Leicester fans didn’t really know what to expect from the champions going into the new season.
An opening day away loss to Hull City seemed to set the tone for the months ahead – that the Foxes would struggle and had lost their defensive resilience.
The very next game however they managed to stifle an Arsenal side that has been free-scoring all season before beating Swansea, both times at the King Power Stadium.
The following week saw Leicester’s fortunes dip again as they were torn apart by Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool at Anfield. The result seemed to set a precedent – Leicester could be strong at the King Power but were awful away from it.
This trend continued for a while. The Foxes were thrashed at Old Trafford and Stamford Bridge, yet until last week they had picked up the most points of any Premier League team on home turf.
Last weekend may be the turning point in Leicester’s season however as they picked up their first point away from home at Tottenham Hotspur.
It was a solid performance from a Leicester side who are beginning to look like a threat no matter where they play.
A few weeks ago I wrote a piece about the contrasting fortunes of Leicester at home and on the road. I suggested the problem was at least in part due to the fall of the fixtures – before each Champions League game they had faced some of the league’s toughest opposition away from home, and often with a weaker first eleven.
With that in mind, one would have assumed Saturday’s game would have heralded yet another defeat for Claudio Ranieri’s men. They were facing a Spurs side who finished third in the league last season and had already taken apart league leaders Manchester City at White Hart Lane this time around.
What is more, in the build up to the weekend it looked like Leicester would have an eye on Wednesday’s match against Copenhagen and would likely rotate as a result.
In the end Ranieri chose to field a nearly full-strength side. The only change from the side that had comfortably beaten Crystal Palace the week before was Jamie Vardy returning in place of Islam Slimani, who was out with a groin injury.
The performance was a lot more reminiscent of the Foxes of last season. While Spurs dominated possession and peppered Kasper Schmeichel with shots, Leicester held firm and looked threatening going forward.
The penalty against them – earned and converted by Vicent Janssen – was arguably a little soft, but overall a worthy reward for Spurs’ efforts. However the same should be said of Leicester’s equaliser which came just three minutes into the second half courtesy of Ahmed Musa.
The Nigerian has now scored in back-to-back games and is now looking more like the man Leicester paid CSKA Moscow £16m for in the summer. Before last weekend, all Musa seemed to have in his armoury was a heavy touch and it looked as though he’d used his season’s quota of beating defenders for his pre-season goal against Barcelona.
The winger is finally looking like a Premier League player having been given a run in the time, while Leicester now look like having a threat to match Riyad Mahrez on the opposite wing.
Should Leicester secure qualification on Wednesday with a win at Copenhagen, we may finally start to see an upturn in their away form, with the Spurs result providing the catalyst.
It would be naive to think that a draw at White Hart Lane is the sole turning point however, with Ranieri’s willingness to field a strong side in the league and the confidence of players like Musa equally as important, if not more so.
If Leicester’s league form starts to match what they’re producing in Europe, Leicester fans may have to consider raising their expectations.