By 90Min
October 27, 2017

On the 2nd May 2016, Eden Hazard leashed home a spectacular equaliser to secure a draw for Chelsea with Tottenham Hotspur at Stamford Bridge, and in doing so ensured one of the greatest stories in football history was complete.

Tottenham's failure to beat Chelsea on that now famous Monday meant night meant that Leicester City - apparent relegation certainties for much of the previous season, 5000/1 outsiders with bookmakers before a ball had been kicked and managed by Claudio Ranieri, a man whose appointment had been greeted with a combination of bemusement and derision - were now Premier League champions.

The championship represented Ranieri's first ever league title in thirty years of management, and was headlined on the pitch by the trio of Jamie Vardy, Riyad Mahrez and N'Golo Kante, all three having been plucked from the obscurity of non-league football just years before. It couldn't have been more fairytale if it had tried.

Since then however, things have gone dramatically downhill for The Foxes. With Kante sold to Chelsea and Vardy and Mahrez struggling to find the form that had seen Leicester to the title, Ranieri was sacked in February 2017 with the club just one position and one point clear of the relegation places.

Into Ranieri's position stepped assistant manager Craig Shakespeare, who made no secret of his desire for the job full time, and suddenly Leicester went of a run of five league wins on the bounce to pull themselves nine points clear of the drop.

It was enough to secure Shakespeare the position he craved, but the immediate and drastic performances of those in Leicester colours did not go unnoticed among neutral observers.

Rumours that senior players, unhappy with the way Ranieri was running things at the training ground (the banning of chicken burgers supposedly being one of his biggest crimes), had spoken to senior officials in an attempt to force him out of the club, did not go down well given what the ever likeable Italian had done for the club just a few months before.

If Ranieri's departure left a sour taste for many looking in from the outside, then Shakespeare's departure last week following a run of six league games without a win will have done little to improve their opinion of those involved in the club.

On the one hand, using a single run of six league games without a win as an excuse to sack a manager would likely put many off the idea of working for the club's Thai owners.


On the other hand, a report in The Sun that Shakespeare begged his players to win at half time against West Brom paints a picture of a desperate yet defeated man who, having finally managed to force his way into the coveted top position, has finally discovered the harsh reality of a job he thought he could manage.

As for the players, to supposedly by so disappointed by the sacking of Shakespeare when they had been so happy to see the back of Ranieri, makes you wonder further what Shakespeare had given the players that could be so much more valuable than the success and legendary status Ranieri had delivered to them with that unbelievable title win.

The subsequent appointment of former Southampton boss Claude Puel has been met with what can best be described as indifference from those around the King Power, and it seems the Frenchman has a job on his hands merely winning over his squad and the club's supporters following Shakespeare's departure. With Leicester once again just a point off the bottom three, this may not be a time to let those misgivings rise to surface, though whether or not they do may be a different matter altogether.

All in all, it seems that Leicester's story, that not so long ago had every single viewer rooting for a happy ending, has descended into something of a farce since the exit stage left of its most popular character.


And what of Ranieri? Well his unfancied Nantes side currently occupy the third and final Champions League spot in France's Ligue 1 behind only the national superpowers of PSG and Monaco. 

I suppose he's done it once before...

  

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