How Exactly Do You "Do A Leicester"?

So just how exactly do you "Do a Leicester". The phrase is destined to remain within footballing folklore for years to come but what were the factors? Why did Leicester, the 5000/1 shot storm the league in 2015/2016?


Jamie Vardy, having a party?

It's the classic Roy of the Rovers fairytale that every young person playing football dreams of. Jamie Vardy was (as I'm sure you are all well aware) released by Sheffield Wednesday as a youth. In 2007 he started playing for Stocksbridge Park Steels and by 2010 he was with FC Halifax. In 2011 he signed for Fleetwood Town, helping the club win the Conference. Finally, after many would have given up, Leicester came calling.

Without Vardy, it's simple, the Foxes would not have won the Premier League. The striker played 36 out of 38 games in the league scoring a massive 24 goals in the process (not forgetting his consecutive record for scoring in 11 games on the trot). His consistency was unrivalled and no matter who the opposition Vardy proved time and again what a threat he was to the defence. Goalkeepers had almost resigned to the fact that he would find the back of their net.

To "do a Leicester" you definitely need a Jamie Vardy type.

Italian Style

Most of you will be aware of my soft spot for anything Italian, even more so when it concerns Italian football, so when I saw Claudio Ranieri had been named Leicester manager in 2015 I was elated for them. Most fans however appeared pessimistic. By no means am I saying I thought he'd win the bloody league but I knew he was an intelligent manager, a boss able to work with little but somehow make that work.

Many argued at the start of last season that Ranieri was simply following on from the work of former boss Nigel Pearson but the Italian did make several key changes including returning to four at the back, playing Vardy perfectly and getting the best tactically out of players like Riyad Mahrez.

His super cool demeanour and ability to remain calm under pressure acted as a catalyst for Leicester.

Ranieri, also definitely required in order to "do a Leicester".

Leicester's Jamie Vardy
Images via skysports.com

Riyad Mahrez

Touched upon earlier when discussing Claudio Ranieri, one of the main reasons for Leicester's success was the deployment of Riyad Mahrez. Completing a total of 48 dribbles over the 2015/2016 season its no surprise Mahrez left many of his opponents in his wake. Nigel Pearson didn't utilise Mahrez to his full potential and at one stage of the 2014/2015 season it looked as though the Algerian may even become a bit part player.

Thankfully for Riyad, he was very much within Ranieri's plans. Playing 37 out of the 38 league games, Mahrez netted 17 goals and provided 11 assists.

Obviously, you can't "do a Leicester" without Mahrez.

Fearless away from home

I've often watched promoted teams or even sides that lull about in the bottom half of the Premier League table and wondered "why don't they just go for it?". I get it, of course I do, sometimes the risk is too great, it's suicidal to go for it away from home when you need all the points you can get...

But is it? Is it really such a bad idea? Leicester for me proved that in order to really shake things up you need to go for it. Away from home Leicester beat some big sides like Man City (not us though muhahaha) and for me, part of the reason they were successful is because they were fearless away from home.

Playing on the counter attack would catch teams off guard, particularly at the start of the season when Leicester still had the element of surprise. Even when teams did start to suss out Ranieri's tactics, the speed at which they could turn on an attack along with the pace of their star players was too much for most sides to handle.

Being fearless is almost certainly how you "do a Leicester".

Preview

Here's hoping for our own sake that Leicester don't "do a Leicester" tomorrow as that would very much spoil the unveiling of the new Main Stand party. Anfield capacity is now just over 54,000.

Injuries for this one mean Liverpool are unable to call upon Emre Can or Ragnar Klavan. For Leicester Mendy and Schlupp are both unavailable but record signing Slimani could feature.

The last time the two sides met was in February this year when Leicester won 2-0 thanks to a brace from Jamie Vardy. In December 2015 Liverpool picked up a 1-0 win thanks to a Christian Benteke goal. To find a victory for the Foxes at Anfield we have to go back to 2000.

Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching!

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