By 90Min
October 09, 2017

When Leicester lifted the Premier League trophy in 2016, it was without doubt one of the greatest sporting achievements ever. Just a year after narrowly-avoiding relegation, the Foxes - led by many people's favourite in the sack race - defeated 5000/1 odds to complete the most remarkable title victory of all time. 

Almost two years after their amazing win, things at the King Power have changed dramatically. They set the record for the worst title defence in the league's history last season, and this season boast a paltry five points after seven games. 

Claudio Ranieri is gone and that season feels like a long time ago.

2015/16 was a strange season in which the usual contenders simply didn't turn up. That season's defending champions, Chelsea, were a mess. Jose Mourinho had lost the dressing room and when they lost 2-1 to the Foxes in December 2015 the Blues were 16th, and finished mid-table.

Manchester City made a strong start but faltered, with Manuel Pellegrini struggling to get the team going as the season went on and in truth Pep Guardiola was lucky to inherit a team still in the Champions League. Manchester United were expected to do better, but scored just 49 goals, the second-lowest tally of any side that finished in the top ten that year.

Liverpool lagged behind in eighth, whilst Arsenal had their usual second half of the season meltdown, and Tottenham were the only side to give the Foxes a genuine challenge. 

The top four slipping up to such an extreme degree allowed Leicester to do their own thing, pick up the results and sneak into the top four, eventually leading to their incredible feat.

Clive Mason/GettyImages

But with the other nineteen teams learning Leicester's style, the pressure was very much on them. The first nail to the coffin was N'Golo Kante's exit to Chelsea. The Frenchman's work ethic and power in midfield allowed them to win the ball back and counter at such pace, and the success he's had since at Chelsea has only gone on to show his importance in that role.

As Ranieri tried to replicate the same style of play for 2016/17, teams were able to learn from the previous year, isolating the threat of the deadly duo, Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez as the Foxes struggled to get them in the same positions as they had to great effect in the previous campaign.

One big thing the Foxes had been praised for in their title winning year was their solid defence, seeing out close fought victories as they were made to work for results during the run in. 

However, since then laws on holding in the box have changed and teams have found it significantly easier to score against them from set pieces, and on the counter as the granite-like pairing of Robert Huth and Wes Morgan began to erode.

The usual contenders, who struggled before, spent well in the summer of 2016, and their powerhouse squads truly showed their dominance in the big games and against the smaller sides. Games which showed Leicester's credentials in the previous season saw them blown away on most occasions as they were left miles behind the chasing pack. Now, the Foxes glory days are well and truly over. 

Both Manchester sides, Chelsea, Spurs, Liverpool and Arsenal are all battling it out in the top six and the usual order has been very much restored. 

Vardy and Mahrez no longer look like title winners, and Craig Shakespeare have restored the status quo almost back at 5000/1 for another title. 

The Foxes have tried their best to boost their squad, but simply don't have the same financial advantages as the top six to compete on a regular basis for major trophies.

The growth in strength of the top six has shown who the genuine contenders are, and it's clear which sides are the weaker. Leicester, unfortunately, are the latter. Their remarkable feat two years ago will be remembered for a long time, but it's unlikely we'll ever see anything like it ever again. 

OLI SCARFF/GettyImages

The club simply took advantage of the sides above them drastically underperforming, nicked results and achieved something which to this day you have to pinch yourself to see if it was a dream.

Leicester may have won the title through entertaining football and stellar tactics, but in hindsight most of it came down to underwhelming displays from the usual contenders, and a series of events that led to those sides playing so poorly and allowing Leicester to steal in and do something unthinkable.

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