To say Claudio Ranieri and Leicester City shocked the world with their title winning campaign last season would be a profound understatement. Tipped at the start of the season to get relegated, Jamie Vardy, Riyad Mahrez and friends put in performances of the highest quality week in week out during the 15/16 campaign, cruising their way to deserved Premier League glory. And with their squad going into the 16/17 season relatively unchanged, who’s to say that they won’t go and do it all over again? There are, however, two reasons as to why that may not be the case.
As previously state, Leicester City’s squad is relatively unchanged. One main component to retaining the Premier League title is to keep the key players who helped you win it. It goes without saying that the departure of N’golo Kante to, now to rivals, Chelsea, has quite literally left a huge whole in Leicester City’s starting line-up. In the space of 12 months Kante went from an unknown player from France to one of the most sought after players Europe, dominating Premier League midfield’s week in week out and waltzing his way into both the PFA Team of the year and France’s national team for Euro 2016. There is absolutely no doubt the Kante leaving Leicester for Chelsea has to been seen as a major blow to Ranieri’s squad and his plans to retain their Premier League crown.
Another reason as to why Leicester’s miracle campaign may not be repeated is the strengthening of the competition. With all due respect going to Leicester and Ranieri for their achievements last season, it cannot be ignored that other teams who would usually but fighting for the league but in performances that were well under-par. The likes of Chelsea, who of course finished 10th last season, and Manchester City had
their worst season for years and even the likes of Arsenal and Manchester United saw last season as failures. In addition to this, with the Premier League spending on course to reach an all-time high come the end September, and with Leicester City title rivals spending the vast majority of the record transfer pot, it’s difficult to see Leicester coming out as Premier League victors for a second year running.
Despite other clubs spending, it’s important not to forget that Leicester won the league last year with their tactical consistency, counter attacking play and shroud signings. Who’s to say that Nampayls Mendy, a defensive midfielder signed from Nice won’t turn out to be another miracle signing like Kante was? And why won’t Ahmed Musa, a striker signed from CSKA Moscow, won’t form a deadly partnership with Jamie Vardy? And let’s not forget about the talent they already have at the club, the prolific Vardy, the magician that is Mahrez, the solid Drinkwater and the same back 5 who saw them win the league last year. Yes, it may seem that Leicester would need another miracle to retain the Premier League trophy, but there is no doubt that their squad is more than capable of conjuring up a top 6 or even top 4 finish. Which is something that the Leicester faithful would most likely be more than happy with.