Ten cracking key goals in Leicester’s Premier League title charge
Holly Thackeray | May 3, 2016
The city of Leicester will still be clearing up stray party streamers and champagne corks this morning, especially at Jamie Vardy’s house, after Claudio Ranieri’s Foxes completed the impossible dream by lifting the Premier League title and becoming the first team outside of London or Manchester to do so since 1995 when Blackburn Rovers last bucked the trend.
Leading bookies are also feeling the heat the morning after, with an astonishing £20m industry-wide hit expected across the country. The Foxes were huge 5000/1 outsiders (the same odds as Prince Harry marrying Kim Kardashian, or the Loch Ness monster being caught) before a ball was kicked back in August, causing the most expensive football payout ever, with with 114 Coral customers placing bets at odds between 3000/1 and 1000/1!
So, to celebrate punters’ big wins and the crowning of new English top-flight champions Leicester City, we cast an eye back across their unbelievable campaign. Which were the key goal moments in the Midlands men’s march towards an unlikely crown? We present their story in strikes…
Riyad Mahrez v Tottenham (H)
Little did Algeria magician Mahrez know that his last-gasp goal at the King Power Stadium just three games into the Premier League season, mere months after Leicester skirted relegation, would prove so crucial.
After Dele Alli’s 82nd minute opener for Tottenham, Mahrez responded almost instantly to preserve a point and stop eventual title rivals Spurs in their tracks. The wing man’s weaving run and swerving finish certainly did the trick and set him up for a high-scoring term.
Nathan Dyer v Aston Villa (H)
In a 3-2 thriller, this result against Midlands foes Villa marked a watershed moment in the Foxes’ mentality. As they fought back from being 2-0 down at 63 minutes, goals from Ritchie de Laet and Jamie Vardy helped Leicester level, but it was Swansea City loanee Dyer’s dispatch just before the 90 mark that propelled Ranieri’s men further down their ambitious path, and the Villans on their way to eventual relegation.
Even in September, the champions-to-be were showing something special, as fringe man Dyer somehow bundled this ball into the back of the net:
Jamie Vardy v Manchester United (A)
It couldn’t be too long before we got to a vicious Vardy strike, and this one was more special than most. The marksman’s incredible attacking form and his fate were closely aligned with the Foxes, so when the 29-year-old sharpshooter from Sheffield slid the ball under David de Gea’s legs at Old Trafford it gave the whole club a boost.
Oh and it just happened to be the occasion when he broke former Red Devil Ruud van Nistelrooy’s record of consecutive Premier League games with a goal, setting a new benchmark of 11 successive strikes:
Riyad Mahrez v Chelsea (H)
Hosting the then Premier League champions, even if they were in the midst of a poor patch, is no easy feat but the Foxes toyed with Chelsea at the King Power, proving they weren’t just punching above their weight – they were at the same level as England’s elite.
Vardy was first on the scoresheet here, but partner in crime Mahrez was the one to finish the Blues off with a deftly taken goal and consequently end Jose Mourinho’s second tenure at the club.
Robert Huth v Tottenham (A)
Towering centre half Huth provided more than diligent defence, and was also a threat in the opposition box, scoring a much-needed winner against Spurs, meaning the Londoners would not have another chance to take points from the Foxes this term.
Ending a mini wobble of three league matches without a win, Huth powered home a header from a set-piece. See his incredible effort below:
Jamie Vardy v Liverpool (H)
Vivacious Vardy was at it again, avenging an earlier loss to Liverpool at Anfield with a beautiful brace to sink the Reds at the King Power, as the Midlands men kept momentum in a tough stretch of games. Latching on to a long ball over the top, Vardy’s volley from distance was the pick of the pair and is surely a contender for goal of the season. Scorcher.
Robert Huth v Manchester City x2 (A)
Following that Reds wrangle their was no let up for Leicester (28/1 to win the 2016/17 Premier League title with Coral) who then faced another Northwest giant in Manchester City, who still had title aspirations of their own.
The Foxes helped to crush those hopes with a win 3-1 at the Etihad and it was that man Huth who was at the double, dispatching two deadly efforts from set-pieces before Mahrez made it three to stamp Leicester’s superiority on the Sky Blues. So, we’ve cheekily featured both Huth goals here as a two-for-one package for your viewing pleasure:
Shinji Okazaki v Newcastle United (H)
Japan forward Okazaki’s hard graft paid off with an early goal that proved to be a winner against the Magpies on Rafael Benitez’s bow as boss. It was a sublime and stylish bicycle kick that did the damage, and a vital strike in a run of four successive 1-0 victories that Ranieri’s guys eked out across March and April – the form of champions.
Leonardo Ulloa v West Ham United (H)
In another extraordinary twist of fate in the Foxes’ fairytale, the tables appeared to have turned. Having put his side ahead against the Hammers, Vardy saw red, and then saw Slaven Bilic’s boys claw back two late goals.
Defeat seemed to be on the cards at the King Power but as Andy Carroll conceded a penalty, super sub Ulloa stepped up and dispatched coolly to ensure a splitting of spoils around the 90 minute mark – it felt decisive and the home support duly erupted!
Wes Morgan v Manchester United (A)
Last but not least is another effort from captain Morgan. The skipper came out tops in a scramble in the Red Devils’ box to head home and level for a draw in a frantic fray at Old Trafford. Leicester didn’t lift the title in Manchester that day, but it provided a comfortable cushion for the players to watch Spurs take on, and lose two points to, Chelsea. The last goal before the league was won – hurrah!