Aug 9, 2017
118 Views

Leicester City: 2017/18 Premier League Season Preview

Written by

Following their staggering title win in 2015/16, nobody really knew what to expect from Leicester City last season.

The kings of unpredictability started competently enough, at home at least, but a downturn in results in the late autumn and Christmas period left them teetering on the edge of the bottom three when Claudio Ranieri was sacked, concluding a dramatic fall from grace for the Italian.

But in came Craig Shakespeare, his assistant, on a temporary basis to turn around their tragedy of a season. Shakespeare became the first English manager in the Premier League era to win his first five games in charge as Leicester escaped the threat of relegation and finished the season in a respectable 12th place. Reaching the Champions League quarter-finals, the best showing of any Premier League team was the real highlight, though.

Now Shakespeare has been given the chance to take the job on a permanent basis and starts his first full season as a full-time manager with the aim of returning Leicester to the top half of the table. The squad is talented enough, but with the Foxes, who knows?

How has their summer gone?

Leicester’s business has been thoroughly positive so far this summer.

Although two of their stars of the title winning season, Danny Drinkwater and Riyad Mahrez continue to be linked with moves away, Leicester have both added quality in these positions and have a number of talented players waiting to show what they can do.

READ MORE:  “Mahrez has to stay at the King Power” – Three things learnt from Leicester City 2-0 Brighton

Harry Maguire has come in from Hull City to add some youth to an ageing back line, while Vicente Iborra from Sevilla represents a classy capture in the centre of midfield. For a fee believed to be around £10.5 million, he will be seen as a bargain should Drinkwater depart.

Up front, Leicester have opted spent big to sign 20-year-old Nigerian striker Kelechi Iheanacho from Manchester City for a fee of £25 million. The youngster scored 21 goals in 64 appearances for City, most of which came as a substitute, so he could prove to be a bargain in today’s inflated market.

Their pre-season has been packed full of matches, starting in Hong Kong where they lost the Asia Trophy final to Liverpool, before a series of friendlies back in England.

Defeats to Wolves and Burton Albion were not ideal preparation, but a win over Borussia Mönchengladbach in their final friendly sees them go into the season in good stead.

READ MORE:  “Mahrez has to stay at the King Power” – Three things learnt from Leicester City 2-0 Brighton
Manager: Craig Shakespeare

Still very little is known about Craig Shakespeare as he embarks on his first full season as a manager.

He rejuvenated the Foxes last season by reintroducing the tactics employed by Ranieri in the title winning season, but it is yet to be seen how he will adapt to a sticky spell or if teams sit back to counter the pace of Jamie Vardy and force Leicester to play.

However, he showed a lot of promise at the helm of the club last season and the club may even push for Europe should his win ratio remain as high as last year.

How could the Foxes line-up this season?

Who is Leicester’s best fantasy football option?

There is still plenty of guesswork in deciding how Leicester will line up next season with the likes of Christian Fuchs, Robert Huth and Wes Morgan getting older and slower in defence and Mahrez and Drinkwater potentially heading for the exit, so the best option may be further up the field.

Demarai Gray and Marc Albrighton could both prove to be bargains at 5.5m, but which one starts regularly is yet to be known.

READ MORE:  “Mahrez has to stay at the King Power” – Three things learnt from Leicester City 2-0 Brighton

However, Iheanacho should get plenty of game time and at 7.0m, he is cheap for a striker. He will score goals, so he is certainly worth a punt.

Fancy a new challenge this season? Sign up to Draft Fantasy Football and prove your knowledge of the Premier League!

FPL Draft

 Premier League Verdict

The only thing you can really predict with confidence about Leicester is that they will be unpredictable, but their squad has enough talent to make the top half, even if Mahrez and Drinkwater do leave.

There are plenty of players who under performed last season with a point to prove, namely Ahmed Musa, Islam Sliman and Nampalys Mendy, who spent much of his season on the treatment table, as well as several talented youngsters such as Demarai Gray and Ben Chilwell who will be expected to step up.

Wilfried Ndidi should go from strength to strength with his energy in midfield and a front two of Iheanacho and Vardy has enough pace and skill to frighten any defence in the league.

A repeat of 2015/16 is a very long shot, but the Foxes will be confident of an improvement of last season.

Article Categories:
Leicester City · Season Preview

John is a history graduate from the University of Southampton, and will soon be completing a Master's degree in Journalism at Cardiff University