I’m almost too scared to bet against Leicester. If they can beat a deficit of 5000-1, I don’t know what there is that they can’t win. They’re pitted at 100-1 to win the Champions League next season, and 33-1 to retain their title.
There’s a different perspective to all of this; the best teams in the other leagues aren’t necessarily going through a rebuilding process like most of the English powerhouses. The luck aspect of Leicester’s game was perhaps a bit understated this past year, as many focused more instead on how the team were doing it. Late bloomers (more or less the entire team) meant that the cohesive bond between players was unparalleled, as most of them connected in some way or another.
Although most players playing in the lower tier teams in the Premier League possess plenty of rejects, most of them don’t just begin showing the stellar form that Leicester’s players did. Ranieri must be lauded for his efforts, but a movement started by the ever intense Nigel Pearson looks set to give us the last of its magic in the upcoming season, if it hasn’t already.
Leicester’s 4-0 defeat in the hands of PSG followed by a 4-2 drubbing to Barcelona has given the neutrals and the club’s loyal following very little to be hopeful about as they prepare to begin the first ever Champions League campaign in the club’s history.
On one hand, there is a reason to be ecstatic about it. The club have nothing to lose, nothing to fear. Or in other words, the ideal situation for the fearless Foxes to thrive. Players are still denying that there is pressure on them to retain their title, or indeed, do well in the Champions League. They also talked about using the same strategy that they used in the year before. Take it one game at a time, without reading too far into what will happen afterwards.
There is a reason to be concerned about this. Leicester City will not, contrary to popular thinking, be viewed as the lucky underdogs this season. Teams will be prepared for the Foxes this year and make sure that they don’t make the same mistake of underestimating this group of players. Not to mention, the departure of the midfield engine–and in my humble opinion, the best defensive midfielder in the world last season–that is N’Golo Kante will surely have a striking effect on how the team set out to play. Mendy hasn’t looked nearly as capable as the ever energetic Frenchman, and as Ranieri now has plenty of quality options on the flanks and up front, it will be intriguing to see what formation he uses this year.
Ahmed Musa and Bartosz Kapustka are two phenomenal additions that Leicester have made this summer, with the former in particular looking very, very impressive. Musa’s name was chanted by the travelling fans of the Foxes during their game against La Liga champions Barcelona, as his two goals ensured that Leicester at least won the second half of the game.
Regardless of what happens over the course of the next 10 months, everyone, irrespective of where their loyalties lie, will be excited to see Leicester City play. Hopefully, this book isn’t finished with its story yet.