Leicester’s dip could prove a positive in club’s long-term ambitions
Leicester City’s slump has taken the edge off what has still been an amazing season but is maybe a positive reality check for the club.
The Foxes were leading the race with Manchester City to be ‘best of the rest’ behind runaway Premier League leaders Liverpool and sat second in the table after beating Newcastle United 3-0 at St James’ Park on New Year’s Day.
However, just one win and two draws from seven top-flight games sees the East Midlanders in third spot, seven points adrift of Pep Guardiola’s champions.
In their last 12 league matches, Brendan Rodgers’ side have taken just 12 points having won 12 and drawn two of their first 16 games, and it has been an alarming dip in form which means for the first time in many months, they are actually looking over their shoulders.
There should still be no issues with Champions League qualification, with fourth-placed Chelsea five points behind and the rest of the chasing pack eight adrift but, after Friday’s 1-0 loss at Norwich, Rodgers will want to return to winning ways sooner rather than later.
There is no question that the Northern Irish tactician has a talented squad at his disposal – one of the main reasons why he opted to leave the relative comfort of Scottish domination at Celtic to return to the Premier League.
However, it could be argued that the club’s blistering first half of the season saw them punching above their weight and what has happened subsequently is more realistic.
Leicester’s stupendous Premier League title success in 2015-16 has maybe got the fans believing it could happen again but a loss to the Canaries proves that there is still much work to be done if they are to keep challenging the big boys.
The manager will know that and has constantly played down their success while attempting to improve his players week by week at the King Power Stadium.
Jamie Vardy’s barren spell in front of goal has certainly not helped matters and Rodgers said on Monday that he will not be fit for Wednesday’s FA Cup fifth-round clash at home to Birmingham City.
It is hoped that the former England hitman will return against Aston Villa next Monday and continue his quest for a first goal since December 31.
Leicester may be on a poor run of form but the seeds have been sown to keep the club on an upward curve and it does not hurt anyone to get a taste of reality now and again.