Why this season has been a success for Leicester City despite final day loss
Jamie Vardy of Leicester City celebrates with teammate James Maddison and Youri Tielemans after scoring his team's second goal during the Premier League match between Leicester City and Tottenham Hotspur at The King Power Stadium on May 23, 2021, in Leicester, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Despite spending 242 days inside the top four, Leicester City missed out on UEFA Champions League qualification on the final day for the second successive season. 

The Foxes took on Tottenham Hotspur knowing they needed at least a point and results to go their way elsewhere to stand any chance of making it into European’s elite club competition.

However, a 4-2 defeat against Spurs saw Chelsea and Liverpool both qualify at City’s expense, but it’s a bitter pill to swallow for Brendan Rodgers’ side who let a lead slip on two separate occasions, which eventually meant they would play in the Europa League next season.

Leicester were inside the top-four the longest out of any side in the division and have to settle with a fifth-place finish once again. But after winning the Emirates FA Cup for the first time in the club’s history, this season should still be determined as a success for the Foxes despite last weekend’s disappointment.

Higher points total

Many Leicester supporters expressed their frustration after dropping outside the Champions League spaces for a second season on the bounce and the manner of the loss is something which has annoyed some of the Foxes faithful.

Three late goals condemned Rodgers’ men to defeat on the day, but the progress which the team has made shouldn’t be underestimated when you look at the season as a whole. The Foxes have achieved a higher points total this term (66) compared to the 62 which they finished on in 2019/20, and that isn’t taking into consideration the circumstances that they were faced during the way.

This is also Leicester’s second-biggest points total amassed in a single Premier League season since its introduction 29 years ago and it’s only the seventh time that the club will be competing in Europe altogether.

Although City’s home form this season ranks eighth in the division and has been concerning, the amount they’ve picked up altogether is a step in the right direction. Coincidentally, their away record is the third-best having lost just three times on their travels, which is a massive improvement on last season’s total and proves why their league finish should be commended.

FA Cup win

After a 137-year wait, the Foxes secured their first-ever FA Cup triumph with a 1-0 win against Chelsea at Wembley on May 15 and this should be something that makes Leicester’s season a success by itself. However, dropping out of the top-four has dampened the spirits on what has been a very good season by a side which were battling mid-table mediocrity before Rodgers took charge.

Having also lost the final of this competition four times, it was one of the only domestic trophies which has alluded the Foxes and would’ve been many supporters’ dreams to lift that this season.

So, with a cup and a fifth-place finish should be considered as progress, seeing as Leicester have won only one major honour since 2000.

Injuries derailing season

Something which, however, didn’t help the Foxes in 20/21 was the number of injuries that they picked up along the way. Caglar Soyuncu, Wilfred Ndidi, and Ricardo were just a few of those who missed some of the opening months of the season, whilst James Justin, Harvey Barnes, and James Maddison were the main trio that was ruled out for the longest in the second half.

There were many others who spent time out through injury and the Foxes actually only had two players which played over 30 league matches. Youri Tielemans featured in 37 of the 38 in the top-flight, whilst Jamie Vardy was the other to make it over that mark, but it further shows the job that has been done to keep the level of consistency having suffered so badly with those problems.

Much of the talk was around Liverpool’s defensive injuries when they lost Virgil Van Djik and Joe Gomez, but for Leicester to still be competing at the top level with those injuries should not be underestimated. With those issues, it should be seen that a fifth-place finish and a trophy is a successful season for the Foxes.