How many games did it really take before this season's Leicester XI emerged?

The lineups in the early part of the season differ from the team that has been honed into title winners

Wes Morgan, Harry Kane, Robert Huth, Leicester, Tottenham

Tottenhams Harry Kane, centre, is surrounded by Leicester's Wes Morgan, left, Robert Huth, right, and Ritchie De Laet during the English Premier League soccer match between Leicester City and Tottenham Hotspur at the King Power Stadium, Leicester, England, Saturday, Aug. 22, 2015. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira)

One of the key factors behind Leicester City's Premier League title win was the consistency of selection of manager Claudio Ranieri.

It was especially notable given that the Italian had earned the 'Tinkerman' moniker from his time at Chelsea over a decade ago due to his propensity to make regular and sometimes needless changes to his teams.

But even with your eyes closed, you could pretty much predict what Leicester's starting line-up this season would be.

Kasper Schmeichel has kept goal behind a back-four of Danny Simpson, Robert Huth, captain Wes Morgan and Christian Fuchs. N'Golo Kante is the engine in midfield, alongside the patrolling Danny Drinkwater. Marc Albrighton charged up and down the left side, while the maverick Riyad Mahrez operated from the right wing where he could cut in on his stronger left foot. 

Jamie Vardy's searing pace and energy stretched most of the league's defences while Shinji Okazaki's work-rate acted as the perfect foil.

But the back-four was not wholly established as a four straight away. When the Foxes won in spite of an inability to keep clean sheets, the defence did undergo some changes and was often staffed differently than it is now.


 Leicester City's Jefferey Schlupp (left) and Christian Fuchs (right) battle for the ball in the air with Norwich City's Cameron Jerome during the Barclays Premier League match at the King Power Stadium, Leicester. Picture by: Mike Egerton / PA Wire/Press Association Images

On the opening day against Sunderland, Morgan and Huth, who had been one of the key January additions that helped Leicester stay up in the second half of last sason, were already the bedrock at the heart of the back-four.

But flanking them on either side on August 8th were Belgian Ritchie De Laet on the right and Jeffrey Schlupp on the left. Kante, who went on to be a revelation this campaign, only came on as an 82nd minute substitute, with Andy King instead starting alongside Drinkwater.

Leicester still won 4-2, but it was the start of a successful start to the season which, however, saw them fail to keep a clean sheet until their 10th matchday when they defeated Crystal Palace 1-0.

Indeed, the first seven league games of the season saw Ranieri stick with the De Laet-Morgan-Huth-Schlupp back-four with their final match of that run being a 5-2 loss at home to Arsenal.

By the following game against Norwich, Simpson and Fuchs had been introduced to the starting line-up while summer signing Kante, who was an under-the-radar replacement for last season's best player Esteban Cambiasso was making just his second start alongside Drinkwater.

That back-four and midfield duo did not keep a clean sheet until match-day 10 as mentioned earlier but Fuchs added more balance on the left than the more attack-minded Schlupp, who has often featured on the wing when called upon since.

They also had time to grow together as a six-player unit plus goalkeeper who complemented each other's strengths and weaknesses perfectly.

Stability and no tinkering helped hone their understanding, with Simpson and Fuchs starting all but one match  each after both players had become the established full-backs, and Kante and Drinkwater rarely missing minutes.

Much like the impressive centre-back pairing at Tottenham of Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld, Ranieri was also able to keep Morgan and Huth together all season. The German only missed one game through suspension, whereas Morgan has been an ever-present.