2014/15 Premier League Season Review: Leicester City

Premier League Final Position: 14th

Review

Leicester City produced arguably the greatest escape in Premier League history this season as they avoided relegation despite being seven points behind 17th placed Sunderland after 29 games, having also recorded just four wins at the time. The astonishing run of seven wins from their last nine games (D1, L1) will live long in the memory of Leicester fans and football fans alike as an emotional rollercoaster of a journey eventually concluded with them winning in fine style on the last day of the season to see them finish six points clear of the drop.

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Podcast Review

Best Moment

The 3-2 win away at West Brom. The Foxes came into that after recording their first win in nine games at home to West Ham a week earlier and knew that they had to back it up with a positive result at The Hawthorns if they were to stand a chance of survival. Trailing 2-1 with ten minutes to go, it looked as though their season was all but over. But then a Robert Huth goal to draw it level, followed by an injury time winner from Jamie Vardy sent the away end into raptures. That was the moment that Leicester started to truly believe survival was a genuine possibility.

Worst Moment

Nigel Pearson holding Crystal Palace’s James McArthur by the throat during the 1-0 defeat at home to the Eagles. McArthur tangled in a challenge with Marc Albrighton on the touchline before accidentally falling onto Pearson and knocking the Leicester manager over. Pearson then proceeded to grab McArthur by the throat in a bizarre incident which led to speculation over his job and caused the club to be subjected to unnecessary negative media attention at a time when they needed it least.

Player of the Year

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Leonardo Ulloa – There were question marks over whether or not Ulloa could cut it in the Premier League after his move from Championship side Brighton in the summer, but he certainly delivered the goods with 11 goals and three assists from his 37 appearances.

Biggest Win

Leicester City 5-1 Queens Park Rangers (May 24, 2015)

Biggest Defeat

Chelsea 2-0 Leicester City (Aug 23, 2014)

Crystal Palace 2-0 Leicester City (Sep 27, 2014)

Swansea City 2-0 Leicester City (Oct 25, 2014)

Southampton 2-0 Leicester City (Nov 8, 2014)

Leicester City 1-3 Liverpool (Dec 2, 2014)

West Ham United 2-0 Leicester City (Dec 20, 2014)

Manchester United 3-1 Leicester City (Jan 31, 2015)

Manchester City 2-0 Leicester City (Mar 4, 2015)

Leicester City 1-3 Chelsea (29 Apr, 2015)

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What to improve for the 2015/16 season…

While Leicester’s survival will be rightly heralded as a huge success, relegation was a major concern throughout the course of the whole season and that was obviously down to lack of successful results. Pearson made it cleat that he believed they were putting in the performances but not getting the results and bemoaned the luck of his side. But you have to make your own luck in football and four wins from the first 29 games cannot be blamed entirely on luck. The Foxes cannot afford to do the same next time around as relying on an incredible end-of-season run to retain Premier League status is a dangerous game to play and it’s unlikely they’d be able to pull it off again.

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Premier League Preview and Prediction: Leicester City vs QPR

Competition: Premier League – Leicester City vs. Queens Park Rangers

Venue: King Power Stadium – Sunday, May 24 – 15:00 BST (10:00 ET)

Match Odds: Leicester 4/7 – Draw 100/30 – QPR 4/1

Match Preview

Leicester City cap off an unbelievable escape by hosting already relegated Queens Park Rangers.

With an impressive run of form, Nigel Pearson‘s side have managed to avoid the drop with a game to spare. Leicester have remarkably only lost one of the last eight matches, winning six of them.

After losing 3-2 in the reverse fixture, Leicester will be out for revenge and also to finish the season in style as they could surpass the magic 40 point marker with a win.

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Leicester’s survival has arguably been the best in the Premier League era. It is more special by the fact that they went on a 13-game winless run that lasted 96 days and have still managed to retain Premier League status.

Leicester City’s home record: P18 W6 D5 L7

QPR finish a dismal campaign with the visit to King Power Stadium, and they will be hopeful of a positive note as they prepare for life in the Championship.

Arguably the worst side in the top flight this season, QPR have just one win in six; a 2-1 victory over Newcastle. However, their away form has been abysmal.

They have picked up seven from a possible 54 this season away from home, and failing to pick up a single point against any of the top 12 sides in the league.

