A Season In Review: Leicester City

In this series of 20 articles, we take a look back at the Premier League season, focusing on each team individually. We take a look at transfer window activity, managerial changes, and key points throughout the season.

Transfer Windows

Leicester’s transfer windows saw little activity, which was very frustrating. After losing Schmeichel, their first-choice keeper, and Fofana, one of their better defenders, to Chelsea, the squad needed investing in.

That did not entirely happen though. The defence improved with the additions of Wout Faes from Stade Reims, Harry Souttar from Stoke and Kirstiensen from FC Copenhagen. Tete arrived from Shakhtar Donetsk to add some quality up top as well.

However, Leicester did not replace Schmeichel, bringing in Alex Smithies from Cardiff to cover Danny Ward, who would start in the net for them. Danny Ward is not Premier League standard, and a lot of the Leicester fans were crying out for a world-class keeper, but one did not join. A very disappointing transfer window.

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Managerial Changes

Brendan Rodgers may be considered lucky when looking at how long the board gave him before deciding to get rid. He managed 28 of the 38 games in the season, winning just 7 games, and drawing 3.

His last game was a 2-1 loss against Crystal Palace, that left The Foxes dangerously close to relegation. After some of the backroom staff took interim charge, the board decided that Dean Smith would be the man to take Leicester to Premier League safety.

In his 8 games, he managed 2 wins and 3 draws. His first game in charge was a very tricky tie away against Man City, which they inevitably lost, but their win at home against Wolves raised the fans’ hopes of survival.

Dean Smith and Leicester left it too late, and despite picking up a draw and a win in their last 2 games, got relegated.

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Key Games

International breaks often come at the worst time for struggling teams. They finally end up getting a win and then they have to wait 2 weeks until their next league game whilst half their team jets off to play in international games.

The World Cup break did Leicester no favours this year. In the 8 games before the break, Leicester had won 5 and drawn 1, losing against Bournemouth and Man City.

Expectations were high when they returned from the break with a home game against Newcastle, hoping that they could continue that good form that was pushing them further away from the relegation zone.

It was not meant to be, however, as they fell to a 3-0 defeat at home against Newcastle in their first game back, and they then travelled to Liverpool, and despite taking the lead, lost the game from 2 Wout Faes own goals.

They then went on to lose the next 2 games after that, putting them in further danger. Had they come back and performed straight away after the international break, they may have stayed up. Instead, they came back and looked like a completely different team.

Cup Competitions

Carabao Cup

Leicester started their Carabao Cup journey with an away game against non-league side Stockport. Despite Leicester dominating the game, they could not find the back of the next, as the home side, surprisingly, took them all the way to penalties.

Leicester did eventually go through, as Stockport failed to convert the majority of the penalties, a Leicester advanced 3-1 on penalties.

After struggling past a non-league side, Leicester faced League Two side Newport County in the third round. They made light work of their lower league opposition this time, as they comfortably ran out 3-0 winners thanks to goals from Justin and 2 from Jamie Vardy.

Leicester’s opponents in the fourth round were League One side MK Dons. Leicester travelled to make light work of their opponents again, running out 3-0 winners for the second round in a row. Goals from Tielemans, Perez and Vardy sent them into the quarter-finals.

They finally faced a Premier League side, as they were drawn away against Newcastle United. Dan Burn and Joelinton scored second-half goals as Newcastle eased Leicester out of the competition.

FA Cup

Leicester’s opponents in the FA Cup were even easier than the ones faced in their Carabao Cup run. In the third round, they were drawn away against League Two side Gillingham. A tight affair settled itself when cup specialist Iheanacho scored 9 minutes after halftime, sending Leicester through after a 1-0 win.

Another away game against League Two opposition awaited Leicester, this time in the form of Walsall. The game was almost a repeat of their previous round, as Iheanacho settled a tight affair, this time after 68 minutes, sending The Foxed through to the fifth round.

Leicester finally moved away from League Two opposition, as they were finally drawn a home game, against Blackburn Rovers. Goals in either half from Dolan and Szmodics gave the visitors a 2-0 lead before Iheanacho scored to half the deficit.

Leicester pushed but could not make their chances count, as they were knocked out in the fifth round by lower-league opposition.

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Season Overall

What a poor, poor season from Leicester. To think that a few years ago this team won the Premier League, and now they will be playing their football in The Championship. A massive shame.

Their biggest downfall was their activity in the transfer window. They did not strengthen where they needed to. They lost their best goalkeeper in their recent history and replaced him with a Championship standard goalkeeper.

They had an ageing striker in Jamie Vardy whom they never really had a replacement for, and so the goals started to dry up for them. The board could easily have stopped this happened, but they kept missing out on their key targets.

Should they have given Brendan Rodgers as long as he had? Results did start to turn around when Dean Smith came in and had he had another month in charge, he may have been able to keep The Foxes up.

The board were too loyal to Rodgers. They should have pulled the trigger much sooner. Dean Smith will have a brilliant chance next season to get Leicester back up. It will be a big rebuild, but they have already signed some capable players, who can help get them promoted again.

Their cup runs were woeful. Even getting to the quarter-finals of the Carabao Cup, they only came up against lower-league opposition and then lost at the first sight of a Premier League team. They even got knocked out of the FA Cup by a lower-league team. An embarrassing season for The Foxes.

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