How Leicester have saved themselves with Nigel Pearson
A cold February evening in Leicester, and Nigel Pearson’s future at the King Power looked like it was swiftly coming to a halt. During his side’s drab 1-0 defeat at the hands of Alan Pardew’s rejuvenated Crystal Palace, Pearson had been involved in a touchline incident with Palace midfielder James McArthur. For the next couple of days or so, heavy speculation persisted regarding his future with the club. Sitting 4 points from safety at the bottom and with a relegation straight back to the Championship on the cards, things didn’t look good for Nigel Pearson and Leicester.
Earlier in the season, Pearson had been involved in yet another altercation. This time a scathing reaction to a fan during his team’s 3-1 loss at home to Liverpool. He was filmed turning round and telling a fan to ‘F*** off and die’ and the video soon spread on various platforms of social media. Pearson was eventually reprimanded by the FA and had to undergo a one game touchline ban and a £10,000 fine. Much like the incident with McArthur, Pearson’s job with the Foxes seemed in serious doubt.
However, after clearing the hurdles regarding his future, he managed to turn Leicester’s season around after a string of wins which have given them a superb chance of beating the drop. In their first 29 games in the Premier League this season, they managed only 4 wins altogether and sat bottom of the league for most of it with a minuscule chance of staying up. However, in their last 4 games they have won all 4 – giving them a 5 point cushion from bottom placed Burnley and an astonishing chance of playing Premier League football again next season.
After walking through their Championship winning season, few expected Leicester to stay up in what was their first time back in the top flight since 2004. In their first five games, however, they showed promise of survival with two wins and two draws, including a hugely impressive 5-3 victory over Manchester United at the King Power, which many people saw as a sign of things to come. However, a thirteen match winless streak followed for Pearson’s side, as they found themselves bottom of the league on Boxing Day, 6 points from safety.
Two wins over New Year looked promising for them, but again they couldn’t really put together some substantial kind of form over the next few months to try and stay in the division. Again, Leicester disappointed with only 2 points picked up from a possible 24. With many brandishing their season as done and dusted, Nigel Pearson evidently had other ideas.
At the beginning of April they struck a home win against West Ham, which was followed by three results after that have transformed the look of their season altogether. With 8 goals scored and 3 conceded, they look like a team who can’t be stopped. They’ve picked their form up at the perfect time, and are now in pole position to survive for yet another season. Last year we saw Sunderland shock us all and beat the drop, and this year very few expected it to be Leicester who would plummet their way from the bottom upwards.
It hasn’t been a wealth of quality that has dug Leicester out of the gloomy looking hole that they were in. In fact, it has been pure grit and determination that has found them this form that they have been looking for all season. Accompanied with a hard working manager, the tenacious team have made it clear that they wanted it more than the opponents that they have been faced with.
It has been Nigel Pearson who has turned the fortunes around at Leicester. When everyone doubted them, he believed his players could reach the points total required to stay in the division. They look well on course to do so and despite his dislikable and frustrating arrogance, he has to be given credit for it.
They did lose to soon to be champions Chelsea, but put up an impressive fight against the blue’s, and it will not dent their hopes of survival too much. Still with 4 games remaining for the midlands side, they could definitely think of worse run-ins to save themselves. After home games against Newcastle and Southampton, they go away to Sunderland before wrapping up their season at the King Power against QPR. If the Foxes continue in the manner that they have done for the last few weeks, they stand a fantastic chance of surviving relegation.