As we all know, Leicester City performed THE miracle of all miracles two seasons ago, and won the Premier League under Claudio Ranieri. Unfortunately since then, things haven’t exactly went to plan. Leicester stayed up last season, in controversial style, dismissing at-the-time manager and Leicester legend Claudio Ranieri, and bringing in Craig Shakespeare, who was Ranieri’s assistant. Despite what many people debate as ‘doing the dirty’ from himself and the squad, they somehow managed to pick up some form and drag themselves away from the relegation zone. But this season, in particular, I think Leicester are far too easily dismissed to not be considered relegation contenders, here’s three reasons why I think this.
Bye Bye Mahrez
It is not a known secret to many that one of Leicester’s key men to their success two seasons ago includes this man. Mahrez was nominated for the Premier League Player of The Year award in the 2015/16 season and was for many extremely unlucky not to win it, only being pipped to it by team-mate Jamie Vardy. Riyad Mahrez made his intentions clear to Leicester in June by informing the club that he wishes to leave and kick-on in his career. Despite strong interest from Roma, Mahrez is still a Leicester player and I feel that the Algerian, if(could argue when) he leaves, will be a massive loss to The Foxes. Despite not being up-to-scratch last season, Mahrez proved that he can do it on the big stage and this to me is a big worry, personally I don’t think they have anyone in that squad, currently, who can grab the game by the scruff of the neck.
I think for Leicester, this is an on-going problem that needs resolving. Perhaps cashing in and replacing the tricky winger is what would be best for the club, but when is the question? Preferably for Leicester, it can’t be too late.
Craig Shakespeare All That?
Craig Shakespeare was arguably the main reason why Leicester ran away from the drop zone last year. After sacking Ranieri, which may I point out, is one of the most disgusting things I’ve ever witnessed as a football fan, Craig Shakespeare found himself in the hot-seat at the King Power. Leicester were flirting dangerously with the relegation zone and were in a rapid decline, their players needed to find an inspiration and they couldn’t grasp it together, not even from The Tinkerman himself, sad fully, I think that this was boiled down to talent, something which they severely lacked. Temporarily, this turned out to be a wise move, Leicester won their first five games under the charismatic Brummie. This in many ways was the effect that Leicester so desperately needed, and wanted. The Foxes had to show all of their doubters that the season prior to this wasn’t a fluke, and that they had genuine quality in their squad, which they did actually have but only in certain areas of the field, N’golo Kante in particular name that springs to mind. For me, Leicester fans are going to get slapped in the face with reality this season, I personally don’t think that Craig Shakespeare will be the manager to get anywhere near the success that they have had, and we will be seeing the Leicester of note that we are so used to seeing. Despite Shakespeare having many would claim a lot of potential, I think this permanent position he finds himself in at Leicester will incite a lot pressure on himself, it’s now his job to lose, whereas for a lot of last season he had nothing to lose.
I can honestly say confidently that I think Craig Shakespeare’s success last season was the definition of a honeymoon period.
Overall, An Average(At Best) Squad
This one may raise a few eyebrows, but hear me out. This for me is the main reason why I fear for Leicester. Look at their current squad, then tell me where on the pitch that they have genuinely, more quality, in areas of the pitch than other teams which you’d normally associate with competing with them. Despite this, the only saving brace for The Foxes is that they have had an ‘okay’ transfer window. Signings Harry Maguire and Kelechi Iheanacho will add strength in depth but I fear that these players are not the answers are looking for. Maguire relegated with Hull, despite being one of their stand-out players, does anyone remember Robert Snodgrass? Kelechi is however in an interesting one, a very diverse, quick player who will score goals, but is he a 20+ goalscorer a season? Somewhat I doubt, and I don’t think he is the answer they’re looking for, and I hope for their sake they don’t plan on shipping out Islam Slimani.
Other than this, I’m looking in particular at their back-line. Danny Simpson, Robert Huth. Wes Morgan, Christian Fuchs all still remain on The Foxes’ wage budget, and don’t exactly scream out quality to me, I can see a lot of goals being leaked this season and I fear there aren’t enough goals in the squad to rectify this. I feel that last season, these players showed their true colours.
The Vardy question. Is Jamie Vardy really worth all of that hype which surrounded him only as far as last season, when teams such as Arsenal showed a strong interest? Last season was kind of a blessing in disguise for all of those clubs who were prepared to throw stupid money Leicester’s way for bis services. In 2015/16, Vardy scored 24 goals in 36 appearances, and inadvertently broke the Premier League record for the scoring in consecutive games the most times(11). Follow this up by the season after, Vardy only somewhat halved his tally, bagging 13 in 35.
Can Leicester Really Get Relegated? Are These Reasons Valid Enough? Let Us Know In the Comments Below!