Leicester City 2020/21 review: End of season report card for the Foxes

26 May 2021 12:15

Another year, another season where Leicester City drop out of the Champions League places on the final day.

Can't we just copy and paste last season's report card? No? Fine.

That is probably a good thing, as viewing Leicester's campaign as just another 'bottle job' would be mightily unfair. It is easy to forget how few people fancied the Foxes going into the season and despite suffering from an obscene amount of injuries they still managed to create incredible memories.

Let's relive some of them now.


League performance

Premier League - 5th

Right, let's get this out of the way shall we? Yes, once again the Foxes did miss out on Champions League football despite holding a significant cushion at points in the season.

That does not quite tell the whole story, though. Leicester actually ended up registering four more points this campaign and secured some incredible results along the way. That 5-2 victory at the Etihad back in September will live long in the memory, as will wins over Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Tottenham and Manchester United. As you might have noticed, this means the Foxes cut all of the six 'Super League' clubs down to size this term.

They managed some of these results while in the midst of a horrific injury crisis. Aside from Youri Tielemans and Marc Albrighton every senior outfield player spent time on the sidelines this season. Some of these injuries were horrifically timed as well.

James Justin and Harvey Barnes were both ruled out for the season just as they were being discussed as candidates for England's Euro 2020 squad. Meanwhile, defensive talisman Jonny Evans missed much of the Premier League run-in.

In this context, Leicester making the top six with ease is more impressive. Then again, this does not make season ruining defeats to Fulham and Newcastle any easier to accept, nor the fact that they will be playing on Thursday nights next campaign.

Grade: B-


Domestic Cup Performance

Carabao Cup - Third Round

Leicester rotated heavily for the Carabao Cup this season | TIM KEETON/Getty Images

Leicester have pedigree in the Carabao Cup which made their exit at the first hurdle against Arsenal somewhat disappointing. Then again if there was ever a season to free up your fixture schedule early on, this was it.

FA Cup - Winners

Leicester's failure to win the FA Cup has long been an albatross around the club's neck for some time. Prior to this season no team had reached as many finals as them without winning the competition. However, Brendan Rodgers is a cup specialist and he finally ended the Foxes hoodoo in May.

The run started off with routine wins over Stoke City and Brentford, before a last minute victory over Brighton in the fifth round. Kelechi Iheanacho would later reveal that he only grabbed the winner so he didn't have to keep playing in the freezing February weather.

In the quarter finals Leicester put in their performance of the season, deservedly beating a strong Manchester United team 3-1. A poor Southampton were then bested 1-0, setting up a final with Chelsea.

Played in front of a raucous crowd of over 20,000 it was an emotional affair with Youri Tielemans' wonder goal almost being cancelled out by former Fox Ben Chilwell at the death - only for VAR to dramatically intervene.

A tear jerker of a trophy celebration followed with Leicester chairman Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha being invited onto the pitch to share in the festivities. Moments like that are priceless but it hit even harder after a full season without fans allowed into stadiums.

Grade: A+


Continental Cup

Europa League - Round of 32

Leicester will have hopefully learned from their European exploits this season | Michael Regan/Getty Images

Without the promise of beer soaked trips to exotic Eastern European cities, the only thing that would have excited fans about Leicester's involvement in the Europa League is the potential to go all the way.

The group was negotiated without too many concerns but a round of 32 tie against Slavia Prague proved a bridge too far.

The Foxes' display over two legs was pitiful and the Czech champions were worthy winners. The worst thing about the whole ordeal? Supporters didn't even get to enjoy a dirt cheap, ice cold Czech pilsner to drown their sorrows after the game. Perhaps next year?

Grade: D


Best player

Tielemans is one of the Premier League's best | Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Tielemans did not just win Leicester the FA Cup this season, the Belgian was at the centre of everything, missing just two games in all competitions and rarely being substituted.

From important goals, to sumptuous line breaking passes, to pinpoint set pieces, he did it all, blossoming into one of Europe's best midfielders. We haven't even mentioned his tireless defensive work rate.

Keeping him around for years to come will be vital in ensuring that Leicester's flame is not snuffed out by their Premier League rivals.


Worst player

Perez is under pressure from fans to perform | Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Most senior Foxes have played their part this season but Ayoze Perez has probably the worst of a good bunch.

Considering he cost £30m last summer the Spaniard did not show anywhere near enough in the final third. Overall he managed just two three goals and one assist in 36 appearances, the majority of which came from the bench.

Next season is a big one for Perez as he is now under pressure to prove he belongs at one of the best clubs in England.


The manager

Rodgers recently ruled out taking over at Tottenham | Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

What an incredible decision Leicester made when they hired Rodgers back in February 2019. Once criticised for a lack of flexibility, he has shown incredible pragmatism this season.

The Foxes have switched between a back three and back four with ease this season, which is testament to Rodgers' focussed coaching. What's more he made Jamie Vardy and Iheanacho work as a strike paring and also reinvented Marc Albrighton as a reliable wing-back.

This just scratches the surface of his masterful management of the squad this season under testing circumstances. While doubts remain over his ability to close out a season, as well as his questionable substitutions and selections at times, there can be no denying that Rodgers is one of the most coveted managers in Europe. A big job awaits when he departs Leicester but Foxes fans hope that will not be for a good while yet.


Final grade

The disappointment of missing out on Champions League football will fade after time, but the memories of the FA Cup final win will not. It was not perfect but once again the Foxes have defied expectations to have a superb season.

Grade: A-


Source: 90min