Photo Credit: LCFC.com
Leicester City winning the 2015/2016 premier league title was the de pointe of the impossible becoming possible. With a bookies odd of 5000/1 at the beginning of that season, not many would have predicted that a team that survived relegation the season before would be crowned Premier League winners.
It wasn’t a problem that Leicester City barely had world-class players. It was ably compensated for by pacy, industrious and hardworking players. The spine of this team consisted of the ever-reliable Kasper Schmeichel, Captain hard man Wes Morgan, Kante the midfield engine, Okazaki the connector and Vardy the speedy goal merchant.
The current Leicester team like their predecessors have pace and industry. Fullbacks Perreira and Chilwell offer pace and attacking width down the flanks. Wingers Albrighton and Barnes offer industry. Caglar Soyuncu’s assurance and solidity at the back complements the reliable Jonny Evans.
Ndidi is not Kante, but he is a tireless workhorse who diligently protects the back four. Maddison and Tielemans provide attacking impetus from midfield to support Vardy who scored a peach of a goal against Bournemouth. It’s no coincidence, Jamie Vardy, Youri Tielemans and Maddison have taken the highest volume of shots, created the biggest chances, and provided the most key passes for Leicester City this season.
What Leicester City have over Manchester United who they face this weekend is an experienced complete squad who can navigate through the rigors of a long season. Manchester United don’t have reliable firepower upfront to take them through the season. Daniel James can only hold the fort for so long. Maguire, who Leicester greatly earned from 80 million pounds is so far the most decent defender at Old Trafford since the good old days of Ferdinand and Vidic. Wan-Bissaka is also looking like a top-class signing.
Leicester City can call on the services of Choudhury, Praet, Gray and Ayoze Perez to influence games throughout the season. Manchester United and Chelsea don’t have these squad privileges. Arsenal and Tottenham will depend on their superior firepower upfront and midfield to push for a 3rd and 4th place finish.
Chelsea has to replicate Hazard’s attacking impact last season. Tammy Abrahams has started finding the back of the net and Mason Mount is offering creativity and drive. In hindsight, it may be difficult for Mount, Abrahams and Pulisic to consistently offer Chelsea the ‘get out of jail cards’ Hazard offered them last season. Chelsea’s defense is likely to let them down regardless of all the good work Frank Lampard has started to implement.
When all has been said and done, it’s hard to forget Leicester City’s impressive defensive abilities last season against Manchester City almost gave Liverpool a faint chance to win the title in a match that was decided late on by Vincent Kompany’s incredible pile driver. Leicester City may indeed suffer some bumps along the road but a 5th or 6th place finish is achievable at the expense of an inconsistent Manchester United and Chelsea.