Leicester City will kick of their season at home to Wolverhampton Wanderers on Sunday, and as we have seen in the pre-season everything looks almost perfect. The sale of Harry Maguire is of course a blow, but something few would believe could have been avoided.
SQUAD IN TOTAL
Looking at the squad it looks more than big enough and with the grand group of players still around you are to believe that injuries will not affect the team at all, but there are doubts about a number of those fringe players still running around not knowing their faith. This will affect the harmony among players and that is a concern for a manager to have a “flock” of players not knowing their place in the system, and seeing themselves as part of a push.
Total squad balance, 5/10
Looking at the goalkeepers Leicester City are in good hands. Kasper Schmeichel is a clear number one, with Danny Ward and Eldin Jakupovic both good covers. Daniel Iversen, a fourth choice, is at the moment loaned out to Rotherham for the season, with Swedish youngster Viktor Johansson showing promising signs of becoming a contender soon.
Goalkeeper position, 8/10
Defensively you have a number of options to the right, with Ricardo Pereira standing out as first choice, newly signed James Justin is a cover. Daniel Amartey could be heading to a new club, but all in all the right back position is one of our strongest.
Right-back position, 9/10
Central defense is probably the teams weakest link at the moment, with the sale of Harry Maguire. Jonny Evans looks safe and better than ever, but inexperienced alternatives Caglar Soyuncu and Filip Benkovic are not Premier League adjusted yet. Wes Morgan is still an alternative, but this is a bit of a worry, with two players hardly tested at PL level and an old timer as a cover.
Central defense position, 6/10Embed from Getty Images
To the left it all looks well and steady with Ben Chilwell certain as first choice and a steady Christian Fuchs as cover. Probably the best position cover in the Premier League. Two great players who often are very important in the games and key players when points are picked.
Left-back position, 10/10
Midfield is no worry, what a grand group of alternatives. Hamza Choudhury is growing into a defensive enigma and with Wilfred Ndidi, Youri Tielemans, James Maddison, Adrien Silva and Papy Mendy all alternatives, you should have no big worries, our strongest area.
Midfield position, 9/10
FLANKS / WINGERS
Flanks or wingers are positions with a number of possibilities. Demarai Gray are we still waiting on, he had his moments last season but all in all he looks to have a difficult season in front of him, he needs to step up. Mark Albrighton, Harvey Barnes and Ayoze Perez can all play out wide, and they are three very interesting players.
Flanks, wingers, 7/10
Up front you have Jamie Vardy, Jamie Vardy and Jamie Vardy. Leicester City are heavily depended on their “icon” and goalscoring machine. Islam Slimani and Kelechi Iheanacho are two other alternatives, and they are both players with a huge potential, but with little or no game time they will stand “rusty” and never really be trusted alternatives with no signs of a rotation policy up front to be installed.
Ayoze Perez and James Maddison can both play in that role just behind the forward, if that is to be used, but we feel that Brendan Rodgers will use a more liquid style and play players up and around Jamie Vardy and by that fielding three attacking options.
Forward position, 9/10
Looking at the system used, and possible alternatives to change, either between games or during games, you can of course look at several possibilities. Leicester City can be seen in different systems and sometimes it glides into each other.
During pre-season we have seen a number of different systems as Brendan Rodgers likes to change a bit and he with different alternatives in different positions he might be ending up doing exactly that.
The 4-4-1-1 type of set up, is the one we like to see, but this is also easily a 4-1-3-1, and it can be 4-4-2, and as before and as Brendan Rodgers said himself probably the perfect one is a 4-3-3, we just have to wait and see how he will field his team.
To have four players in the back looks more or less concrete and with the sale of Harry Maguire, you would not see Leicester City flirting with three in the back, hopefully not, because it is heavily risky to play with only three and it also needs a lot of learning and training to adapt to such a defensive pattern, so we hope Rodgers settles as he has done in the past with a four in the back solution.
Against Atalanta you had a change to a pyramid in the midfield, with a certain Hamza Choudhury probably being at his best, but you also have Wilfred Ndidi who can operate as the defensive anchor in that midfield position. Personally would like both Ndidi and Choudhury on the field at all times, they are great players and we need them to cover that back four and build a strong unit.
