Leicester City’s unbelievable run to the top of the English Premier League this year was one of the greatest stories in sports history. Fighting relegation one year and winning the league title the next, LCFC have stunned the Premiership and set the 20-club table on it’s head.
If you’ve been living under a rock since August or haven’t kept your eye on soccer this year, here are 3 charts comparing this year’s champions with the last 9 teams to have done it, although those nine teams are actually just three.
Leicester came away with 81 points this season, the lowest tally since Manchester United finished with 80 in 2011, but finishing with 12 draws will do that to you (United had 11 draws in ’10/’11, by the way). Compared to past champs, that’s pretty low, but when you manage just 3 losses all year, you should expect to be fighting for a title, if you’re not winning it by ten points.
Leicester is on the lower end of this spectrum as well, with a goal difference of 32. That’s quite low compared to previous title winners, as the next lowest is 41 when Chelsea won the league last season. When Chelsea won the league in ’09/’10, they ended with a gaping wide goal difference of 71, an EPL record. Leicester came nowhere near that, but when you only give up .95 goals a game and score 1.8 per game, you do okay.
Once again, Leicester rank low compared to previous English champs, but it’s not a very big differential. You can only win so many of the 38 matches per season, and when you tie in 12 of them, your win total gets a bit limited. Despite that, Claudio Ranieri’s men were able to grab at least one point in 35 matches, a solid statistic for a team that had a rough ’14/’15 season. Although it’s one of the most competitive leagues in the world, it’s typically won by the giants, and Leicester lifting the trophy this year is a shocking but welcome change.
Leicester faced 5000/1 odds of taking home the league trophy, but that’s not a statistic they cared about at any point during the season. The starting 11 played clinical football all year, fighting for every possession and standing tall amongst teams with war chests totaling in the hundreds of millions. Jamie Vardy had a party up front, scoring in 12 straight games, beating legendary striker Rudd van Nistelrooy’s record of 11.
Midfielder N’Golo Kanté seemed to never stop moving; fighting for possession and getting the ball up to winger Riyad Mahrez, who was feeding Vardy all year if he wasn’t scoring goals himself. Goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel kept the ball out of the net week in week out, amassing 15 clean sheets in total, an incredible statistic that will surely have big European clubs watching, if they don’t make attempts to sign him this summer.
Leicester may not have performed statistically as strong as past champions, but they surely outperformed them, in more ways than one.