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It is very much the start of a new chapter for QPR as Chris Ramsey was announced as the boss on a permanent basis. But that does not negate from the fact they have been poor and deserve to go down.

QPR’s away record: P18 W2 D1 L15

Team News

Leicester City are without Matty James and David Nugent through injury. Riyad Mahrez is expected to play behind a forward pairing of Jamie Vardy and Leonardo Ulloa.

QPR are missing Alejandro Faurlin, Eduardo Vargas and Rob Green for the trip. Bobby Zamora, Mauricio Isla, Mauro Zarate and Armand Traore all face late tests. Charlie Austin is expected to play up front on his.

Key Points

Leicester City’s last five: W/L/W/W/D

QPR’s last five: L/D/L/L/W

Key Stat: Leicester have kept a clean sheet in five of their last six matches in the Premier League

Key Player: Charlie Austin – The England striker has been a sensation in a very boring team. With 17 goals in 34 games, Austin fully deserves the England call-up he received on Thursday.

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Score Prediction

Leicester City 1 – 1 QPR – With both sides having arguable nothing to play for, a score draw seems likely.

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Leicester vs Newcastle

Competition: Premier League – Leicester City vs. Newcastle United

Venue: King Power Stadium – Saturday, May 2nd – 12:45 BST (07:45 ET)

Match Odds: Leicester 10/11 – Draw 12/5 – Newcastle 3/1

Match Preview

Leicester face Newcastle in a crucial Premier League game at the King Power Stadium on Saturday lunchtime as both sides look to avoid relegation.

Before the 3-1 midweek defeat at home to Chelsea, the Foxes had been on an incredible four-game winning streak which has lifted them out of the relegation zone and could potentially be the run that saves their season.

Nigel Pearson has apologised for his strange behaviour towards a journalist in the post-match press conference following the Chelsea game, but he must immediately focus all attention back to the on-field matters to ensure his side return to winning ways.

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Leicester have scored 12 goals in their last six games, totalling one third of their entire goals tally in the Premier League this season. They come into this game in 17th place and one point above Sunderland in 18th who have a game in hand, so they will be desperate for victory to open up a four point gap.

Newcastle would’ve felt they were all but safe after a 1-0 win over Aston Villa at the end of February but two months and seven straight defeats later and they now find themselves in amongst the frantic end of season dog fight to steer clear of the drop.

The Magpies are a club very much in disarray with thousands of fans boycotting the game against Tottenham two weeks ago, as well as further protests towards club owner Mike Ashley dominating the headlines following the 3-2 defeat at home to Swansea last time out.

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An away fixture could well provide a welcome break from all the negativity surrounding the club, although they couldn’t have picked much harder opposition than Leicester right now – only Arsenal, Everton and Chelsea have picked up more points than the Foxes in the last five matches.

John Carver has managed just two wins from 15 (D3, L10) Premier League games in charge of the club and the Toon Army have been in freefall for a while now, leaving them in 14th position, just five points above the relegation zone.

Newcastle won the reverse fixture 1-0 at St James’ Park back in October, although Leicester gained revenge with a 1-0 victory of their own in the FA Cup third round over the Magpies in the most recent meeting between the two.

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Team News

Robert Huth and Andy King are both doubts for Leicester after they both left the field with injuries in midweek, while David Nugent remains out. Jeff Schlupp is available once again following a calf problem.

Newcastle will still be without top goalscorer Papiss Cisse as he serves the last match of his lengthy ban. Steven Taylor, Cheick Tiote, Massaido Haidara, Rolando Aarons and Rob Elliott are all out with injury. Moussa Sissoko will be available once again after missing the last two games through suspension, while Paul Dummett could return and Daryl Janmaat is trying to shake off an illness.

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Key Points

Leicester’s last five: W/W/W/W/L

Newcastle’s last five: L/L/L/L/L

Key Stat: Newcastle’s current run of seven straight losses is their worst run of consecutive league defeats since 1977 when they lost a club record of 10 games in a row between August and October.

Key Player: Jamie Vardy – The Englishman has scored some vital goals for the Foxes this season and is always an exciting player to watch. With Newcastle’s current defensive frailties, he could cause chaos.

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Score Prediction

Leicester City 2-1 Newcastle United – Leicester have been playing well recently and defeat to the champions-elect in midweek won’t be enough to disrupt the high confidence in the camp at the moment. They should edge one step closer to Premier League safety and heap further pressure on Newcastle who are flirting dangerously with the bottom of the table.

