A Treble? (FIFA 2000 #14)

January 2002:

PL        Leicester 0-0 Leeds

FA       Leicester 1-0 Leeds                            Henry

PL        Bradford 1-1 Leicester                        Henry

PL        Leicester 2-1 Man Utd                        Henry 2

FA       Leicester 4-0 Ipswich                          Henry 3, Totti

2nd      Arsenal 48, Leicester 47, Chelsea 45, Man Utd 45, West Ham 43, Liverpool 43

A league double over Manchester United, the great Premiership side who haven’t gone without a title since 1998. We were coming back to the fore. Not in the driving seat but we were controlling the handbrake. We weren’t going to collapse off the face of the earth nor were we going to set it alight with our football. A couple of FA Cup wins boosted our confidence, and the fact that Thierry Henry was playing as both wingers and a false nine at times, it was pure joy to watch.

 

February 2002:

PL        Chelsea 1-5 Leicester                         Henry 2, Nedved, Panucci, Davids

PL        Leicester 0-0 Arsenal

FA       Leicester 4-0 Watford                         Nedved 3, Henry

PL        Leicester 0-0 West Ham

CL       Leicester 0-0 Man Utd

2nd      Arsenal 55, Leicester 52, West Ham 50, Chelsea 49, Man Utd 49, Liverpool 48

Man Utd 7, Valladolid 4, Bayern 3, Leicester 2

A defensive mistake by Rio Ferdinand let Chris Sutton in for the first goal at Stamford Bridge. It’s safe to say we didn’t rest on our laurels in that game. Nedved, Totti and Gerrard all working as one for the benefit of the team, there hasn’t been a better performance in England in the past 20 years than the one at Stamford Bridge. Pavel Nedved was in fully working order, receiving from Edgar Davids time after time at home to Watford in the cup. The driving runs, the piercing passes and the blistering goals. Just a shame about the goalless draws either side of it.

 

March 2002:

PL        Leicester 2-1 Derby                            Henry 2

FA       Leicester 3-1 Derby                            Henry, Nedved, Panucci

CL       Bayern 0-3 Leicester                          Ferdinand, Totti, Henry

PL        Tottenham 1-4 Leicester                     Totti 2, Henry 2

CL       Valladolid 1-1 Leicester                       Panucci

PL        Leicester 0-0 Middlesbrough

CL       Man Utd 0-2 Leicester                        Nedved, Panucci penalty

PL        Sheff Wed 1-3 Leicester                     Totti, Henry 2

2nd      Arsenal 64, Leicester 62, West Ham 59, Man Utd 56, Chelsea 54, Liverpool 52

Man Utd 10, Leicester 9, Bayern 9, Valladolid 5

Rio Ferdinand scored an overhead kick in the Berlin Olympiastadion. I think even when we’re on such a good run as we were in March, it takes a lot to be a standout moments, we had Henry’s double at the Lane in a 4-1 win, Panucci’s thunderbolt in the cup at home to Derby, Nedved dancing through the United defence in the Champions League. But Rio Ferdinand. Overhead kick in the middle of the penalty box, our first ever goal against Bayern in four meetings. He really perfects the Beckenbauer quarterback role.

 

April 2002:

PL        Leicester 2-1 Nottingham Forest        Totti 2

CL       Leicester 0-1 A.C. Milan

PL        Newcastle 0-0 Leicester

FA       Leicester 1-0 Man Utd                        Gerrard

PL        Leicester 1-0 Sunderland                    Davids

CL       A.C. Milan 2-5 Leicester                     Henry 3, Carlos, Totti

PL        Liverpool 0-2 Leicester                       Gerrard, Henry

PL        Leicester 6-0 Birmingham                  Henry 6

PL        Charlton 0-2 Leicester                        Panucci penalty, Henry

We’ve mastered the art of winning by one goal and not scoring a lot. Thierry Henry has played more of a back seat role this month, sacrificing his game with Francesco Totti being our attacking figurehead. Thierry is a natural winger so it’s in his game to drop deeper, leaving a big vacancy in the final third, despite our attacking riches. That all changed in the San Siro, though. Andriy Shevchenko put Milan into a two-goal aggregate lead but before half-time Thierry had overturned that and put us ahead on away goals. The rest was history. 11 goals in 4 games, a Champions League semi-final, another FA Cup final

 

May 2002:

CL       Real Madrid 1-0 Leicester

PL        Leicester 4-3 Everton                                     Henry 4

CL       Leicester 2-0 Real Madrid                              Henry 2

Arsenal had to go to Stamford Bridge and get something, they didn’t. A win at Goodison was integral and we scrapped away and earned it. Nerves got the better of us after Henry’s four goals. A 3-6-1 became a 6-3-1 with an isolated Thierry up top. We went a point clear going into the final day and still unbeaten. The Real Madrid games were the biggest games of our club’s history. They flooded the midfield, playing a 3-5-2, two deep lying midfielders next to Geremi who was the anchorman. Raul was paired up with Redondo and they just tore us apart.

The game plan for the return leg, needing to overturn a goal’s deficit was to hit them hard and early. Henry found the net on eight minutes thanks to Nedved and Totti playing in more offensive roles. We played Ferdinand in the Geremi anchor man role in midfield and played with a tentative back four, but gave Panucci and Carlos license to shuttle up and down the wings. Henry struck again on the hour due to Totti and Nedved’s constant pressing of the ball in their defensive third.

 

They were calling us the invincibles. One more trip to Selhurst Park remained as Arsenal entertained third-placed West Ham.

Thierry Henry and Marcus Gayle traded goals in the first half. Arsenal were winning 3-0. Our dreams ebbed away. A Neil Sullivan own goal on 84 minutes clinched the title for us.

Leicester City English Champions! Believe me, that’ll never be said again.

An invincible team in the Premiership! Believe me, that’ll never be said again.

  

Thierry Henry had two more goals in him. One in a 2-1 FA Cup Final win over Leeds. A League and Cup double. Nedved and Totti were the stars.

Another goal came in the Champions League final against Manchester United.

 

Into his own net. We lost 1-0.

I retired on the final whistle.

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