Foreign friendly failings a bad omen for Leicester and Tottenham
The International Champions Cup is known as that because it spans four continents and showcases 16 clubs from seven countries, but it has become a little Premier League-centric this summer with six different English entrants.
Fortunes have been mixed, with none of the sextet likely to be thrilled by their contribution to date. For Manchester City and Manchester United, it was simply too brief, with the cancellation of their derby meaning that all they got from their trip to China was a match each with Borussia Dortmund.
For Chelsea and Liverpool, it has been a case of some good and some bad. The Blues opened with a 1-0 victory over Jurgen Klopp’s side only to fold too easily to Real Madrid, trailing 3-0 by half time. The Reds by contrast had that rough start, yet rallied to beat AC Milan 2-0.
The most demoralised Premier League participants will be 2015-16’s great overachievers Tottenham and Leicester.
Spurs found little to celebrate in the Australian section, losing 2-1 to Juventus and 1-0 to Atletico Madrid to finish bottom, trailing for 134 of their 180 miserable minutes in Melbourne.
The English champions made a better first impression, overcoming Celtic on penalties after a 1-1 draw, but followed up with a 4-0 defeat to PSG which was the heaviest to date in this year’s edition. Their last chance to claim a 90-minute win in the tournament arrives against Barcelona in Solna on Wednesday.
Usually, it is advisable not to lose sleep over friendly results as they are ultimately meaningless, yet these glamour exhibition games are a newer phenomenon. It is arguable that reverses to Champions League foes in a competition format have more impact than setbacks in one-off contests with less familiar opponents.
The two Premier League teams who played at least twice in the 2015 instalment without delivering a win in normal time endured disappointing campaigns. Man City fell from second with 79 points in 2014-15 to fourth with 66 in 2015-16 and Chelsea plummeted from first on 87 to 10th on 50.
Could the Lilywhites and Foxes be poised for similar drops? The odds suggest so, with Tottenham 6/5 fifth favourites for a top-four finish and Leicester seventh in line at 6/1.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.