After 132 years, Leicester City has finally secured its first top flight English association football title, holding an unassailable seven point lead over Tottenham with two games remaining in the 2015-16 EPL season.
The Foxes, who finished 14th last season following their Championship win in 2013-14, entered the 2015-16 season as rank outsiders paying 5000-1 odds to lift the trophy come seasons end. Fans and experts alike predicted the minnows to be locked in a relegation battle, however despite very few giving them a chance, a strong start to the season continued throughout and ultimately proved to be one of the greatest sporting upsets of all time.
Through 36 games, Leicester City have lost just three times – to Arsenal in late September (2-5), to Liverpool on Boxing Day (0-1) and to Arsenal again on Valentine’s Day (1-2). Since that last loss, they’ve gone ten games undefeated, surging forward to the title despite the predictions of an eventual slump. It simply never happened.
The stars throughout the incredibly unlikely season were undoubtedly Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez, who scored 22 goals and 17 goals respectively. For Vardy, the 29-year-old who scored just five goals during the 2014-15 campaign, the breakout season was particularly special as he continually proved his doubters wrong as he lead his team to the ultimate prize.
Credit must also be given to the ultra-impressive Kasper Schmeichel in goals who has conceded just 34 goals throughout the 36 games. The son of Manchester United great Peter Schmeichel has already notched 15 clean sheets on the season as he seeks to follow in the footsteps of his famous father.
Leicester City’s win was the first time since the 1994-95 season that one of the big four teams (Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City) hasn’t won the top-flight title. Back then it was the Blackburn Rovers who tasted the ultimate success, however in the two decades since, they’ve struggled to get anywhere near repeating that feat. Currently, they’re languishing in 15th place in the Championship, desperately seeking to return to the Premier League in the foreseeable future. For the Foxes, they’ll be determined not to suffer the same fate.
When the wild celebrations finally come to an end later this week, the focus will shift to what is set to be an emotional homecoming against Everton on Saturday. Regardless of the result, the loyal, success-deprived Leicester fans can relax and enjoy the greatest opportunity of all – an opportunity to say thanks to their champion team.
This post has been presented by Unibet, however all thoughts and opinions are that of the writer.