Nope. It still hasn’t sunk in yet. Leicester City are champions of the top flight of English football, and did so at a Kanter and in style. Worthy winners.
But with the Foxes’ name now etched upon the Premier League trophy, will their name appear on it again at the end of the 2016/17 campaign? And if it doesn’t, how close will it come to being on there?
The bookies currently have Leicester around 14/1 to be relegated – a price that you’d expect to get shortened if the Foxes do lose Riyad Mahrez before the transfer window closes. Whereas Claudio Ranieri’s side are priced at 28/1 to retain their crown – surely a champion will never be believed to be more likely to be relegated than win the title for a second season, ever again?
Rather bizarrely, despite losing the Community Shield to Manchester United, it would’ve been the Foxes who left Wembley with greater positivity and excitement ahead of the new season. They played with the same spark, buzz and style that blew away all other 19 Premier League teams, last season.
Fears over N’Golo Kante’s departure haven’t gone, but Ranieri’s addition of Nampalys Mendy, and the more regular use the undervalued Andy King have seen those concerns drop. But when you lose the best player in their respective position, it’s always going to be a case of damage limitations.
“I really think they are going to miss him [Kante].
“He is like having two players in the team. He plays like two players because he is everywhere.
“If Kante had stayed, I would have to say I think they can do it again. It will be very interesting to see how the team cope psychologically without him because it seemed to me he was very important.
“They have all been thrown together but that one link has now been broken. I think that will have an impact and I don’t think they will be the same again without that one player.”
Kante’s move to Chelsea was seen as the worse thing that could’ve happened to Leicester in regards to their holy trinity. So it all depends how much credit you give to the Frenchman, compared to Vardy and Mahrez, over the Foxes’ title success(?)
How crucial is a quality defensive-midfielder who nicks the ball back and distributes quickly to a team’s success? People will tell you it’s the reason why Arsenal haven’t won a title since 2004. They’ll also say it’s the engine room. The workhorses; the unsung heroes.
Claudio Ranieri on N’Golo Kante: “He played as two players last season”
— B/R Football (@brfootball) August 7, 2016
But do Manchester United owe their titles to Roy Keane? Chelsea to Claude Makelele? Hugely influential players, who made up part of the spine. However, Manchester United also won titles with Darren Fletcher and Chelsea with John Obi Mikel in the middle. Are we saying it was the Scot, and not Ronaldo, Rooney, Tevez and Berbatov that crowned the Red Devils champions? And likewise with Mikel and Drogba?
Claudio Ranieri is no tactical genius, and there’s no secret to his historic success at the King Power Stadium. He quite simply appeals to the kid inside all of his players, the kid that got them all into football, the kid that made them love nothing more than the beautiful game.
So what’s to say Ranieri can’t maintain that belief and desire? Why can’t he instil it into the new additions?
Ultimately, though, at what point do we all stop acting bitter and give Leicester the respect they deserve?