The 2021/22 Premier League season is around the corner and for Leicester City, the club are finally looking to break the Premier League's presumed order and make themselves heard again. The Foxes finished outside the top four yet again last season but are hoping this is finally their year.
How well did Leicester City do in the 2020/21 Premier League season?
It was another season filled with hopes and dreams for Leicester City, another season where they once again believed in the myth that any side could play Champions League football but another year where their dreams came crashing down. And much like the 2019/20 season, it all happened in the final weeks of the season with the Foxes watching as their hopes and dreams burnt to a crisp with Champions League football just beyond their reach, once again.
But for the first time in the club’s history, Brendan Rodgers’ side won the FA Cup and lifted only their second trophy in over 21 years. A monumental achievement for the club but now comes the next step and that’s where the Foxes have struggled, taking that next step into the Champions League fold. Yet, their league performances last term showcased that the club has the potential to be a rather impressive side as they finished the 2020/21 Premier League season with 20 wins, 6 draws and 12 losses to finish fifth.
And the stats backed that impressive title as they finished as the league’s fourth highest goalscorers (68), had the sixth highest xG per 90 (1.47), the tenth best assists per 90 (0.87), the eighth most key passes completed (347), the sixth most touches overall (25031) and the tenth best non-penalty xG or npxG (46.9). However, defensively they were all over the place even if it did have a wildly inconsistent look to it all with injuries to key defenders playing a role.
Yet somehow, they survived even if the Foxes had the eleventh best or tenth worst defensive record (50), the tenth best PSxG (Post-Shot Expected Goals) (48.5). Furthermore, they produced the second fewest errors leading to a shot/goal (4), the second best successful pressure percentage (31.7%), committed the tenth fewest fouls (412), had the ninth worst clean sheet percentage (28.9%) and did that while averaging the fifth best points per game (1.74).
Improvements they’ve made so far:
As transfers go, Leicester City seems to keep hitting the nail right on the head with Wesley Fofana and Timothy Castagne both thriving last season and so far, they’ve done it again. Ryan Bertrand on a free-transfer provides cover that the Foxes didn’t have last term especially as James Justin and Castagne recover from long-term injuries even if Luke Thomas did impress. However, their biggest issue will be the fact that the club starts the season with just one fit bonafide center-back.
That happens to be Caglar Soyuncu, who has struggled for form, with Fofana set to miss out on the remainder of 2021 while Jonny Evans is out until at least mid-September. It is a concern and while Daniel Amartey has impressed, sparingly, during pre-season, he is far from a permanent solution. They could do with one, or two, new additions there and with options plenty for a team that has no issue finding the best one, they need to make their move fast.
In midfield, the club have brought in young Boubakary Soumare and once again, he’s a perfect fit. The 22-year-old should seamlessly slip into the midfield three, or two, alongside either Wilfred Ndidi or Youri Tielemans and not look out of place. But the best move that Leicester City have made this summer happens to be up top by snatching Patson Daka from right below RB Leipzig’s nose with the forward signing from Leipzig's fellow RB club RB Salzburg.
As replacements for Jamie Vardy goes, Daka is about as like-for-like as they come with the two men eerily similar in the way they play the game of football. Both men are lethal in front of goal, have a humble background, have electric pace and more importantly, Daka can now learn from the veteran forward. But the big question is whether Daka adjusts to the physicality and everything else that the English league provides as compared to the Austrian one and does so in his first season.
But if his Community Shield cameo was anything to go by, then Daka might be exactly what the Foxes need. Beyond that, there seems to be very little the club needs although the arrival of another winger might help their cause. Harvey Barnes may be back from a season ending injury but Ayoze Perez hasn't lived up to his price-tag and thus, a new winger would most definitely help the Foxes' cause.
How well could Leicester City do in the 2021/22 Premier League season?
This is a team more than capable of challenging for the top four, maybe even the top three, but that's if lady luck is on their side and if they manage to find a little bit of consistency towards the end of the season. That's where the Foxes tend to get shot down and out of the Champions League race with them losing big to Bournemouth, in the 2019/20 season, and then Newcastle United, last term, which started the downfall.
Things might be slightly easier this time around but even then, they always start with a big loss to a comparatively weaker side which is where mentality and consistency comes in, and hopefully the FA Cup and the Community Shield win changes things. However, the floor shouldn't be lower than a top six berth, with a top seven place, on the brink of their powers but that's only if injuries decimate the team, if they fail to play coherent football and if someone Brendan Rodgers loses his mojo.