Last season Leicester City were the headline for all the right reasons in some of the most impressive shock results of the 2015-16 season.
However, this season the defending champions are already in the headlines for the opposite reasons having dropped the Premier League’s opening match to newly promoted Hull City.
For the first time the defending champions fell on opening day and after a storied rise from worst in 2014-15 to champions last year Leicester City are certain to be hunted this season.
On paper many thought that Leicester had enough to take down the promoted Tigers, but it was the situations around the KCOM Stadium this summer that had everyone believing Hull had no chance.
In the midst of a managerial resignation in July, no summer signings, a rash of injuries that have left the club with only 13 first team players and a fan base that are fed up with current ownership, no one could have blamed the Tigers for a poor showing.
Despite the situation, Hull City looked up for the game from the opening minute as they gave no quarter or fear to the visiting champions. Prior to the match even their caretaker manager Mike Phelam felt his side weren’t going to be able to compete. Perhaps it was his version of Jose Mourinho mind games.
The Tigers were pressing the visitors from the opening whistle and forced Leicester out of their comfort zone and exposed multiple weaknesses throughout the match that could become a blue print for other sides to knock off the Foxes this season.
Leicester City proved last year that they knew how to play their game of attacking front foot football, but the loss of N’Golo Kante looked more obvious Saturday than it did all of preseason as he was the pace setter for the side last season in the middle of the park.
Danny Drinkwater and Andy King are different styles of players than Kante and until Claudio Ranieri gets his new style of play to evolve this campaign the Foxes are going to suffer as they never got off the mark.
New signings Ahmed Musa and Luis Hernandez had their good and bad moments and both certainly have much to adapt to in the Premier League. The suspension of Robert Huth for the match left a hole at the back as Wes Morgan and Hernandez are yet to form a true partnership.
The return to the Premier League of Robert Snodgrass also was not to go unnoticed as the man who missed all of the 2014-15 season after an opening day injury showed his class. The wide player made the most of his chance to hunt the foxes with a superb delivery for the opening goal and a brilliant strike to score their go-ahead second.
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Perhaps the Hull City players were just happy to get to play football and have 90 minutes to forget all that was going on around them or perhaps they were auditioning for hopes of moves around the league before August is over. Either way it is certainly true that the first eleven for the Tigers is not going to roll over at this seasons challenges.
The most glaring concern is that Leicester already look rattled under the pressure as defending champions and their best first team is still yet to truly emerge after a summer of signings. Many of the new signings are yet to see their first action either and August is going to be a month of learning.
The Foxes will be hunted the rest of the campaign from every small club wanting to make their splash and all the giants wanting to reclaim their places at the top of the league table. With 37 more league matches to play, two cup competitions and the UEFA Champions League on their docket this season, Ranieri and his charges are certain to see targets on their back. This is going to be the season we learn the true character of Leicester City like never before.