Leicester City head into the 2020/21 season looking to overcome the disappointment of the last campaign, where a dramatic collapse saw the team relinquish a seemingly confirmed return to the UEFA Champions League.
Brendan Rodgers' troops will now compete in Europe's second-tier competition, whilst also attempting to disturb the Premier League's established elite once again.
Much like the majority of clubs in the Premier League, it’s been a disturbed pre-season for Leicester, with players jetting off on holiday and on international duty. Consequently, the East-Midlanders have only played three pre-season matches, all against Championship opposition.
They at first overcame Birmingham City, with Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall, who looks like he has done enough to earn a place in the senior squad, opening the scoring. Marc Albrighton then got a second as a goalkeeper clearance cannoned off of him and into the back of the net.
Sheffield Wednesday were the next opponents, and understandable signs of rustiness were on display as the scores stayed goalless.
Pre-season was rounded off with a 1-1 draw against Blackburn Rovers at the King Power Stadium. The returning Daniel Amartey scored the opener before Derrick Williams saw Rovers claim a point.
The start of the window brought much promise for Leicester with several high-profile names linked to the club, but right at the eve of the new season, the optimism has faded and has been replaced with a feeling of frustration.
Whilst there have been departures - the most notable being Ben Chilwell to Frank Lampard’s Chelsea - the lack of arrivals have left some fans feeling less confident about Leicester’s chances of competing for a top four finish once again, as well as in this year’s Europa League campaign.
At the time of writing, Timothy Castagne is the Foxes’ only signing so far this season. The Belgian wing-back brings much-needed versatility to the squad, and could well be a more than adequate replacement considering his previous European exploits at his former club Atalanta.
Recent reports are suggesting, however, that Rodgers looks likely to add to his squad which is in desperate need of some depth as well as more attacking quality out wide. David Brooks of Bournemouth is one of the attacking players that has been touted to move to the King Power Stadium this summer, whilst James Tarkowski of Burnley and Wesley Fofana of Saint-Etienne have been rumoured to come in and compete at centre-back.
By Callum Boyle
With the golden boot holder not getting any younger, Leicester look to still get the best out of their key striker Jamie Vardy. At 33 years old and retired from international football, it’s likely that their top goal scorer has just a few seasons left in him, but the Foxes still rely on him and his presence in the squad.
Vardy bagged 23 goals last season, with Ayoze Perez being the next best scorer with just eight. So, to compete with the ‘Top 6' clubs, they need that world class ability that Vardy brings to the team.
His goals alone make him key for Leicester, but alongside this, his experience at the highest level is a great boost to the younger players in the team, and provides a level of confidence and prestige for Leicester in such a competitive league.
By Lois George
Dewsbury-Hall is an exciting young player who has risen through the ranks at Leicester. The 22-year-old center midfielder has caught the eye of many Foxes fans after his impressive performances during pre-season as well as in his sole first team appearance against Brentford in last year’s FA Cup.
Dewsbury-Hall spent the second half of last campaign at Blackpool and massively impressed. He made ten appearances, scoring four goals and providing one assist. This led to many Seasiders fans wanting him to return ahead of the 2020/21 season.
However, with Leicester heading into a season where they will be competing in the Europa League, the fixture list will be busy and some added depth is be needed. With transfer funds needed to be spent in other positions, Rodgers may look to last year’s Development Squad Player of the Year to play a part in the first team and provide support to the starting central midfielders.
If Dewsbury-Hall is given a chance, and he continues perform well, then the youngster may end up challenging James Maddison and Youri Tielemans for a starting spot in the Premier League this season.
By Jack Johnson
Heading into the season, Leicester will of course have aspirations of challenging for Europe once again, so clashes against the likes of Wolverhampton Wanderers on 7th November and 6th February and Tottenham Hotspur (19th December and 23rd May) could be key.
Away from the Premier League, supporters will also have their eye on the UEFA Europa League calendar. The draw for the group stage is set to take place in Nyon, Switzerland on 2nd October, with the competition kicking off later in the month on the 22nd. Should they progress through the group, the knockout stages are set to commence in mid-February.
With Chelsea, Manchester United, and Wolverhampton Wanderers all strengthening this summer, the Foxes could possibly find themselves being slightly left behind. They might not reach the same heights as last season, where they occupied a UEFA Champions League place for a vast majority of the campaign. Rodgers still has a talented squad at his disposal though, so they could well challenge for Europe once again and should do well in the Europa League. Expect them to finish 7th.