History was made on the 2nd May 2016 when the unlikely underdogs Leicester officially became only the sixth team to win the Barclays Premier League.
What’s more is that they won the league without kicking a ball as they watched Tottenham’s 2-2 draw with Chelsea from the comfort of Jamie Vardy’s living room essentially making it mathematically impossible for them to be caught. After barely surviving the previous season, Leicester started the season as 5000-1 outsiders for the title; here we take a closer look at the figures within the team who made this triumph possible.
The appointment of the then 63 year old Italian was initially met with skepticism mainly due to his only previous Premier League experience was getting sacked by Chelsea in 2004 with owner Roman Abramovic telling Claudio that he’d never win the league. When professional poker players were analysing the Premier League performance of Leicester over the past season, it was impossible to look past the part played by the Italian Puppet master. Ranieri built a core team of regular starting players who got on with each other, played well together in a classic 4-4-2 formation, and it worked well leading to 23 wins, 12 draws and only 3 losses.
The club’s top striker with 24 goals in 36 league appearances, Vardy was integral to the Leicester jigsaw. As well as the club’s league achievement Jamie has been on a fairy-tale journey himself. After three years of non-league football with FC Halifax Town in the NPL Premier Division and the Conference North and Fleetwood Town in the Conference Premier he then made the leap to Championship when he was bought by Leicester for GBP1million. He scored two goals over his two Championship seasons with the Foxes leading to the promotion to the Premier League. After only finishing one goal behind top scorer Harry Kane Vardy was the target of a GBP22million bid from Arsenal but he turned the move down opting to stay with the midlands club.
Arriving to Leicester after a GBP5.6million move from French club Caen, Kante was one of four Leicester players named in the PFA Team of the Year. Missing only one League match all season, the French midfielder was integral with every appearance and consistently making a season-record of 149 tackles and a consistently high number of interceptions. He carried this impressive form into the Euros with the France national team led to him moving to Chelsea for GBP32 million after just one season with the Foxes a deal that was too good to turn down.
While Jamie Vardy was scoring for fun at one end of the pitch, the Danish goalkeeper was solid as a rock at the other end. After an unsuccessful early career at Manchester City, Kasper dropped down the leagues to play for Notts County and Leeds before moving to Leicester City where he was integral in the clubs promotion to the top league. At 29 years old Schmeichel is finally living up to the potential left behind by his father Peter. He recently signed a new five-year deal signalling his loyalty to Leicester where the best may be yet to come.