It’s been a season-long drama in England and all of it unfolded in spectacular style at the Barclays Premier League. In an underdog story worthy of a movie, Leicester City stunned the football world with the performance of a lifetime to win the league on Tuesday as the Spurs failed to deliver and salvaged a 2-2 draw with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
The resounding success of Leicester prompted former England striker Emile Heskey to say Leicester’s story was the stuff of Hollywood. In all fairness, Leicester’s season in England was more entertaining than any Hollywood underdog movie. Every sane football fan was ready and waiting for the Foxes to slip up when the big names arrived on the scene.
But after 36 of the 38 matches to be played, Leicester’s coronation as Premier League champions has been well-deserved. Teams have been known to choke at the final stages. Example in question, Newcastle United circa 1996 when the title seemed all but theirs only to crash and burn at the closing stages. But as critics and fans waited with bated breath for the slip-up to finally arrive, Leicester kept eking out wins and battling out draws. On February 14, when the Foxes came up against perennial Big 4 team Arsenal, detractors smiled, signaling the beginning of the end for Leicester’s dream run. But that was in fact their only loss since June 23 when they beat Stoke City. And while Arsenal are fighting to seal their Champions League berth, Leicester have been crowned Kings of England already.
It’s been a fairytale for Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez, the two names associated with Leicester’s scoring prowess. The mercurial Vardy hasn’t been the best example for up and coming footballers to follow. There have been sex scandals in Bangkok and bar brawls and more than a few hiccups. But the freshly crowned Football Writers’ Association Player of the Year has stuck to his rant on Twitter – “Chat shit, get banged”. Vardy has floored critics, opponents and fans alike with his consistent performance at the helm of Leicester’s attack.
Leicester were only promoted in 2014 and at the start of this season, manager Claudio Ranieri said his aim was 40 points and survival in the top flight. Let’s help you out with the perspective. The odds of Leicester winning the title at the beginning of the season was 5000/1. There is a better chance of Kim Kardashian becoming President of the USA which stands at 2000/1. Since 1992, only 5 different teams have won the Premier League title and only Blackburn Rovers and their title triumph in 1995 came closest to being called underdog winners. Claudio Ranieri and his tactical prowess seem to have found the right mark. The genius had a rocky show before this as well, when his last job as coach of the Greek football team came to an ignominious ending with Greece losing to Faroe Islands. But Ranieri can kick back and sip a cup of Earl Grey, with the world’s most competitive football league title under his belt and wave at his ever-grateful fans with the air of a king.