Singing the praises of one unheralded Leicester lynchpin
When a 5,000/1 shot shocks the world to win the Premier League, it’s reasonable to assume the entire squad has had a good season.
Leicester’s magical assault on the top flight was very much a collective effort, highlighted by the fact that three of their squad appeared on the shortlist for the PFA’s Player of the Year award.
Riyad Mahrez wound up the eventual winner at the black-tie do, pipping teammates Jamie Vardy and N’Golo Kante to the honour having scored 17 goals and registering 11 assists in the campaign.
Although the Algerian took that prize, Vardy was handed the Football Writers’ accolade while Kante took his place among both teammates, as well as skipper Wes Morgan, in the Team of the Year.
Clearly theirs was an achievement secured by outperforming the sum of their parts. Their collective displays makes finding one shining light an extremely tough task.
Nevertheless the contribution of Marc Albrighton deserves some time under the lights.
Released by Aston Villa two years prior to their abysmal relegation, Albrighton proved his worth at top-flight level under Claudio Ranieri.
The 26-year-old’s production on the opposite flank to Mahrez often went unnoticed amid the Algerian’s dribbles, tricks and goals, but Albrighton was no less important.
He registered six assists in his 34 starts for the Foxes and only trailed Mahrez in the key-pass stakes, delivering 1.6 per game on average to his teammates’ squad-leading mark of 1.8.
Where Albrighton bettered Mahrez though was in defence, as the former Villan helped implement Ranieri’s desired strategy to press opponents perfectly.
His superior positioning helped him make 1.3 interceptions a game, while he also made 1.7 tackles per match on average. Both figures bettered those produced by Mahrez.
The Tamworth native’s form had many calling for his inclusion in Roy Hodgson’s Euro 2016 England squad. Although he was ultimately overlooked, the collection of a Premier League winners’ medal is just reward for a stellar season.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.