Premier League champions Leicester City are myth busters

GILLINGHAM, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 22:  General view of a floodlight during the Coca-Cola Championship match between Gillingham and West Ham United at the Prie

Leicester City have ripped up the rule book with their extraordinary Premier League title win.

Claudio Ranieiri's side were rated as 5000-1 outsiders for the crown after narrowly avoiding relegation at the end of last season, but they claimed the first top-flight title in their history when Tottenham were held to a 2-2 draw by Chelsea on Monday Night Football.

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Here, we look at some of the myths Leicester have busted on their astonishing rise to the top of the Premier League table…

You have to spend big

History suggests you have to spend big to win big in the Premier League, but Leicester's expenditure on wages and transfers is a fraction of their more illustrious rivals'. PFA Player of the Year winner Riyad Mahrez, and fellow nominees for that prize Jamie Vardy and N'Golo Kante cost £350,000, £1m and £5.6m respectively, and the most expensive recruit in their squad is Shinji Okazaki at just £7m.

Riyad Mahrez celebrates with Jamie Vardy
Image: Leicester bought Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez for a combined cost of £1.35m

Their favoured starting XI of Kasper Schmeichel, Danny Simpson, Robert Huth, Wes Morgan, Christian Fuchs, Kante, Danny Drinkwater, Marc Albrighton, Okazaki, Mahrez and Vardy cost a meagre £23m to put together - an eighth of the overall total spent by Manchester City in the summer transfer window alone.

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You need title-winning experience

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Leicester's heroics also prove title-winning experience might not be all it's cracked up to be. While the likes of Morgan, Drinkwater and Vardy formed the spine of the Foxes team that won the Championship in 2014, former Chelsea defender Robert Huth is their only player to have lifted the Premier League trophy.

Leicester City's defender Robert Huth and Wes Morgan embrace
Image: Robert Huth was the only Leicester player with previous Premier League title-winning experience

In fact, the only other Leicester squad members to have won top-flight titles are fringe players Gokhan Inler, who won two Swiss Super League titles with Zurich earlier in his career, and Marcin Wasilewski, who won three Belgian Jupiler League titles during his time at Anderlecht.

Rotation is key

Sir Alex Ferguson used to extol the virtues of squad rotation at Manchester United and Claudio 'Tinkerman' Ranieri was one of its biggest advocates during his time at Chelsea, but the Leicester manager has ditched his old habits and embraced continuity at the King Power Stadium.

LEICESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 14:  Claudio Ranieri the manager of Leicester City reacts as Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho looks on during the Barclays Premi
Image: Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri has rarely rotated his side this season

The Italian made just 27 changes to his starting XI all season. The average Premier League champion makes 95.4 changes. Even Jose Mourinho, whose Premier League-winning Chelsea team in 2014/15 seemed to pick itself, made 86 changes last season.

Number of players to have started for Premier League top four

Premier League 2015/16 Players to have started
Arsenal 23
Manchester City 22
Tottenham 20
Leicester 18

The top four is impregnable

The top four has had a predictable feel to it in recent years, with Everton and Tottenham the only 'lesser' sides to join Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool in the Champions League places since the 2004/05 season.

Leicester City's Riyad Mahrez celebrates
Image: Leicester players celebrate during their 3-1 win over Manchester City

Leicester, though, are turning the old order on its head and proving it's possible for anyone to gatecrash the elite. 

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Four-four-two is dead

Leicester have also shown the enduring effectiveness of a 4-4-2 formation. The Premier League's big guns have generally favoured 4-2-3-1 in recent years, with a lone frontman flanked by two advanced wide players, but the Foxes have adopted a more old school approach.

Shinji Okazaki and Jamie Vardy have formed an effective strike partnership
Image: Shinji Okazaki and Jamie Vardy have formed an effective strike partnership

Ranieri uses two strikers together in front of a flat midfield four, with Vardy playing on the last man and looking to get in behind the opposition's defence while Okazaki drops deeper to help out defensively. It's simple but effective - and it has fired Leicester to the title.

Possession is key

Devotees of possession-based football have been left scratching their heads by Leicester's approach. The last three Premier League-winning sides have dominated the ball and averaged at least 55 per cent possession, but Leicester prefer to sit back, defend resolutely, and play on the counter-attack.

Ngolo Kante of Leicester City takes on Jermain Defoe of Sunderland during the Barclays Premier League match between
Image: N'Golo Kante ranks first in the Premier League for tackles and interceptions combined

They rank 18th in the Premier League for possession and bottom for passing accuracy, and their direct style has flummoxed their rivals. "I love it," said Ranieri in September. "I would also like to keep possession of the ball but we don't have these characteristics in the team so I prefer to go straight away."

Passing accuracy rankings - Premier League 2015/16

Team Passing accuracy Rank
Arsenal 84.4% 1st
Man City 83.4% 2nd
Chelsea 82.4% 3rd
Man Utd 82.2% 4th
-- -- --
Leicester 70% 20th

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