Sunday, December 6, 2015

Vardy & The Foxes.

Leicester City Football Club has charged through the 2015 season with Jamie Vardy leading the way.
Leicester City last night continued their run of form when they took down Swansea City three goals to nil at Liberty Stadium in Wales. Their man-of-the-moment, and striker, Jamie Vardy, once again spearheaded the line-up. The win will be just one in a list of many this season, but it was another three points for the Foxes, and in the end that’s all that will count. The record-breaking streak of goals by Vardy came to a close, and while everyone would have loved it to continue, it will likely be a good thing for Leicester as a team that it’s finished.

For all of Vardy’s accomplishments during his prodigious rise from obscurity, he has managed to maintain a real sense of humility and an acute awareness that team achievements come before his own. Ironic, when you consider that after scoring against Manchester United last weekend - and claiming the Premier League goal-scoring streak record - Vardy ran to the sidelines of King Power Stadium and professed to the Foxes’ fans that he was the man. “I am the man,” he screamed; whilst passionately pointing to his own chest.

A week later with the knowledge of having the opportunity to equal an English League all-time record that was set in the 1930’s, Vardy played the team part. He wasn’t ‘The Man’ as he was a week earlier; he was simply one man, in a side of eleven who were at Swansea to continue their hot run of form. This can be no more evidenced than Vardy’s pass to teammate, Riyad Mahrez, in the 67th minute. This is the teammate who had blown a clear opportunity to set Vardy up for a goal in the first half. Despite receiving the ball inside the box and within striking range, Vardy didn’t hesitate, passing straight to Mahrez without a second thought. A team pass, an unselfish play. It was now three-zip to Leicester, and a guaranteed victory.  Another three points secured along with first spot on the Premier League ladder. A position no one in their right mind thought this side could be.

At the start of the season they had come off a tumultuous summer of hiring’s and firing’s, made a managerial appointment that many groaned at, and were predicted by many to occupy the depths of the premiership ladder. But somehow they have become momentous, clearing anything in their path. Their presence in the top-spots was weeks ago thought of as a fluke, written off as an easy-draw, a position they were not worthy of and would eventually lose. But The Foxes now lead the competition. To put that in perspective, they are now six points clear of fifth place Tottenham. Furthermore, they are just six points shy of their ‘season-goal’ of 38 points with 23 games left to play. Incredible.

With Chelsea’s early season fall from grace, there was always going to be a spot for someone to fill at the top end of the table. There were some upsets in the early rounds that gave you the impression a team from left-field might occupy a higher than usual spot, but who would have thought it would be Leicester City?

With four rounds left to play in 2015, Leicester have the opportunity to head into the New Year having reached their season goal and with the world at their feet. Literally, keep kicking goals and who knows how far they could go. The next four games coming up see them facing heavyweights in Chelsea, Everton, Liverpool and Manchester City. If Claudio Ranieri can push the side to take six points from those four matches, then Leicester can be seriously considered as a genuine chance of upsetting the status quo at season’s end. Pleeeeeeeeease, I hear you say. But why can’t they? Man-City can’t string a line of form together, Arsenal are having draw’s with teams they should demolish, Man-United can’t score a goal, and Chelsea are, well, Chelsea.

Barring injuries or self-destruction, there is no reason why The Foxes can’t keep progressing. Keeping a lid on it all will be a challenge for Claudio, but so far the side seems to not be getting ahead of themselves. Last night against Swansea they should have been up by five midway through the match, and although leading, it would have been easy for them to get frustrated at themselves and each other for the rued chances, but they were able to stay calm and keep sight of their team priorities.

Clean, quick, and sharp passes are how Leicester cut the opposition up. Speed, counter-attacking and a little bit of flared risk are how they put sides to bed. They are a ruthless, determined, and hungry bunch of men who aren’t scared of anybody. They’ll need all that fearlessness they have about them in the next month of football, but what a truly inspiring story they have become. Invigorating a league that has been historically dominated by the clubs with the most money and setting alight the competition with something completely unexpected and out of the ordinary.

Go The Foxes.