Premier League champions last term outing was some achievement. But, how much is that down to Claudio Ranieri? Seriously. Charming in interviews, yes; but savvy and tactical in matches? Not really.
The side won the Premier League through momentum carrying them over the line, magic from a few players, and the ‘big boys’ deciding to not turn up last season. The miserable performance away at Southampton left the defending champions still without a victory on the road, and condemned the Foxes to equalling the worst record by a team defending the title since Ipswich in the 1962/63 season.
Leicester, as we all expected, have been found out. And what’s the manager done? Oh yeah, not a lot. Why? Because sadly Leicester fans, Claudio is not a very good manager. Previously dubbed the Tinkerman, now he’s the Out-his-depth-man. The Italian doesn’t know how to be in a relegation battle, his defenders are struggling for clean sheets, and everyone is remembering why Jamie Vardy’s party only started/ended in 2016.
Leicester had a poor summer recruitment, which was never in doubt following Steve Walsh moving to Everton, and Ranieri’s naivety was shown with twice breaking the Leicester record in signing Papy Mendy and then £16m on Ahmed Musa (before signing Islam Slimani); ay, what was that all about?
Poor management, and a couple of bells or champagne glasses, isn’t going to make up for that. Surely there should have been more thinking and strategy to losing three important players – Riyad Mahrez, Daniel Amartey and Slimani – to AFCON duty? It’s incredibly lazy and naive planning by the Foxes gaffer.
Losing Walsh to Everton has been far more costly to Leicester than they can imagine. Just look at the faces that Everton have managed to recruit recently: the likes of Morgan Schneiderlin, and Ademola Lookman looks a decent signing, following *that* debut against Manchester City.
Steve Walsh never signs one season wonders, he's the best scout in England. I can tell you that as a fact.
The Foxes manager is now at sixes and sevens. ‘Do I stick with a 4-4-2?’, ‘do we play on the counter, can we rely on Danny Uselesswater to pull the strings’; oh no we can’t, because he belongs in the Championship. Ranieri hasn’t changed any of this, he’s not adapted with the times; instead he’s sat on the merit of winning the league last season.
Just look at Pep Guardiola at Barcelona, Andrés Iniesta had to tell the Spaniard to chill out, as Pep continually changed his side, his tactics, his formations, even after trouncing the league. That’s the sign of a brilliant manager; adaptation. Not relying on a system which created a smokescreen of success through momentum and confidence. Outrunning opponents will only work for so long, and Ranieri’s not realised that everyone is getting fitter and fitter in the league.
Could you picture Ranieri doing what Eddie Howe is doing at Bournemouth? Sean Dyche at Burnley, or even Mark Hughes at Stoke? Absolutely not. Just look at the Italian’s CV; too many failures, too many lows than highs. The Leicester season was outstanding, but the players deserve more credit than the manager who just acted like your lovely grandad probably would in regular Match of the Day interviews.
Thanks for the memories, Claudio; but you should of quit while you were ahead.
14 of the most pathetic Premier League debut seasons
Ugh. We were all so excited to see a fella come over to the Prem who was billed as the next van Nistelrooy, especially after he smashed in 45 goals for Heerenveen in just 39 games. But no; just no. Afonso Alves was absolutely shocking and the less said about him, the better. Get in the bin. Image Source: Twitter
Whilst Mario did a relatively solid job during his turbulent time at Manchester City, his tenure at Liverpool was nothing short of abysmal. He resembled a drunk version of Emile Heskey during his time at Anfield. Image Source: Twitter
Andy Carroll went from untouchable to useless donkey in the space of a few months, and that is quite the impressive feat. Image Source: Twitter
Newsflash to Memphis - the odd good game in the Europa League against part-timers and builders doesn't make you a superstar. Image Source: Twitter
Angel Di Maria
Angel started his United career how everyone thought he would - on fire. Unfortunately that dwindled out quicker than you could say 'flop', and he couldn't get away from Old Trafford quick enough. Image Source: Twitter
This fella came to England as one of the most feared strikers across Europe. There was nothing he couldn't do, however, we soon learned what he could do was fail miserably in the best league in the world. His hefty wages were not justified and he waddled away from his debut season a shell of his former self. Shame. Image Source: Twitter
What an absolute car crash. Diego Forlan was seen as a saviour for Manchester United but that couldn't have been further from the case. His first of two years at Old Trafford was painfully bad, and Fergie will forever be wondering just what it was that led to him not creating the form he eventually did in Spain. Image Source: Twitter
What a forehead. Now, with that out of the way, Gervinho was poor. The Ivory Coast forward gained alot of critics in his short stay at the Emirates, with many continually lambasting him for poor performances week in and week out. So much was expected, and so very little was actually delivered. Image Source: Twitter
Some may have forgotten that the great Patrick Kluivert once performed on the grand stage of the Premier League, and it's pretty understandable. The former Barca star's one-year at St James' Park ended with six goals, before he tucked his tail between his legs and went running away from the England as fast as he could. Image Source: Twitter
Pitiful is the only real word that can be used to describe Claudio Pizarro. The Peruvian netted just twice for the Blues after so much was expected of him in England. The bloke was potentially one of the biggest disappointments in Premier League history, and that's saying something considering the vast competition in that department. Image Source: Twitter
Bryan Ruiz had that Samaras feel about him, in the sense that he seemed forever destined to fail. The Costa Rican just seemed lost during his time at Fulham and for whatever reason, everything he did outside of the Premier League was not replicated in the English top flight. A shame considering his actual talent. Image Source: Twitter
Some how, some way, Chelsea made a profit on this bloke. Image Source: Twitter
Roque Santa Cruz
Four goals in 24 appearances for Manchester City after a 20-goal season for Blackburn is, to be honest, quite funny. Image Source: Twitter
Juan Sebastian Veron
The man who United fans love to despise - Juan Sebastian Veron. There were very high expectations for the midfielder upon his arrival at Old Trafford, and to say he didn't live up to them would be a drastic understatement. He looked more like a bald Dr Cortex than an actual professional footballer. Image Source: Twitter