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Leicester City's outrageous possession stats compared to EPL champions in recent years

If Leicester City win the Premier League title, they will have won it with the least possession over a season

Leicester City possession stats EPL
Leicester City have one of the lowest possession stats in the Premier League this season

After 25 games in the 2015/16 Premier League season, the table reveals what absolutely nobody expected at the start of the season. Defending champions Chelsea have been left behind in the wake of Leicester City’s remarkable rise to prominence this season. 

Under Claudio Ranieri, the Foxes have steamrolled past almost every opposition in the Premier League to claim top spot with an incredible five-point lead with 53 points. The two north London clubs, Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal, are tied on points but the Spurs are in second place thanks to a superior goal difference.

Manchester City have fallen behind after their recent 3-1 loss at home to Leicester City and occupy the fourth and final Champions League spot – six points behind the Foxes. Manchester United, on the other hand, have dropped down to fifth – a full 12 points behind Leicester – after initially topping the table in the first quarter of the season. 

Claudio Ranieri Leicester City EPL
Under Claudio Ranieri, Leicester City have averaged only 40% possession, preferring to counter-attack instead

Ranieri’s side have been a joy to watch. They have lost only twice this season but lead the table not only on points but also goals scored. With 47 goals (the same as Manchester City), their matches have never been short of entertainment quotient. But the way they have scored their goals is what has caught they eye of fans and neutrals alike. 

The Foxes are predominantly a counter-attacking team. With the creative Riyad Mahrez and the incredibly quick Jamie Vardy leading the line, the pair alone have scored a combined 32 goals and grabbed a combined 13 assists. 

With respect to the league champions in the last decade, a look at their possession stats shows how the tables have turned in England. Since Arsenal’s Invincibles season in 2003/04, every champion team has averaged between 55-60% possession throughout the season. The highest was achieved by Chelsea in 2009/10 under Carlo Ancelotti with 59.7% possession over the 38 games played.

EPL Premier League Champions most possession
The 2009/10 Chelsea squad averaged the most possession for a Premier League champion team

Leicester City, on the other hand, have averaged only 40.9% possession this season. Their opponents see more of the ball while the Foxes capitalise on their mistakes and counter or make good use of their set-pieces. 

If they go on to win the league title this season, they will be the only team to have seen less than half of the ball and still won the league – a truly extraordinary achievement!

#SeasonEPL ChampionsPossession
12009/10Chelsea59.7%
22006/07Manchester United59.6%
32008/09Manchester United59.1%
42011/12Manchester City58.6%
52007/08Manchester United58.2%
62013/14Manchester City57.9%
72005/06Chelsea56.7%
82003/04Arsenal56.6%
92012/13Manchester United56.5%
102010/11Manchester United56.3%
112014/15Chelsea55.8%
122004/05Chelsea55.4%
132015/16Leicester City*40.9%

*Leicester City currently lead the table after 25 games

EPL Top 5 possession stats

A look at the other teams in the league also shows that Leicester City have one of the lowest possession stats this season. If teams were ranked on possession, the Foxes would be 18th. The Red Devils are top of the pile in terms of possession but have been criticized by their fans for not making the most of their opportunities when they keep the ball. 

Louis van Gaal Manchester United possession philosophy
Louis van Gaal’s philosophy saw Manchester United keep a majority of the possession but did little with the ball

Arsenal, long known to keep the ball and deny their opponents, are one of two teams to beat Leicester City in the league this season. While they are five points behind, they are set to play them at the Emirates next Sunday. A win for the Foxes there would truly stamp their authority as worthy winners of the Premier League title.

#TeamPossessionEPL Position
1Manchester United55.8%5
2Arsenal55.5%3
3Manchester City55.4%4
5Tottenham55.1%2
18Leicester City40.9%1

Stats courtesy of Opta and WhoScored

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