When Leicester City dispensed with the services of prickly, but solid boss Nigel Pearson this summer, the Foxes were immediately talked about as relegation candidates.
Their fine end to last season was attributed to their fiery boss.
The appointment of ‘The Tinkerman’ Claudio Ranieri was met with a mixed response from the Midlands club’s fan base.
The appointment was a gamble and sometimes gambles pay-off, its early days, but maybe Ranieri’s appointment was a masterstroke by the Leicester hierarchy.
Leicester are unbeaten in four Premier League games this season, drawing the last two after winning their opening two games and current sit third in the fledgling table. Their unbeaten record in the top-flight now spans eight games in all, which for a club that was fighting relegation last season is not a bad record.
The Foxes start to the campaign has impressed many, but they had the momentum from last season to carry them into a winning start to this season. The Midlanders were impressive in their two games, but draws in their last two games have added a note of caution to their early season promise.
The form of the likes of Algerian winger Riyad Mahrez and forward Jamie Vardy has been particularly impressive. Mahrez has now scored four goals in the Premier League, while Vardy has scored twice and also produced an assist in the first four Premier League games of the campaign.
Mahrez has already equalled his goal tally from last season, when he featured 30 times for the side from the Midlands. Vardy is just three behind his goal tally from last season and recently featured for England in their Euro 2016 qualifier in San Marino.
Winger Marc Albrighton seems to have also found his form, scoring once and producing three assists this season. The former-Aston Villa star has struggled for consistency in his career, but has started this campaign in a bright manner.
Only Manchester City’s midfield magician David Silva has conjured up more assists than Albrighton in the Premier League this season, so it is fair to say he has finally found a spot of consistency.
The Tinkerman has not really lived-up to his reputation in the early days. The Foxes have maintained a relatively stable line-up this season.
Ranieri did change his team last time out, but that was because he wanted to make a tactical change, rather than just making a change for the sake of it, which he seemed to do regularly during his days at Chelsea.
At the moment Leicester look like they could become a stable Premier League club. They are very effective going forward and solid at the back. It is hard to see the Foxes being dragged into the relegation dogfight this season.
That may be testament to the spirit that former-boss Pearson instilled in the team. Most of the players currently in the team are players that were signed by the former-Boro boss and Ranieri has not needed to make wholesale changes to his team.
Pearson has to take credit for building that squad and giving the players the belief that they can hold their own in the top-flight.
The Foxes main priority this season will still likely be maintaining their Premier League safety and then once that is achieved they can then start looking up upwards, rather than over their shoulders.
The fact that the Foxes are currently odds of 8/1 to be relegated this season suggests that not many people believe that Ranieri’s men will be heading back to the second tier at the end of the season.
In fact nine clubs are shorter odds to drop down into the Championship, again suggesting that the average punter is starting to believe that the Foxes belong in the top-flight.
Leicester played some outstanding football last season, but at times were not getting the results early in the campaign. The results started to arrive towards the end of the season and the Foxes were winning in style.
The continuity in the playing staff has obviously helped maintain the team’s playing style and they have already impressed many with their attacking displays.
The Foxes resume their Premier League campaign with a home game against Midlands rivals Aston Villa on Sunday. It is a sign of the times at Leicester that the Foxes fans will be expected to beat the Villans.
Leicester started last season in a similar vein of form, but early signs suggest that the Foxes will not have to rely on such a strong finish to this campaign to stay in the Premier League this time around.
Can Leicester continue their good form?
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