Revisiting Leicester City’s Glorious 2016 Run

Leicester City
Leicester City with the PL trophy
Leicester city with the cup
Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha

King Power Group, headed by Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha and his son Aiywatt, took over Leicester City in the 2010-11 season. In 2011-12, Leicester City signed a 25-year-old goalkeeper who had been shuttling between League Two and Championship teams and barely played in the Premier League. His name was Kasper Schmeichel.

In 2012-13, Leicester City signed a striker. He had started from Stocksbridge Park Steels and then went to Halifax Town and Fleetwood Town. The fee was a record for a non-league player. His name was Jamie Vardy.

They are the ones who’ve seen it all. The life in Championship. The joy of rising. The losing helpless feeling when you are in relegation. The defiance in staying up. To do the unthinkable and beat the 1/5000 odds. The loss of a loving man in a freak accident.

On the fifth anniversary of Leicester City’s title-winning run in 2016, let’s revisit their glory days.

Enter Ranieri

Claudio ranieri - leicester city
Claudio Ranieri

Claudio Ranieri, the former Chelsea manager, was named as the new manager after a brief search. Gary Lineker, an ex-Leicester City, and Barcelona player, was taken aback by the appointment because Ranieri was regarded as a spent force, a relic from a bygone era.

He had coached all over Europe, but his last job with the Greek national team had gone horribly wrong. In England, where he had previously worked at Chelsea a decade before, he was known as the Tinker man, a moniker meant to reflect his apparent fondness for tactical fiddling.

It appeared to be an uninspired appointment, with Ranieri’s primary goal being to keep Leicester City in the Premier League. But Ranieri was astute, knowing when to stamp his mark on the side and when to leave it alone. After overseeing some of Europe’s heavyweights, he could have been forgiven for thinking he knew best. But he recognized that little needed to be changed after seven wins in the final nine games of the previous season kept City in the topflight.

Self-destruction of the “Big 6”

Leicester city benefited from the big 6 self-destruction
The “Big 6” Of The Pl

Other contenders for the title seemed to be having a rough patch. Under Louis van Gaal, Manchester United played ineffectively slow football.

Manchester City deflated their title-winning coach from the previous season, Manuel Pellegrini, by announcing that Pep Guardiola would be joining them next season.

Chelsea experienced third-season syndrome, as well as José Mourinho’s spectacular implosion.

Arsène Wenger’s Arsenal had the best chance of winning the league in such a scenario, with only Mauricio Pochettino’s Tottenham Hotspur to contend with, but the Gunners conspired to shoot themselves in the foot, and the North London rivals punched each other to death.

Liverpool was in the process of transitioning to the Jürgen Klopp era after sacking coach Brendan Rogers in October.

Meanwhile, amongst these big headline-makers, undetected on the radar, Leicester City had already begun their flight and was sailing fearlessly into the unknown. The rush and thrill of every win were tempered by the downplaying of the possibility of winning the league at every post-match conference by the friendly and smiling Ranieri.

The top brass of the Elites, who made it possible

Kasper Schmeichel

Kasper schmeichel - leicester city
Kasper Schmeichel

Everyone knows Schmeichel’s father, Peter, won five Premier League titles with Manchester United, but Kasper has established himself as a capable goalkeeper in his own right. The Dane’s rapport with his teammates, many of whom he graduated with from the Championship two years ago, is critical to Leicester City’s stability. Capable of spectacular saves but rarely shows them off.

Wes Morgan

No forward liked playing against this no-frills, defense-first warrior, whose organization, tackling, and aerial power was crucial to his team’s stability. Also scored a crucial goal against Southampton to extend a run of 1-0 victories. His first Premier League appearance did not come until he was 30, but the tenacious defender has made the transition.

Robert Huth

Along with Morgan, he was part of a fearsome central defensive duo that treated most forwards like drunken revelers. Claudio Ranieri’s strategy entailed denying opponents any other option but to send crosses towards Huth and Morgan, who consistently repelled them. The German’s lack of speed was rarely exposed, and he posed a formidable threat from set-pieces.

N’Golo Kante

70 % of the earth is covered by water and the rest is covered by Kante. Claudio Ranieri joked that he expected Kanté to start getting on the end of his own passes after the unheralded summer recruit covered so much ground. Kanté is a dynamic player who uses the ball well after winning it, allowing Leicester City to quickly transition from defense to attack. He would have been the season’s best player if he had added more goals to his game.

