PL Champs Leicester City on the Verge of Relegation
Leicester last won the English Premier League championship seven seasons ago. After having a terrible season, it is currently in danger of being demoted to the championship.
The Foxes, who were held to a scoreless draw by Newcastle on Monday, can only stay up if they defeat West Ham this coming weekend on the last day of the season and fourth-bottom Everton lose at home to Bournemouth.
Leicester: Then and Now
It is quite a departure compared to the euphoric times of 2016, when Claudio Ranieri produced an enchanting victory for the ages, defying overwhelming odds to take the title after Leicester just averted relegation the year before. They also reached the semis in the UEFA Champions League the following season.
The Thai-owned club received new lifeblood with Brendan Rodgers’ entrance in 2019. Two years in a row, it placed fifth in the Premier League, barely missed out on qualifying for the Champions League, and won the FA Cup for the first time in 2021. The team finished comfortably in eighth place the previous year and advanced to the Europa Conference League semifinals.
But when Leicester allowed a 2-0 lead to slip and drew 2-2 with Brentford in the season’s opening match, everything started falling apart. They have lost six straight league games and have been unable to escape danger. In the bottom half of the table, only Leicester has scored more goals (49), but it has paid a high price for its defensive flaws.
Not a strong enough squad anymore
Rodgers complaint earlier this season about the nerfed squad and said that he had “not had the help in the market this team needed”.
“I came to Leicester to compete and initially I was able to do that,” he said in September. “You have to add quality but in the last two (transfer) windows we haven’t been able to do that.”
In the 2016 team, there were talents all around the field, with Schmeichel, Vardy, Kante, and Mahrez all becoming future superstars. They also signed exciting players like Maddison, Tielemans, and Fofana. However, Fofana left for Chelsea, and Vardy has faded. All others have left the club for better opportunities. Even Maddison and Tielemans are expected to leave if they get relegated.
A team that had just recently experienced the unexpected exhilaration of winning trophies would take a significant hit to its pride if it lost its Premier League status for the first time in nine years. The climb back up will take a while.