Any Leicester fan would have bitten your hand off on the supply of being third within the Premier League with six video games to go earlier than the beginning of the season.
Nevertheless, there’s a very uneasy feeling among the many Foxes trustworthy forward of their conflict at residence to Crystal Palace on Saturday – a match you may hearken to LIVE and solely on talkSPORT 2, kick-off 3pm.
They’re so near getting again into Europe’s premier membership competitors however their dreadful type has them nervously wanting down at their high 4 rivals.
On the midway level of the season, Brendan Rodgers’ males had been even being talked up as title contenders however they’ve been in free fall for the reason that flip of the 12 months.
So what’s gone flawed on the King Energy Stadium?
Leicester suffered a Boxing Day bloodbath by the hands of an on music Liverpool, who’ve since gone on to turn out to be Premier League champions, the sport ending 4-Zero to the Reds.
That opened up a 13-point distinction between first and second and most began to simply accept that the league was within the bag for Liverpool.
However Leicester bounced again very effectively – victories at West Ham and Newcastle noticed them consolidate their place within the high 4. They had been 14 factors away from fifth-placed Manchester United and had been nonetheless forward of then-reigning champions Manchester City.
And higher nonetheless, that they had a Carabao Cup semi-final to sit up for with relegation-threatened Aston Villa all that stood of their means for a date at Wembley.
Nevertheless, issues didn’t go to plan for Leicester as a 1-1 draw within the first leg was adopted up by a last-gasp 2-1 defeat.
Self doubt would naturally creep in however Leicester had been little question affected by Wilfred Ndidi’s absence with a knee harm in January. He missed 5 Premier League matches and the primary leg however three of these league matches he was absent for got here after the second leg, suggesting he wasn’t match match.
By the point their most essential participant returned, which was in a foul defeat at backside aspect Norwich, Leicester had a nine-point cushion inside the highest 4.
Issues had been starting to get uncomfortable however Rodgers recommended that’s what makes his gamers thrive.
Earlier than they performed Villa within the Premier League in March, he mentioned: “There could have been a unconscious feeling among the many gamers that we had been in such an excellent place with the hole and the space. You’re not serious about it, however it may naturally be there. That may occur to any workforce.
“You don’t need to depend on [the top-four cushion], you continue to must be uncomfortable. I feel you must all the time really feel that edge, that competitors.”
Leicester responded by crushing the Villans 4-Zero however simply when it appeared like they’d rediscovered their outdated type, coronavirus halted the season for 3 months.
For the reason that restart, Leicester have drawn twice and misplaced as soon as, all in opposition to groups that Champions League hopefuls must be trying to beat (Watford, Brighton and Everton).
The primary recreation at Watford noticed Ricardo Pereira maintain a cruciate ligament harm – extra dangerous luck with accidents.
The type of striker Jamie Vardy also needs to be talked about too. He fired 16 objectives in his first 16 video games with a conversion price of 39 per cent.
Nevertheless, since Leicester had an eight-match successful run resulted in December, Vardy has netted simply thrice in twelve outings.
These have all contributed to only three Premier League wins for the reason that flip of the 12 months and Leicester’s high 4 rivals in Chelsea, Manchester United and Wolves have all hit type.
So if the worst occurs, might Leicester lose a few of their finest gamers?
Effectively historical past tells us that they’ve turn out to be a promoting membership. Since successful the Premier League in 2016, they’ve let N’Golo Kante, Danny Drinkwater, Riyad Mahrez and Harry Maguire depart, albeit for good costs.
And with the likes of James Maddison and Ben Chilwell being closely linked with a strikes elsewhere there’s a real danger that what Rodgers is constructing on the membership can be undone.
Rodgers recommended that only one little factor of their favour might flip issues round.
He mentioned this week: “We’re simply ready for that second within the recreation the place we get that early aim that may actually give this younger workforce confidence.”
That second ought to come back sooner relatively than later and in opposition to Palace can be an excellent place for it to start out.