style of Play
The style of Leicester City’s play makes them “must see”. It has been almost a year and a half since their last competitive game finished 0-0. The most common complaint from North American’s who aren’t soccer fans is “aw soccer is boring, there’s no goals scored”. When you’re watching Leicester, there is a good chance there will be goals. Over the past year, there have been multiple times the Foxes have put four past the opposing team’s keeper, and even netted five goals past Manchester City this season in an impressive 5-2 win. And who can forget the trip they took to St Mary’s Stadium last season when they scored NINE goals against Southampton.
With creative central midfielders like Maddison and Youri Tielemans pulling the strings, attacking wing backs like Pereira, and quality players in the front led by the electric Jamie Vardy, Leicester City’s lighting quick counter attacks are some of the most enjoyable moves to watch in the Premier League.
Half way there
Nothing is set in stone, we’re only a little over halfway through the 2020-21 season, but Leicester is right there in the mix again. For Leicester to have a chance they’ll need to stay healthy and keep going on this run of positive results. Any fan of the underdog will certainly be cheering on the Foxes in their pursuit of their 2nd Premier league title.
If you want some more Soccer content, check out when Terry talked to legendary defender Bacary Sagna.