Realising uncharted potential

By | Sport
Leicester City player Riyad Marhez.Credit@gianlucadimarzio.com_.jpg

The recent success of Leicester City Football Club may be delighting football fans, with entertaining and admirable performances. The team’s results so far have been exceptional.

Gaining promotion from the championship in April 2014, Leicester City have been second tier champions 7 times, the team have historically been viewed as the underdog, unacquainted in competing with teams like Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal. This may all change as City may be challenging for the premier league title this season.

In December 2014 Leicester city were at the foot of the premier league table. Only two teams in premier league history have survived this situation and remained in the top tier come May. What ensued after Christmas may have symbolised and cultivated an enduring team morale in which the foxes laid the foundation for future progress. To accomplish this the team won 7 of the last 9 games, City finished 14th in may 2015; manager Nigel Pearson having instilled a solid work ethic and acquiring the services of Jamie Vardy and Riyad Marhez. Despite this, a further element might have been needed to unleash the team’s potential.

Claudio Ranieri was introduced as the new Leicester City manager for the beginning of the 2015-16 season. Having managed some of Europe’s biggest clubs, including Chelsea, Juventus and Atletico Madrid, Claudio brought great experience along with astute examination of some of the best players in the game. Ranieri may have been the piece of the jigsaw the team required, already a strong side with a motivated spirit; a psychological freedom combined with tactical intelligence may be the ingredients the Italian imported. Manager of the month in November, Ranieri plays the underdog and puts scant demand on players to perform.

At the beginning of this season many pundits chose the teams predicted to be competing for the premier league title. Leicester were far from included in these predictions, after finishing 14th being statistically unlikely to win the league based on previous season data. This may have based on a perception of pundits how experience at the top level seemed scarce until recently, the main enlistments were on board in this period with the large makeup of the team being relatively unfamiliar.

Leicester recruited Shinji Okazaki, Christain Fuchs, N’Golo Kante, Yohan Benalouane and Robert Huth; whom had experience at Chelsea thus being the exception to this. The latter two were the key signings arriving after Ranieri’s appointment and an astute investment. Building on the appointments, this season’s advancement may be attributed to an understanding between Jamie Vardy and Riyad Marhez. Both have contributed vital goals, with Vardy over-hauling Ruud Van Nistelrooy’s record of ten consecutive games with a goal, Jamie’s new record is now 11 consecutive games with a goal. Vardy a striker of 29 years, may be a late bloomer, known for quick pace, hard work and playing in a direct manner. These traits may have blended well with Marhez emanating a new chemistry, Riyad also notched 15 goals an ample return for a player predominantly acting as a winger.

Big clubs in the premier league may be asking how has a club with minimal resources managed to outfox the established order. When the big clubs in England are spending hundreds of millions on new players, how may a team spending £24 million be top of the premier league? The answer may be the team plays effective and entertaining football where spirit and harmony have triumphed over personal glory; the players of Leicester City are far from superstars and require acuity and hard work to succeed.

Whether Leicester City might be champions this season remains to be seen, though the principles on which the club may now be based may foment further accolades. A champions league position may be a real possibility with 12 games to play, the players may relish getting a chance to compare respective abilities facing some of the best. Through adversity Leicester City seem to have risen and now may have a chance to compete and stay at the highest level, many neutrals may salute.

 How may other teams with minimal financial power compete with the big clubs in football?

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