Leicester City: The Unlikely Champions

On Monday, Tottenham Hotspur tied with Chelsea 2-2. What does that mean?

Well it means that with two games left in the Barclays Premier League, the underdog Leicester City Foxes have captured the crown. This was done due in large part to the unexpected good play of goal scorer extraordinaire Jamie Vardy, brick wall Wes Morgan and set up man Riyad Mahrez.

This is your classic underdog story.

Leicester City is a story unlike any other. They are the David against an army of Goliaths; The tortoise in a field against the hares; The Batman against the Superman. The true underdog that succeeded against all odds. If you are tired of hearing it, too bad because it is true. This is all well and good but let’s get to the truth of the matter.

Premier League Title since 1992

  1. Manchester United – 13 Titles
  2. Chelsea – 4 titles
  3. Arsenal – 3 titles
  4. Manchester City – 2 titles
  5. Blackburn Rovers – 1 title
  6. Leicester City – 1 title

Leicester City is an anomaly; a glitch in the system. A glitch so historic that we will never see something this improbable in soccer in our lifetime. Not only in soccer, but we may never see this in sports again. To understand why, lets flashback a year ago in the BPL.

Last year, it was the Chelsea Blues who dominated the EPL. The Blues had 87 points, which was 8 points up on second place Man City. This was so dominant that even if Leicester City were to win their next two games, they would be 4 points shy of Chelsea’s point totals last year. Speaking of Leicester, if you wanted to see how Leicester City fared last year, you would have to look way lower in the Standings. Leicester City was in 14th place with 41 points. The team scored 46 goals and allowed 55 goals, giving them a goal difference of -9. Jamie Vardy was not nearly as good, only scoring 5 goals in 34 league appearances. Mahrez was abysmal, scoring 4 goals in 30 league appearances. The only true bright spot on the Foxes in the 2014-2015 season was Wes Morgan, who was the Jamaican wall we all know and love.

Some experts believed that Morgan was showing signs of regression, as he is not a spring chicken anymore. Leicester City was an afterthought. So much so that that the odds of Leicester opened at 5000-1. In hindsight, probably should have put some money on Leicester City.

Highest players salaries

Leicester was ranked 17th in the Premier League for team salaries, third lowest.

The 2015-2016, on the other hand, was a complete turnaround. Leicester City are Barclays Premier League Champions with 2 games left at 77 points. The team has scored 64 goals, while only allowing 34 goals. The Defense has been so good that The Foxes have 15 clean sheets. Vardy has raised his goals from 5 last season, to 22 and counting. Mahrez has been an absolute revelation, scoring 17 goals and 11 assists so far. So what changed? Well in soccer you do not have to look further than the coach.

Side Note: To be fair, Leicester had to get any new coach in the after the racist sex tape scandal. That’s not to disparage Pearson himself, however his son was in the tape making remarks which reflected poorly on him. With that being said, Pearson brought it on himself with his short temper as well.

Leicester City decided to go from quick-tempered Nigel Pearson to mild-mannered Claudio Ranieri in the 2015 offseason, signing Ranieri to a 3-year deal. Funny thing is that Ranieri was not embraced when he first got to Leicester by the media, with little success in recent years leading up to his contract with Leicester. Ranieri’s most recent job was with the Greek National team, where he did not win a game. 

Ranieri found magic with this club, and thanks to him Leicester have made history. However, Ranieri is simply a part of the success. This kind of a jump is unfathomable. The stars aligned just right for this to happen.

To put it in perspective, this is the soccer equivalent to if the Philadelphia 76ers win the NBA championship next year and Joel Embiid is the MVP. Or if the Edmonton Oilers were to win the Stanley Cup.  This is a historic glitch, one that we will not see in a long, long time. In other words, enjoy this moment because it’s a moment we as sports fans will cherish.