The 10 moments which won Leicester City the Premier League title
After Leicester clinched a remarkable Premier League title, we take a look back at 10 moments when fate turned the way of Claudio Ranieri's side...
4 April 2015 - Andy King sparks relegation fight
Eight games without a win, four victories all season and staring relegation square in the face. Nigel Pearson’s Leicester were in free fall ahead of the visit of West Ham. They sat three points adrift of QPR and seven points off 17th placed Sunderland. A dismal first campaign back in the Premier League for a decade looked doomed, before Welsh midfielder Andy King fired a winner four minutes from time at the King Power Stadium to gift the Foxes a vital three points, and a springboard for the rest of the season.
Claudio Ranieri (Official Twitter LCFC)Eurosport
13 July 2015 - Claudio Ranieri drafted in
Pearson masterminded Leicester’s escape, but the club’s owners decided to dispense with his services to widespread bemusement. The final two months of the season had masked, however, a season where their manager had looked out of his depth. In came, to widespread incredulity, Claudio Ranieri. Not seen since guiding Greece to a disastrous home defeat by the Faroe Islands, the Italian’s appointment was largely derided. Famous for finishing second and labelled the ‘Tinkerman’ after his four-year spell in charge of Chelsea, many tipped the Italian to be a disaster.
8 August 2015 - Jose Mourinho-Eva Carneiro row
While Leicester slammed four goals past Sunderland, last season’s convincing champions Chelsea started on rocky ground. Having looked so strong as they strolled to the title in May, Jose Mourinho’s side displayed a frailty at home to Swansea that would become familiar over the coming months.
Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri makes good on promise to provide players with pizza after clean sheet against Crystal PalaceFrom Official Website
24 October 2015 – Ranieri’s pizza bribe pays off
Leicester’s remarkable start to the season had everyone purring. They suffered their first defeat at the end of September, and lost only one of their first nine. They sat sixth in the table and nearly halfway toward making the magic 40-point mark that had been targeted for Premier League safety.
But the Italian was not content. His side had let in 17 goals and failed to keep a clean sheet. Displaying the care-free attitude and flexible man-management that has defined his reign, he promised his side a pizza in return for a shut-out. It finally arrived in the shape of a 1-0 win over Crystal Palace on October 24, and Ranieri made good on his word. A new defensive discipline was born.
Jamie Vardy celebrates scoring the first goal for Leicester City and breaking a record after scoring in eleven consecutive Premier League gamesReuters
28 November 2015 - Jamie Vardy breaks Ruud van Nistelrooy’s goalscoring record
Leicester’s failure to keep clean sheets hardly mattered as Jamie Vardy transformed into the most prolific goalscorer in Premier League history. The England international had enjoyed a solid debut season in the top flight but shattered all expectations in his second. From a late penalty against Bournemouth at the end of August, up until a 1-1 draw against Manchester United in late November, Vardy scored in every single league game – 11.
By the time he stopped scoring, when Riyad Mahrez powered a hat-trick past Swansea on December 5, the Foxes were top of the table.
29 November 2015 – Santi Cazorla's injury
Chelsea’s implosion removed one potential rival from Chelsea’s path. Manchester City’s chronic inconsistency, a failure to win back-to-back league games between October and April, constantly undermined their challenge. Arsenal stood to gain from the inertia of others, but in a time-honoured tradition Arsene Wenger’s men fluffed their lines. A strong showing through September and October saw them share the lead with Manchester City before injury struck.
The loss of Santi Cazorla with a serious knee injury robbed Arsenal of their deep-lying playmaker, the man who makes them tick and who had been a lynchpin in their title aspirations. Wenger’s side Arsenaled it up in true style in February. Danny Welbeck’s last-minute winner against Leicester brought them within two points of the table-topping Foxes to give them hope. But they followed it up with defeats to Manchester United and Swansea, and within a matter of weeks were eight points back.
13 January 2016 - Robert Huth's winner at Tottenham
Leicester’s remarkable run continued into the new year, though they tasted defeat at Anfield on Boxing Day. They were held to a second goalless draw in a row by Bournemouth in early January and Arsenal built a two-point lead at the top. They were seven minutes away from a third 0-0 before Robert Huth powered a header past Hugo Lloris at White Hart Lane. Tottenham had been developing a title charge of their own, but Leicester were now joint-top following Arsenal’s 3-3 draw at Liverpool.
Robert Huth scores the winner against TottenhamAFP
2 March 2016 - West Brom point, title rivals all lose
Danny Welbeck’s last-minute winner against Leicester had seen Arsenal charge back into the title race. With the lead cut to two it had the potential to derail their season. After 89 minutes against Norwich that seemed to be the case. But Leonardo Ulloa’s last-minute winner saw the lead stretch to five. A win over West Brom would have stretched it to eight, but Tony Pulis’ side strangled the life out of Leicester in a frantic 2-2 draw.
A chance to press home their advantage seemed to have disappeared. But the inconsistency that had plagued their rivals returned with a vengeance. Arsenal were beaten by Swansea, Tottenham by West Ham and Manchester City by Liverpool. The lead remained three points over Spurs and six over Arsenal, with City 10 behind.
10 April 2016 - Belief takes hold
Champions League football was guaranteed by a 2-0 win away at Sunderland but the result also moved Leicester to within three wins of the title. It was the moment that belief really set in, as Ranieri left the pitch in tears as emotion overcame him.
Vardy scored twice as Leicester kept a clean sheet for the fifth game in a row. Sunderland tried to stop Leicester playing on the counter but the Foxes bided their time until Vardy struck. The improbable become plausible.
Vardy (Leicester) contre SunderlandAFP
2 May 2016 - The dream becomes reality
After a 1-1 draw against Manchester United on May 1, with Wes Morgan equalising after Anthony Martial's opener, Leicester knew they had to wait to lift the trophy. They only had to wait a day as Tottenham's failure to beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Monday night ensured that the most likely of titles had been won. It descended into a filthy match at the Bridge, with Spurs completely losing their head. But in a season when all others lost theirs, Leicester emerged rightful champions.