The Leicester City 2022/23 season preview and prediction was originally printed in the Season Preview edition of FourFourTwo. Subscribe today!
The table might not lie, but it is prone to telling a few porkies. Ultimately, Leicester ended ‘only’ a place outside the European spots last season, but a side ravaged by injury and poor form suffered for large spells and only came eighth after battering impoverished rival pushovers Norwich, Watford and Southampton in their last four games.
In all, it means their task is altogether more straightforward now: do better. Brendan Rodgers’ men have spent the last two seasons balancing continental clashes with domestic duties, resulting in their thrilling romp to the Europa Conference League semi-finals. But spending midweek nights watching their rivals jet off won’t be fun; instead, Leicester’s players will be desperate to make their lighter schedules count as they push for the top six once more.
Leicester City 2022/23 season preview and prediction: The lesson from last year
A big one, first: set-pieces. The Foxes have habitually struggled to defend them under Rodgers, but a previously niggly issue hit full-blown crisis point last season – Opta said the 16 goals they conceded from corners alone was the joint-most in a Premier League season (since 2006/07). It undermined Rodgers’ team throughout; they blew 21 points from winning positions, the division’s third-worst total.
Generally, Leicester looked leggy – competing at home and abroad, a horrendous run of injuries throughout hampered them for the second campaign running. This summer, they’ve decided that enough is enough and gone all-out for Rangers’ highly rated doctor Mark Waller. It may not be a magic wand quick fix, but it’s surely a good start in steering Rodgers towards a settled starting line-up.
The coach: Brendan Rodgers
Having twice finished fifth before last season, Rodgers won’t – can’t – accept a prolonged slump. The ex-Liverpool chief has bared his shiny teeth at underperformers and threatened a ruthless overhaul, showing a far grittier side than in previous campaigns. This one may be decisive for him at Leicester.
The owner: Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha
Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha succeeded father Vichai after that tragic helicopter disaster of October 2018, and has continued to run the Foxes in dad’s image. ‘Khun Top’ frequently interacts with fans, but he’s also an altruist who donated £1m to Leicester Hospitals Charity’s Neonatal Incubator Appeal in June.
The mood around Leicester…
A poor season by recent standards was brightened up by that surprisingly entertaining Conference League final- our jaunt. UEFA’s third competition has added another viable route into Europe for Leicester, and that’s purely what Rodgers will be judged on this year. That run papered over cracks at home; this time, fans want to see some more convincing domestic displays.
The one to watch
All eyes will rest on Patson Daka as the 23-year-old Zambian heads into his second season. Last term was difficult for the £23m Salzburg signing, though electrifying episodes like his four-goal haul at Spartak Moscow proved there’s a predator within. Rodgers will ask for more from the forward, but so will he.
Most likely to…
Cryogenically freeze one of their stars. Only seven players’ goals won more points than Jamie Vardy’s in 2021/22 – an especially impressive feat given that Leicester’s favourite pest only featured in two games from the middle of January to mid-April. But how much longer can they rely on a player who started half their games last season?
Least likely to…
Sign any more 6ft 6in centre-backs to solve a ‘winning headers’ problem. It doesn’t always work out, apparently.
The fan's view: David Bevan (@db_writing)
Last season was rather underwhelming. Maybe two 5th-place finishes spoiled us, but poor recruitment and the lack of personality was alarming. We had some fun nights in Europe, though.
This season will be different because our new doctor means no injuries, which means finally qualifying for the Champions League after three years of an unfit squad. Dreaming’s worked before...
Our key player will be Wesley Fofana, an absolute superstar in the making.
I won’t be happy unless we sort out our set-piece deficiencies. It got so bad that our fans celebrated every time we cleared an opposition corner.
Our most underrated player is James Maddison – at least where Gareth Southgate is concerned. What more can he do?
The opposition player who grinds my gears is Harry Kane: 19 goals in 18 games against us. Enough already.
I’m least looking forward to playing Bournemouth, our Harry Kane of clubs. We’ve only won two of our last 10 games against them.
The fans’ opinion of the gaffer is still positive, but last season was a grind with some real lows. Three wins in four to finish showed the style we’ve linked with him.
The player I’d happily drive to another club is Jannik Vestergaard, though I’ll only fit him in if I put the back seats down and he lies flat.
The pantomime villain will be Jamie Vardy, when he scores a last-minute winner at the City Ground, mimes chopping down a tree and then dives into the Trent.
The one change I’d make would be getting rid of the gambling partners. Our club leads from the front in many other areas.
We’ll finish 7th.
FFT'S VERDICT… 8th
No European football should ease the load on Rodgers’ squad, but bettering last time will demand serious gains.
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