Leicester Promoted to the Premier League as Champions

Leicester City secured their promotion back to the Premier League after just a season in the second tier with two games to spare. The Foxes then beat Preston 3-0 to ensure they finished the season as champions of the second tier. Enzo Maresca’s men have been fantastic all season, bar a mini-wobble in early spring, and fully deserve their Championship title. The feat emulates their achievement of the 2013/14 season when they last took the second tier by storm… and we all know what happened two years later!

We don’t anticipate Leicester will win the Premier League again in the foreseeable future, but they certainly have a very good chance of avoiding relegation in 2024/25. But let’s leave that to one side for the moment and take a look back at how the Foxes achieved their immediate bounce back to the Premier League in 2023/24.

Shrewd Transfer Dealings Avoid Team Decimation

As is usually the case when a side gets relegated from the top flight, Leicester offloaded a lot of players at the end of the 2022/23 campaign. Quite a few of these were either academy players or those whose contracts were ending (such as Jonny Evans, Daniel Amartey, Ayoze Pérez and Youri Tielemans), but this still took a toll on the squad. But the sale of James Maddison to Tottenham left arguably the biggest hole in the team. Still, Harry Winks came the other way from Spurs and has proved himself to be an essential player for the Foxes.

The acquisition of Danish goalkeeper, Mads Hermansen, also proved a useful move, while the English attacker Stephy Mavididi has been something of a revelation for the Foxes since his move from Montpellier. Perhaps some of the best transfer dealing on Leicester’s part, however, was to ensure they kept hold of plenty of key personnel including the evergreen Jamie Vardy, who has proven his worth by ending as the club’s top goalscorer once again.

Leicester City’s Outstanding Start

The Foxes got off to a flying start to the season thanks to four wins on the spin against Coventry, Huddersfield, Cardiff and Rotherham. Each was by just a single-goal margin, however, so although the results went the right way from a Leicester perspective, there wasn’t much wriggle room. They slipped up at the start of September when going down 1-0 at home to Hull City. But then Leicester really hit their stride and began to set the pace in the division.

After the Hull defeat, Leicester went on a fantastic run of nine straight victories in the league, getting the better of some very decent sides along the way, including Norwich City, Bristol City and Preston North End. Then came something of a sticky patch as the Foxes suffered successive defeats to promotion rivals Leeds United and Middlesbrough. There was no reason to panic, however, and as winter began to bite, Leicester stuck to their task admirably, winning eight and drawing two of their next 10 league matches.

Promotion Push Derailed by February to Forget

The Foxes began 2024 in style with a 4-1 home win over Huddersfield and – after a slip-up against Coventry and a draw against title-chasing Ipswich – won a further four league matches on the bounce (against Swansea, Stoke, Watford and Sheffield Wednesday). But then Maresca’s men faced a double-header against the sides that had beaten them back in November: Middlesbrough and Leeds. The results were the same: two defeats; 2-1 at home against Middlesbrough and then 3-1 against Leeds at Elland Road.

Those losses seemed to cause something of a wobble for Leicester, who – including those two – lost six out of 10 league matches in a run that threatened to leave them facing the lottery of the play-offs. After consecutive 1-0 away defeats to Millwall and Plymouth Argyle, plenty of Leicester fans were getting a little nervous. But they had nothing to fear as the Foxes won the next two, 2-1 at home against West Brom and a stonking 5-0 hammering of Southampton.

With Leeds United fluffing their lines and going down 4-0 to QPR, Leicester secured their promotion back to the top flight. The Foxes’ subsequent 3-0 victory over Preston gave Leicester the Championship title, the eighth second-tier championship they’ve won over the years.

Will Leicester Avoid Relegation from the Premier League in 2024/25?

Although Leicester fans would undoubtedly love to relive their Premier League heroics of 2015/16, most Foxes fans will have a more realistic hope for their side’s first season back in the top flight: survival. Of course, that’s easier said than done, and many promoted sides have been immediately relegated the following season. Only four times in Premier League history have all three promoted sides avoided relegation (most recently in 2022/23 with Fulham, Bournemouth and Nottingham Forest).

Indeed, prior to the 2023/24 campaign, 40 promoted sides had only managed a single season in the Premier League. Meanwhile, a further 14 sides have been relegated after their second campaign in the top flight, in the Premier League era. On the flip side, however, 12 promoted sides managed to last a decade or more in the EPL, including all three promoted sides from 2001/02 (Blackburn, Bolton and Fulham).

Given Leicester’s relatively recent history, they might well be aiming higher than simply surviving in the top division. Could they attempt to emulate the Newcastle United and Nottingham Forest sides of 1993/94 and 1994/95, respectively, who jointly hold the record for the highest league finish of a promoted side (third!)? Okay, with the likes of Man City, Arsenal, Liverpool and even Aston Villa around, that could be too big an ask. But certainly a top-half finish isn’t out of the question.

Much will no doubt depend on the summer transfer dealings the club is able to undertake. But before all that, Leicester fans can bask in the jubilation that comes with their side’s swift return to the Premier League party.

Proudly powered by WordPress | Theme: Beast Blog by Crimson Themes.