by Andrew Doulton - 16th January
The Season so Far
If you would have asked me at the start of the season what could Leicester fans have hoped for at the beginning of the season, I would have thought they would have been scrapping for points in a relation dog fight that they survive, how wrong was I! Leicester has had the best start to a season that I have seen from a side with no title credentials. We are now over the half way period and Leicester find themselves in the middle of a title challenge by beating Champions Chelsea and pulling of a strong away wins at both Everton and Tottenham. Not only this but they have drawn with Manchester United, Spurs and Manchester City at home meaning the only top six side they have lost to is Arsenal. I feel it does not get enough coverage in the press is the fact that Leicester has only lost twice this season to Arsenal and Liverpool and we are over half way. It is astonishing to think that a team that would have been in most people’s relegation choices at the start of the season are actually on title winning form. My biggest worry for Leicester is if they were to loose a couple of key players to injury this could result in their title challenge unravelling.
The key players are without a doubt, have to be Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez who have been exceptional. As everybody knows Jamie Vardy has come from the non-leagues and is now setting the premier league alight and along the way has the record for most consecutive games scored. It is this sort of form that has seen Vardy get called up to the England national team. With Vardy taking all the recent headlines, the work of Mahrez fails to get the call outs it deserves. The winger has been very impressive this season scoring plenty of goals him self whilst also setting up his colleagues. Another player that I would call out has to be the impressive Wes Morgan who has been at the heart of the foxes defence. His power and organisation has been key to Leicester this season, and although they have conceded allot of goals compared to some of their rivals, it has been critical to the balance needed within the team.
One of the biggest surprises for me was when Claudio Ranieri rocked up at the King Power stadium. I will be honest, I could not see how it was going to work as its not often that a manager who has managed some of the biggest clubs in Europe ends up managing a team of like Leicester. He has managed the likes of Napoli, Fiorentina, Valencia, Athletico Madrid, Chelsea, Juvetus, Inter Milan, Monaco and Even the Greek National side. It is when you look at this list you realise that this was a massive deal for Leicester being able to bring him to the club. You have to give him allot of credit for what is going on at Leicester as he really is getting the best out of this players, this saw him pick up manager of the month for November.
What they can hope for,
Will they win the league? I am not so sure I feel there is along way to go and the January transfer window could prove vital to some teams. I also worry for Leicester as to what would happen if either Mahrez or Vardy got long-term injuries, this would seriously affect their game. One thing I am not doing is writing Leicester off, as they are in great form and I can seriously see them taking a top four spot at the very least.
January Transfer Window
With Leicester playing well do they really want to disrupt what is a perfectly good set up? I think if I were the management at Leicester I would be looking at good young players from overseas to bulk out the first team squad. This would be ideal as they would provide cover for the first team but they would also have to work hard to force there way in to the squad. The reason I mention overseas players is because most British players of any potential seem to end up one of the big clubs for an over inflated fee and on ridiculously high wages. The young players from around Europe will be encouraged at the thought of joining as side that is challenging for the Premiership.
With only 7 defenders in the first team squad I believe a good young defender would be a wise investment.
I would also look for a young midfielder who has flair who could possibly step up should Mahrez be unavailable. The hardest position to cover would be upfront where Vardy has been incredible, but I think an addition upfront would be welcome as it would keep him on his toes.
I guess the key point to make about Leicester is ‘if its not broken, don’t fix it! The first team seems to be working very well so why breaking something that is working so well.