Leicester’s Attacking Approach Paying Dividends
West Bromwich Albion in 2004/05 and Sunderland in 2013/14 remain the only sides in the Premier League era who have avoided relegation after being bottom of the league at Christmas but Leicester City look set to replicate that feat this year.
At Christmas, Leicester were bottom of the Premier league with 10 points from a possible 51 and had failed to score in 9 of their first 17 matches but those who watched Leicester closely would be aware that in general Leicester’s results were not an accurate reflection of their performances.
Leicester have been very competitive since the beginning of the season, the Foxes have been very much in the game in most of their matches and are yet to be embarrassed in the Premier League this term. Only Chelsea and Liverpool have won by more than the odd goal at the King Power Stadium while Nigel Pearson’s side are one of just four sides that have not been beaten by more than 2 goals in any match this season, Chelsea, Manchester City and Arsenal are the others.
Despite deserving more from their matches it took a change in system and approach to change the Foxes fortunes and Nigel Pearson deserves huge credit for boldly implementing a system to maximise the strengths of his side.
Since February, Pearson often starts with forwards Leonardo Ulloa, David Nugent and Jamie Vardy in a three pronged attack as well as attack minded wide players Jeffrey Schlupp and Marc Albrighton. Vardy and Nugent stretch teams with their constant willingness to run in behind opposition defences whilst Schlupp and Albrighton offer good width in what is a very progressive and forward thinking system.
Such a cavalier approach is very rare for a side in a relegation scrap but it’s no coincidence that at the business end of the season, Leicester have been free scoring while their relegation rivals have struggled to find the net. Since April 21st Leicester have scored 15 goals in 7 games, more than Burnley (0), Sunderland (5) and QPR (8) in that period combined and it’s clear that such a positive approach is paying dividends for Leicester.
Nigel Pearson was named Premier League Manager of the month for April after his side won 4 of their 5 Premier League matches and although Leicester have still got work to do, it is the Foxes attacking approach that has seen them come back from the dead and in a good position to avoid relegation.
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