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Leicester Wins the 2015-2016 Premier League Season
By Brodey Sheppard - May 04, 2016
Leicester City has incredibly secured their very first Premier League after second-place Tottenham drew 2-2 at Chelsea. Leicester were playing in the second tier only two years ago, and even came close to being relegated again last year. Now, for the first time in their 132-year history, Leicester City is champion of England after establishing an incredible seven-point lead over Tottenham with two games remaining.
Story of The Foxes' Incredible Victory
For the past two decades, Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester United and Manchester City have kept the Premier League championship trophy to themselves. These four teams dominated the arena of English soccer that only two other teams – Newcastle United and Liverpool – have even finished second in that span of time. Now, Leicester has beaten all the odds and won the premiership.
Trusted sports betting sites like Bet365 did not have high hopes for The Foxes at the beginning of the 2015 season. New bookmakers like William Hill Sports and Ladbrokes Sports, in particular, placed Leicester’s odds at 5,000 to 1. William Hill offered punters the same chances for Elvis being found alive, and Kim Kardashian winning the US presidency in year 2020. This is why Leicester’s championship win is considered to be one of the most shocking ones in the history of major professional sports – especially shocking for those who bet on soccer online. Their Premier League win resulted in the largest payout in British sporting history, with total winnings of £25 million.
The Foxes won seven of their last nine games to avoid relegation to England’s second division last year. So Leicester did not just take a leap to get into the finals. In April 3, 2015, they were at the bottom, seven points from safety. Exactly one year later, they were at the top with seven points clear. The team pretty much triple-jumped into English soccer’s perennial top four in order to land on top.
After the Tottenham Vs. Chelsea game ended in a draw, Leicester’s scores secured the victory. In the Premier League, teams receive three points for a win, and one point for a draw. No points are awarded for losses. This is why The Foxes have won. With only two games left for Tottenham, the seven-point lead has guaranteed that even if the Spurs gain six points for two wins, The Foxes will always have a point above them.
So how did The Foxes pull that off? Their road to success shows that this miracle championship win took a lot of good timing, that is, everything that could possibly go right for Leicester went right. Some of the key ingredients to their triumph were an overqualified manager and striking gold with all of the new signings.
Underestimated and Overqualified: Claudio Ranieri
On June 30, 2015, however, Nigel Pearson was fired from managing Leicester. The club stated that “the working relationship between Nigel and the Board is no longer viable.” This is when Claudio Ranieri was brought in as the new 2015-2016 Premier League season.
Claudio Ranieri has had a disappointing track record in recent years. He was a one-time manager of Chelsea, Juventus and Inter Milan. Ranieri also lost his job in less than two months as the manager of Greece’s national team back in 2014 after the home loss to the Faroe Islands. So when he was hired as the new manager of Leicester after Pearson was sacked, he improved upon the team’s usual formation – the classic English 4-4-2. Ranieri, though, supplemented this formation with tactics from this roster of underdogs. He eventually proved that he was the best person to improve Leicester stats and scores.
A feature that is notable of Leicester’s 4-4-2 formation is its compactness. This is something that Ranieri borrowed from Arrigo Sacchi’s A.C. Milan teams in the 1980s. In this format, the defenders, midfielders and forwards stay close together and defend as a 10-man unit, forcing opponents to navigate three lines of players in rapid succession if they want to score a goal. This trait of compactness forces the opposing team to go wide – a similar goal of Diego Simeone’s Atlético Madrid teams.
Great tactics like this helped Leicester win games that others perceived they couldn’t. But it was the great players within the team that stole the Premier League.
A Team Built for the Win
Leicester City is not one of the richest clubs in England. For the most part, the club works on a limited budget. And for a club with a limited budget, the most valuable assets are players that are late bloomers. Late bloomers are athletes whose growth curves shoot skyward after big clubs sell them off to smaller clubs. It was these kinds of athletes that won Leicester the championship.
Leicester acquired the Danny Simpson, Danny Drinkwater, Rovert Huth, Kasper Schmeichel, Riyad Mahrez, and N’Golo Kanté. Midfielder Drinkwater made his first appearance for England in March, after spending time in Manchester United’s academy. Defender Huth was brought to England from Germany by Chelsea, while Kasper Schmeichel - son of Manchester United great Peter Schmeichel – started his career in Manchester City.
Leicester somehow got all of these late bloomers to develop and fine tune their skills at the same moment. In addition, the 25-year-old Algerian Riyad Mahrez – English football’s newly anointed player of the year – has scored more goals this season than he did in his previous four seasons combined. Striker Jamie Vardy scored five goals last year (his first time in the Premier League season) and is currently on 22 and counting. Leicester’s youngest regular starter N’Golo Kanté, was brought over from the midtable French club Caen this summer for US$8 million. When Ranieri signed him, he said “I will squeeze all my energies into getting the best results.” Now, Kanté is wanted by many of Europe’s top clubs.
There have been many memorable Leicester moments this past 2015-2016 season. Back in August of last year, Ranieri faced one of his very first team crises: the club handing Vardy a substantial fine after video clips emerged of him using a racial slur in a casino. This came right after a 4-2 opening day win over Sunderland. Vardy, who opened the scoring against Sunderland, apologised for the video, calling it a “regrettable error”. He kept a polite demeanor for the game that followed, a 2-1 win against West Ham.
