Leicester City have regularly challenged towards the top of the table in recent years. They have become a dark horse towards the summit of the Premier League following their shock title victory in 2015/16.
Since their infamous title win in 2016, the Foxes have finished in the top half of the table in four of the last four seasons. Over the past two seasons, Leicester also finished fifth, their two best places in the Premier League since they won the title.
Breaking into the top four has been the goal for Leicester, who have considerably fewer resources than some of the other sides at the top of the Premier League. By the end of the 2020/21 season, Leicester spent more time than any other team in the top four, only to miss out to Chelsea by one point of the final day of the season.
With an established squad, new signings, and consistency under Brendan Rodgers, this could be Leicester’s year to breach the Champions League places.
Established Squad and New Signings
In recent seasons, Leicester have built an established core of first-team players, who have provided the foundations of success at the club. Veteran striker Jamie Vardy, goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel and winger Marc Albrighton have epitomised this commitment to the club.
Vardy has been at the King Power Stadium for almost a decade, joining from non-league Fleetwood Town in 2012. He has been ever-present, helping the club to achieve promotion in 2014. Vardy has scored 120 goals in almost 250 Premier League appearances, making him a great option for Live In-Play Football Betting.
Similarly, Albrighton and Schmeichel have committed to Leicester in recent seasons. Albrighton joined the club in 2014 and has been a regular starter, notching up 255 appearances. Danish international Schmeichel has been at the club for a decade and is sixth in the Foxes’ all-time appearance list. The goalkeeper has a big influence at the club, has played a role in the club’s success, and now captains the side.
Additions to this core of players have come in recent years. Young, talented players have been signed alongside experienced internationals to create a strong core of Leicester’s squad. Kelechi Iheanacho, James Maddison, Youri Tielemans, Timothy Castagne, Caglar Söyüncü and Jonny Evans have all become key first-team players in recent years.
New signings are often well-scouted and considered by Leicester, which contributes to the ever-improving quality of their squad. This season, the Foxes have continued to recruit some of the best talents from Europe. Midfielder Boubakary Soumaré and striker Patson Daka were the newest recruits in the summer transfer window, and both players, aged 22, come with considerable potential.
Daka scored 27 goals in 28 games for RB Leipzig last season, while Soumaré won Ligue 1 with Lille, and he racked up over 100 senior appearances for the club.
Leicester can challenge the top four. There have been no wholesale changes in personnel this summer, which will help their consistency in the Premier League. New signings to blend with the experience of the existing squad will only strengthen the Foxes this season as they challenge the top four.
Consistency under Brendan Rodgers
When Brendan Rodgers arrived at the King Power in February 2019, Leicester were a mid-table club and finished 12th in the previous campaign. Rodgers led the Foxes to a ninth-place finish in his first half-season, and he has improved each season since.
The Northern Irish coach has guided Leicester to two consecutive fifth place finishes and led the Foxes to their first FA Cup victory in their history in May. During his 115 matches at the club, Rodgers has only lost 33 fixtures and won 63. He has the second-best points per game return in the club’s history (1.81 per game). Only former boss Nigel Pearson has a better record (1.82 per game).
Such consistency has taken Leicester from mid-table to European challengers in recent years. He has also shown a knack for challenging the traditional top four in the Premier League. Last season, Leicester took three points from away games at Manchester City, Arsenal, Tottenham and Man United. He also led his team to home victories over Chelsea and Liverpool. There are few teams, including those in the top four, that could boast such a record against title challengers in the Premier League.
Under Rodgers’ stewardship, Leicester are in good hands, and their season-by-season quest to break in the top-four will continue this season. However, the challenge this season will be competing with the improvement of teams at the top of the table. Man United have made big signings in Cristiano Ronaldo, Raphael Varane and Jadon Sancho. Chelsea have also strengthened by bringing in Romelu Lukaku, and Liverpool are an improved side due to their returning players this season.