Why a resurgent Leicester City can manage a top-6 finish by the end of the season
Ever since Leicester City picked up the Premier League title in the 2015/16 season, things have not exactly gone their way. Last season, their performances were painfully underwhelming to watch and that led to the sacking of Claudio Ranieri. That was a rather harsh decision but their owners are known to be ruthless when it comes to the club’s fortunes. Following his dismissal, Craig Shakespeare was appointed as the caretaker manager, who eventually took over as permanent manager.
However, even he failed to make much of an impact and the Foxes were struggling once again. In fact, this season, they were almost near the dredges of relegation and that’s when Shakespeare was also shown the exit door. It was a sudden decision but one that was very much needed for the club. Claude Puel eventually took charge and he has managed to spark a massive turnaround already.
From occupying bottom-level spots, the Foxes shot up and steadily climbed the league table. At present, they are sitting comfortably in 7th place with 34 points. They are 8 points behind 6th-placed Arsenal and with the remaining half of the season ahead of us, there is a reason to believe that Leicester could secure a top-six finish by the end of this term. The Foxes have managed to stay unbeaten in their last 5 games across competitions and their performances have remarkably improved as well.
For example, in the 0-0 draw with Chelsea, Puel’s men seemed like a rejuvenated side with a newfound interest in progressing higher up the table. Of late, the Foxes have been decent enough in possession with better fluidity in terms of attacking movement up front.
Despite the improvement in their performance, the club continues to struggle in set-piece situations and that is something they need to improve.
Besides that, the performances of key players like Riyad Mahrez, Wilfred N’Didi and Vincente Iborra have remarkably improved, and that has only helped them in the last few games. Puel deserves most of the credit for the spectacular way in which he has managed to turn things around for Leicester.
A few months back, they were hapless and unorganized but today, they are a lot more well-rounded. They have a couple of relatively easy fixtures ahead, with an FA Cup match against Peterborough followed by Premier League encounters against Everton and Swansea City. However, after that, they face champions-elect Manchester City and that will truly prove to be a test.
However, if they continue playing the way they are doing now, there is no reason why they cannot put up a strong fight to finish in the top six.