This feels like a complete low point. How on earth could it get worse than losing to Millwall? That all depends on expectations, of course. If we’d lost to Millwall on the way to relegation to the 3rd tier, it probably wouldn't have felt as bad as this, even though that was comfortably a worse time in the club’s history.
This team are defending Premier League Champions, though (source). It’s almost unheard of for the champions to be in this position, but then, it’s equally unusual for the champions to have been in an even worse position than this two years ago. The real problem, however, is that team, who lived at the bottom of the league all year, looked so much better than what we’ve seen in 2017.
So here we are, again, as Leicester City fans. We should have seen this coming, and I’m sure many did. The only question left to ask is this: exactly how miserable should we be feeling right now? Fortunately, that misery is currently spread across three competitions, which makes it much easier to break down.
Misery level: meh
Oh, the game was miserable, no question about that. Every single second of it. Millwall? Really?! But let’s be honest, this team were spreading their focus across too many competitions. Or at least it looked that way.
Add to the fact that, despite the impressive number of upsets, each quarter final currently contains one of Chelsea, Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal. If you recognise those names, it’s because they’re the top four teams in the country right now, and we wouldn’t have made the semis anyway, not the way we were playing.
So don’t mope about the FA Cup. Instead, let’s rejoice in it, because something every bit as amazing as our league title last year is going on just down the road from Leicester. Lincoln City are in the quarter finals of the FA Cup. The first non-league team to reach that far in 103 years, or ever in the current format.
Lincoln City manager Danny Cowley: 'Whoever says that the FA Cup is dead hasn't lived in Lincoln for the last six to eight weeks' pic.twitter.com/2d4UpazEps— Guardian sport (@guardian_sport) February 18, 2017
Misery level: fear isn’t misery, so none
Leicester City are in the Champions League. Leicester City. Champions League. If that makes you miserable then I don’t know what I can say to you, other than offer you my commiserations on being a Derby or Spurs fan.
No, instead of sad, you should be terrified. We are a bad team right now, there’s no two ways about that. The players are all decent, and there’s a chance it all comes together, but the time to make that happen is up. The game is on Wednesday and we just lost to Millwall.
If last week taught us anything, it’s that at this stage, competition is so high teams as good as Barcelona will be torn apart if they don't turn up at their best. (Spoilers:) Leicester City are not as good as Barcelona. Worth noting here that Barca still have shorter odds to lift the trophy than Leicester, even though no team has ever come from 4 goals down to win a tie.
At the same time, Sevilla aren’t as good as PSG, of course, but they are good. They’re currently 3rd in La Liga, closer to Real Madrid at the top than Atletico Madrid beneath them, and have lost less league games all season than the Foxes have this year.
In the group stages, we suffered the heaviest ever defeat by an English side in the European Cup. In this round, it could genuinely get much worse. At this point we have nothing to lose except our pride, but yeah, it could take a real hit here. If we show up like we did against Swansea, it could be continental laughing stock bad.
Misery level: what’s that red light on the misery meter and why is it flashing?
It’s been nice to have a little break from the league, even if the cup was just as bad in the end. Our next EPL fixture is at home to Liverpool, who have had just as bad a 2017 as us so far. The downside is that at the start of the season they absolutely hammered us, so a weaker Liverpool side should still be heavy favourites.
If you thought that was the bad part, you might want to stop reading. By the time that match kicks off next Monday, Hull City, Crystal Palace and Sunderland will have already played, respectively, Burnley (home), Middlesbrough (home) and Everton (away). Only one of those games could be considered difficult.
I would expect the Foxes to start our next game in the relegation zone, but they could very well be dead last. The argument that things were worse two years ago is disappearing fast, especially when you consider how consistently awful QPR were that year. The recent rise of Hull and Swansea suggests there isn't a nailed on relegation like that this year.
Now we have to fight every match. I need soldiers. I need gladiators - the same players were just that for Ranieri last year. Can they do it again?
The great frustration is that we all know this team has it in them. If they turn up and play as we’ve seen them do before, by the end of March we’ll be wondering what we were so worried about and looking forward to a Champions League quarter final. I wouldn’t bet on either, but it’s there and, as Foxes fans have always experienced before, it’s the hope that kills you.
That was before the last two years, of course. Both years felt very much like the hope would kill us, but in the end it only made us stronger. Keep hoping, all is not lost.
God, it feels that way though.