Here's why Leicester are struggling.

on Monday, 13 February 2017. Posted in Richard Keys Blog

I've read an awful lot on why Leicester are struggling this season. Apparently it's because they 'over celebrated' last season's title success. Nonsense.

Others believe it's because N'golo Kante was sold. Nonsense. His absence hasn't stopped them from progressing to the last 16 of the Champions League, although there is no doubt that he's been missed. He's a terrific little player. Any team would miss his non-stop running and uncanny ability to break up opposition play.

So it must be that the boys have downed tools? Nonsense. No they haven't.  Ranieri has 'tinkered' too much then? Nonsense. Is it that he's fallen out with too many people?  Nonsense.

Here's what I believe the problem is. They are simply not very good. What we're seeing now is just about what they are. They're two points better off than they were when they went on that fantastic run of seven wins in nine games to save themselves under Nigel Pearson, the real architect of last season's success.

And before you Leicester City fans start screaming 'Sky Blue Scum bag' let me explain myself.

After battling to safety under Pearson  - and it was without doubt the greatest escape of all time - no-one, absolutely no-one could foresee what was going to happen the following season. 

Pearson was sacked that summer wasn't he? I expressed serious doubts about Ranieri's appointment, going so far as to predict they'd  go down without Pearson's big presence and organisational skills.

Quite the opposite happened. Again, Leicester gave us something that will never - ever - be done again. We all smiled as Ranieri shoved the words of people like me back down our throats. Leicester winning the Premier League title was arguably the greatest sporting achievement of all time. It was brilliant. It was breathtaking. And it was so re-freshing. But it was a one-off. It will never be done again. Oh, It wouldn't have been done had Arsenal had some bollocks. They should've won it and Arsene Wenger knows it. They'll never have a better chance again while he's there.

Leicester found all the stars aligned just at the right time and they capitalised. Brilliant. I say again, it was a wonderful achievement, but here's why it can't be done again.

The 'big six' have have got their act together - that's a major factor. Normal service at the top has been resumed this season and the six of them are only going to get stronger - especially if they can force through a re-distribution of the overseas tv money. Trust me, if they can - and I think they can - they will.

So that's one issue, but the main one from Leicester's point of view is that for some reason and somehow a group of 'ordinary' players all performed in an 'extra-ordinary' way. They all produced outstanding 11/10 performances on a weekly basis. As the season went on, belief grew and the impossible became probable before they eventually got it over the line.

There's a reason only Kante left the club. The rest, with perhaps one exception, aren't good enough to play for top clubs. They're at Leicester for that reason. Those that started careers at the bigger clubs weren't good enough to stay, so a collection of really good pro's all found themselves in the same place - at the right time - and something very special happened.

Morgan and Huth are the wrong side of 30 and won't ever again have a season like they did last time out. Everybody has worked Vardy out. Drinkwater is no more than 'solid' and he's missing his mate. Mahrez is a shadow of himself. Schmeichel is a great lad but again, would he get into any of the top 6 sides? The rest are good players - no more.

I do think that there is perhaps a little unrest in the dressing room caused by the fact that some of last season's stars are now earning money beyond their wildest dreams, whilst others have been left behind. That's a factor, but the bottom line is this - Leicester are neither as bad as their league position and form, but they were certainly never as good as last season's title win suggested.

Make no mistake - they're in big trouble. Unless something changes, and quickly, I reckon I'll have been a season out - they're going down. 

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