Leicester’s heroic centre back from last season’s title winning campaign Robert Huth has finally broken the silence on the worrying position the club now find themselves in.
The giant German defender produced several Man of the Match performances, often in ways which fragile forwards certainly felt the morning after. His old-school tactics, which involved at least 30 headers and 16 slide tackles per game, were essential in a year where The Foxes made their fans dream. The Champions conceded just 36 goals, the joint second lowest of all teams in the campaign. The same praise cannot however be said of this current season.
The club has incredibly already conceded 41 goals this season, while Huth has seemingly vanished into thin air at times. Sitting just one point above the relegation places, free beer and pizza from the chairman feels like a lifetime ago.
Huth has now however urged his team-mates to “be man enough” as they face the prospect of relegation. He wants their courageous and outstanding performers of last season to forget about their previous success and move on to what lies ahead of them. Essentially he feels every player should be much more like himself, a manly man with no worries or fears.
There are obvious elements to their downfall that have unquestionably affected them, not least the loss of midfield machine N’Golo Kante. Kante literally covered every blade of grass at every stadium last season, then ran home and probably ran to training the next day, and is now doing it again this season for good measure. His performances at Chelsea have proved that he really is a special player, and have also managed to really annoy every single Leicester fan.
Ranieri should have kept him in a headlock that day until he eventually stayed and put on a Leicester shirt again. His statistics speak for themselves, while Riyad Mahrez has, I think, vanished into thin air like Huth and many others. The PFA Players’ Player of the Year hasn’t come close to the incredible heights he hit last season, similar to his once-unstoppable team mate Jamie Vardy, but nobody could ever hate the legend that he is.
Maybe these players have genuinely had enough and said; “Wait, we’ve won the league, pretty sure our work here is done?”
Leonardo Ulloa’s refusal to play for the club suggests this, and is in stark contrast to the unity and passion at Leicester last season. Ulloa is however similar in stature to Huth, and so maybe that’s exactly the sort of guys they need around the place. If you can’t beat the teams in your way, maybe you can just turn up the masculinity scale to 100 and scare your opposition away?
The Champions League ‘distraction’ rumour has been strongly dismissed by Huth, although the big German may not be entirely truthful with this notion. The amount of games the players are putting themselves through may indeed be affecting their domestic performances, while both playing and travelling in Europe is more than likely beginning to take its toll. I would also personally rather win games to face the likes of Barcelona or Madrid, rather than preparing for a trip to Burnley on a Wednesday evening.
Relegation would severely downgrade the status of these once Champions of England, and it would undeniably reduce their valiant effort in 2015/16. It really would be the most incredible story of literally all time, inside and outside of sport, if Leicester were to actually win the Champions League and get relegated at the same time.
Leicester now sit 16th in the Premier League after yet another horrible loss, a feat unthinkable this time last year. When a club with a certain French midfielder (let’s not name and shame) wears his own emoji on his boots, you know times are bad.
The King Power Stadium was once a fortress where no-one dared disrespect Leicester, but now it seems indifferent in a hugely disappointing domestic campaign for last season’s champions. Teams visit the ground and are excited at the prospect of tormenting big Robert Huth, a man once feared more than fear itself.