Reigning Premier League champions Leicester City earned plaudits from all over the world last season for their sensational title triumph.
This season’s top-flight campaign has been a bit of an after ‘the Lord Mayor’s Show’ syndrome.
Not only have the Foxes struggled to recover their excellent league form of last season, they are struggling to find any sort of form.
On Saturday Claudio Ranieri’s side drew 2-2 with Middlesbrough at the King Power Stadium. It was a sign of the team’s poor recent league displays that the Foxes fans were relieved to have taken a point from the game.
Leicester closer to the bottom than the top
Everybody knew it would be highly difficult for Leicester to repeat last season’s heroics. The big-spending and high-profile clubs were always going to improve after last season. The Foxes title triumph was a true one-off.
The side from the Midlands were always going to struggle this season, especially with the distraction of the Champions League. The most surprising thing has been just how poor their Premier League campaign has been so far this season.
The Foxes are currently 13th in the Premier League table having accrued just 13 points. The Midlands side are in fact just two points above the relegation zone. They are a massive 18 points behind league leaders Chelsea in the table.
A challenge for the title is nearly impossible for the Foxes and even the fight for European places look beyond Ranieri’s under-fire side. The team’s form is an amazing contrast to last seasons.
Star players haven’t shown up
Striker Jamie Vardy and Algerian playmaker Riyad Mahrez were the toast of the Premier League table last season. Mahrez won Footballer of the Year, having scored 11 times and produced 17 assists for the Foxes.
Meanwhile, Vardy Scored 24 times and also produced eight assists. The striker also won international recognition with England. His ‘Roy of the Rovers’ story is even being brought to life on the big scene in a Hollywood film.
Vardy turned down a big-money move to Arsenal in the summer, while Mahrez is also reported to have rejected the advances of clubs elsewhere. There was even talk of Barcelona being interested in signing the talented attacking midfielder.
Neither star has performed to the same standard as in their title-winning campaign. Mahrez has scored just three times this season in the league, all three goals coming from set-pieces and produced just two assists.
Vardy has been nowhere near as prolific in front of goal scoring twice in the top-flight and producing just three assists. Sceptics are now describing the England international as a one-season wonder, which is understandable considering the circumstances.
Both players need to do more to help their team up the table. Football is a team game, but the pair have proven they can have a big effect in the top-flight. They are the sparks that ignite the rest of the Foxes players.
A relegation scrap
Leicester’s slump towards the bottom of the Premier League having been champions would usually be a considering very unusual. However, Chelsea made a similar start to last season having been crowned champions the season before.
Chelsea replaced Jose Mourinho with experienced Dutch boss Guus Hiddink and the Blues ended up finishing tenth in the table. Leicester will be hoping that their form does improve and they finish the campaign closer to the top of the table than the bottom this season.
The Foxes seem unlikely to be relegated but are odds of 14/1 to finish in the Premier League’s bottom three this season. A relegation scrap this season cannot be ruled out, especially with the Foxes continued presence in the Champions League drawing attention away from their domestic campaign.
However, Leicester should have enough experience and quality within their side to avoid going down this season. The Foxes must start winning games quickly in the top-flight to avoid a relegation scrap, though.
Will Leicester be in a relegation scrap this season?