Riyad Mahrez

Leicester City’s system’s magician. His deception, speed, and inventiveness, as well as his exquisite left foot, constantly perplexed opponents and catapulted his team to a higher level. Even as teams tightened their security to keep him out, Mahrez found a way to sneak past their defenses, creating and scoring crucial goals.

He is a joy to watch but a nightmare to play against. With 17 goals and 11 assists, the Algerian was aptly adjudged the PFA player of the year.

Jamie Vardy

Jamie vardy leicester city
Jamie Vardy

Jamie Vardy has been one of the most inspiring stories of Leicester City’s incredible season. Vardy has become a hero to thousands of young footballers in a story straight out of a football fairy tale. Vardy was in his fourth season at Leicester City, and nothing could have prepared the football world for what happened that season. Vardy was fantastic!

During the season, the England striker scored 24 Premier League goals and assisted on six others. Vardy’s season included making his competitive England debut, breaking the Premier League record for consecutive goals, scoring one of the season’s goals against Liverpool, and being named Barclays Premier League Player of the Season.

Vardy’s incredible rise from non-league and part-time football to Premier League champions and England international will be documented in a film by Hollywood screenwriter Adrian Butchart.

What happened next

It has been five years since Leicester City achieved the seemingly impossible feat of winning the Premier League title. Since then, much has happened, including a run to the Champions League quarterfinals, three managerial changes, and the tragic death of Chairman Vichai. Several players have come and gone since the memorable 2015/16 season, but members of the squad will live on in the annals of time.

Kasper Schmeichel

The club’s vice-captain and first-choice goalkeeper remains Kasper Schmeichel. The goalkeeper continues to shine for club and country, appearing in the Premier League as well as on the international stage.

Wes morgan - leicester city
Wes Morgan

Wes Morgan

The club has officially stated that the club captain will retire at the end of this season. The twilight of his career was cut short by injuries.

Robert Huth

Huth left Leicester City on a free transfer in 2018, having missed the entire 2017-18 season due to ankle and foot injuries. He was linked with moves to Derby County and Stoke City before retiring on January 11, 2019.

N’Golo Kante

He is widely regarded as one of the best midfielders in the world. In the summer of 2016, he left Leicester City for Chelsea for a bargain fee of £32 million, and he immediately won another Premier League title in 2016-17, followed by the FA Cup in 2017-18 and the Europa League in 2018-19. Of course, he also helped France win the World Cup in 2018.

Riyad Mahrez

Leicester city mahrez at etihad stadium

Mahrez at Etihad Stadium

The tricky Algerian, one of the most talented and awe-inspiring players to ever wear a Leicester City shirt, finally got his desired move away in 2018, joining Manchester City for £60 million. He harmed his former club’s reputation by claiming he “lost” two years of his career at the King Power Stadium, but he hasn’t lost any of his talents.

Jamie Vardy

Linked with moves to Arsenal and Chelsea after his title heroics, Vardy is still banging in the goals for Leicester City. Now 34 but still City’s talisman and rightly so, with Vardy the oldest Golden Boot winner in the Premier League era last season.

What Does the Future hold for Leicester City?

Leicester City is a football club in England.

Not Chelsea, Arsenal, or Manchester United, with their petro-dollars, star talent, and years of accumulated know-how; but Leicester City, from the English provinces, with their genial old Italian coach Claudio Ranieri and their motley crew of rejects, unknowns, and never-weres, scripted which is perhaps the best underdog story in English football.

Leicester City has maintained its excellence over the course of a 38-game season, and to do so in the context of modern soccer, where big teams monopolize talent and money talks… well, it is a miracle. Only a last-gasp escape from the relegation zone kept them in the topflight the season prior to “that” season.

Their history is that of a middle-of-the-road provincial club devoid of star names, bouncing between the first and second tiers, overshadowed by their more well-known East Midlands rival.

What began as a mildly entertaining story evolved into something with far-reaching implications beyond soccer: an unrivaled feel-good underdog story.

Everyone in England, soccer fan or not, seemed to be rooting for Leicester City as the season progressed through the winter and into the spring.

Leicester city n'golo kante
Here It Is The Infectious Smile Of N’Golo Kante, To Help You Through These Tough Times!

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