Leicester City in 2014/15 – Can the Foxes maintain their momentum?

Read Hull City in 2014/15 – Bruce still looking to earn his stripes

Read Liverpool in 2014/15 – Life after Suarez

Leicester City, under the stewardship of Nigel Pearson, obliterated the title competition last year, winning the Championship with an incredible 102 points, nine points clear of closest rivals Burnley.

Winning 31 of their 46 games and losing only six, the Foxes had a storming season boasting the best goal difference in the league, with the second highest goals scored total and the third lowest goals conceded total, including 18 clean sheets. Former Portsmouth man David Nugent and Jamie Vardy formed a devastating partnership up front, scoring 20 and 16 goals respectively, as Leicester looked formidable in every area of the pitch.

Aims for the season ahead

As with all the newly-promoted teams, Pearson will be looking to simply survive the season. Beyond Nugent and Vardy, out of the remaining players at the club, only Danny Drinkwater managed over five goals in the league last season. After adding 14 goal ex-Brighton striker Leonardo Ulloa, Nigel Pearson will need to eke out more from Chris Woods and Anthony Knockaert and possibly delve into the transfer market for more goals from midfield, which will be crucial to their survival chances.

Key summer signing so far

Matthew Upson. Another signing from Brighton, the ex-England defender can offer invaluable Premier League experience and solidity to the Foxes’ cause. He has 284 appearances in the top flight and 21 England caps, and although he is in the twilight of his career at 35 years of age, will still have want to prove his credentials at the top level. We saw the impact Daniel Gabbidon had last year with Crystal Palace, and Upson will be confident he can still cut it. Indeed, his average stats per game, granted in a division below, exceed that of Phil Jagielka across categories such as percentage of duels won, interceptions made, defensive errors and blocks made. His influence off the pitch and in the dressing can help galvanise the squad during tough times, as well as his leadership on the pitch.

Predicted finish: 15th

I was impressed with Leicester’s all round performance last year, and despite the big step up to the Premier League for the first time in a decade, I believe Pearson can keep the momentum from last season and carry this into a solid start. As a team they are certainly more than the sum of their parts, but that unity and cohesion can sometimes be more valuable than a couple of big transfers, although a few more faces through the door wouldn’t go amiss either.

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