There are stories, and then there are stories we will always remember. Leicester City’s rise from the bottom on the Premier League is becoming the latter. From the start of the 2014-15 season to this point, 13 rounds into the campaign, the Foxes have played as title contenders do. It should be no surprise to see them at the top of the table. With week after passing week, they are getting better, showing no signs of slowing down. Their fearless approach is working.
Credit where it’s due, manager Claudio Ranieri — formerly known as the Tinkerman — has done a great job. He hasn’t just titivated. He has transformed this squad by instilling an ideology, one that his side reflects well on the field by playing with a definite intent to win the game. For much of last season under Nigel Pearson, the side seemed more concerned with avoiding a defeat. See the change?
Perhaps more importantly, he’s made Leicester more organized. Under Ranieri’s predecessor, that standard of organisation was missing. You could always see some bit of indiscipline in the team’s style of play, and while they were an attack-minded team back then as well, they never looked too difficult to run over. All of that has changed since Ranieri has arrived. Leicester now appear to be a totally different side – a side that can dominate opponents.
What is more fascinating about the Foxes this season is their calmness and strength of mentality under pressure. Whenever they have fallen behind, except for the odd occasion, they have come out on top, or at least rescued a point from unbelievable situations. Rather than giving up when the heat is on, they take the game to the opposition, attacking with absolution and murdering with disdain. It’s quite merciless stuff.
But when talking about being merciless, Jamie Vardy is the one man that comes to mind. Algerian international Riyad Mahrez has also been important to Leicester throughout this surge, but Vardy has become the team’s driving force. The haughty Englishman has arguably been the league’s best player this season, and there’s no doubting he’s the major reason why Leicester are where they are. An intense, industrious character who, with all his verve and zest, performs above his ability every time on the field, the Englishman sets the right example for his fellow teammates, who themselves have raised the bar to play beyond expectations. Vardy makes this team tick.