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Leicester vs Chelsea

Competition: Premier League – Leicester City vs. Chelsea FC

Venue: King Power Stadium – Wednesday April 29th – 19:45 BST (14:45 ET)

Match Odds: Leicester 4/1 – Draw 13/5 – Chelsea 7/10

Match Preview

Leicester host Chelsea in a crucial Premier League clash for sides at either end of the table on Wednesday night.

Leicester have turned their fortunes around in remarkable style after winning four on the bounce and now find themselves outside the relegation zone for the first time since November.

Saturday’s 1-0 win at Burnley was a huge result for the Foxes and Nigel Pearson will be desperately hoping they can stun Chelsea with a win in their game in hand on Wednesday night.

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The Blues have led the Premier League from start to finish and their 0-0 draw with Arsenal on Sunday means they need just six points from their final five games to ensure they are named champions for the first time in five years.

Jose Mourinho’s side have been excellent over the course of the season and beat Leicester 2-0 in their first home game of the season back in August.

Chelsea have only lost twice all season, both of those being on the road, and that will give Leicester fans a glimmer of hope going into this one.

The Foxes know a win can move them four points clear of the drop zone with four to play, while the visitors will be looking for victory so that they can win the Premier League in front of their own fans on Sunday against Crystal Palace.

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Chelsea have won the last seven meetings between the two sides over the course of the past 14 years and will be heavy favourites to end the Foxes’ four-game win streak on Wednesday.

Team News

Leicester could be without David Nugent and Jeffrey Schlupp for the visit of the Blues as both are doubts for the clash. Nigel Pearson is likely to name an unchanged side from the team that won at Burnley on Saturday, with Jamie Vardy and Leonardo Ulloa expected to partner each other in attack.

Chelsea have doubts hanging over five players ahead of this one with striking trio Didier Drogba, Loic Remy and Diego Costa still struggling with knocks. Drogba came on against Arsenal on Sunday and will be pushing for a start if he is fit enough. Oscar is also a doubt after going to hospital following a collision with David Ospina at the weekend, while goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois is also struggling with a knock and so Petr Cech could get the nod between the sticks.

Key Points

Leicester’s last five: L/W/W/W/W

Chelsea’s last five: W/W/W/W/D

Key Stat: There have been 30 goals in the last seven meetings between these two, with Chelsea winning all of those games – an average of 4.3 goals per game.

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Key Player: Eden Hazard – The Chelsea winger has been exceptional this season and picked up the PFA Player of the Year award on Sunday night. He has three goals and two assists in his last five Premier League games and also scored in the reverse fixture at Stamford Bridge earlier this season.

Score Prediction

Leicester 1-2 Chelsea – The Blues have kept three clean sheets on the bounce and have been labelled “boring” for their defensive approach but Leicester have been scoring goals for fun and will expect to get at least one. Though Chelsea look too strong and will take another stride towards the title with a win on Wednesday night.

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Burnley vs Leicester City

Competition: Premier League – Burnley FC vs. Leicester City FC

Venue: Turf Moor – Saturday April 25th – 15:00 BST (10:00 ET)

Match Odds: Burnley 7/5 – Draw 12/5 – Leicester 9/5

Match Preview

It’s Burnley vs. Leicester in the Premier League and it’s crunch time at Turf Moor on Saturday afternoon as two of the bottom three battle in a huge match with both clubs’ future surely on the line in this one.

Sean Dyches’ Burnley have been so resilient of late, and have picked up some very impressive results at home over the course of the season with a win over Manchester City and draws against Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur.

They will be expecting to therefore beat lesser opposition in Leicester and the home fans will be expecting to win, especially as they beat champions Manchester City at Turf Moor last month. The win over the reigning champions is their only win in 12 games though – worrying form especially if you are staring down the barrel of relegation.

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With questions still surrounding Danny Ings future, and Burnley resigned to the fact they will lose their star striker come the summer, they will need to beat Leicester to remain in the Premier League for another season at least. That’s because next summer see’s the new TV deals come into effect and they will give clubs like Burnley some financial backing to do some business.

If Burnley can win this it could leave Leicester City in a bit of a mess and derail their own safety ambitions so this is a huge clash.

The Foxes won’t be easy customers as they have been very impressive of late, and if they play like they have in the last three, they will definitely remain in the Premier League next season.

