If there is such a thing as a football fairytale, then it must be the story of Leicester City during the 2015-2016 season of the English Premier League.
A year ago, Leicester City were bottom of the English Premier League, seven points adrift of the safety level which would ensure they would play the next season (this season) in the English Premier League.
They looked doomed.
Then, suddenly, fate dealt a hand and the tide turned.
Leicester City started winning football matches.
Against all expectations, they survived the drop and were not relegated.
This season, the season of 2015-2016, a betting man could have gotten 5000-1 against Leicester City winning the English Premier League.
Only the top teams with the best players who play possession football win the title of Champions, right?
Anybody who wagered a bet on Leicester City at the start of the season in August would surely have been seen as wasting their money.
Leicester City changed their manager.
Nigel Pearson, who had guided them into the Premier League and who had achieved Premier League survival in the first season, was replaced.
He was replaced by Claudio Ranieri, an Italian who had previously managed Chelsea before being sacked.
A man who has a 53% success rate in the games he has been in charge.
Claudio Raniero, to the surprise of the football world, has guided Leicester City to the top of the English Premier League and to a five point lead over their nearest challengers.
Having beaten one serious challenger last week, Manchester City, 3-1 in their own backyard of the Ethihad Stadium and after having put a high-pressing Liverpool to the sword a few days earlier ……..
Leicester City were last beaten a visit to Arsenal on Valentines Day. It was only their third defeat in the league this season.
Arsenal remain the one team Leicester City might fear. They put five goals past Leicester City earlier in the season at Leicester’s home ground, the King Power Stadium.
Tottenham Hotspur are, however, the team chasing Leicester down for the title, not Arsenal or Manchester City.
To date, it is Leicester City’s only defeat in the league at home this season and the only one by more than one goal.
The beauty of this football fairytale is yet to be explained.
Football, after all, is a beautiful game to play, the perfect team game of offense and attack.
This should not be happening. Leicester City should not be top of the English Premier League in the middle of February.
And they should not even remotely be considered as title favourites, let alone challengers – should they?
There are some fascinating facts to colour the story of this football fairytale.
Jamie Vardy is the league’s top goalscorer with eighteen goals. All but one of those goals have been scored inside the penalty area.
Jamie Vardy is an unsung hero who has come from the lower levels of English football to achieve a name for himself this eason through sheer hard work and endeavour.
He plays alongside Mahrez, an Algerian who was spotted for his skill while playing for Algeria during the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and was bought ‘for a song’.
None of the players in the Leicester City team have been bought for big sums of money, compared to those with Arsenal, Liverpool, Chelsea and the two Manchester teams.
None of them are (or would have been) household names if it was not for the unfolding story of a football fairytale.
The nickname of Leicester City is ‘the Foxes’ and Jamie Vardy can rightly be called the ‘Fox in the Box’.
Football pundits and commentators, it seems, are running out of superlatives for the Leicester City fairytale.
Back to the fascinating facts.
They allow the opposing team to play with the ball. They know they are not the best team on the field of play.
But they also know they can win the football match if the opposing team make a mistake in possession.
Leicester City can seize possession, break forward quickly in a counter-attack and score a goal to win the game. It’s not rocket science, it is very simple.
Furthermore, it is noticed that Leicester City play more or less the same eleven players every week. The other teams in the ‘title race’ do not.
Players overtrain, they get serious injuries during the game, they get suspended for foul play.
This is not happening at Leicester City this season. It might be just luck and during matches, they get the ‘rub of the green’
The reality is that probably, Leicester City do things differently and that is why they seem to do things differently.
A fairytale should have a happy ending.
There is not a neutral fan surely on this earth who does not want to see the underdog team of Leicester City to go on and win the English Premier League title for the first time in the history of the football club.
There is an incredible irony about this which very much makes this story a truly great football fairytale.
Chelsea are the current Premier League champions and are about to be dethroned.
Chelsea play in blue and so do Leicester City.
Chelsea used to be managed by Claudio Raneiri.
Claudio Raneiri did no wrong at Chelsea but was replaced.
Claudio Raneiri has taken Leicester City to levels in achievement nobody has expected.
Chelsea host Leicester City on the last day of the Premier League season on 15th May 2016.
How ironic would it be for Leicester City to win the Premier League title on that day.
How ironic would it be for Leicester City to be acclaimed the Premier League Champions by their immediate predecessors.
The football world awaits a glorious ending to this fantastic football fairytale.
Nobody could write a football fairytale like Leicester City in the 2015-2016 season.