Leicester City 2019/20 Season Preview: Strengths, Weaknesses, Key Man & Predictions

After a brief preview in the latter stages of last season, the Brendan Rodgers' footballing revolution will take full effect at Leicester City during the 2019/2020 campaign. 

Sprucing up his squad with three intelligent signings and with plenty more left in the transfer kitty following Harry Maguire's departure to Man United for an exorbitant fee potentially rising to £85m, the Foxes will be hoping to improve on their ninth placed finish of last season. 

But how realistic are these ambitions? Well, here's everything you need to know about Leicester ahead of the new season.


Last Season

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​It was a curious time for ​Leicester City last campaign, with rumours concerning the job security of Claude Puel consuming discussion for the majority of the season. 


Puel's football was as sterile as his personality, and despite picking up impressive victories against Manchester City and Chelsea, few were surprised when the Frenchman was sacked in February. 


He was eventually replaced by Brendan Rodgers, who implemented a more progressive style that Foxes fans will be hoping to see continue during the coming season. Rodgers ended up guiding Leicester to a ninth placed finish.

An overall mediocre performance on the pitch was, however, eclipsed by tragedy off it. On October 27, 2018 Foxes chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha was devastatingly killed when his helicopter crashed after a game against West Ham United.

The passing of the man who had facilitated Leicester's incredible tittle win in 2016, hit the club hard - evidenced by the emotional reaction to Demarai Gray's goal against Cardiff in the game following the incident. 


Pre-Season

Ricardo Pereira,Robin Gosens

​Leicester have been pretty much faultless during pre-season, failing to win just once, in a 2-2 draw with Rotherham United.

The Foxes kicked off their preparations with a 1-0 win against Scunthorpe, before going on pick up victories against Cheltenham Town, Cambridge United and Stoke City. Their most impressive result of pre-season came against Serie A side Atalanta, who they beat 2-1 at King Power Stadium. 


As well as the results, Brendan Rodgers will also be pleased with ​some of his fringe players who have impressed during pre-season. Kelechi Iheanacho has netted a number of times, whilst Çağlar Söyüncü's decent form suggests he may be the man to replace Harry Maguire, at least in the short-term.


Transfers In

Youri Tielemans

​Brendan Rodgers has avoided a costly spending spree this summer, instead focusing his efforts on patiently tweaking the Leicester squad with three, well-scouted arrivals.

Centre-midfielder Youri Tielemans will be familiar to Foxes fans, with the Belgian spending the second half of last season on loan at the club. A dynamic presence in midfield who is also blessed with an abundance of technical ability, the Belgian has the potential to be the ​biggest bargain of the summer.

If he is not, ​that honour may instead go to one of Rodgers' other signings: James Justin. Brought in from League One champions Luton Town, Justin was one of the Hatters' best players last season - as evidenced by his inclusion in the division's team of the season. Able to play on either defensive flank, Justin's versatility and attacking prowess will provide important competition for Ben Chilwell and Ricardo Pereira.


Rounding off Leicester trio of new arrivals is former Newcastle man:​ Ayoze Pérez. Although a fee of £30m for his services has raised a few eyebrows, Pérez high pressing game and ability to play across the front line should compliment the Foxes play style excellently.


Transfers Out 

Harry Maguire

​After an eternity of speculation, it finally happened. Harry Maguire went to Manchester United for a world-record base fee for a defender of £80m. 

Though Slabhead's departure has understandably stolen the headlines, he has not been the Foxes' only departure of the summer. 

Premier League winners Danny Simpson and Shinji Okazaki have also left the club following the expiration of their contracts. 

Although the pair had little impact on the pitch last campaign, their departure signifies a lessening of the influence that the 2015/2016 squad have in the dressing room, and may require some players from outside of that clique to fill the leadership void. 


Strengths 

Ben Chilwell

In Ben Chilwell and Ricardo Pereira, Leicester possess one of the best full-back pairings in the Premier League. Their attacking dynamism is vital in forcing overloads out wide, a source of many of the Foxes scoring chances last campaign. 

Brendan Rodgers also has an extremely strong central midfield trio at his disposal. The Foxes have favoured a fluid 4-1-4-1 formation in pre-season, with Wilfred Ndidi as the anchor man, and James Maddison and Youri Tielemans as the inter-changing central midfield pairing. 

The young threesome compliment each other very well, and provide plenty of creativity for Leicester's forwards. 


Weaknesses

Wes Morgan

​Leicester's over-reliance on Jamie Vardy has been painfully evident for a number of years. Aside from Vardy, only Riyad Mahrez has ever hit double figures in the scoring charts since the Foxes return to the Premier League in 2014. 

The arrival of Ayoze Pérez, who scored 13 goals last campaign, may arrest some of Vardy's goal-scoring responsibilities, and with the striker turning 33 in January, Leicester desperately need to start searching for an alternative source of winning games.

At the other end of the pitch, Leicester may also experience some problems this season. Although Leicester fans were quick to point out after the departure of Harry Maguire that statistically, their most effective centre-back pairing of last season was Jonny Evans and Wes Morgan, it just isn't feasible for the lumbering, 35-year-old Morgan to still be a regular starter. 

Although Filip Benkovic and Çağlar Söyüncü are exciting talents, they are probably not ready to be thrusted into a starting spot alongside Evans. Leicester should therefore press on for a deal to ​replace Maguire before the start of the season, with James Tarkowski, Nathan Ake and Chrsitian Kabasele all interesting options.


Key Man

Jamie Vardy

​If Leicester are to have a successful season, ​Jamie Vardy needs to hit close to 20 goals again. It's as simple as that. 

Vardy has long been Leicester's attacking focal point, not just providing an abundance of goals, but also leading the team's high-press, by gesticulating manically to his teammates like a deranged conductor to his orchestra.

He will need to strike up a good relationship with Ayoze Peréz, and also continue his impressive link up from last season with James Maddison. 

Potential Breakout: Oh if only this boy could finish... One of the most exciting wingers in the Premier League, Harvey Barnes injected life in a stale Leicester City attack during the second half of the 2018/2019 campaign. Should he find his shooting boots this season, he will nail down a starting spot for many years to come.


Predictions 

Ayoze Perez,Youri Tielemans,Marc Albrighton

​With ​Chelsea under a transfer embargo, ​Manchester United seemingly in disarray and ​Arsenal not looking invincible, this season represents the best chance for the top six to be broken up in a number of years - and Leicester could be the side to do it. 

Should the Foxes avoid any sort of hangover from the departure of Harry Maguire, they should improve on last season's underwhelming display and play a more expansive and exciting style of football in the process.

The minimum aim for Leicester this season should be seventh, and although Everton, Wolves and West Ham will all be vying for Europa League football as well, the Foxes may well be the best-equipped team to take on the top six this season - and win. 



Source : 90min

Source: 90min