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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Chelsea and Bournemouth edge thrillers in gameweek three

bournemouth winChelsea and Bournemouth’s victories were the highlights of a fairly quiet gameweek three, that saw four games end in draws. The champions overcame West Brom 3-2 despite having John Terry sent off, with Pedro scoring and providing an assist on his debut. James Morrison scored twice for the Baggies but saw an early penalty saved by Courtois. Bournemouth earned their first win in the Premier league as a Callum Wilson hat-trick sunk West Ham. The Hammers pulled back level from 2-0 down with goals from Noble and Kouyate, but Wilson’s penalty and Mark Pugh saw the Cherries to victory.

Early pace-setters Manchester City beat Everton with second half goals from Kolarov and Nasri. Crystal Palace were the only other winners, with Bakary Sako scoring a late winner on his debut to beat Aston Villa 2-1. Leicester remain second after a 1-1 draw with Tottenham. Both goals came in the last 10 minutes, with Deli Alli’s goal cancelled out by Riyad Mahrez a minute later.

Sunderland claimed their first point of the season after Jermaine Defoe’s goal secured a 1-1 draw with Swansea, who had led through Bafetimbi Gomis. Norwich and Stoke also drew 1-1, with goals from Russell Martin and Mame Biram Diouf, heading in a Shakiri free-kick, respectively. Manchester United are third after a goalless draw at home to Newcastle, whilst both Southampton and Watford are still winless after their 0-0 draw.

Arsenal host Liverpool in the Monday night game.