Leicester City 2018/19 Season Review: Another season of change at the King Power
Leicester City have gone through an emotional 2018/19 campaign | Photo: Getty/ Alex Livesey

Leicester City 2018/19 Season Review: Another season of change at the King Power

The Foxes managed to secure a second-consecutive top-ten finish in the Premier League albeit during a season of tragedy.

daniel-orme
Daniel Orme

Leicester City’s 2018/19 Premier League campaign has come to a close and it was a season tinged with sadness.

Amidst yet another managerial sacking at the King Power Stadium, the Foxes have played some sumptuous football whilst mourning the devastating loss of beloved chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha.

Here VAVEL UK takes a look at back at the past campaign as Leicester secured another season in the English top flight but just missed out on a return to European football:

Transfer Business

Big Money Spent

The Foxes' summer business under former boss Claude Puel was a mixed bag. Seven players arrived through the doors of the King Power Stadium as the club spent just over £100m. Of course, those fees were assisted by the record-breaking exit of mercurial wideman Riyad Mahrez, who departed for Manchester City.

The earliest signing was right-back Ricardo Pereira as he was signed from Portuguese champions FC Porto. Despite an uneasy start to the campaign, he soon settled and became one of the first names on the teamsheet. He managed to make 35 appearances in all competitions, scoring twice and assisting seven further goals.

James Maddison also became one of the first names on the teamsheet following his arrival from Norwich City. Despite never playing in the Premier League prior to this season, the Englishman went a long way in replacing the creativity of the departed Mahrez. Chalking up seven goals and as many assists, including three stunning free-kicks, he will hoping to continue that success next season.

In comparison to the lofty fees paid out for Maddison and Pereira, the Foxes did also stumble upon a bargain as Jonny Evans joined from West Bromwich Albion. The Northern Irishman also had a pretty shaky start but soon became the undisputed partner of Harry Maguire and ended the season as one of the Foxes’ strongest performers.

Limited Opportunities

Leicester signed two further centre-backs under Claude Puel on an extremely busy deadline day. Caglar Soyuncu signed from SC Freiburg, whilst Croatian starlet Filip Benkovic was recruited from Dinamo Zagreb. Whilst the former has showed glimpses of his potential, he has perhaps not had the opportunities that he would want. The latter, meanwhile, joined Celtic on loan for the season.

Elsewhere, goalkeeper Danny Ward and winger Rachid Ghezzal were signed from Liverpool and AS Monaco respectively but again the two have found appearances hard to come by so far at the King Power Stadium.

Inspired Signing

Nonetheless, one arrival from the French side has left quite the impression in the East Midlands. Youri Tielemans was recruited on a short-term loan deal in the January transfer window and was an undoubted success having scored three goals and provided five assists. Reports suggest that new Foxes' boss Brendan Rodgers is keen on securing a permanent deal for the Belgian.

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Story of the Season

Premier League

It has been another inconsistent season for Leicester City as they eventually finished ninth for the second consecutive campaign. Under Puel, the Foxes won four and lost five of their opening nine games of the season which kicked off with an unfortunate 2-1 loss to Manchester United on the opening game of the campaign.

It was following a 1-1 draw with West Ham United on home soil in October though when tragedy struck. After the final whistle, the Foxes’ chairman and four others were involved in a devastating helicopter crash that left the whole club and city in shock. However, emotional tributes were made to those lost with a memorable 1-0 win over Cardiff City courtesy of a Demarai Gray goal.

The team then only won one out of their next six games before enjoying an outstanding Christmas period by beating Chelsea, Manchester City and Everton. That final win took the team to seventh in the table and in prime position to secure a place in the UEFA Europa League.

However, they could not sustain that form as a thrilling 4-3 defeat to Wolverhampton Wanderers and a 4-1 humbling to Crystal Palace were part of a run of five defeats in six games – an element that eventually saw Puel relieved of his job.

Brendan Rodgers arrived from Celtic and won four out of his first five games in charge before then falling to defeat against Newcastle United at home. The Foxes then had a tricky end to the campaign with Arsenal, Manchester City and Chelsea. However, they secured a highly impressive four points to end the campaign in ninth.

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Carabao Cup

The Foxes' campaign in the Carabao Cup was a missed opportunity under Puel despite reaching the quarter-finals of the competition. They kicked off their run with a 4-0 thumping of League One outfit Fleetwood Town before edging past Wolverhampton Wanderers on penalties at Molineux.

Puel’s men then continued their good fortune from the penalty spot as they again defeated another fellow Premier League outfit, Southampton. However, their luck was to run out as they failed to progress past a much-changed Manchester City outfit and were this time defeated on penalties.

FA Cup

Despite enjoying an extended run in the Carabao Cup, Leicester were not in the FA Cup for as long, falling at the first hurdle. The defeat itself was quite a humiliating one for Puel’s men as they fell 2-1 to League Two club Newport County and Rodney Parade.

The hosts took an early lead as Jamille Matt headed home. Rachid Ghezzal struck a great equaliser for Leicester before Newport’s win was secured by Padraig Amond from the penalty spot.

Player of the Season

There have been plenty at the King Power Stadium who have taken the headlines. Pereira was named as Player of the Season at the club’s official awards night, whilst Maddison claimed the young player gong.

However, the most inspirational man at the King Power Stadium once again has been striker Jamie Vardy. The forward was the highest scoring Englishman in the Premier League this season with an impressive 18 goals throughout the campaign.

Now at 32 years of age, many expected the ex-Fleetwood Town man to be slowing down but his finishing only appears to be getting better. The Foxes could be a team to watch if Vardy continues his sparkling form.

What’s To Come Next Campaign?

Since arriving in the East Midlands, Brendan Rodgers has made no secret of his desire to lead the Foxes back into Europe and indeed once again challenge for silverware. The team have plenty of talented young players, and with a couple of additions, could well be in the upper echelons of the league table once again.

They have been able to earn the wins that most would expect them to get under the Northern Irishman, whilst they have also caused the big boys a few problems. With a full pre-season and more time to work on how he wants his team to play, Leicester could potentially be the best of the rest and possibly break the top six under Rodgers next season.

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