After coming within touching distance of a top-four finish in the Premier League in each of the last two seasons, Leicester (7/2 Top Four Finish) will be hopeful they can finally break through this year and return to European football’s top table.
It has been a case of so near yet so far for Brendan Rodgers’ side over the previous two campaigns, as they spent a combined 567 days in the top four over that time – longer than any other team in the division during the same period – but they ended up finishing fifth on both occasions.
However, there has been clear progress for the Foxes during that time, as their total of 66 points last term was four better than in the previous campaign, while they also won the FA Cup for the first time in the club’s history, beating Chelsea in the final in May.
Hopes for the New Season
A repeat of their 2015-16 Premier League title success may be a bridge too far for Leicester (50/1 Premier League Outright) this season, but after their two previous near misses, the expectation from both in and outside the club will be that they can finish in the top four.
Rodgers is certainly not standing still in his pursuit of further progress, with the Northern Irishman having already added to his squad following the arrivals of Patson Daka, Boubakary Soumare and Ryan Bertrand over the summer.
Keeping hold of key players will also be crucial to Leicester’s hopes, with speculation linking the likes of Youri Tielemans with the exit door, although the Foxes have proven in the past they are capable of surviving high-profile departures.
A top-four finish would certainly represent significant progress for Leicester, but even securing a place in the top six (Leicester EVS) for a third season running should be seen as a relative success for a team that lacks the financial muscle of many of their rivals.
Arrivals and Departures
Patson Daka – Undisclosed from RB Salzburg
Boubakary Soumare – Undisclosed from Lille
Ryan Bertrand – Free Transfer from Southampton
Wes Morgan – Retired
Christian Fuchs – Free Transfer to Charlotte FC
Matty James – Free Transfer to Bristol City
Up until midway through last season, Jamie Vardy would have undoubtedly been seen as Leicester’s star man, but the goals dried up for striker during the second half of the campaign and, at 34, his time as an automatic first choice could be coming to an end.
Kelechi Iheanacho (50/1 Premier League Top Goalscorer) picked up the void left by Vardy and finished last season as the club’s leading scorer with 19 goals, while the arrival of Daka should also provide Rodgers with further options in the final third.
The spine of Leicester’s team certainly remains strong, with Kasper Schmeichel having once again proved himself as one of the best goalkeepers in the league, while Jonny Evans, Caglar Soyuncu and Wesley Fofana provide plenty of protection for the Denmark international.
However, midfielder Tielemans is perhaps Leicester’s key figure, with the Belgian having underlined his importance by scoring the winning goal in last season’s FA Cup final and being named the club’s player of the season.
Liverpool continue to be linked with making a move for the 24-year-old, but if he does remain at the King Power, then he is likely to enjoy another influential season.
Anyone that doubted Rodgers’ quality as a manager prior to his arrival at Leicester must now be convinced that he is one of the very best in the business.
The former Liverpool and Celtic boss has established the Foxes as one of the most consistent sides in the Premier League and he has done so by playing the high-tempo passing game that he has stuck by throughout his career.
However, that attacking approach has left Leicester a little exposed defensively at times, with the Foxes having conceded 50 goals in the Premier League last season – more than any other side that finished in the top eight of the standings.
If Rodgers can strike the right balance between defence and attack then Leicester’s hopes of finishing in the top four will improve significantly, otherwise it could be another near miss for the Foxes in their quest for Champions League football.
Last season – 5th.