By the time October rolled in, Leicester City was ranked 5th and kept a clean sheet in a 1-0 win over Palace. Ranieri rewarded the team with an afternoon at the Peter Pizzeria in Leicester – a gesture that made sports news headlines. “They deserve this pizza and today we will eat,” Ranieri said. “Football is like pizza. The most important ingredient is team spirit and the second is they enjoy training. That is important. Also to sprinkle a little luck is important, like salt. The fans are the tomato. Without the tomato, it’s no pizza.” The Foxes out for pizza became quite an iconic part of this year’s season.
The new year greeted Leicester a bit coldly. Back in January, the team experienced a small stumble – two draws and a defeat to Liverpool with no goals scored. Ranieri, who was ever encouraging, said, “It’s OK! 40 points, clean sheet, champagne for my players.”
Three months later, Leicester now has 77 points to their name. Now that The Foxes have won the Premier League, perhaps Renieri will treat them to more pizza and champagne. Check out the complete stats, results and odds for Leicester City:
A Look Back at the Games that Won the Title
Let us take a look back at some of the most exciting and crucial games that were instrumental in Leicester’s amazing journey towards becoming the new champions of England. If you want to see the latest or the past Premier League live scores, results and odds, then visit the soccer page of hityah.com.
Leicester City Vs. Aston Villa (3-2)
The Foxes came back from the first international break with an unbeaten record – something that surprised fans and challengers alike. The question on everybody’s mind was if they could defeat Aston Villa when they came face to face at the King Power Stadium.
At first the game did not look promising for Leicester, when Jack Grealish struck from the edge of the box to hand their opponents a narrow advantage shortly before the break. Things went from bad to worse when Carles Gil doubled the advantage on the 63rd minute to put Aston Willa in command.
The Foxes sparked a comeback when Riyad Mahrez provided two assists. Mahrez’s corner was converted by Ritchie de Laet as the deficit was halved with 18 minutes to go. Jamie Vardy fired a score that leveled the game 10 minutes later. On the 89th minute, Mahrez provided once again a ball that Nathan Dyer headed home for the win.
Tottenham Hotspur Vs. Leicester City (0-1)
In spite of the predictions of sports experts that Leicester’s performance would slide downwards after the holiday season, The Foxes proved themselves to be worthy contenders for the championship.
In the game against Tottenham – who were also surprising contenders of the season – Leicester stood their ground and the win brought them one step closer to their goal.
Vardy gave Leicester a huge boost in the previous game, but he sat out of this one due to a thigh injury. But defender Robert Huth stepped up his game and met Christian Fuchs’ corner of the 83rd minute to send a header beyond the reach of Hugo Lloris. This was Huth’s first goal of the season.
This victory against Tottenham ensured all Leicester City fans that they were going to bring it in 2016. This win also put The Foxes on level point with the then leaders Arsenal – only goal difference was what separated the two. In addition, it was this victory that established Leicester City’s seven-point lead advantage over Tottenham scores and stats, who would be their eventual rivals in the battle for the Premier League crown.
Manchester City Vs. Leicester City (1-3)
Huth once again proved himself a great athlete and team player when he gave Leicester the perfect start against the scores of Manchester City. He broke the deadlock that helped Leicester achieve the memorable 3-1 victory at Etihad. Leicester dominated their illustrious hosts from the first whistle blow.
There were many predictions that this game against Manchester City would be the first major stumble for Leicester that would lead to their fall from the pursuit of the title. But once again, Raneiri and his team defied the odds and outplayed the big-spending City on their own turf with confidence and style. If you believe that Leicester will win the last remaining games and end the season strong, sign up at Bet365 and place your wager!
Leicester City Vs. West Ham United (2-2)
This Leicester City Vs. West Ham United matchup allowed Leicester to show their inner strength. The Foxes showed the determination after the 56th dismissal of Vardy for diving. Vardy, already on a yellow card, was sent off by the referee after going to ground under a challenge from Angelo Ogbonna.
Tension surrounded the field and the stadium. In the end, it was a frantic 2-2 draw with West Ham. Ranieri, does what he has done all season: absorbs the pressure and looks to the positives. He exclaimed, “We are in the Champions League, dilly ding, dilly dong! It’s fantastic.”
Leicester City Vs. Swansea (4-0)
One week after the draw with West Ham, Leicester delivered their biggest win of the season without Vardy – the 4-0 win over Swansea. Leonardo Ulloa, who was Vardy’s replacement, scored two of the goals, leaving nothing for Swansea live game scores. Ranieri’s decision to bring in Jeffrey Schlupp on the left also paid off with an outstanding performance. It was Schlupp that gave Leicester the pace and directness that the team might have been missing in Vardy’s absence.
This game featured Danny Drinkwater and N’Golo Kanté as indefatigable in midfield. Riyad Mahrez, who scored the opening goal, showed his refinement in his attack.
The Foxes’ third goal started from their own penalty area. It was a quick ball out from Schmeichel and Schlupp getting away from Swansea’s Ángel Rangel and Federico Fernández to burst clear on the left. The crowd lit up and cheered. By the time Albrighton turned in the fourth goal, the entire stadium was rampant with excitement. You can check out the full details of Leicester City Vs. Swansea on HitYah sports.
After the triumph over Swansea, Ranieri spoke once again with a final heave: “We must finish this story like an American movie. Be strong. Be solid. This is history.” And now we can all say that The Foxes have played this season boldly and with strength – indeed, the makings of a great movie.