Five thousand to one.
Those were the odds of Leicester City winning the English Premier League in 2016. That was arguably the most unprecedented Premier League win in history. That very season, with every new game approaching, most pundits just got the feeling that that would be the game that would end Leicester City’s chances. They were wrong – agreed that Leicester City did not go the whole season unbeaten as they lost three times: home and away to Arsenal, who eventually came second and also away to Liverpool – and Claudio Ranieri and his team just kept chugging on.
Enter 2019/2020 season. No Manager Claudio Ranieri (now Brendan Rodgers, remember him?), no Kante, Mahrez, Drinkwater, Huth, now Ndidi, Gray, Madisson, Soyuncu and so on.
However after twelve Premier League games, Leicester have scored the second most goals (29) and are only behind Manchester City (35) and have conceded the least goals (8). Comparing to the Leicester City of 2016, after 12 games, Leicester 2019/2020 version is one point better at this stage than the team that won the Premier League four seasons ago.
There are also some stylistic differences when comparing both sides.
The 2016 side was extremely counter-attacking, with Kante the ever-present midfielder snuffing out danger and Danny Drinkwater sending out balls to the likes of Riyad Mahrez, Jamie Vardy and Marc Albrighton in quick fashion. This current side can still do that – Jamie Vardy is still in the side – but likes to be more controlling in the way the game is played. Caglar Soyuncu tends to carry the ball out from the back and feed the midfield as opposed to sending it long and looking for the runs of the wide players and striker(s).
In defending terms, this current side defends a lot from the front, trying to snuff out danger before it gets to their backline. Wilfred Ndidi, the man tasked to replace Ngolo Kante has done a splendid job so far, becoming arguably the best in England in this role. For the 2016 side, a lot more defensive work had to be done, with the hardworking Marc Albrighton marauding up and down the right-hand channel, covering for Danny Simpson. The current full-backs- Perreira and Chilwell are both very sound offensively and defensively and are also very full of energy and running, creating overloads in the wide areas. For the 2016 season, Christian Fuchs was already 30 years-old by then and had to time his runs more.
Ultimately, the question would be whether this current Leicester City squad would be able to replicate one of the greatest sporting events of all time. We would have to wait to find out. Everybody loves an underdog story.