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Top 5 Leicester City Underdog Story Facts

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Script written by Sean Harris During the 2014-15 season, they were bottom of the league; but now in 2015-2016, they're the favorites to win it! Welcome to WatchMojo News, the weekly series from WatchMojo.com where we break down news stories that might be on your radar. In this instalment, we're counting down 5 facts you should know about Leicester City and their incredible rise in the English Premier League.
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Script written by Sean Harris

Top 5 Leicester City Underdog Story Facts


During the 2014-15 season, they were bottom of the league; but now in 2015-2016, they’re the favorites to win it! Welcome to WatchMojo News, the weekly series from WatchMojo.com where we break down news stories that might be on your radar. In this instalment, we’re counting down 5 facts you should know about Leicester City and their incredible rise in the English Premier League.


#5: What’s So Remarkable About Leicester City F.C.?
The League

Founded in 1884, Leicester City Football Club haven’t only exceeded expectations in this season’s English Premier League, but they’ve also shattered them! The club, which is nicknamed The Foxes, finished their 2014-15 campaign in the 14th position of the Premier League, but was threatened with relegation to a lower league for the majority of that season. On March 21st, 2015, they suffered a 4-3 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur, which left them bottom of the table and supposedly doomed. But seven wins in their remaining nine games ensured a miraculous escape. That good form has continued throughout the following season’s competition, as Leicester, which have never been crowned top-flight champions in their history, sit top of the table with three games to play as of April 25th, 2016. Theirs is an underdog story that has caught the world’s attention!

#4: What Made Leicester City So Successful This Season?
The Tactics

When Leicester and former manager Nigel Pearson parted company in June 2015, the team were relegation favorites, and a massive 5000-1 shot for Premier League glory. In fact, bookmakers placed better odds on Kim Kardashian becoming U.S. president by 2010, and the Pope playing for the Rangers than in Leicester winning the title! But in stepped Italian manager Claudio Ranieri, once of Chelsea, Monaco and (uninspiringly) the Greece national team – many onlookers were vexed by the surprise appointment. But Ranieri, who has a reputation for team rotation, adapted his style for Leicester’s modest squad. Christian Fuchs, Robert Huth and Shinji Okazaki were all signed for relatively small fees just before Ranieri arrived, and N’Golo Kante was brought in by the new boss for a bargain £5.6 million – all four have proven vital players this season. And the Foxes’ unique team spirit was quickly backed up by stats. Defensively they’ve been solid, conceding less than a goal a game on average and keeping over 40% clean sheets; Offensively they’ve been clinical, scoring a goal for every 5.5 chances created.

#3: Why Is This Unusual in the English Premier League?
The Elite

Since its conception in 1992, the Premier League has had five winners across 23 seasons. Manchester United have 13 titles, Chelsea have four, Arsenal have three and Manchester City have won twice in the past four years. The only vaguely comparable victor is Blackburn Rovers, who won the league in 1995. But their victory, unlike Leicester’s, came about on the crest of huge financial backing which saw the club break the English transfer record. The top clubs are usually based in bigger English cities as well; London and Manchester lead the way, while Liverpool also has a proud history of success. Leicester, in comparison, is just the 13th largest city in the UK, according to the 2011 census.

#2: How Did Wealth Factor into Their Success?
The Payouts


Although Leicester was subject to a multi-million-pound takeover in 2010 by the Thai-based King Power Group, their rise has not relied on masses of spending. Before this season, the club’s financial activities and the value of its players were among the lowest in the league. Leicester’s annual wage bill was around a quarter Manchester United’s, while Manchester City’s squad is worth around 8 times as much as Ranieri’s. City, United, Chelsea and Arsenal all have individual players worth more than Leicester’s squad collectively, but the Foxes have proven that you don’t necessarily need wealth to get wins. In fact, as recently as 2010, top striker Jamie Vardy was still working part-time as a factory worker making medical splints! Talent and teamwork are obviously factors, as well, with the value of star players such as Vardy, Riyad Mahrez and Kasper Schmeichel having now sky-rocketed. However, the team is actually on the verge of the ‘cheapest’ title that the Premier League has ever seen.

#1: How Close Are They to the Title?
The Matches

As of April 25th, 2016, the answer, in short, is: Extremely. With three games left to play Leicester tops the table – but Tottenham is right on The Foxes’ tail. Their closest rivals, and the only other team with a realistic chance for the title are Tottenham Hotspur, another side enjoying their best ever Premier League campaign. However, Ranieri’s side has had a seemingly difficult run-in. A home match against Everton is sandwiched between two fixtures away at Manchester United and Chelsea. Though all three of those clubs have underperformed to some degree this season, trips to United’s Old Trafford and Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge can always prove difficult. To some extent, the fairy tale has already been written – but the last page still needs to be signed off. It’s over to Vardy, Mahrez, Kante, Ranieri and the rest to finish one of the greatest underdog stories ever seen!

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