Too Reliant On Jamie Vardy
The 33-year-old was in fine form in front of goal last season, netting 23 goals to earn him the Premier League’s Golden Boot award for the first time in his career.
As well as leading the league for total player goals, Vardy also had the highest shot conversion rate of the top five scorers in the competition.
Shot Conversion Rate - Premier League 2019/20
|Player||Goals||Shot Conversion Rate|
However, while Leicester were able to boast the league’s biggest individual source of goals, they struggled to maximise this with a strong supporting cast. Beyond Vardy’s 23 goals in the Premier League, the closest team-mate to him in the charts was Ayoze Pérez with eight goals.
Using Stats Perform’s Direct Goal Involvements metric, defined as the number of unique goal-ending sequences in open play where the player’s only involvement was in scoring the goal, we can see the level of responsibility that Vardy carries in terms of finishing attacks.
Vardy led the way with 17 Direct Goal Involvements for Leicester, which was more than three times as many as any other player for the Foxes. Although the striker thrived individually in these circumstances, Brendan Rodgers will be hoping for increased contribution from his players in 2020/21.
Stats Perform Verdict: Evolution Required
Rediscover James Maddison’s Loss of Form
Leicester were second in the Premier League heading into the New Year, with only eventual winners Liverpool winning more games and collecting more points than them. Despite close attention from Manchester City, the Foxes looked well on track to finish within the top three.
One of the factors involved in this was the attacking contribution from their main creator – James Maddison. Behind Jamie Vardy, the midfielder was their biggest source of direct goal involvements between August and December 2019.
James Maddison Goal Contributions 2019
|Premier League (Aug – Dec 2019)||Goals||Assists||Goals + Assists|
As the season transitioned into 2020, Leicester’s and Maddison’s form gradually subsided. Maddison scored just once in the Premier League in the New Year and failed to record another assist.
Although he was involved in a similar number of shot-ending sequences, the quality of attempts these yielded were significantly lower following the turn of the year.
Maddison recently signed a new four-year contract with Leicester, however, highlighting the club’s faith in his future offerings. Despite seeing a drop-off in his production in the second half of the campaign, the 23-year-old remains one of the top playmakers in the Premier League and he’ll be looking to affirm that throughout the 2020/21 campaign.
Stats Perform Verdict: Evolution Required
Solve Their Struggles Against The Top Six Sides
In a season where Leicester were among the top four positions for long periods, their eventual fifth-place finish was perhaps highlighted by their record against the teams they found themselves in direct competition for a Champions League spot.
The Foxes ended the day in the top four on 325 occasions during the season yet dropped out in the closing games. Indeed, their final two games of the campaign ended in defeats against teams who recorded finishes in the top six – Spurs and Manchester United.
Premier League - Top 6 Mini League
In a mini league made up of the teams who occupied the top six spots – showing their cumulative records against each other – Leicester had the fewest wins (1), most defeats (7) and fewest goals scored (7).
Leicester’s record against their closest competitors is validated when looking at the Expected Goals (xG) data from these games. Across the 10 clashes with fellow top-six sides, their opponents’ chance creation was twice as high as Brendan Rodgers’ team.
Leicester Ev or Rev/Leicester's Matches vs Top 6.xlsx
|Date||Opponent||xG for||xG against||xGD|
|July 19, 2020||Tottenham Hotspur||2.06||0.77||1.29|
|February 1, 2020||Chelsea||1.4||0.57||0.83|
|September 21, 2019||Tottenham Hotspur||1.29||1.13||0.16|
|December 21, 2019||Manchester City||1.08||3.45||-2.37|
|February 22, 2020||Manchester City||0.85||2.52||-1.67|
|July 26, 2020||Manchester United||0.80||1.32||-0.52|
|August 18, 2019||Chelsea||0.78||1.06||-0.28|
|September 14, 2019||Manchester United||0.60||1.18||-0.58|
|December 26, 2019||Liverpool||0.12||3.26||-3.14|
|October 5, 2019||Liverpool||0.10||3.55||-3.45|
With the departure of players like N’Golo Kanté, Riyad Mahrez and Harry Maguire to their fellow top six competitors in recent seasons, Leicester’s pursuit of catching up with these teams has been made even more difficult.
This transfer window has seen history repeat itself for the Foxes, with Ben Chillwell’s departure to Chelsea. Leicester will thus have to find the balance between preserving their best assets while also trying to close the gap on the teams that are interested in those players.
Stats Perform Verdict: REvolution RequireD
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