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Leicester transformed as they top both Championship and WSL tables

After Leicester City narrowly escaped a double relegation last season, they now sit top of both the EFL and the WSL tables.

Leicester City’s men were relegated from the Premier League last season despite their victory over West Ham on the final day.

Devastation for Leicester as they were relegated last season

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Devastation for Leicester as they were relegated last seasonCredit: Getty
Delight this season as their top form continues

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Delight this season as their top form continuesCredit: Getty

It was a disappointing result for a side that had secured a stunning Premier League title just seven years earlier in 2016.

Just a day before their relegation, their female counterparts pulled off an unprecedented WSL comeback as they saved themselves from relegation in their final game with a victory over Brighton.

But those difficult campaigns seem to have been left in the past and both teams have made quite the start to their respective new seasons.

Since the start of the EFL season, Leicester’s men have only suffered one defeat when they were beaten at home 1-0 by Hull.

Their most recent game saw them put three past Preston, as they cemented their place at the top of the EFL table.

After interim boss Dean Smith managed just two wins in eight games to cement the Foxes’ relegation from the Premier League, manager Enzo Maresca was appointed in June 2023 on a three-year-deal.

Maresca is no stranger to success – he was Pep Guardiola’s assistant coach last season as Manchester City won an historic treble.

But the Italian is cautiously optimistic that Leicester’s first season in the Championship in 10 years could turn out to be fantastic.

Maresca will be hoping to take Leicester straight back up to the Premier League

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Maresca will be hoping to take Leicester straight back up to the Premier LeagueCredit: Getty
Kirk saved Leicester from what looked like certain relegation and has now taken them top of the WSL

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Kirk saved Leicester from what looked like certain relegation and has now taken them top of the WSLCredit: Getty

Maresca told Leicester City’s official website after their win over Preston: “It’s still too early, but we are getting better against this type of team. It’s unbelievable, it’s huge.

“It’s something that I said to the players, it’s not normal. But we are in the right way, heading in the right direction.”

After the international break, Leicester’s men will resume their title campaign against Swansea City on Saturday 21 October.

Meanwhile, Leicester Women are two wins from two in the WSL this season despite narrowly avoiding demotion last time out.

They lost their first nine games under manager Lydia Bedford last season, before former Hibernian manager Willie Kirk was brought in to salvage their season – and salvage it he did.

They picked up all 16 of their final points tally after the change of manager as Kirk spearheaded a remarkable transformation.

They ended the WSL season third bottom of the league – a fantastic result given their dire start to their campaign.

But while Leicester City’s WSL wins this season over newly-promoted Bristol City and struggling Everton are commendable, they are not quite exceptional.

Leicester's Lena Petermann, Jutta Rantala and Aimee Palmer have two goals each this season in all competitions

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Leicester’s Lena Petermann, Jutta Rantala and Aimee Palmer have two goals each this season in all competitionsCredit: Getty
Leicester Women have beaten Manchester United just once back in 2021 in the FA Cup

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Leicester Women have beaten Manchester United just once back in 2021 in the FA CupCredit: Getty

The real test begins on Sunday, October 15 when Leicester Women travel to Leigh Sports Village to face last season’s runners-up Manchester United.

The Red Devils have won one and drawn one in the WSL so far, dropping points in their 2-2 draw to Arsenal when they conceded the equaliser in the third minute of injury.

Victory over Leicester will be of the utmost importance to Manchester United if they wish to sustain their title challenge.

But underdogs Leicester will go into the game feeling encouraged after they pulled off a shock 2-1 win over rising stars Liverpool in the Continental Tyres League Cup group opener.

Midfielder Aimee Palmer scored the opener in their win over Liverpool and she said their recent winning streak was the perfect platform upon which to build their season.

She told Leicester City’s official website: “We’re three from three now and we want to keep that going at the weekend.

“We know that (Manchester United) are a good team, but equally we’ve proven that we’re a very good team, and the opposition will be afraid of us.

“We’re looking forward to the match on Sunday and hopefully get three points there as well.”

They have proven themselves capable of beating teams who finished well above them last season and, if they continue their recent spell of results, could find out that being involved in a title race is infinitely preferable to a relegation battle.


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