Monday, October 2, 2023
Home Fantasy Football Sheffield United & Leicester City: The Hidden Gems of the EPL

Sheffield United & Leicester City: The Hidden Gems of the EPL

“In Football, the worst blindness is only seeing the ball”

Nelson Falcao Rodrigues (Journalist)

Leicester City’s story is no less than a fairy-tale. From languishing in the second division of English football in 2013-14 to fighting a relegation battle in the 2014-15 Premier League season – no one could have foreseen Leicester City being crowned champions in the 2015-16 Premier League season. As of the 2019-20 season, Leicester City threatens to cement its place in next year’s Champions League, by securing a Top Four finish. As of the 24th of November 2019, Leicester City is second in the Premier League table, eight points behind the current leaders Liverpool – who are unbeaten this season. Sheffield United’s story is no less miraculous.

From being promoted to the Premier League last season, to being a win away from reclaiming their place in the Top Six of the Premier League table; Sheffield United have been playing exquisite football. Leicester City and Sheffield United are on course to challenge the supremacy of the ‘Top Six’ of English football. The Top Six include – Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea, and Tottenham, and they have finished in the Top Six of the Premier League table in three of the last four seasons. Can Leicester City and Sheffield United break this monopoly, and create a history of their own?

Leicester City


As of the start of the 2015/16 Premier League season, Leicester City were 5000/1 to be crowned Premier League champions. Touted as the most significant sporting achievement in British History, Leicester City defied all odds to lift the Premier League trophy, come the end of the season. Seven years before Leicester City achieved the unthinkable, they were in the third tier of English Football. The 2015/16 season was only their second season back in the top division, since being relegated in the 2003/2004 season. To think that The Foxes would go on to win the title, in the richest football league in the world is more unlikely than Wayne Rooney becoming a professional wrestler (Remember Rooney slapping WWE wrestler Wade Barrett?)!

The 2014/15 season saw Leicester City miraculously survive the drop to the Championship, by putting on a string of crucial victories to keep them afloat. Such was their form towards the end of the season that they eventually ended up finishing 14th, well above the relegation zone. This was not enough for Nigel Pearson to keep his job though, and he was sacked. This marked the appointment of Claudio Ranieri, a man who had ironically never won a league title in his long and illustrious career as a manager. Nevertheless, Ranieri was unfancied. Leicester City went on to buy a couple of inexpensive players from Germany and France, N’Golo Kante, and Riyad Mahrez respectively.

Kante has gone on to win two Premier League titles, the World Cup and the Europa League, while Riyad Mahrez won two Premier League titles, and the African Cup of Nations. Both players are extremely important for their clubs, Chelsea and Manchester City respectively. Ironically, these two players were unknown to the footballing world and were brought to the limelight during Leicester City’s incredible run in the 2015/16 season. The duo, along with Jamie Vardy was crucial to Leicester City’s success. Vardy is still at the club and is the leading goal scorer in the 2019/20 season of the English Premier League. What’s more impressive about their feat, lay in their history. Leicester City had absolutely no pedigree of winning, and in their 132-year history (as of the 2015/16 season), had never won a major honour.

Leicester City rewrote history and proved that sheer graft, camaraderie and team spirit could trump expensive talent, no matter who they are. They went on to beat Liverpool at home, and Manchester City away, with a starting eleven that cost them just a tad over 24 million pounds. To put it into perspective, Liverpool’s starting line-up cost 151.96 million pounds on the day, and Manchester City’s starting eleven costs a whopping 221.05 million pounds. Leicester’s squad of toughened league players, bargain buys, obscure European imports and castoffs beat the mighty Liverpool and Manchester City, drew with Manchester United, and beat Tottenham and Chelsea. They conquered the Top Six, albeit Arsenal, and won the Premier League title.

Leicester City led the league for more days than any other team and did not surrender their spot at the top of the league, since January 2016. Riyad Mahrez was crowned Player of the Year and stayed at the club for another season. Kante earned himself a move to Chelsea the following season, and won the Player of the year award himself during the 2016/17 season, securing back-to-back Premier League titles with different clubs. Jamie Vardy was plying his trade as a semi-professional footballer five years prior to his record-breaking run of scoring in eleven consecutive games in the Premier League, ironically beating Ruud Van Nistelrooy’s long-standing record against Manchester United. Vardy earned himself a call up to the English National Team and scored for England at Wembley.

