So after what seemed like an eternity for Leicester City fans, a second consecutive season in the Premier League is upon us and we face what is likely to be fellow strugglers Sunderland in the first game of the season at the King Power Stadium.
Quite a lot has changed for the Foxes in the off season, none more pressing than the sacking of manager Nigel Pearson and the interesting appointment of former Chelsea manager Claudio Ranieri as the new manager. The fans are what you can quietly call nervous, whilst many are astonished at both the sacking and the appointment that has taken place. The jury is certainly out on this one……….
Saturday’s clash with the Black Cats is likely to be a good showing of where we are as a team post Nigel Pearson and arguably even more important, post Esteban Cambiasso who decided not to renew his contract with the club.
The club have been busy finding a replacement for Cambiasso and have brought in N’Golo Kante from French side Caen and he comes in with a reputation as a good solid player who will do well in the Premier League. Whether he starts against Sunderland is yet to be seen as he may not be match fit. If Kante is unfit to go from the off then look for the ever reliable pair of Andy King and Danny Drinkwater to form the midfield spine.
Another new signing is Christian Fuchs who has come in from Schalke and it is hoped he will fill the left-back position that Jeff Schlupp was forced to play last season, with Paul Konchesky deemed not good enough to play in the pace of the Premier League. This will hopefully allow Schlupp to move back to a more forward position and compete for a midfield spot.
The biggest success of the summer could be the signing of a long term contract by Riyad Majrez and we expect to see him terrorizing the defences of the Premier league clubs once again this season. Tying him down will be good for the long term but also the safe aspect of not losing him on a free should the worse happen.
The battle to play up top on Saturday is an interesting side note with the addition of Japanese international Shinji Okazaki to the group but we still suspect Ranieri will plump for Jamie Vardy and Leo Ulloa first up and change it around should it not work.
If Leicester can continue where they left off last season under Pearson, we could be in for a surprising season and we hope there will be no hangover or too much instability creep into the squad. A win at home against what is thought to be a fellow struggler would go a long way to settling the nerves of the Foxes faithful.
Sunderland themselves go into the game with new signings including defenders Sebastian Coates and Younes Kaboul. They have sold Connor Wickham however and there is a thought that if Jermain Defoe doesn’t find the goal trail, as he struggled too last season then, it hard to see where they will score goals throughout their team. Dick Advocaat is a wily campaigner however and he will no doubt have a number of plans up his sleeve should they go on to be the strugglers that everyone thinks they are going to be.
Probable Leicester side
Schmeichel, Morgan, Huth, Wasilewski, Fuchs, Schlupp, Mahrez, Kante, Drinkwater, Vardy, Ulloa – Subs – King, Schwarzer, Albrighton, Nugent, Benalouane, Okazaki, Moore
Prediction – We think Leicester might just have too much for the Black Cats and nick 2-1 victory with goals from Vardy and Mahrez.