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Leicester have given themselves a fantastic chance of escaping their bottom three by winning their last three on the spin and now only remain in the drop zone on goal difference behind Hull City. Another bonus is that they have a game in hand over their relegation rivals, but that is against Chelsea next week in a game the Blues can wrap up the title in, depending on their result against Arsenal.

The worrying form for Leicester is that they have only picked up 11 points from a possible 51 on the road this season. The away win at West Brom two weeks ago was their first since December.

Having scored seven in their last three games, Nigel Pearson’s side will be looking to keep hitting the back of the net, and outfox the Burnley backline to give themselves the best chance of survival.

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After this game for Leicester they face just one more away from home and will play at the King Power Stadium in their other four remaining games, which gives them another huge boost with regards to staying up.

The reverse saw the two sides battle out for a 2-2 draw with Ross Wallace equalising late in stoppage time for the Clarets to deny Leicester City all three points.

Team News

Burnley will be without Ashley Barnes, who was sent off against Everton last week, as he serves a one match ban, plus Dean Marney is out as is Kevin Long, who will be out until the Autumn.

Leicester City have doubts over David Nugent and Marcin Wasilewski, with Richie De Laet expected to come in if Wasilewski is ruled out of the relegation clash.

Key Points

Burnley’s last five: W/L/D/L/L

Leicester’s last five: D/L/W/W/W

Key Stats: Burnley have not beaten Leicester in any of their last eight meetings, stretching back to August 2010. They have lost their last three home games against the Foxes, scoring just once.

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Key Player: Leonardo Ulloa – The Argentine striker found his goalscoring touch against Swansea City last weekend and will be hoping to add to his tally of eight goals as he looks to try and reach double digits before the season is out.

Score Prediction

Burnley 1-2 Leicester City – Leicester City have some terrific quality and in the confidence they are in, they can inflict some serious damage to Burnley with goals coming from all angles. It’s difficult to see the Clarets keeping Leicester out and that could result in another win for the away side.

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Leicester vs Swansea

Competition: Premier League – Leicester City vs. Swansea City

Venue: King Power Stadium – Saturday, April 18th – 15:00 BST (10:00 ET)

Match Odds: Leicester 11/10 – Draw 23/10 – Swansea 5/2

Match Preview

It’s crunch time for Leicester City’s season as they play host this weekend to a Swansea side looking for their best ever Premier League finish.

Nigel Pearson’s Leicester have bridged the gap between fellow relegation strugglers recently with back-to-back wins and will be hoping to make it three on the bounce as they look to pull of a great escape.

They are currently three points off of safety and the battle should go down to the wire as Leicester can produce results with five of their last seven at home, starting with Swansea on Saturday.

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It is important that Leicester take something from this game as they have the worst home record in the Premier League this year. That will need to improve if they are to avoid the drop.

Leicester City’s home record in the Premier League: P14 – W3 – D5 – L6

Swansea could be without striker Bafetimbi Gomis on Saturday as the striker left the Everton match early following a hamstring injury last week, and his absence will be a blow to the Swans.

With not much to play for, and only a slight chance of European football, Swansea are arguably playing for pride now, with a best ever Premier League finish on the cards should they finish 8th.

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They equalled their record points tally in the Premier League with a draw at Everton last week and know another point will set a new record.

Swansea’s away record in the Premier League: P15 – W5 – D3 – L7

Garry Monk has done a stellar job up to now, and it’s not in his nature to set up a team that won’t attack so we’re hoping for an open game that should thrill.

Team News

Leicester City have no injury or suspension concerns for this week so Nigel Pearson has a full squad to pick from. However, we are expecting the same XI to play from last weekend’s win at West Brom, with David Nugent playing the number ten role.

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Swansea City will be without Kyle Naughton and Tom Carroll, who remain long-term absentees. Jefferson Montero, Nelson Oliveira and Bafetimbi Gomis are all doubts but Montero and Oliveira will be pushing for a start. Neil Taylor is out serving a suspension.

Key Points

Leicester’s last five in the Premier League: L/D/L/W/W

Swansea’s last five in the Premier League: L/L/W/W/D

Key Stat: The home team has won this fixture in the last seven meetings between the two sides in all competitions.

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Key Player: David Nugent – With an eye for goal and a knack for being in the right place at the right time, Nugent could be the difference in this one.

