Monday Debate: Should Leicester City Sack Claudio Ranieri?
This time last year we were all starting to believe that Leicester could win the Premier League, they'd just beaten Manchester City and showed no signs of slowing down. Now they look doomed for the drop so should Claudio Ranieri be sacked?
Just as the win last season over Manuel Pellegrini's team seemed significant as does this weekend's loss. Coming up against fellow relegation battlers Swansea the Foxes looked beaten long before the game was over and never looked able to mount the kind of comeback that was synonymous with their title win last season.
Things have gone seriously wrong for Claudio Ranieri's team and what looked like a difficult battle to get into the top half as they fought against early season lethargy and a packed schedule that included Champions League football for the first time has been replaced with a real threat of relegation.
The Premier League champions have now lost their last five league games and have won just once in their previous 10 outings, a 1-0 win over West Ham on New Year's Eve, that's taken them to just one point above the relegation zone and two points from bottom.
These are worrying time for the reigning champions and with only 13 games to go, including trips to Arsenal and Manchester City, they currently look doomed for the drop.
Swansea's win took them ahead of Leicester whilst Bournemouth look capable of winning games and Middlesbrough, whilst don't score many, have a very good defensive record.
Below them Hull have started to show signs of recovery and after the win over Liverpool nine days ago may have got something out of the game against Arsenal, especially after a couple of controversial decisions went against them.
Even Sunderland have recently shown some sort of form with a 4-0 away win over Crystal Palace, even if that was followed by a home loss of the same score against Southampton at the weekend.
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So only Palace are really showing as great a lack of form with the same one win in the last 10 games as Leicester.
What can Leicester really do at this point to change their season?
The transfer window has come and gone and in fairness Claudio Ranieri tried to strengthen his team with the additions of Onyinye Ndidi and Molla Wague but their biggest issue is the under performance of their title winning players.
Where once Wes Morgan and Robert Huth seemed unbeatable and would eat up long balls for fun they are now being beaten in the box as well as for skill and up front Riyad Mahrez and Jamie Vardy have failed to get near the heights of last season.
Who is more to blame, players or manager?
It's not an easy question to answer. Sir Alex Ferguson famously said that defending the title was harder than winning it and Leicester were never going to defend it, their first title was hard enough.
But the players needed to be more motivated than they have. Almost since day one of this season they have often looked like a side who have bought into the hype that surrounded them and the belief that they couldn't possibly get relegated after the miracle of last season.
Ranieri too needed to read them the riot act. Before yesterday he had often blamed himself for not enough tinkering or too much tinkering, the Tinkerman wasn't sure whether to follow up on what worked last season or change completely.
Being too passive has already hurt them and now really has to be the time for change. Either he does it with a new formation or tactic to freshen things up or the fall into relegation is surely inevitable.
If he cannot do this then the club have to act quicker than he has and get rid of the Italian.
We put it to you whether or not now is the time for him to be sacked and a slim majority felt that he should be kept on, he did win the league after all, but it's far from a convincing majority:
It's interesting to pose the question about if Leicester really care about relegation.
Of course in the ideal world they would stay up but if they believe they can come up then why sack the man that won the league for them. All their fans after all would surely happily have taken relegation this season if it meant winning the league last season if you'd have asked them before the triumph.
In a world where teams seem to favour finishing fourth over a trophy like the FA Cup maybe it's worth remembering that staying up isn't the be all and end all, they won the title, not many others can say the same.
To stay up Leicester need to sack their manager or they could wait till the end of the season and start again in the Championship, those are the options!