Time To Fear The Foxes

Since the early 1990s, the same five teams—Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester City, and to a lesser extent, Liverpool—have dominated the End push for the Premier League. It’s been over 20 years  since a team other than one of those five took home the trophy.

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But look at the table now and you’ll see Leicester City—who weren’t even in the Premier League two seasons ago—riding high at the top of the table,one win away from the title.The Foxes started the season with terrible odds—their chances of winning the Premier League were 5,000-1.Now, one fan who placed a £5 pre-season wager could win £25,000  ($36,000) if Leicester they win the league with looks almost a job done.

So how exactly have they pulled off this remarkable feat? Is it all luck ?A magic formula? or just sheer hardwork and passion?There are a number of lessons we can take away from Leicester’s success.

• Leadership

There was a significant backlash when Leicester announced it would be managed by Claudio Ranieri this season. Gary Lineker, one of the club’s most famous former player, openly denounced the move. Some fans wondered whether the Italian coach would even make it to Christmas.Having being sacked from various clubs ,his previous stint in English soccer ended when he was let go by billionaire Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich a year after he bought the club.The backlash seemed quite obvious.The 64-year-old Italian has worked for some of the biggest teams over the past 30 years, but has yet to  clinch a major title.

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This is what Gary Linekar had to say

Against almost all odds, Ranieri has built on and sustained Leicester’s success in the lower leagues. While Premier League managers are known for is their massive egos, Ranieri is radically different—he’s actually a person more concerned to get the job done rather than fulfilling his ego

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Ranieri was able to build a strong relationship with his team, because he listened to them.He believes in the potential of his players to play the game in the most natural way rather than believing in jotting down tactics for every single game.The Manager moved away from his squad rotation policy that he used at Chelsea,at Leicester, he has used the same players, in the same formation, more than any other team in the Premier League.Seven of his starting 11 are essentially guaranteed places each week.Ranieri has focused on nurturing the talent he already had at his disposal, and taking calculated risks on players that others may have passed on.

The power of teamwork

While Leicester has talented soccer players, none are superstars.The guys in Leicester City, on their own, probably aren’t going to achieve this kind of success individually as they would together.Leicester currently has the prolific  goalscorer in Jamie Vardy, who has found renewed life under Ranieri, but the team he has created is not just about a single player.

Besides the fact that Algerian midfielder, the newly crowned PFA player of the year, Riyad Mahrez has racked up almost just as many goals as Vardy, he’s also assisted in quite some goals this season, and the team has been quite disciplined all season.

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•Finding undervalued talent

What’s even more remarkable about Leicester’s rise to fame is the fact they did it at a fraction of the price of their competitors. Its tremendous run has shone light on an idea- value for money.

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Leicester City’s wage bill speaks for itself—it gets the most points per pound spent of any team in the league. Back when they were in the league below the Premier League  Leicester bought Jamie Vardy for only £1 million ($1.45 million)—or 1/49th of the cost of streaky striker Raheem Sterling. Had Vardy moved in the winter transfer window, it was reported that he would cost his new club £30 million. Mahrez was bought for just £400,000; N’Golo Kanté for about £5.6 million.

Leicester brought in a host of players in the summer, but the vast majority of them were seasoned veterans, rather than rising stars. Leicester’s squad happens to be the oldest of the teams currently in the top five in the Premier League, with an average age of over 26. The club paid a total of about £27 million for the players it brought in a little bit more than Chelsea spent just on one player,Pedro in the same window.

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Other teams have noticed, and they’re trying to imitate Leicester’s methods in the transfer market. And the very fact that  the world’s biggest clubs are trying, awkwardly, to imitate the inner workings of a modest club like Leicester speaks volumes.

Hardwork+Passion

Ranieri’s men have shown a huge deal of cohesiveness and teamwork on the pitch they have never given up.From closing down players quickly ,pressing high up the pitch and swiftly changing to counterattacks,the team has never been lagging. They have given teams like Manchester City,Arsenal and Liverpool a run for their money.Ranieri has established a stringent but necessarily laid back system under his reign which gives players a chance of self reflection after each game and trying to improve it in the upcoming games .The policy of taking one game at a time has helped the team to a huge extent.The team has never looked back from the word go.Leicester City ,the team which just survived last time round,haven’t fallen below the top half of the table even once since.

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The foxes have been a treat to watch.From astonishing goals to rattling records.They have done everything to deserve this season’s title.The have played good football all round.

They play Manchester United next up .A win against them would mean they win the title with a couple of games to spare.As a Manchester United fan myself I would prefer a United win but no less than Leicester winning the title.They deserve it.

Will they continue the stint next season  or was it just a one season wonder goes to be seen but for the players it’s time to relish to moment as they make history .

Meanwhile check this video

out here.