The last two seasons have been bittersweet for Leicester City.
They have broken the ‘big six’ two years in a row and won the FA Cup, but twice missed out on Champions League football on the final day.
The Foxes have built a very talented squad, and they will be hoping to get over that last hurdle this time around.
One thing that Leicester excel at is scoring goals. Last term, they racked up 68 Premier League goals – only Manchester City and Manchester United bagged more.
Brendan Rodgers has a very impressive selection of forwards: Jamie Vardy is still banging them in at 34, Kelechi Iheanacho has just enjoyed the most prolific season of his career, new boy Patson Daka had a brilliant record at RB Salzburg, Harvey Barnes is back from injury. If they can keep all of these fit, they’re in for another free-scoring campaign.
Down the other end, things weren’t so strong. Rodgers’ men conceded 50 goals in the Premier League – the second-highest in the top half.
Defensive midfielder Boubakary Soumare and left-back Ryan Bertrand have been recruited this summer, but this may not be enough. Expect them to be in the market for another centre-back.
Leicester’s worries at the back deepened during pre-season, as Wesley Fofana picked up a long-term injury.
This has left them with only Caglar Soyuncu, Jonny Evans, and Filip Benkovic at centre-back, the latter of whom is yet to make a league appearance for the club.
Star man – Youri Tielemans
Several players could have gone here. Kasper Schmeichel is one of the best goalkeepers in the league, Wilfred Ndidi is a vital cog in midfield, Vardy scores the goals, Daka has potential.
However, there is a reason why Youri Tielemans is getting linked with big-money moves to some of Europe’s top sides. The Belgian is a fine midfielder, contributing heavily at both ends of the pitch.
He has a bit of everything: he’s energetic, good on the ball, got an eye for a pass, can drive with it, and has a worldie in his locker – just ask Chelsea.
So far, the signings at the King Power Stadium have been encouraging.
Zambian forward Daka left RB Salzburg with a frankly astonishing goal record. In his last two league campaigns, he scored 51 goals in 59 outings.
It should be interesting to see whether he can translate this form at a higher level.
Then there’s Soumare, who arrives off the back of a title-winning season with Lille. The Frenchman was a regular for the Ligue 1 champions, featuring 43 times in all competitions.
As for Bertrand, he was signed on a free transfer from Southampton. Last season, Rodgers often used right-footed players at left-back, such as Timothy Castagne, Ricardo Pereira, and James Justin. The arrival of the former Chelsea man will reduce the need for this.
Additionally, nobody too important has left. Club captain Wes Morgan retired, while Christian Fuchs and Matty James both departed on free transfers. Loanee Cengiz Under has returned to parent club Roma.
Attacking midfielder James Maddison has been linked with a £60 million move to Arsenal, but that deal is still a long way from completion.
Given that they score loads and concede a fair few, Leicester should be one of the teams to watch this season.
As of now, they’ve kept hold of their most important players and added some exciting new ones. If their signings can live up to expectations, they should continue to challenge for the Champions League spots.
However, a new central defender is needed at the Foxes, especially following Fofana’s injury.
They will struggle to tighten things up at the back with only three senior centre-backs, considering they’re competing in four competitions this season.
Having not bolstered their backline enough, and with many of the top sides strengthening, it isn’t easy to see them breaking into the top four this time around.
Prediction: Europa League challengers.