Leicester City are a club enjoying easily their best season for four years. After winning the Premier League trophy in the most remarkable circumstances in the 2015/2016 campaign, it is difficult to gauge exactly where the Foxes should be and although nobody expects them to challenge for the title again any time soon, it is no great surprise that they are battling to finish runners-up and set to return to the Champions League.
With a number of exciting players currently at the club, the perceived dour football of their former manager Claude Puel led to the hiring of Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers, previously a relative success in the Premier League with Liverpool and Swansea City, halfway through last term. The Northern Irishman led the team to some improved form and has taken momentum from that upturn in fortunes into the new campaign.
Leicester City Betting Specials
To win the league – 100/1
To win the FA Cup – 9/1
To win the Carabao Cup – 4/1
To finish in the top four – 1/10
To be relegated – 500/1
Jamie Vardy to finish Top Premier League Goalscorer – 10/11
James Maddison to win Young Player of the Year – 9/1
The 2018/2019 season ended with Leicester City finishing in ninth position in the table, but the campaign will be remembered at the King Power Stadium for the tragedy that occurred in October which resulted in the passing of the immensely popular club owner, Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, after a helicopter crash following the Foxes’ home fixture against West Ham United.
Unsurprisingly, the remainder of the campaign was played out in a rather sombre atmosphere at the King Power Stadium, but on the pitch results did pick up and performances started to entertain the supporters a little more following the appointment of Brendan Rodgers to replace Claude Puel part-way through the campaign. In the end, the Foxes finished up in ninth place and they have improved greatly on that this season.
Brendan Rodgers is a man who splits opinion in British football. Although he took Liverpool to the brink of glory in the Premier League, the Reds’ performances in the following campaigns left a lot to be desired and although he managed Celtic to a raft of trophies north of the border in his next job, the Northern Irishman was expected to do exactly that at a club that rarely fails to be among the silverware.
Although there is a lot to like about Rodgers’ possession-dominated style of play, which goes away from the model that saw Leicester win the league under Claudio Ranieri a few seasons back, he is tactically flexible and has a knack for finding the best system to suit the players at his disposal. The Foxes’ talented full-backs, Ricardo Pereira and Ben Chilwell, are playing big parts under him this season.
The New Arrivals
The priority in the transfer market last summer for Rodgers and Leicester was undoubtedly securing the services of midfielder Youri Tielemans on a permanent basis. The Belgian midfielder enjoyed a terrific loan spell at the King Power Stadium last term and the Foxes moved to bring him in from Monaco for a fee of around £40million. Leicester also signed Tielemans’ fellow Belgian and former Anderlecht team-mate Dennis Praet to bolster their midfield options.
Brendan Rodgers will hope to lead the Foxes back into Europe (PA Images)
A handful of talented youngsters were added to the club’s Under-23 squad and young defender James Justin arrived from Luton Town, but the other real eye-catching deal made by the Foxes was for Newcastle forward Ayoze Perez. The cultured Spaniard managed 48 goals in 195 appearances in all competitions for the Magpies and after arriving for a fee of £30million, he has linked up well with the likes of James Maddison and Jamie Vardy.
The Key Man
Jamie Vardy has legendary status at the King Power Stadium. Since that Premier League-winning campaign, Wes Morgan has started to wane somewhat, both N’Golo Kante and Riyad Mahrez have left the club (and indeed both gone on to win the title again with their new clubs) but Vardy remains as dynamic as ever at the head of the Foxes attack and is clear at the top of the Premier League goalscoring chart this term.
Despite turning 32 in January, the forward is showing no signs of losing his pace and benefits from the creativity in this Leicester side season-on-season, scoring 18 times last term in all competitions. At the time of writing, he had 117 league goals to his name for the Foxes and will expect to add a few more to that tally during the remainder of this term.
How high can Leicester finish this season?
Breaking into the top four is generally difficult for anyone outside of the six clubs that have finished in those positions in the last three consecutive seasons, but if there is any team that knows a thing or two about upsetting the big clubs and the top-six monopoly it’s Leicester City, the club that defied all the odds in the world to win the Premier League title above all six of those clubs back in 2016.
Now, with Arsenal, Manchester United, Chelsea and Tottenham all not at their absolute best, Leicester have grasped their opportunity to shake things up once again. Consistency and home form have been the key as the Foxes aim to finish second, above even reigning champions Manchester City, this season.
Who fits in where in the Foxes attack?
With Harvey Barnes kicking on this term following a mixed spell last season after returning from a loan spell with West Bromwich Albion, he has played a significant part in the Leicester attacking line-up. James Maddison appears to operate best in an attacking midfield role, while Ayoze Perez tends to play on the right.
There is still plenty of space for the full-backs, Ricardo Pereira and Ben Chilwell, to join the attack on the flanks while Wilfried Ndidi and Youri Tielemans provide cover from midfield.
Where will Leicester finish this season?
This was obviously our original prediction but Leicester have clearly outperformed that by some distance, instead looking booked for second or third. As well as the huge improvement, Leicester supporters can now more enjoy watching their team play under Rodgers as he implements his own philosophy than they did under previous manager Claude Puel.
There is no longer any value in backing Leicester for a specific finishing position as they look highly likely to end up second or third. Therefore we are exploring other markets. James Maddison is enjoying another fine campaign in the Premier League with slick passing, creative play and an eye for goal. It will be difficult to beat Trent Alexander-Arnold but Maddison could just pick up the PFA Young Player of the Year award at 10/1.
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Leicester City Tips & Betting Specials 2019/2020
How will the Foxes fare in their first full season under Brendan Rodgers? Get our Leicester City betting tips and the latest Leicester City betting specials here.