Vardy was also a part of England’s 2018 World Cup squad. Tensely-fought affairs, last-minute goals, drama and resounding victories, capped a magnificent season for Leicester City. They fought tooth and nail, and put themselves on the line for their team. Ranieri orchestrated an opera of the highest quality and order, bringing poetry to the pitch, and music to our ears. In a division that has been devoid of drama for quite some time, Leicester City breathed life into the English Premier league, reminding how engrossing 22 men kicking a football around a pitch can really be.

Leicester City’s fate was sealed with a screamer of a curled goal into the top right corner against Tottenham. Hazard had won the Premier League with Chelsea in the 2014/15 season, and he won the league for Leicester City as well. The Leicester Players gathered together for the Chelsea vs Tottenham affair and recorded the moment Hazard won them the league. It would be unfair to credit the victory to Hazard’s heroics when the true heroes were the men behind The Foxes’ incredible title win – A season to remember, a season to savour.

Following Claude Puel’s sacking towards the end of the 2018/19 season, Leicester City appointed the then Celtic boss, Brendan Rodgers as their manager. Rodgers came agonizingly close to securing Liverpool’s first league title since 1989/90, in the 2013/14 season, as Liverpool’s manager. This is his second stint as a manager in the Premier League, and he is performing admirably well. Leicester City is playing free-flowing attacking football, and are 2nd in the Premier League table, as of the 24th of November, 2019. Many expected Leicester to suffer from defensive fragilities, following Harry Maguire’s move to Manchester United, but his replacement, Caglar Soyuncu, has ensured nothing of the sort has happened.

They have already beaten Tottenham and Arsenal, and have drawn a match with Chelsea. Leicester City is in a rich vein of form, and have won their last five games in the Premier League. They have won nine matches, drawn two, and lost two. Apart from their run in against Manchester City, they have a manageable list of fixtures coming up, and they should win the lot. Leicester City’s game against Manchester City will be exciting, and Liverpool fans will be rooting for a Leicester win.

Everyone expected the 2018/19 season to re-establish the Top Six to the summit of English football, yet Leicester City has taken everyone by surprise, once again. Can they win the title again? Only time will tell. Jamie Vardy is performing well and is the top scorer in the Premier League this season. James Maddinson is a star in the making and has made his debut for the English national team this season. Brendan Rodgers is an excellent manager, and it is about time a club like Arsenal appoint him if they want to start winning again.

Sheffield United


Who would have expected Sheffield United to be fighting for a place in the Top Six? Sheffield United’s next match is against Manchester United, and if they win the game, they will move into fifth in the Premier League table. For all of Manchester United’s rich history, Sheffield United is above them in the table as of the 24th of November, 2019! Sheffield United did not make any significant signings in the summer transfer window, and they were expected to be fighting a relegation battle during the 2019/20 season. Their players have performed exceedingly well, and under the entourage of the brilliant Chris Wilder, are playing solid attacking football.

To put it into perspective, Sheffield United are unbeaten in their last five Premier League games, having won two and drawn three. They are on the cusp of winning three consecutive Premier League matches for the first time since August 1993. The Blades have conceded just nine goals after 12 Premier League games, and are performing excellently defensively. Ironically, only Leicester City have a better defensive record, as they have let only eight goals past them. This is only the second instance of Sheffield United being in the top five of the top flight at this stage of a season, since January 1972.

With 17 points after 12 Premier League games, this is the highest tally of points for a promoted club, since West Ham secured 19 points in the 2012/13 season. If Sheffield United win against Manchester United, they could become only the second team after Hull City (08-09) to win over 20 points as a promoted club. The Blades can also equal their Premier League record of three consecutive clean sheets at home if they manage to keep Manchester United’s attacking force at bay.


Leicester City and Sheffield United are hidden gems of the Premier League, and their performances this season should be of no surprise. The Blades are a reliable team, with a heart of gold, and the will-power to keep motoring on. While they are not expected to finish in the Top Six come to the end of the season, they may earn a European spot. Leicester City has tasted Premier League success before, and it is not beyond them to repeat their remarkable feat. Only time will tell how far The Foxes will go. We are in for a treat this season, so buckle up, and enjoy the ride!

Fantasy Football

Earn the right to be a manager, and build your own dream team! Fantasy football enables you to manage a fantasy team, buy players according to a fixed budget given to you, and compete with other fantasy managers! You must join a public league, which is open to all, or request to join a private league. Once you have done that, chop and change the players on your team, in due accordance to their form. You goal is to be on top of your league, come the end of the season! You can choose to play for real money, gifts, or simply bragging rights. What are you waiting for? Join a fantasy football league today!

MPL Team
MPL Team - Enjoy reading gaming, fantasy, poker, and rummy articles by the MPL team on the MPL blog.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Most Popular

Recent Comments