Leicester City lit up the Premier League last season with their fairytale run to the title. In an unexpected manner, while beating odds of 5000/1, the Foxes lifted the Premier League crown when the term drew to a close.
While it’s fair to say that Leicester thoroughly deserved the title, the win can be attributed to the dwindling performances of the bigger sides in the League.
The likes of Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester United and City seemed to switch off. Arsenal came the closest to clinching the title, but their efforts failed to materialis
e as Claudio Ranieri’s side entered did the seemingly impossible.
Things appear set to change this season, and arguably not in Leicester’s favor. The top teams in the League have all bolstered their ranks and look set to battle it out for the title.
Leicester can’t rival Manchester United’s recruitment of Jose Mourinho and the acquisition of some big name players.
Similarly, Manchester City look better than ever under Pep Guardiola. They’ve been touted as favorites to clinch the crown.
Chelsea have also strengthened considerably with the arrival of Conte and the rejuvenation of the London outfit.
The question is, though, where does that leave the reigning champions?
Leicester could potentially drop down the pecking order if they fail to match the strides of the top sides in the league. This Premier League season has already begun to live up to its billing.
he action has been breathtakingly intense with passion oozing out of every nook and cranny of all stadiums in the top flight.
This could be the season, though; we see a gap being re-established at the top of the table.
The top teams have improved quite considerably over the course of the preseason and Leicester’s acquisitions don’t seem to measure up to that of the top dogs in the League.
Surely Slimani and Ahmed Musa don’t measure up to the likes of Nolito and Gundogan regarding quality; hence it would take something quite unusual for Leicester to secure a top four finish let alone, retain their title.
With Leicester City now competing on four fronts, it could be difficult to keep players fit. Fatigue plays a significant role in the League.
A jaded squad can’t pick up wins as a result of the high-intensity nature of the English top flight.
Leicester opened the season with a loss against Hull City. They then went on to draw against Arsenal.
Following the Arsenal result, Ranieri led his side to a victory which was then followed by a disappointing defeat at the hands of Liverpool.
The defeat against Liverpool highlighted Leicester’s defensive frailties as they were caught on the break multiple times.
There was an apparent lack of communication between the Leicester defenders which allowed Liverpool’s fast players to hit them on the counter. Vardy seemed to be off his game; he missed a clear cut chance and contributed little to play.
Kante’s absence from the team appears to be detrimental to Leicester’s defensive shape. The France international single-handedly put a stop to attacks last season.
His tremendous work rate coupled with his ball-winning abilities helped Leicester’s resolve.
With Kante now a Chelsea player, Ranieri has been without a box-to-box midfielder who can protect the back four.
The Italian tactician will be keen on acquiring a similar player to Kante when the January transfer window opens up.
As things stand, Leicester doesn’t look like a genuine title contender. A title victory is highly unlikely considering all the factors involved. Securing a place in the top six should be Ranieri’s main ambition.
Leicester recently secured a 3-0 win over Burnley in a game which saw new signing Islam Slimani bag a brace.
The Algerian international seems intent on making his presence felt in the league, but could his potential go on to match the output from likes of Ibrahimovic and Aguero?
But even he did achieve a goal scoring prowess akin to the strikers’ of Manchester City, Chelsea, et al; it won’t be enough to get Leicester to the top of the table. It takes more than one regular goalscorer to win the League. It’s more of a team effort.
Depending on how things pan out, Leicester could be in with a shout of doing something special next season.
But for now, Ranieri’s side isn’t up to par with the top teams in the League.