A lot has been said about how ridiculously poor Mourinho’s team has been this season. Against Leicester, it took them an hour to get out of the team bus but by then Leicester City was already out of sight with Mahrez and Vardy providing two goals. While Chelsea’s poor form has been analysed and reanalysed, and then reanalysed again, little has been said about how good this Leicester side has been.
Nigel Pearson’s sack was widely criticised by fans, pundits and the media. But, the arrival of Claudio Ranieri has been like a breath of fresh air. The Italian manager has had difficult spells since he was sacked from Chelsea in 2004. At Leicester, the Italian has been reborn. The brand of football on display at the King Power Stadium has been exhilarating. In the first 60 minutes, they were like a moving train and the Blues felt the full effect. The Champion improved in the final 30 minutes but aside the goal Leicester City conceded, they looked assured at the back showing a ruthless and efficient resilience that Mourinho would have been proud of.
Claudio Ranieri may be trying hard to keep the target low and even dismiss a title challenge, but this Leicester side must now be taken seriously. Only 5 points are required to meet the manager’s target of 40 points. But surely, you expect that the expectation will have to go up. In Mahrez and Vardy, they have the most potent duo in the league. Both combined have scored more goals than 16 other teams in the league. Past league winners have depended on star players to provide goals. The great Arsenal sides had Thierry Henry or Ian Wright. Manchester United had Ruud Van Nistelrooy and City has Sergio Aguero. Leicester City however, boasts of two very potent forwards. The key has been to get the ball forward to them quickly and they have duly punished every defence they have come against this season.
They may fall away before the end of the season but there is something about them that makes one feel they will have a big say. Chelsea’s star players may have “betrayed” their manager last night but Leicester City ensured that happened. They in fact were the catalyst meaning that Mourinho was forced to make changes more in desperation. They forced Chelsea into very uncomfortable situations and saying Chelsea were poor will amount to us not giving the Foxes the credit the quality of their play deserved. Chelsea will not win the league. They may not even make the Champions League next season unless they win the competition this season. But for Leicester City, their fans can start to dream.