Monday, September 16, 2019

Leicester City sack Puel: How the Foxes have fared since title glory

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 24 Feb 2019


Cast your minds back to May 2016. Leicester City – under popular boss Claudio Ranieri – had achieved the unthinkable and won the Premier League title despite being 5,000-1 outsiders with the bookmakers at the start of the season. 

Yet since that triumph, which was heralded the world over, Leicester have struggled to reach those same remarkable heights and have plateaued towards mid-table mediocrity. 

Claude Puel paid the price for a recent poor run of form, which yielded just one win in nine competitive outings, as he was sacked on Sunday less than 24 hours after a 4-1 home loss to Crystal Palace. 

In the aftermath of Puel’s departure, we take a look at the club’s fortunes since the greatest achievement in their history. 


2016-17 SEASON

Matching the exploits of the previous season was always going to be a tall order, especially when star midfielder N’Golo Kante – so crucial to Leicester’s counter-attacking success – was sold to Chelsea.

An opening-day defeat to Premier League new boys Hull City set the tone for a slow start to the season, but Ranieri was still surprisingly sacked in February 2017. The Italian was shown the door after the Foxes had won just five league matches, leaving them languishing a point above the drop zone.

Leicester were also knocked out early in both domestic cups but, under new boss Craig Shakespeare, they finished a respectable 12th and enjoyed a quarter-final run in the Champions League, knocking out Sevilla before a 2-1 aggregate defeat to Atletico Madrid.

2017-18 SEASON   

Leicester spent big to bring Harry Maguire, Vicente Iborra and Kelechi Iheanacho to the King Power Stadium during the close season, but with their Premier League triumph now little more than a midsummer night’s dream, Shakespeare was sacked in October having overseen just one league win in eight at the start of the campaign.

Puel – who had previous Premier League experience following a spell in charge of Southampton – was appointed and Leicester enjoyed a revival under the Frenchman, losing just once in his opening eight matches in charge.

The Foxes ambled their way to a mid-table finish, eventually ending up in ninth, but did enjoy quarter-final runs in both the EFL and FA Cup..

2018-19 SEASON (SO FAR)

Tragedy struck the King Power in October 2018 when beloved owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha was one of five people killed in a helicopter crash outside the stadium.

Leicester rallied impressively in the immediate aftermath of the devastating incident, yet Puel soon found himself under scrutiny amid reports of squad disharmony and a growing discord with the fans.

Back-to-back wins over Chelsea and Manchester City, part of three victories during a busy festive period, briefly earned Puel some respite.

However, a shock FA Cup exit to League Two Newport County set the tone for a disappointing start to 2019, Leicester losing six of their past seven in all competitions and failing to record a home win in the calendar year.

The heavy home defeat to Crystal Palace on Saturday, which was met with audible displeasure from those supporters who stayed to hear the final whistle, proved the final game in charge for Puel.


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