Leicester City stepped over the threshold to the Women’s Super League with their Championship winners’ medals proudly around their necks.
The Foxes cruised to a comfortable title-winning season — topping the table with an eight-point cushion over runners up Durham, winning 16 of their 20 matches played.
However, their dominant run hasn’t carried over into their maiden WSL campaign.
Leicester are yet to pick up a single point in England’s top flight so far and currently sit bottom of the pile with a -14 goal difference.
But what is it exactly that’s going wrong for Jonathan Morgan’s side? They landed some star signings during the summer transfer window, but so far nothing seems to be clicking for the Foxes.
Attacking power extinguished
The merciless Leicester attack that saw them bag 54 goals last season has been completely nullified.
So far, the Championship winners have scored just three goals in their six WSL appearances.
Natasha Flint finished as the Championship’s second highest scorer with 17, behind only Sheffield United’s Katie Wilkinson, who bagged 19. Lachante Paul also finished inside the top five scorers, scoring seven of her own.
Despite recruiting former Man United striker Jess Sigsworth and Scotland international midfielder Abbi Grant, Leicester have struggled to make an impact in the final third.
Sigsworth scored an early goal against Man City in their most recent WSL clash, but prior to that, their previous goal came back in September in a 3-1 loss to Man United.
A step up in quality
The Leicester defence that was up there as one of the best in the Championship has shipped 17 goals this season already. That’s more than they conceded throughout the entire 2020/21 season in the second tier.
Morgan has arguably one of the best goalkeepers in the division in Kirstie Levell, but her heroics can only carry her team so far.
As a Championship side, the brief meetings with WSL elites during cup competitions made for great experiences, no matter what the result. Now Leicester must face the likes of Chelsea and Arsenal on a regular basis, and the world class players who come with such teams, on a regular basis.
The step up from the Championship to the WSL is huge — all teams are professional and those higher up the pecking order have money to spend on the world’s best talent. The shift in the quality of opposition is not always a challenge newly-promoted sides can handle.
The right man for the job?
Morgan made history with Leicester by spearheading them to their first ever Championship title last season.
The women’s team is run by the Morgan siblings — with Jonathan at the hilt of the team as head coach, Holly serving as player and club captain, and Jade working as the general manager. Their father Rohan is also the chairman, and got involved in running the club through Holly’s activity.
But despite this being a recipe for success in previous years, this term could be very telling as to whether Leicester need a manager with WSL pedigree in order to drive them through this next chapter.
Morgan called it quits on his playing career and moved straight to Leicester Women, where he served as reserve team manager before stepping up to the senior squad in 2014. Has he taken the team as far as he can go?
Can Leicester turn their season around?
Leicester are still showing flashes of their Championship-winning selves despite not having started the season off how they’d have liked.
Levell is one of the most in-form goalkeepers in the league right now and her multi-save performances will only continue to trouble even the most clinical strikers in front of goal.
The Foxes put in a promising shift against Chelsea last month and also put the pressure on both Manchester sides by scoring first in their respective fixtures.
The ingredients to become a solid WSL mainstay team are there, it may just require a ‘settling in’ period for Leicester to really showcase what they’re capable of at the highest level.