As we approach the twilight of the current Premier League season, one thing is for sure that it has lived up to its expectation of being nerve-wracking, tense and like always going to be the wire.
Chelsea is on their way to secure the much-coveted title. With a handful of matches to go, it is difficult for Tottenham to envisage an upset. The same Tottenham who were in a similar position last year against Leicester and came third in a two horse race.
The unpredictable, the unbelievable Foxes had defied all odds to celebrate the most unlikely title triumphs in sporting history.
THE GREATEST SPORTING MOMENT
Leicester City was given a 5000-1 shot that year. There were likelier things to happen than them to win the PL like Simon Cowell to be the next prime minister (500-to-1) and Hugh Hefner admitting that he’s a virgin (at 1,000-to-1, 5 times likelier than Foxes winning the league).
Claudio Ranieri was out of the job having being chucked out as Greece National coach and was on a break in his native place when his agent managed to arrange a meeting with the Leicester board who were in search of a new manager.
He got the job. Instantly, Gary Lineker put out a tweet in disgust, “CLAUDIO RANIERI, REALLY?”
THE MARQUEE PLAYERS
Jamie Vardy had been plying his trade for a non-league club called Fleetwood Town FC and was bought from there.
Riyad Mahrez was playing for a French Ligue 2 club when he received the offer from Leicester City. He thought it to be a rugby team.
No one had ever heard about Kante- the current Pro Football Association Player of the Year. A player who feeds on tackling and smiling and sometimes both at the same time.
No one even thought in their wildest dreams that they would be walking around the King Power Stadium pitch with a Premier League winners’ medal draped around his neck. NO ONE.
STREET-LIKE ATTITUDE PAID OFF
The Fox Army won 1-0 seven times, most in the league. More importantly, they wrapped up 4 consecutive matches 1-0 in late March and early April, when every pundit in the world expected the dream to die.
The Italian made just 27 changes to his starting XI all season – way down on the 95.4 average for Premier League champions. They employed the direct style of counter attacking with the pace of Vardy as their lethal weapon, Mahrez’s crisp long balls and Kante( Two midfielders into one) breaking up the opponent’s play every now and then.
Leicester’s most-used starting XI the previous season cost them just £23m to assemble. That’s around 10 times less than Chelsea’s 2014/15 winners.
THE WOW MOMENTS OF THE SEASON
Vardy’s goal against Liverpool and Mahrez’s exquisite performance at Etihad were probably the season-defining performances of the season. The commentator screaming, “VARDYYYYYYYYY” still echoes in my head after he had scored that blinder against the Scousers.
There is only the Oscar-winning movie, ROCKY which can compare itself to the enigmatic victory of Leicester. But that was on screen whereas this is real.
One can go on writing about the LEICESTER DREAM and it would still not be enough. To sum it up, let’s just say that even Walt Disney couldn’t have scripted this extraordinary story better.
Image Credits- Google Images