Leicester will want to avoid the press this season. A nice, quiet, respectable mid-table finish would do nicely for the King Power Stadium faithful and ownership alike. After Nigel Pearson’s tumultuous and ultimately successful tenure in the hotseat, chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha will be looking to consolidate the Foxes position in the top flight. In a season that saw ups, downs and near beatdowns, as well as the odd nature commentary, Vichai will want the focus to be squarely on the football.
Perhaps that is the reasoning behind the appointment of Claudio Ranieri. The man who can be described as many things other than charismatic is an able tactician, if slightly old school. He is familiar with the Premier League, having been in charge of Chelsea ’round about the time a certain Russian billionaire bought the club. Described as the “tinkerman,” he will bring some Italian catanaccio back to the Premier League, meaning wars of attrition to all those with whom they come into contact, and lots of lineup changes. So long as they avoid the bottom three, Srivaddhanaprabha will be happy.
Ranieri spent much of the off season attempting to convince last season’s standout Fox Esteban Cambiasso (a player he had controversially benched while managing him at Inter Milan) to stay on at the King Power Stadium. He failed to do so. Three players have come in (Shinji Okazaki, N’Golo Kante and Yohan Benaloune), probably not enough action but the window is upon until 2 September.
I don’t see Leicester spending much time more than six points above the relegation slots at any point of the season. It will be a grueling season and Ranieri would be wise to ensure they maintain their Premier League status and laugh off the cup runs altogether this year. I have them finishing in 16th, and it will be squeaky bum time right up to the end for them.