The Champions of England have not scored a league goal in 2017. Leicester City are in freefall and the possibility of relegation is beginning to look more likely than not.
Last year Chelsea were roundly mocked for their failure to mount any kind of title defence. Finishing nine places and thirty-one points off the top just 12 months after claiming the Premier League trophy was an embarrassment for the London club.
Yet Chelsea had a fantastic season when compared with the turmoil currently engulfing Leicester. At this point most Foxes’ fans would take a guaranteed 17th place finish.
There is no easy answer to this developing crisis as there is no single problem causing it. Every element that led the team to glory has been absent for much of this season.
The recent inability to score goals has further emphasised Jamie Vardy’s diminished powers. He has scored just five goals this season, three of them coming on a day when Man City allowed him as much space as he could have wanted behind their defence.
No other team has been reckless enough to play a high defensive line against Leicester. It seems clubs spent the summer studying Leicester and sussing out the best way to stop them.
Riyad Mahrez won the PFA Player of the Year award last year. This year he has been less impressive and effective than Theo Walcott.
It almost seems an aberration that the likes of Morgan, Drinkwater and Schmeichel were regarded as great players last year. This season they have reverted to their previous standing; They are all decent players, but not nearly good enough to play for defending champions.
There is also an argument that the desire has dissipated from the team. They followed up the greatest of relegation escapes with the most unlikely title win in recent history. What more is there for them to do?
Finally, there is the elephant in the room. The most obvious difference between this year and last is the absence of the industrious N’Golo Kanté.
Kanté is by some margin the most effective player in the league. There is a reasonable case to be made that he is currently the best midfielder in England.
While his former team-mates labour in Leicester, he has thrived in the capital. Chelsea are in danger of running away with the title and he has been their stand-out player.
The Frenchmen has made more tackles than any other player in the Premier League over the last three seasons. This is despite him only having played in the most recent two.
Relegation is not a certainty just yet. Leicester are still a point above the bottom three and have not spent any time languishing at the table’s foot.
Claudio Ranieri is a quality manager and this team is still capable of playing football. This much at least they proved by topping their Champions’ League group.
Hull, Sunderland and Crystal Palace are in as much or more of a muddle than The Foxes. That said, both Hull and Sunderland have beaten Leicester handily this season.
The failure to win a game this calendar year, their inability to score and the potential distraction of Champions League football are all causes for serious concern.
Leicester City are running out of time. Fail to beat Hull City at home at the beginning of March and even a miracle might not save them.