No, Leicester can’t win the Premier League again. But then again they couldn’t win it the first time.
Conventional Wisdom Says Leicester Can’t
In England’s top division, widely regarded as the most competitive in Europe, only two teams have ever retained their Premier League crown – Man Utd and Chelsea. All of Europe’s big leagues (Ligue 1, Bundesliga, Serie A and La Liga) share this statistic with the Premier League, that being only two teams from each league have retained their league title in the modern era. This alone is pretty strong evidence that Leicester won’t be retaining their title. If they were to it would legitimately be one of the greatest sporting stories in history.
They’ve Already Proven It
Leicester do have a couple of factors in their favor however. Firstly, and most notably, the Premier League is ferociously competitive. On any given day any team can beat another. This is in direct contrast to the other big European leagues where the likes of Barcelona, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and even Juventus have a real feeling of invincibility. Leicester winning the title last year proved just how competitive it is; upsets were constant throughout the season and there were certainly no “gimme” matches. There are 6 teams that are currently less than 10/1 to win the title with Leicester coming in at number 7 at a best price of 30/1. There is nothing to suggest this season can’t just as competitive.
The other factor in Leicester’s favor is that they have already proven they have the formula to do it. A lot of people were writing them off in January when they were leading but they kept to what got them to that point, albeit with a little more tightness at the back, and they managed to keep winning their games all the way to the end. Possession based football with incisive passing and clinical finishing is what all teams truly strive for. Last season the likes of Arsenal, Man Utd and Man City often failed when it came to being incisive and clinical. If this happens a team like Leicester are willing to sit deep and remain unbreakable in defence. This opens up their preferred counter attacking style where players like Riyad Mahrez and Jamie Vardy, who have the pace and world class finishing ability, truly thrive. This is exactly how they won games time and time again. Unless Leicester are simply unable to attain the standard of last year or teams figure out how to stop this strategy they do have the formula to win again.
The bookmakers odds, conventional thinking and the assumed ability of the top teams to adapt suggest Leicester have little to no chance of winning the Premier League in 2016/17. We’d have said the same last year though.