August 13, 2016 12:10:19 pm
The league football tournaments in Europe start with the English Premiere League on Saturday. The league, which has often been hyped as the ‘most competitive’ will see renowned clubs such as Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, etc. facing each other to win the title after nine months of entertaining football fixtures.
But this year, all eyes will be on a club which no one barely knew till a few years back: Leicester City. The defending champions created a beautiful fairy tale in the football world by winning the league by a huge margin of 10 points ahead of the second placed Arsenal.
Leicester City, till only a few years ago, used to play at the Championship level, and were promoted to the big stage only in 2014. Playing under manager Claudio Ranieri, the club had to fight hard in the 2014-15 season to survive on the big stage.
When the 2015-16 season started, the odds of Leicester winning the league were stacked at 5000/1 and many believed it to be one of the clubs that will be relegated from the league at the end of the year. But with the speed of Jamie Vardy, the skills of Riyad Mahrez, and the management of Ranieri, the club shocked the world by winning the league. It was a beautiful sight to see an underdog slaying the football giants in their own backyard.
But the celebratory period for the club is over. For a few months, Leicester City made a believer out of everyone. But, the belief is slowly fading now. Many are doubtful that the club will face similar success this year. The side failed to showcase their best in the pre-season games. They drew 1-1 again Celtic, and lost to PSG by 4-0 and against Barcelona by 4-2.
If the Foxes failed to perform in 2016-2017 season, they will be forgotten as a ‘one-time’ wonder; such is the cruelty of modern day football. But, what if they taste the success in the league again? The truth is, if the club performs well this season, it is highly likely the legend of Leicester City will still fade away. The shock value of the club which created a buzz around Leicester will go down.
It is exactly what happened with Manchester City. The football fans cheered and celebrated the victory of the club in the 2012 when it won the league on goal difference against arch-rivals Manchester United on the last game of the season. But, the legend of Manchester City faded away with the coming years; the club failed to garner much interest in their games even after continuous success, and the stands kept getting emptier season after season.
The prospect of Leicester City facing the same fate are real. For the club to be remembered – or to put it in harsh words – continue to stay relevant, the Foxes need to shock the world again. This can happen if the club can make their mark in the Champions League.
Ranieri’s side have to perform well against the big European giants and ensure that they taste Champion’s League success. Nobody expects the club to go past the Round of 16, which is exactly what the club must do. They must book themselves at least a quarterfinal berth to make a believer out of everyone.
With the signing of CSKA Moscow’s star striker Ahmed Musa, Vardy and Mahrez will find another fast runner alongside them with goal scoring ability. The strikers must perform to the best of their ability, to ensure that the legend of Leicester City does not fade away.
In spite of football pundits around the world saying that the club has nothing to lose this season, it is not entirely true. The Foxes are putting everything at stake this season, and not just the Premiere League Trophy.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines
- The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.