With Leicester going into the new Premier League season as champions they now have the even harder task of having to defend the title, it’s certainly not going to be easy.
Indeed, Claudio Ranieri’s boys have already lost one key player in N’Golo Kante, now of Chelsea, and Riyad Mahrez has been strongly tipped to leave the King Power Stadium before the summer transfer window slams shut.
Likewise, Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal and all the usual suspects will be firing on all cylinders this season after being embarrassed by the Foxes last season.
So if they’re to win the title, here are six key things that must work in Leicester City’s favour.
He may have missed out on the Premier League golden boot by just one goal, but after winning the title that would have certainly have lessened any disappointment on a personal level. His 24 goals went a long way to helping Leicester complete their fairytale season and Vardy is going to have to produce something similar this time around.
Title winning teams always need a striker who can deliver 20+ goals that’s the difference between first and the rest but will last season’s goalscoring exploits be a flash in the pan for Vardy? He has already found the net in the Community Shield the hope now for Claudio Ranieri is that the form is carried all the way through to next May.
With the departure of N’Golo Kante to Chelsea leave a massive void in midfield? His replacement Nampalys Mendy will be charged with plugging the gap. On the face of it the two seem very similar midfielders and Mendy will have very large shoes to fill at the King Power this season.
With Kante the protective screen in midfield last season it allowed Riyad Mahrez to surge forward at will and create so many of Vardy’s 24 goals. The hope is that Mendy will be allowed to offer that same protection and security otherwise they don’t just lose Kante’s attributes they could also lose Mahrez and Vardy’s as well.
Leicester were fortunate enough not to have many injuries last season as Claudio Ranieri had the luxury of naming a relatively unchanged team each week as they marched on to the Premier League title. He will now have to hope that he has the same fortune this season again.
It will only take a lengthy spell on the sidelines for either Mahrez or Vardy and all of a sudden Leicester look like a different proposition and one that could seriously hamper their defence of the Premier League title. The fact that they had such few injuries, especially to key players, last season gave the side that extra cohesion and it certainly paid off towards the end of the season as many pundits predicted them to falter they continued to roll over teams week in week out.
Champions League football comes to Leicester this season and that will put somewhat of a strain on Claudio Ranieri’s side. The fact that they only had to play once a week while their title rivals had cup competitions to contend with will have been a massive bonus to Leicester but this time around they don’t have that luxury.
Ranieri has already aimed to deal with this potential issue by adding new faces to his squad. Not ones that will necessarily come straight into the team but with the possibility of playing twice a week and the demands that it will bring it seems as if the Tinkerman will be living up to his name during this campaign.
A lot will depend on whether or not Ahmed Musa can live up to record-breaking price tag and chip in with his fair share of goals this season. The Nigerian forward has lightning pace and it will be a welcome addition to this already pacy Leicester side. He showed in the Community Shield how much of a nuisance he will be for defenders, he just needs to know where the goal is also.
The key for Leicester last season was not just Jamie Vardy scoring the goals himself but it was a real team effort with goals across the squad, if Musa can not just lighten Vardy’s load but add to it then the Foxes will have an extra ace up their sleeve and won’t need an over reliance on their talismanic England international. Not only that but it will afford Vardy the time to rest should he need it.
They have already lost one of their title winning stars this summer, and if they are to have any chance of defending their title then they need to make sure they keep hold of another. It’s going to be a nervy few weeks for Leicester fans and I don’t think they will be able to relax until the transfer window is shut.
That’s because Riyad Mahrez is continually linked with a move away from the King Power and with the Algerian yet to sign a new contract there is always danger he could still be playing elsewhere come September. After his performances last season he could name his price at any of Europe’s top clubs, the question is whether or not Leicester can match it?
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