For all the amazing work they’ve done this season, the most invaluable goal of the season was scored by a played with no affiliation to the club whatsoever. Eden Hazard’s 83rd minute strike was all that Leicester City needed to be crowned Premier League champions for the first time in their 132-year old history.
It’s not so much that Leicester won the League, but what is rather baffling is how they won it. Despite their miniature budget last summer, the Foxes still managed to find the right balance in the team with acquisitions like N’Golo Kante and Christian Fuchs who have proven to be macabre signings.
Here are four possible reasons why Leicester-against all odds- won the Premier League.
Despite managing renowned clubs like Chelsea, Juventus and Inter Milan, Claudio Ranieri’s managerial career has been all but trophy laden. In fact for the 30-years that he has been in management, the Italian has never won a major league title, with his best ever finish being second place; a position he got in four separate occasions.
Ranieri’s man management in the squad was second to none. He infamously treated his players to free pizza during the earlier stages of the season when they kept a clean sheet. At face value it might not have seemed like much, but he used it to great effect and brought the best out of his players.
It’s a no-brainer that without Claudio Ranieri, there would be no Premier League title for Leicester.
They kept the goals coming
It will be interesting to see how Leicester fair on in the Champions League given their unorthodox nature of playing. While most teams in the modern game would rather have more of the ball even when nothing comes of their endeavors, the Foxes still managed to hold their nerves and stick to the plan despite unrelenting waves of attacks from the opposition.
Furthermore, their ability to catch the opposition on the break with metronomic efficiency is largely why they managed to scrap up wins from precarious positions. Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez were in the knick of it with the attacking pair scoring an overwhelming 42 goals in total.
One of the biggest deterrents to keeping up a good run of form in any team is injury. Arsenal’s injury woes may have prevented them from winning the league a number of times over the years, but that was surprisingly not the case for Leicester.
While other teams lost their key players to injury [Aguero-Man City, Harry Kane- Tottenham, Sturridge- Liverpool] Leicester’s cornerstones like Kasper Schmeichel, Wes Morgan, N’Golo Kante and Jamie Vardy were ever-present elements in the line ups.
With this, the algorithm was always going to be inclined in their favor.
By and large, of all the teams that were competing for the Premier League crown, Leicester City’s fixture list was all but congested. Unlike their competitors who had jaded legs, the Foxes had enough time to replenish in between matches due to their non participation in European cup competitions.
Regardless, that won’t be case next season as Ranieri’s charges received automatic qualification into next season’s Champions League by virtue of being the English champions.
Written by Brian Humphrey
Follow Brian on Twitter @brihum
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