Leicester are flying high again, and we’re getting strong sense of deja vu from a few years ago. Could this be miracle MKII?
They couldn’t do it again…could they?
There are some significant 2016 vibes emerging from this Leicester team, and in a season with so many variables and chaotic elements, if they were going to repeat their miracle under Claudio Ranieri, then this would be the season.
“In this topsy-turvy season there’s no reason for them not to aim high,” said Jack Lang on The Totally Football Show this Monday. “I like the way Rodgers is able to switch things up now. At times they got a bit turgid last season when they got out of form, but I think he’s got a few different ways to play this season.
“They’re doing well given the injuries they’ve had at the back. I’ve been really impressed by James Justin – the way he plays from right wing-back, left wing-back, tucks in at centre-half. He brings a real energy to them.
“The midfield pretty much takes care of itself, there’s so much quality there. They’ve got a tremendously talented squad, and Rodgers does have the smarts to develop that extra way of playing.”
Pat Nevin reiterated the point about varied styles of play: “They can play a really high-tempo thing when they’re flying at teams, or they can play sucker-punch football.
“Before the Leeds game, Brendan Rodgers told the TV “this is what they do, here are their weaknesses and this is what we’re going to do” – and they did it.”
Pat Nevin also highlighted one main area that Leicester have got right in recent years: recruitment. Despite losing the likes of Riyad Mahrez, Harry Maguire and Ben Chilwell in successive summers, they have been able to reinvest the money received for those players shrewdly, contributing to their current impressive side.
“They make [buying players] look annoyingly easy, and it’s not: it’s unbelievably difficult to do what they’ve been doing. They lose big player after big player after big player.
“Some of the players they bring in, I scratch my chin a little bit, and think “are you sure? Is he good enough?” And they slowly but surely grow into something I didn’t see. Tielemans, Mendy, Praat – a much, much better player than I gave him credit for.
“In this game we all like saying “I knew it, as soon as I saw him, he was a stick-on, I knew he was going to be great”, but they do it the other way. And they’re right time and time again.”
The latest player they look like they’re right about is Wesley Fofana, the 19-year-old French centre-back signed from St Etienne in the summer who, despite his tender years already looks like the real deal.
“They look to have the next big thing in Premier League central defending in Wesley Fofana,” said Daniel Storey. “They’re not afraid to put their money where their mouth is: Tielemans cost £40million, Fofana cost £36million.
“Fofana looks so assured. He looks so assured on the ball, and he’s got this Virgil van Dijk height which means he’s able to win everything in the air with barely an effort in the jump. Caglar Soyuncu was their success/surprise story of last season, but Fofana looks everything.”
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