Premier League 2016/17 Preview – Leicester City

leicester champions

Leicester defied all the odds to win the title last season. Image: Daily Mail

Nobody predicted Leicester’s title victory last season, with many pundits tipping them to be relegated. Somehow they have managed to keep hold of most of their key players, with only N’Golo Kante leaving the club. Jamie Vardy turned down a move to Arsenal, whilst Riyad Mahrez also looks likely to stay. It will be tough for the Foxes to retain their title, with their rivals spending vast sums of money to catch up. But the champions have not been idle, bringing in six players. Nampalys Mendy will attempt to fill the gap left by Kante, while Bartosz Kapustka will also bolster the midfield after an impressive EURO 2016 campaign. Ahmed Musa will help ease the burden on Jamie Vardy, having scored 13 in 30 games for CSKA Moscow last season, and also bagging a brace against Barcelona in pre-season. Ron-Robert Zieler has come in to provide competition for Kasper Schmeichel and Luis Hernandez will join one of the league’s strongest defences. The Foxes’ ability to keep clean sheets was at the heart of their title win, and keeping the Morgan-Huth centre back partnership together will be vital if they are to challenge once again.

Key Man: Riyad Mahrez. Mahrez’s performances for the Foxes last season saw him named PFA Player of the Year and have seen him linked with a number of high profile clubs. The Algerian contributed with 17 goals and 11 assists last time out, and he will be a key component of Leicester’s attack again this year. Keeping hold of Mahrez will probably be Leicester’s best piece of business this season.

One to Watch: Bartosz Kapustka. The centre midfielder has joined the Foxes for £7.5m, and could prove value for money based upon his performances for Poland. Although he may initially struggle to break in to the team, at 19 years old Kapustka has plenty of time to develop. He could settle well in to the Premier League, having impressed against British opposition when Poland beat Northern Ireland at the Euros.

Last Season: 1st

Prediction: 6th

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Premier League 2016/17 Preview – Chelsea

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Antonio Conte was widely praised for his overachievement with a weak Italian side at Euro 2016. Image: Sky Sports

After last season’s horror show, Chelsea will be looking to strike back. They have recruited arguably the best manager at EURO 2016 in the form of Antonio Conte, and have seen Premier League champion N’Golo Kante and Marseille top scorer Michy Batshuayi join the club. Conte’s arrival will return Chelsea to a team that is hard to beat, whilst, if pre-season is anything to go by, they are looking devastating in attack, scoring 13 goals in their six games. The Blues’ lack of European football could be an advantage in the title race, especially given their aging defence. Kurt Zouma will be looking to establish himself as John Terry’s long term replacement at centre back after injury hampered him last year. Scoring goals was not a problem for Chelsea last year, and Batshuayi’s arrival as well as the very public courting of former striker Romelu Lukaku suggests that the Blues will ruthless in attack. Chelsea face a relatively easy Christmas fixture list, so could really stake their claim for the title heading in to the New Year.

Key Man: Eden Hazard. The Belgian was an invisible man for much of last season, creating just four goals all season. Having reached double figures for goals and assists in the two seasons before last, the attacking midfielder is one of the best in the world on his day, and will be crucial if Chelsea are going to bounce back in to title contention.

One to Watch: Nathaniel Chalobah. After struggling to break in to the Napoli side last season, it seems that Chalobah will be staying at Stamford Bridge this season. Although there is fierce competition for places in defensive midfield this season, his work rate and versatility could see him breakthrough in the style that Ruben Loftus-Cheek did last year.

Last Season: 10th 

Prediction: 1st