EPL Season Preview: Leicester City

Coach: Claudio Ranieri

2015/16 Finish: 1

2016/17 Preseason Ranking: 7

Sportify Rating: 1593

2015/16 Wagebill: £57M

Stadium Capacity: 32,262 at King Power Stadium

Departures: Jacob Blyth (Motherwell); Joe Dodoo (Rangers); Callum Elder (Brentford); Dean Hammond (Sheffield United); N’Golo Kante (Chelsea); Andrej Kramaric (Hoffenheim); Paul Konchesky (released); Jonny Maddison (Yeovil Town); Harry Panayiotou (released); Mark Schwarzer (released); Ryan Watson (Barnet)

Arrivals: Luis Hernandez (Sporting Gijon); Bartosz Kapustka (Cracovia); Nampalys Mendy (Nice); Ahmed Musa (CSKA Moscow); Raul Uche Rubio (Rayo Vallecano); Ron-Robert Zieler (Hannover)

The good: They can do anything

Since the calendar changed to April of 2015, Leicester City have taken an absurd 103 points from a possible 141. In that stretch, they scored 87 goals (2nd) on 86.8 xG (2nd) and conceded 43 goals (T-2nd) on 57.3 xG conceded (7th). Kasper Schmeichel’s strong performances in net are partially responsible for that gap of 14.3, but the defense only allowed 44% of that xG to get through on frame, the best rate in the league over that time period. The 5,000-1 odds meant nothing to them last season; who would doubt them now?

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The bad: No Kante & Champions League Football

Riyad Mahrez may have won EPL Player of the Season last year, but one could make the case that N’Golo Kante was even more important for the Foxes. Kante led the league in both interceptions (157) and tackles (175) while starting 33 games as a staple in the defensive midfield role. It’s worth noting that the only game Kante missed was a 2-2 draw against West Brom, the only game where the Foxes dropped points and conceded more than one goal against a team in the bottom half of the table. Presuming Mahrez stays, Kante will be the lone big loss from last year’s team come August. An exciting but potentially risky piece of the 2016-17 campaign will be European football; at least six midweek games, three sprinkled around Europe will add stress to a squad that stayed remarkably healthy last year.

Leicester City players and owners pose with the Premier league trophy after winning the league at King Power Stadium on May 7, 2016. Photo credit: ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images
Leicester City players pose with the Premier league trophy after winning the league at King Power Stadium on May 7, 2016. Photo credit: ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images