Score Prediction

Leicester City 2-2 Swansea City – We’re hoping this will be an open game with plenty of goals. Leicester need to try and pick up all three points but a score draw looks the most likely result against a solid Swansea side looking to set a record points tally in the Premier League.

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Everton vs Leicester City

Everton vs. Leicester City: Premier League

Venue: Goodison Park – Sunday, February 22nd – 14:05

Match Odds: Everton 5/6 – Draw 5/2 – Leicester 100/30

Sandwiched in between a triple-header on Sunday, this fixture sees a struggling Leicester City visit Goodison Park to take on Everton.

Both teams are underperforming this season and will see Sunday as a chance to pick up points though it is Leicester who need them more as they are still rooted to the bottom of the Premier League table.

Everton come into the game off the back of a 4-1 win away at BSC Young Boys on Thursday night and so the possibility of a Europa League hangover is high.

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Premier league teams notoriously struggle to replicate performances after any game in Europe, especially away from home on a Thursday night, and Roberto Martinez will be hoping that they will not fall victim to that once again.

With no win in four at Goodison Park, Everton will see this as a must win, if only to suppress the fans who are less than happy with the club’s position this season. The Toffees are a staggering eighteen points worse off this year than at the same stage last season.

Everton’s home record in the Premier League: Played 12 – Won 3 – Drawn 6 – Lost 3

Nigel Pearson remains the Leicester manager after a mix up of reports that claimed he had been given the sack and he will see every game as a must win from now until the bitter end, and the game at Everton is no exception.

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Leicester are in dire need of points at the foot of the table as they are five from safety going into the weekend. That figure could increase should they fail to pick up points on Sunday and teams around them do.

After exiting the FA Cup last weekend, they can set their sights primarily on top-flight survival. That loss at Aston Villa last weekend is a blessing in disguise for the Foxes.

Leicester’s away record in the Premier League: Played 12 – Won 2 – Drawn 1 – Lost 10

Leicester have currently lost four on the bounce in the Premier League and have conceded at least twice in eight of their last nine away from home so their losing streak could stretch to five on Sunday.

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The reverse fixture on the opening day of the season saw Leicester fight back twice to get a 2-2 draw at home to Everton and they will need to show that same fighting spirit to get anything out of this weekend’s game.

Everton’s last five in the Premier League: D/D/W/D/L

Leicester’s last five in the Premier League: W/L/L/L/L

Key Stat: Everton have won only one in their last nine Premier League fixtures. Shocking given their ability.

Key Player: Romelu Lukaku – The Belgian front man scored a hat-trick on Thursday night and will be leading the line for Everton on Sunday. He needs goals, and needs them fast to prove his £28m price tag right.

Score Prediction: Everton 2-0 Leicester City – Foxes to make it five defeats on the bounce as relegation looms.

Leicester City doomed for the drop?

Newly promoted Leicester City are on the verge of a breakdown and their lack of goals recently is more than concerning.

As we all know, goals win games and having only managed to score six in their last eleven outings, it’s no surprise they haven’t managed a win in any of those eleven.

In fact, they have only managed to pick up two points out of a possible 33 since their 5-3 win against Manchester United back in September.

Since the win against United, Leicester’s record signing Leonardo Ulloa has only managed to score once, including a streak of nine games where he failed to score. He started life in the Premier League so brightly but he needs to recapture his form fast.

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The old saying ‘you’re only as good as your strikers’ is definitely apt for this Foxes squad. The constant rotation of the forwards must be confusing as Nigel Pearson juggles with attacking trio Jamie Vardy, David Nugent and Ulloa on a weekly basis.

Adding to the  current disarray at Leicester is the announcement that they have sacked their director for football, Terry Robinson, after 16 years at the club.

Their abysmal form has to be mainly put down to the lack of production from their attacking players, as the defence doesn’t look too frail. They just have a huge problem scoring as of late.

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The Foxes have a tough period ahead as well because over Christmas they have to lock horns with Tottenham, West Ham and relegation rivals Hull City in what is a crucial period. Being bottom of the Premier League at Christmas doesn’t bode well.

They have a tough task ahead of them in the New Year too and at this point it’s hard to see them finishing outside of the bottom three. Perhaps some consistency in selection up front will help give them a base to find some form. Strengthening in the January transfer window is also vital.

Will Leicester beat the odds and avoid the drop this season?