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5 decisive games in Leicester City’s season

Since their promotion to the Premier League in 2014, it’s been a rollercoaster at Leicester City.

After miraculously avoiding relegation in their first season back, they pulled off one of football’s greatest ever underdog stories, winning the 2015/16 Premier League title.

While they never managed to reach these astronomical heights again, they still enjoyed more success over the years.

A Champions League quarter-final appearance, back-to-back top-five finishes, an FA Cup triumph – Leicester fans have had plenty to celebrate in recent times.

But now it’s all over. Despite a victory on the final day, the Foxes have returned to the Championship after finishing in 18th place.

Here are five decisive games in their season.

Leicester City 1-2 Southampton

The beginning of the season really set the tone for what was to come for Leicester. From their opening seven games, they accumulated just one point.

In hindsight, the most damaging of these seven was the home defeat to Southampton. It was the third match of the campaign, with both sides making unconvincing starts.

Early in the second half, Brendan Rodgers’ side took the lead when James Maddison bent his free kick in at the near post.

This appeared to set Leicester well on their way to their first victory of the season, but Che Adams had other ideas. He grabbed an equaliser in the 67th minute, firing in from Armel Bella-Kotchap’s lay-off.

And in the closing stages, the Scotland international bagged his second of the game. James Ward-Prowse whipped in a cross, and he emphatically volleyed home to give his side all three points.

The Saints ended up finishing in 20th place. And yet, they still managed to take six points off Leicester.

Leicester City 0-3 Newcastle United

After their worrying start, Leicester managed to turn things around, taking 16 points from their next eight games. Unfortunately, this momentum was halted by the World Cup in November.

The season resumed on Boxing Day at the King Power Stadium, and they were back to their old ways. High-flying Newcastle United turned up and cruised to a win.

Within just seven minutes, the Magpies had a comfortable lead. Chris Wood netted the opener from the penalty spot, and Miguel Almiron added a second.

And when Joelinton headed in from Kieran Trippier’s corner in the 32nd minute, the visitors had effectively sealed the victory.

It was a disappointing return to action for the Foxes, coming off the back of such a promising run of form. They lost their next three against Liverpool, Fulham and Nottingham Forest.

Crystal Palace 2-1 Leicester City

Brendan Rodgers’ time at Leicester was fairly mixed. There were undeniable highs, most notably the FA Cup glory in 2021. However, the fans started to turn against him towards the end.

The Northern Irishman’s reign at the King Power Stadium ended in April. Up against a Crystal Palace side that hadn’t won in 12 games, the pressure was on Rodgers to produce a result.

Shortly after the start of the second half, the away side took the lead. Timothy Castagne found Ricardo Pereira and the Portuguese lashed a strike into the top corner.

Leicester’s joy was short-lived as they were pegged back three minutes later. Eberechi Eze’s free-kick struck the crossbar but rebounded in off the back of goalkeeper Daniel Iversen.

And with just seconds remaining, the final nail was put in Rodgers’ coffin. Jordan Ayew picked out Jean-Philippe Mateta with a precise through ball, and the forward finished at the near post.

Rodgers departed the following day and was replaced by Dean Smith.

Leicester City 2-2 Everton

With five games remaining, Leicester and Everton sat inside the relegation zone. The pair went into this game knowing that a win would be a huge boost to their survival chances.

The Toffees drew first blood, taking the lead in the 15th minute. After Dominic Calvert-Lewin was brought down by Timothy Castagne, the striker picked himself up and dispatched his penalty.

But Leicester hit back just moments later. Wout Faes’ header landed at the feet of centre-back partner Caglar Soyuncu, who found the back of the net.

It wasn’t long before Jamie Vardy got in on the action, putting his side in front with the most Vardy-esque goal of all time. He latched onto James Maddison’s through ball, rounded the goalkeeper, and slotted into an empty net.

The defining moment of the match came just before half-time when Leicester were awarded a penalty for Michael Keane’s handball.

Maddison placed his spot kick down the middle, but England teammate Jordan Pickford called his bluff and palmed his effort away.

And they were left to rue their missed opportunity, as Everton equalised after the break. This time, it was Alex Iwobi on the scoresheet, expertly volleying into the far corner.

It was a result that both sides would have been disappointed with. Had Maddison scored his penalty, Leicester likely would have won the game.

Down the other end, an inspired Iversen performance prevented the visitors from taking the three points back to Goodison Park.

Fulham 5-3 Leicester City

With fixtures against Liverpool and Newcastle United just around the corner, Leicester travelled to Craven Cottage knowing that this was their best chance of picking up a victory. Would they manage this?

That question was answered with a resounding no, as Fulham annihilated the Foxes. The hosts took a 3-0 lead into half-time, with Willian, Carlos Vinicius and Tom Cairney on the scoresheet.

Desperately needing a huge second-half performance, things got worse for Dean Smith’s men as Cairney bagged his second.

Harvey Barnes pulled one back, and when Leicester were awarded a penalty for a foul on Vardy, there seemed to be some hope of a comeback.

But for the second game running, they were denied from the spot as Bernd Leno kept out Vardy’s attempt.

And their misery was compounded further when Willian also bagged a brace. The Brazilian cut inside and bent an inch-perfect shot into the bottom corner.

Maddison netted a penalty, and Barnes added another to his personal collection, but these proved to be nothing more than consolations.

It was another damaging defeat for Leicester, and they were officially relegated three weeks later.

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