The sudden collapse of football’s greatest fairy tale: where did it all go wrong for Leicester? – News Block

Despite this season’s astonishing Premier League highlights, which included Manchester City’s historic treble, Newcastle United’s stunning top-four finish and Mikel Arteta’s ultimate transformation of Arsenal, arguably the biggest surprise was the unforeseen relegation of former champions, Leicester City.

It was just seven years earlier that the Foxes finally launched themselves to the most astonishing league triumph the sporting world has ever seen, led by club icons Riyad Mahrez, Jamie Vardy and N’Golo Kante.

Fast forward to the conclusion of the 2022-23 season, Leicester had their most decorated tenure in the top flight come to an abrupt end, through a series of mistakes, miscalculations and difficulties culminating in recent years.

A determining factor in the sudden decline of the club was due to a large number of bad transfers and mismanagement of the team in the last summer and winter windows.

After a less-than-desirable end to their 2021-22 Premier League season, Foxes fans were inclined to believe that the club would revamp and strengthen, hoping to return to the heights of European qualification that they saw. in previous campaigns with Brendan Rodgers.

However, once the transfer window was officially opened, the morale of the supporters had already been affected. As the club legend and captain at the time, Kasper Schmeichel made his sudden departure for French Nice.

This isolated the East-Midlands club without an established leader in the dressing room and a goalkeeper of first-team caliber. Instead, management placed blind faith in inexperienced and ultimately unteamed former backup Danny Ward.

During his spell between the sticks, Ward conceded a whopping 45 goals in just 26 appearances, forcing caretaker manager Dean Smith to drop fellow unqualified youth academy product Daniel Iversen into the starting 11 to watch out for the remaining matches.

Leicester’s back line also managed to drop in quality, after failing to replace another club star and reining in ‘rock’ Wesley Fofana, who left for Chelsea during the same window.

The Foxes received a substantial fee for the promising French centre-back (£75m) but were evidently unable to adequately replace the impact and role played by the young star, conceding a total of 68 goals in the 38-game season (a goal every 50 minutes approx.).

While the Foxes still had remnants of creative firepower and goal-scoring prowess in James Maddison, Youri Tielemans and Harvey Barnes, Leicester’s leaky defense caused by mismanaging the transfer window was ultimately the difference that He made the club fall on the last day.

Furthermore, Leicester’s lingering disappointment from previous campaigns may also have had its impact on the club’s sudden demise.

Looking at most of the 2020 and 2021 league seasons, Leicester had held a place in the top four, with fans and press all but certain the club would return to the Champions League for the first time since their historic campaign for title.

But they would end both years in similarly harrowing fashion, ‘bottling’ qualifying on the final day and missing out on those lucrative table spots.

Harvey Barnes reacts as the Foxes are relegated (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

These frustrating instances of ‘could have been’ may have affected the belief of existing players, hurt by the fact that they failed to achieve that elusive goal two seasons in a row. This, in turn, possibly played a role in the increasingly disappointing performances in the following campaigns.

While the club had made several mistakes that culminated in their relegation, Leicester had to battle the sudden and tragic passing of club owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha in 2018.

The successful Thai businessman led the Foxes from the second tier to the Premier League title in just six years, despite his team being neglected and touted as relegation favorites.

Now, as Leicester City head into the next few weeks and months of a new season, fans can find a little shed of hope and positivity through the appointment of new manager Enzo Maresca.

The young Italian manager moved from treble-winning Manchester City this summer, aiming to lead the Foxes straight to the promised land. With plenty of tactical experience gained under decorated manager Pep Guardiola, as his assistant, Maresca hopes to appeal to a disgruntled supporter with an improved and positive style of play and ultimately succeed in one of the toughest leagues in European football.

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