Monday, June 26, 2017

Leicester may get lucky this season

David Nugent in Editorial, English Premier League 24 Jan 2017

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Leicester’s incredible achievements last season must seem like a world away now.

Last season’s Premier League campaign was a dream for Foxes fans, as they won the title. This season is fast becoming a nightmare, though.

On Sunday afternoon the champions suffered a 3-0 defeat at Southampton. To say their poor performance would be an understatement. The defeat leaves Claudio Ranieri’s side just five points clear of the drop zone.

However, there may be salvation for the side from the Midlands in that there are probably three worse teams in the top-flight at the moment.

Struggling teams improving

Despite the above statement, Leicester will still be looking over their shoulders nervously. New bosses at the likes of Swansea and Hull in Paul Clement and Marco Silva respectively have had a positive impact at their new clubs.

Hull again produced a decent display at Chelsea on Sunday, but the leader’s quality shone through in the end with a 2-0 win. The Tigers will no doubt pick up more positive results in the near future under Silva.

Swansea’s 3-2 win at Liverpool on Saturday had to be applauded. The Swans still struggled at the back, but actually attacked Liverpool, which pays off as the Reds defence is weak.

One saving grace for Leicester in Hull and Swansea’s improvement may be their tough upcoming fixtures. Hull face away trips to Manchester United and Arsenal with a home game against Liverpool sandwiched in-between.

Swansea’s fixture list is not as daunting, but they have to travel to Manchester City and Chelsea in the next four games, along with home fixtures against Southampton and Leicester.

The likes of Sunderland, Crystal Palace and Middlesbrough have all struggled to pick up wins in the top-flight of late. That means there are a lot of other teams to occupy the relegation spots come the end of the campaign.

Major difference from last season

Looking at the difference between this season’s position and last season’s position of Leicester it does not take a genius to work out something is different. That is that Leicester are not working as hard and doing the basics right.

Last season’s triumph was based on working as a team and doing the simple things right. This season there has been far too many misplaced passes and poor decisions from the players. It’s like the players have become complacent because of last season’s achievements.

One of the major changes in the team is the form of England striker Jamie Vardy. The 29-year-old’s form was outstanding last season and earned him a place in the England squad. He chased everything and scored vital goals.

Vardy has only scored three times in his last 18 top-flight appearances. All three goals came in the Foxes 4-2 home win over Manchester City. That means he has failed to score in 17 of his last 18 top-flight appearances.

It seems last season was a one-off for Vardy. No doubt he is a decent striker, but like so many before him he may never hit the same glorious heights of that one fantastic goalscoring campaign.

Leicester are missing Vardy’s goals badly, as winger Riyad Mahrez has also struggled to replicate his good form of last season. The pairs drop in form has not been the team’s only issue. The Foxes have suddenly become very vulnerable in defence.

For two consecutive games, they have now suffered 3-0 defeats. At both ends of the field, Ranieri’s side needs to improve if they want to move clear of the relegation zone.

Unlikely to be relegated this season

The reigning champions are currently odds of 10/1 to be relegated this season, with seven clubs shorter odds to go down. I have to agree with the bookies on this one, I cannot see the Foxes being relegated this season.

The Foxes do have quality in their squad. The imminent return of playmaker Riyad Mahrez and Islam Slimani from international duty should give the Foxes squad a lift. Neither has been in great form this season, but both have proven in the past they can contribute to goals.

The phrase ‘too good to go down’ may not apply to Leicester. However, the Foxes may just get lucky this season, as there may just be three teams worse than the champions in the Premier League.

Are there three worse teams in the Premier League than Leicester?

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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