One of the best football stories in modern football was Leicester City last season in Premier league. The historic title against all odds, will be a story to tell for a long time. But every story has it’s end, happy or a bad one. There’s no difference with the Foxes who decided to sack a man who stunned the world with, lets face it, an average team, the Italian Claudio Ranieri, just nine months after leading the Foxes to their first Premier league title, ever!
We decided to round up three key reasons why it was a bad move for what’s coming next for Leicester City.
1. Let’s be clear again. Team which barely escaped the Premier league drop, and already in the next season with more or less the same squad, won the Premier league title, when you put things on the paper, is no more or less, than what it is – an average team. A team in which individuals as Vardy, Mahrez and Kante shined trough the season and backed by solid defence, managed to do the impossible, against all odds, to win what much richer teams like Arsenal, Liverpool, Tottenham or Manchester United failed for some time now. It was an exception, that’s for sure.
Leicester entered new season badly, that’s obvious, if not, the league table says all. Ranieri tried to lift teams morale, after a bad start, but, what Vardy was scoring last season, he’s missing this one. What Mahrez was showing on the pitch last season, he’s not showing this one. It might be that it was written in the stars, for Foxes to win the title last season, because their drop this season only suggest what was mention at the top, Leicester City doesn’t have enough deep squad to be or to remain on the top.
Playing in the UEFA Champions league and other competitions, like the FA Cup or the League Cup, proved to be a burden for the Foxes, because without a deep bench, you can’t be successful on so much fronts. Key individuals were playing in a lot of this games, and the fatigue become the number one problem. Was this Ranieri’s fault? No! The Italian was making a team with what was given to him, ahead of a new season.
2. During this season, it could be seen how much Kante is missing in the midfield. He’s defence abilities gave much more security to the Foxes’s attack, and what Kante was doing on the pitch for Leicester City, he’s doing now for the league toppers, Chelsea. Coincidence? Think again! Chelsea are among the best scoring and defence teams so far, the same was Leicester City last season.
Decision to not to the most to keep Kante, is not Ranieri’s fault.
The backbone of the Foxes midfield, N’Golo Kante, wanted to leave, and the club didn’t cash out enough to buy a solid replacements in all lines. That the same team can’t repeat the same, it’s more than clear now. A lack of stars in Leicester City’s team led to such bad results, because Ranieri’s not a magician, that’s for sure. Club did buy fresh faces, but none which could make a difference and when we add here a bad shape in which Vardy and Mahrez are playing, defence which in the entire last season conceded on 36 goals, and in this one already, 43, leads to conclusion, that neither the worlds best coaches couldn’t make anything better than what Ranieri was doing. Was it his fault, that club didn’t buy better players? No! Kante’s departure proved to be a heavy blown for Leicester City.
One might think, it was Ranieri’s responsibility for failing to create a system in his absence, and while this is true, you can’t make a “pizza” without all ingredients. Ranieri was doing the best with what was given to him, and that wasn’t enough to play in all competition and be successful. Players which remained at the club, thought, likely, they will have a much easier job than the last season, but that’s not a case, because everyone want’s to beat the Champions.
3. It is clear that Ranieri has lost the ability to lead the team which only nine months ago won the Premier league by 10 points last season. The recent defeat to the Swans was a case in point.
“Domestic results in the current campaign have placed the club’s Premier League status under threat and the board reluctantly feels that a change of leadership, while admittedly painful, is necessary in the club’s greatest interest,” the Leicester City statement read. It’s hard to argue.
“It was never our expectation that the extraordinary feats of last season should be replicated this season,” said vice chairman Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha. “Indeed, survival in the Premier League was our first and only target at the start of the campaign. But we are now faced with a fight to reach that objective and feel a change is necessary to maximise the opportunity presented by the final 13 games.”
Who knows, perhaps Ranieri’s replacement will do what the Italian did when he signed for Leicester City two seasons ago to, to keep the Foxes alive in the EPL elite rank. A boost to the team is needed, you can’t change in the middle of the season a whole team, so the easiest way to make a positive shock to the team, unfortunately for Ranieri, was to sack him.
On one side, everyone can understand that, but on the other side, was it really so much “heat” under him that the time was, now? If the vice chairman Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha said, that survival was a number one target for Leicester City, where was the problem? Leicester City still can catch the middle, but of course, more than that, Foxes can’t.
Ranieri might lost the ability to lead the team, to boost team’s morale, when it’s down, and it’s down for some time, but even the new coach, can’t do magic, if the Foxes’ stars don’t up their game, and be at least in a close shape compared to the last season.
Problem with time of sacking is, that this teams need before all a very motivational coach. Those are rare, and in the middle of the season, solid ones are “taken”. Who would join from the top ranked coaches a team of fallen champions, who’s barely surviving in the elite competition? The only thing where Leicester City have chances to do something is the Champions league, but the 1st leg match in Sevilla have shown how the Foxes are not ready for this competition.
Yes, Vardy scored from one or two chances which Leicester City had, to keep his team “IN”, but in Spain, it was all about Sevilla. The reigning Europa league winner, likely will finish a job in England, and even if by some miracle, Leicester City book the next stage, even bigger boys are awaiting the Foxes.
With the fight for survival in the EPL, Leicester City have no reason to concentrate on the Champions league. All thoughts should be switched to the Premier league. Further, even if the Foxes avoid the Premier league drop, “stars” as Vardy, Mahrez certainly will be on the move, because after tasting Champions league, and being in their national teams, playing the next season where the season’s goal of the club would be, again, to survive, wouldn’t not satisfy them.
Let’s face it, they belong in better clubs, than the one at the league bottom. These problems await, Leicester City, and Ranieri here, again, it’s not guilty. If the vice chairman Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha said, that survival was a number one target for Leicester City, and according to his statement he invested this season in the team, Ranieri’s hands were tied. Could the Italian do better? Yes! But what he did with Leicester City deserved a much more credits for him, because let’s face it, again, Leicester City with such a short bench of solid players, are no more than an average team. For what’s coming next for the Foxes, Ranieri could do a much more than anyone else at this point.