The greatest romantic fairytale story of the sporting world has ended for Leicester City, they’ve now awoken to possibly their ugliest, worst nightmare and are only one point ahead of 19th place Hull City and 2 points from bottom placed Sunderland. The now face the ugly possibility of being only the second defending English Premier League champion to be relegated, Manchester City is currently the proud owner of this not so proud honor.
With every match that the foxes lose, pressure is mounting on Claudio Ranieri to be shown the door, if this happens, it could be the most unfair sacking in premier league history. However, fellow survival opponents Hull and Swansea have showed instant improvement and look to reap the rewards for showing their manager the door, so what exactly is ailing LEICESTER CITY?
These could be a few of the reasons why they face the battle of their lives, a battle even bigger than winning the premier league (we all know how hard it is);
- LOSS OF NG’OLO KANTE
Last season, there was a joke doing rounds on social media that the world is covered by 75% water, the remaining 15% is covered by Kante. The diminutive midfielder was so impressive that you could argue he single handedly shielded the Foxes backline while also chipping in with 1 goal and 4 assists, just like the other impressive stars from that season; Kante was hunted by the top teams from Europe and England. His move to Chelsea saw Ranieri throw money at the problem to see whether he could plug the massive hole left behind by the most impressive holding midfielder in the modern era of the league. Wilfred Ndidi, Daniel Amartey and Nampalys Mendy were all expected to carry on where Ng’olo left off; unfortunately it seems the task has been too huge for them.
Kante was the best midfielder in the league last season posting impressive statistics, according to whoscored.com; he posted 4.7 tackles per match, 4.2 interceptions per match which were impressive enough to earn him a place in the premier league team of the season. After leading the league for both interceptions and tackles, Sir Alex Ferguson claimed that “Kante is by far the best player in the league.
His £32m move to current league leaders Chelsea not only swelled the Foxes pockets but also their chances of finding themselves in a relegation battle.
- ONE SEASON WONDERS.
Every big team last season had sleepless nights in preparation to face the dynamic duo of Riyad Mahrez and Jamie Vardy; the two were so good that they won several personal accolades between them. Mahrez won PFA Player’s Player of the year, PFA fans’ player of the year, named in PFA team of the year, nominated for Ballon d’or and finished seventh, BBC African footballer of the year 2016, Algerian footballer of the year, Leicester city player of the year, Facebook Football Awards player of the year, El Heddaf Arab Footballer of the year, Lion d’or African footballer of the year, CAF African Footballer of the year, CAF team of the year.
Vardy on his part won Premier League Player of the season, FWA Footballer of the year, Premier league PFA team of the year, Broke Ruud Van Nistelroy’s record by scoring in 11 consecutive matches
The two talismen had a combined 41 goals and 17 assists compared to this season’s dismal tally of 8 goals and 2 assists so far with only 12 matches to go to the end of the season. This is hugely responsible for the foxes failing to find the net in their last 6 consecutive premier league matches, despite bringing in Islam Slimani who has contributed 5 goals and 3 assists all on his own.
These 2 sleeping giants are definitely not the only giants responsible for the fight for survival that Leicester find themselves in, the whole team is simply still celebrating their unlikely League win.
- RANIERI’S BLIND LOYALTY TO HIS TITTLE WINNERS.
During his post match press conference after hitting another low by succumbing to fellow strugglers Swansea city, Ranieri, who ironically is known as the tinker man due to his love for changing his squad during his previous spell in Chelsea, seemed to agree that he might have rewarded his league winners too much.
It is a known fact that Leicester City has some fantastic talents sitting on the bench, the likes of Leandro Ulloa, Demarai Gary (arguably the most exciting young winger in the league), Ahmed Musa and Shinji Okazaki all have the struggle and guts to slack it out in the struggle for survival. Should Ranieri have cashed in big name stars that were much sought after by big teams? From Mahrez, Vardy and Kante, the foxes would have made over £100M, this could have surely bought them at least middle table status don’t you think?
- FA CUP AND CHAMIONS LEAGUE RUN.
Leicester City have had a very impressive Champions debut season, however everyone wonders what good it will serve the champions to play in next seasons’ champions league during midweek and in the championship during the weekends? It is obvious they’ll lose their best players if they get relegated so won’t sustain their run in either the champions league or Europa league.
Instead of staggering his resources across the three competitions, it could be wiser for Claudio Ranieri to focus all his arsenal and launch a major assault on securing their premier league status, they lack the experience and pedigree to sustainably maintain their run in the three competitions.