Kicking About: The Sacking of Ranieri
From winning the EPL to FIFA Manager of the Year to this. Life comes at you fast.
What an eventful week for Leicester City. They finally punch through the wall and score a goal, a crucial one at that. One that guarantees them at least some sort of a chance when they take the tie against Sevilla back to England. And then they sack their manager, the one that FIFA just a few months earlier decided was worthy of being called the best manager in the world, at least for a year.
Leicester’s problems are difficult to catalog and even more difficult to dissect. Their meteoric success last year was in part due to complete inadequacy of the top flight in English football, but also by stretching the successes as far as they could. Also, statistically speaking, N’Golo Kante who can probably refer to himself as the most important football player in the world at this very moment and would fight any Cristiano who would imply otherwise. With Kante gone Leicester took a massive dip in both tackles and interceptions and their defense went from rock hard to pillow soft in the span of one transaction.
It’s unfair to put all of that on Ranieri, especially given that neither Vardy nor Mahrez are performing to their known standards, but some of it has to fall on him. Partially, for being so damn good last year that it created an unrealistic outlier for him this year to achieve. The pendulum swung so far to one side the center for reasonable expectations shifted and what would be an okay but not tragic performance this year is suddenly cause for much concern. Ranieri failed to replace the most vital cog of his machine, one that caused everything else to function around it.
Additional rumors point to unrest in the locker-room, which could be the reason for such an immediate decision coming into what now is the most important match of Leicester’s season — a bout with struggling Middleborough. If the Foxes manage to get a “manager bounce” win here and roll on with their season they may live to fight another day, if not, I hear Liverpool can use a Kasper Schmeichel.