Leicester City: How can they improve next season?
The Foxes narrowly missed out on promotion to the Premier League, but must improve to maintain the challenge
The 2012/13 season was a bumpy rollercoaster for Leicester City. At one point we were at the top of the league and fighting for first and second place and in May we were battling for the last play-off place with rivals Nottingham Forest. We all know what happened that day.
I would like to start with the positives of last season, and there were many. The opening day win against Peterborough United, the first away win of the season at Middlesbrough in September, Anthony Knockaert’s double at Huddersfield Town, putting six past Ipswich Town and Huddersfield Town and beating Derby County 4-1.
Other highlights include the signing of Chris Wood, the trickery of Knockaert, the win against Bolton Wanderers and the 3-2 victory at the City Ground on the last day of the season to seal our play-off place.
There were many memorable moments during the 2012/13 season. Jeff Schlupp had the experience of training with English champions Manchester Untied, where he worked with the likes of Robin van Persie, Wayne Rooney and Sir Alex Ferguson. After the Ghana international progressed at United, there’s no doubt he will be stronger next season.
However, there were numerous mistakes, problems and events that happened during the season. The shock 4-2 defeat at home to Burton Albion of League 2 in the Capital One Cup, losing three straight away games at the start of the campaign, losing to Peterborough United, Huddersfield Town and Charlton Athletic back-to-back, disappointing defeats to Sheffield Wednesday, Ipswich Town, Derby County, Millwall and Barnsley and, of course, the dramatic 3-1 play-off second leg defeat to Watford.
All of these moments produced speculation about Nigel Pearson’s future. But owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha stuck with the manager and his decision was vindicated during Leicester’s visit to Nottingham Forest on May 4th, which proved to be the game that took us into the play-offs.
Overall, I think the 2012/13 season was a successful one, with the prospects of Chris Wood and Jeff Schlupp continuing to develop and the experience of Wes Morgan and David Nugent showing the team’s strength.
Promotion to the Premier League is a realistic target for the upcoming season, but every team needs time to improve, even the likes of Barcelona, with Lionel Messi, Xavi, Iniesta and now Neymar. However, Nigel Pearson needs to sign new players quickly so he has the chance to see them in action during pre-season.
Leicester could benefit from strengthening in a few positions, including left-back, centre-back, centre-midfield and adding another striker. I would try Aaron Cresswell who currently plays for Ipswich Town. I highly rate this guy and he has a lot of potential.
I would like to see Sol Bamba, the Ivory Coast defender now playing in Turkey with Trabzonspor, back at the club. I doubt Bamba will join so a realistic signing in that position would be Matthew Upson. He was on loan at Brighton last year and has plenty of experience.
The centre midfielder who I think should be signed is Karl Henry, who plays for relegated Wolverhampton Wanderers. Like Upson, Henry has plenty of experience and that’s exactly what we need to help the young midfielders like Danny Drinkwater and Andy King.
The right-winger I would like to see join is Bakary Sako, also at Wolves. The Frenchman showed how good he is last year and is far too good for League 1.
In conclusion, Leicester City have a really good squad and really good staff. It helps that the owners are rich, but there is also a mixture of youth within in the team, with the likes of Andy King and Jeff Schlupp. With the new Financial Fair Play rules coming in, Leicester won’t be able to sign as many players, so youth is likely to play a major part in a successful season.
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