Brendan Rodgers used both Ndidi and Choudhury last season and said he had a more of a 4-3-3 set up with those two building a very exciting midfield together with Youri Tielemans and they were perfect together. James Maddison played in a deeper undefined role just in between, Jamie Vardy up front and Marc Albrighton or Harvey Barnes out on the flank. With Ayoze Perez also available now and a certain starter, you have som grand alternatives to decide on, and it looks as a perfect set up to use Vardy, Perez and Maddison in those three offensive positions.
Marc Albrighton is a player TCF personally like, since he is the clever passer bringing something different to the team, being brilliant in pre-season and not really seeing him on the bench, since he is the “guy with the eye” and giving the team a certain special touch when he is playing.
For the opener against Wolves we believe that Wilfred Ndidi will rest and Marc Albrighton will start but we are uncertain about Brendan Rodgers set up and he will probably look to Wolves and base his system a bit on the opponent as he lays his plan for three points.
The modern way of playing is what Rodgers are on his way to do, using a settled four in the back, three midfielders and three players offensively who are not 100% defined in their roles but twisting and turning, shifting positions up front and gliding into a rotated front that upsets the backline of the oppenent. With Vardy, Maddison and Perez you have that perfectly handled, but again playing Albrighton you will get a player that seldom moves of the flank, despite one time seeing him score in pre-season, doing exactly that sliding into the top forward position and actually scoring a nice goal.
The manager is one of the best in the trade. With Brendan Rodgers, Leicester City are in good hands. Hopefully not seeing more big money moves out of the club. Rodgers must be funded to do what he needs to do to push this club forward and try to break into that top six, which has been seen as a goal for Leicester City. The walk and talk is not 100% yet as Rodgers has a squad not really balanced and lack certain qualities that is needed to push for a place in that area.
With a bit of luck, few injuries, more money available and players ready to “bleed” for Leicester City and their manager, then it could be possible. But with “dreamers” and players with their mind set on football in “red” you cannot be able to build your momentum for a top six finish. Energy tapping is always a challenge for a manager, and players with other plans than being focused and in love with the blue shirt, will never win you medals.
Leicester City fans comes in different colors and with different thoughts and ideas, they are also divided in their goals for this club and are still a bit “blinded” by the fact that the club won the Premier League a few seasons ago.
TCF believed it was possible to be part of that Premier League title challenge season in and season out with a group of unique players and a management of great football knowledge, but when saying that, others said, oh no that will not happen again, we can’t do that. So what can Leicester City do, and what are fans really thinking, not easy to find out as so many are just like glass manets sliding around in water.
Fans are ok with this and that, they want a new face in, and many doesn’t really have a certain goal. As newspapers and websites have described it, we are still walking around in the fog and just want happy faces to be around.
All in all as a Leicester City fan you are just happy to see your team in the Premier League, nothing else matters. To be up there among the best is “utopia”, if we can do more or climb the table fine, but honestly believe that as a Leicester City fan you just want that feeling of being a Premier League club season in and season out, the rest will just be a bonus.
OWNERS & ADMINISTRATION
The owners and administration are doing a grand job and perfect for this club. They seldom speak to the media, which again makes comments and quotes coming from websites and newspapers difficult to judge, and depending on that, what we see from day to day business, how they are building the club and how they are working out the future with a new training ground coming up and the talks of a new 10.000 increase of stadium capacity, you just want this to continue growing. The club and their hospitality and friendly attitude is shown and they are really doing a grand job all over.
Owners & Administration, 10/10
We strongly believe that Leicester City can surprise a few this season and break into that Top 4, with Arsenal, Tottenham and Manchester United in reach. A bold prediction from TCF is a 3rd postion. Manchester City and Liverpool will compete for the top two positions and hopefully Leicester City can grab that third place, what a fantastic achievement that would have been and again watching Leicester City in the Champions League.
The team has one “uncertainty” and that is the central defense, the rest is perfectly balanced for a fight for a third place, and if Rodgers can nurse a new player, either from our own ranks or from outside to play alongside Jonny Evans, then this is not a prediction taken out of thin air.
Table position, 3/20
We wish all Leicester City supporters, players, management and staff all the best for the season, just believing this is going in the right direction and have great belief in this movement, as always, 100% Leicester City, nothing else matters!
So how are others looking at Leicester City this season. Here are a three interesting views,