King Power Stadium
What is there to say about Leicester City that hasn't been said already? Their incredible campaign last year led by the underwhelming appointment of Claudio Ranieri was an incredible piece of history that will rarely be repeated again. The reality of this situation for Leicester since then, seems to have given the players, staff and supporters a hangover of disappointment that this really is, and was their high point in footballing history. The psychological impact of winning the Premier League had left Leicester City struggling to replicate their previous year and defeat after defeat, ultimately ended with a bitter end to Ranieri's reign as the greatest Leicester City manager in their history. Football is a frickle world.
There were many factors in choosing Leicester City, the obvious being the prestige of watching the current reigning Premier League champions, another being that I was visiting family in the Midlands that week and lastly, my expectation of a home win.
What was difficult though was getting hold of a match ticket, with Leicester (amongst other clubs) having a membership scheme were you pay in to have ticket eligibility. Thankfully, a shout out on twitter resulted in a gracious Leicester fan (Luke Dawson) buying one on my behalf and paying him the money.
The atmosphere was electric before kick off. Playing Andrea Bocelli's 'Nessun Dorma' whilst the crowd slapped their cardbaord clappers in unison gave me goosebumps and the clappers 'made' the atmosphere for the entire game, it was a genius stroke by the football club.
The SP1 Ultras from the first to last whistle sang their hearts out, banged their drum and gave the stadium a beat to hit their clappers to. What was nice was the fact that those standing up were respectful to people sitting down and never obscured a fan's view. The match day at Leicester City was such a refreshing, friendly experience and even the songs they sang were new and original compared to the usual stuff from football supporters.
It wasn't until the second half where they made a tactical switch of adding pace and width on the wing in Marc Albrighton, to deliver two accurate deliveries to Slimani's head for the first goal and later on, to the feet of Jamie Vardy.
Shakespeare's tactics had worked. They nulified Sunderland's attack all game and overcame the Black Cats with their forward plays.
Sunderland have been battling relegation for the past 5 or 6 seasons and there comes a point where starting a season badly, year after year, sacking the manager and then barely surviving under a new manager and a different set of players becomes a dull routine.
I believe this is their year to bite the bullet, regroup in the Championship and come back up with a fresh perspective and a winning mentality. Whether Jermain Defoe and David Moyes remain at the Stadium of Light once the inevitable happens, only time will tell.