Can Leicester go the distance this season?

As the dust settles on what was a momentous season in the history of Leicester City football club, here at Injury League we look to the future and analyse how an atypically fit Foxes side from last season will cope with the extra demands of Champions League football.

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Jamie Vardy and family after victory ver” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by  boloveselvis 

With the Tinkerman famously not being much of a tinker after all in a campaign where he only made a handful of changes to his starting line-up, many people attributed Leicester City’s success last year to the luck they had on the treatment table, which made it all the more unfathomable.

Very unfathomable indeed when you consider their pre-season odds of achieving Premier League glory were 5000/1 and for the punters who notoriously stuck their neck on the line for them, they certainly were made to scratch their heads as to why they were all of a sudden thousands of pounds richer.

For a fleeting moment it seemed as though Leicester’s heroics had inspired a plucky Iceland at the European Championships after their famous victory over England this summer. Should they have gone all the way like Leicester did, those who backed them certainly would have gone down in bgo’s biggest ever international football bets list.

Alas for Iceland it wasn’t to be and with a whole host of games for the Foxes to contend with this season, many will be wondering if Leicester’s luck will finally run out just like it did for Iceland.

 

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Leicester City Fans” (CC BY 2.0) by  Ronnie Macdonald 

You can no longer get 5000/1 on Leicester to win the Premier League in case you were wondering, and at the time of writing a more realistic price of 28/1 from the likes of Betbright and 188bet takes its place (hardly a prime candidate for the bgo list it must be said). With the bookies certainly expecting more from Leicester this year, can their boss Ranieri cope with the pressure of expectation? One thing’s for sure, some inspired acquisitions in this summer’s transfer window would certainly help.

With N’Golo Kante already through the exit door and rumours suggesting Riyad Mahrez isn’t far behind him, the Foxes certainly need extra manpower should they wish to go far in Europe this season.

The fact they will get drawn straight into the group stages is of course a major plus point for them but with no doubt lofty ambitions held for the UCL just like it was for the Premiership, an extra 10-20 games against stern European opposition on Tuesday and Wednesday nights will certainly take it out of Leicester’s thin-looking squad.

In a freak campaign in which the majority of Leicester’s roster were fit for most of the season – Jamie Vardy for example only missed two games, it would be naive for the Foxes to expect the same sort of fortune this time around.

With the windfall sums gained from TV deals, Champions League qualification and of course the £30 million Chelsea paid for Kante, Leicester’s best course of action would be to go on a bit of a spending spree themselves. Whilst every faith should still be placed in Leicester’s thorough scouting system, the very nature of having the title of ‘English Champions’ means sometimes you have to pay a bit of a premium should you want the very best.

And by the very best we mean a marquee signing, a player who will get bums on seats and give fans the prophetic feeling that something special could happen at any given moment.

With Mahrez seemingly on his way to London club, Leicester will be found wanting massively. The Algerian was/is still that marquee player but with the sharks circling and the start of the domestic campaign looming, the Midlands club should act now to get a squad that boasts quality as well as strength in depth ready for what will prove to be a tough second season for the Premier League title holders.

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