Sunday, March 26, 2017

Leicester City’s rise has been incredible

Leicester striker Leonardo Ulloa has scored four goals in three appearances in his clubs bid for survival

Leicester striker Leonardo Ulloa has scored four goals in three appearances in his clubs bid for survival

This season has not been a particular great one for the Premier League. The league title was wrapped up pretty comfortably by Chelsea and it has not been a season of very memorable games.

However, one Premier League team I have a lot of time for is Leicester City. The Foxes seem like a well-run family club and part of their community.

Their team deservedly won promotion to the top-flight last season and claimed the Championship title.

Vital

Later today Nigel Pearson’s team face a home game with Southampton, who are still in the race for a place in the top six and a Europa League spot for next season. The Foxes head into the game just a point above the relegation zone, despite a superb recent run of form.

Run

A few months ago Leicester looked like certainties for relegation to the Championship. They were rock-bottom and a lot of people were saying it would be Leicester and two other teams who would drop down into the second tier.

Even when they were rock-bottom and seemingly out of reach of safety boss Nigel Pearson was still being positive in his own old school way. The players remained positive that they could get out of trouble and stay in the Premier League.

It seemed like false positivity and just a show for their fans not to dessert their team in hard times. It turns out that positivity has been justified in the past few months.

An incredible run of five wins from their last six games has saw the Foxes move out of the relegation zone and given themselves a fantastic chance of surviving in the top-flight.

The only blip on their recent run was a 3-1 home defeat to Chelsea, but they can hardly be faulted for being beaten by this season’s champions, especially as Pearson’s side were winning 1-0 at half-time in the game.

Spirit

Leicester were playing well earlier in the season and maybe not getting what they deserved from some games. However, it is credit to everybody connected with the club that the team have managed to drag themselves up the table.

A big part of that turnaround in fortunes seems to be the team spirit within the squad. Everybody works for each other and despite maybe not having the best players in the league they have managed to come together as a team to mount a bid for survival.

Faith

Part of that spirit is partially due to the fact that the majority of the current squad were part of the title winning side from last season, although the likes of Esteban Cambiasso, Leonardo Ulloa, Marc Albrighton and Andrej Kramaric have arrived since promotion.

However, for the most part Nigel Pearson has shown faith in the players who won the club promotion in the first place, with the likes of Wes Morgan, Kasper Schmeichel and Jamie Vardy all playing big parts in the teams campaign so far.

Learning Curve

The top-flight has been a learning curve for a number of Leicester players with Morgan being one of the best examples of the step-up in class. The Jamaican international centre-back has spent a long time plying his trade in the second tier of English football.

The experienced defender looked out-of-his-depth earlier in the season and seemed very error prone. He learnt quickly that he would be punished more often in the Premier League than in the Championship.

In recent months he seems to have been producing a lot better performances, as the Foxes have started to concede fewer goals, which has obviously aided their bid for survival. The Leicester captain is an important figure in that Foxes defence and deserves credit for his improving displays.

Chance

Leicester have now given themselves a fighting chance of surviving the drop. The side from the Midlands have arguably the easiest run-in of any of the teams fighting to avoid relegation.

Their home game later today is followed up by a visit to Sunderland and the Foxes then finish their campaign with a home game against QPR at the King Power Stadium, a game they may still need to win to stay up.

The Foxes are now odds of 8/1 to be relegated this season. If Nigel Pearson’s team win today and results go for them, then they could be four points clear of the drop zone with just two games to play, which would be a quite an incredible turnaround from just a few months ago.

Will Leicester survive the drop this season?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

David Nugent


David is a freelance football writer with nearly a decade of experience writing about the beautiful game. The 33-year-old has written for over a dozen websites and also an international soccer magazine offline.
Arguably his best work has come as an editorial writer for Soccernews, sharing his good, bad and ugly opinions on the world’s favourite sport. During David’s writing career he has written editorials, betting previews, match previews, banter, news and opinion pieces.

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