In our series of discussion today, we will analyze various aspects of Leicester City, the 136-year old club which famously defied betting odds of 5000-1 to clinch their first ever top-flight league title in the 2015/16 season
Dhaka Tribune Sports has decided to discuss last year’s performance, and potential of the teams in the forthcoming English Premier League.
In our series of discussion Monday, we will analyze various aspects of Leicester City, the 136-year old club which famously defied betting odds of 5000-1 to clinch their first ever top-flight league title in the 2015/16 season.
Relegation candidates at the start of that infamous season, which has gone down in history as one of the unlikeliest fairytales in sports arguably the greatest ever underdog story , Italian coach Claudio Ranieri and his charges not only scripted modern folklore but also the perennial fringe club of the land suddenly found itself among the elites.
The very next season however, a bad run of results saw the Foxes hover above the relegation zone when Ranieri was sacked and the Midland club eventually finished 12th.
Leicester then finished the following season in ninth place amid the tragic death of Thai owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha in a helicopter crash outside the club ground, King Power Stadium, in October, 2018.
Former Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers was brought in a few months later in February, 2019, and the Northern Ireland tactician, alongside new owner, Vichai’s son Aiyawatt, reinvigorated the club once again.
Rodgers, in his first full season in Leicester, and his stellar cast of players finished fifth last season after languishing around third spot for most of the season.
After a brief absence, the Foxes once again returned to European football, qualifying for the Uefa Europa League, and the board ensured of keeping the main stars for the challenge ahead, tying down Rodgers, striker Jamie Vardy and English playmaker James Maddison to long-term deals.
Vardy, who used to play for non-league Fleetwood Town, completed his fairytale ascent to the top by becoming the main striker in the title winning side and since then continued to showcase his prowess as he won the Golden Boot last season in the EPL with 23 goals.
Maddison has also been an integral presence in the Leicester side, scoring 16 goals and assisting many more in 76 appearances across all competition after joining from Norwich City in 2018.
Danish goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel has been rock solid in the last few seasons while center-back pairing Jonny Evans and Caglar Soyuncu have promptly stepped up after the world-record fee departure of English defender Harry Maguire to Manchester United.
Midfield livewires, Belgian Youri Tielemans and young English gun Harvey Barnes also offer promise for next season, and will be looking to expand their development further under Rodgers.
However, English defender Ben Chilwell, who had been a permanent fixture at left back, moved to Chelsea and that means Rodgers must sign reinforcements to strengthen their ability to cope with the kind of injuries that damaged them last season, especially if they want to go far in the Europa League.
Belgian full back Timothy Castagne has already been brought in from recently high-scoring Italian side Atalanta, but one more defender to support Evans and Soyuncu and another forward to lessen the workload of Vardy will still be on the agenda for the Leicester board.
Although they finished fifth, Leicester’s season fizzled out at the end as they won just four times in the league in their last 17 matches, and bowed out of both the domestic cups.
Surely Rodgers would be looking to do much better in the league with such a fine squad at his disposal, and fare better in the cup competitions, both at home and abroad.
Leicester will begin their campaign away to newly promoted West Bromwich Albionon on September 13.