Is Leicester City's Slow Start a Sign of Things to Come?
Leicester City is off to a bit of a tough start two games into the season. They have earned only one point in their first two matches. Yes, it's just two matches, but should the Foxes be concerned about their sluggish start?
Reasons to Worry
The Foxes lost arguably their best player, N'Golo Kante, to Chelsea in the transfer market this summer, and his absence has been noticeable. Leicester City averaged 22.9 tackles and 21.6 interceptions per game a year ago, leading the league in both categories. Kante and his relentless ball-winning abilities was a huge part of that.
This season, Leicester City is only averaging 18.5 tackles and 19.0 interceptions per game. Sure, it's a small sample size and these numbers aren't terrible, but it is a pretty significant drop from what they were doing last season with Kante in the squad.
Reasons Not to Worry
To put a positive spin on Leicester City's start, yes, they had a very disappointing home loss to newly promoted Hull City in Matchweek 1, but they bounced back relatively well last weekend against Arsenal.
Although Arsenal fans are furious with how the transfer window has gone for them so far, they are still a quality team who finished in second place last season. There is no shame in taking a draw against the Gunners.
In fact, Leicester City could have -- and possibly should have -- won this game after Ahmed Musa was denied a late penalty when it looked like he was fouled in the area.
Ahmed Musa clear penalty against Arsenal ... #LeiArs #KupuVideo #Musa #Leicester #FootballerGame pic.twitter.com/nHM6ED1DhJ
— FootballerGame (@footballer_game) August 20, 2016
To add to that, two of Leicester's key players are off to dreadful starts this season, and it is extremely likely that they will bounce back. Jamie Vardy has yet to record a goal or assist this yeasr, and he has posted a dreadful WhoScored.com rating of 6.17 after two matches. Of course, he was amazing last campaign, scoring 24 goals with 6 assists and posting a WhoScored rating of 7.51. Vardy may not match last year's production, but he will almost certainly improve on his early season struggles.
Another player who has struggled but is due to turn it around is Wes Morgan. Morgan averaged 1.3 tackles and 5.7 clearances per game last season, but so far this year he is down to just 0.5 tackles and 2.0 clearances per game. Morgan has been a really good defender for Leicester the past several seasons, and there is every reason to believe his poor performance during the first two games isn't a sign of things to come.
The other good news for Leicester City is that many of their key players have signed extensions, including Jamie Vardy, Riyad Mahrez, and possibly Danny Drinkwater. Although they've lost Kante, they've managed to keep the rest of the core of their team together, which should bode very well for them this season.
Leicester City had a magical season last year en route to the league title, and it was always going to be a tall task for the Foxes to repeat as champions.
In all likelihood, Leicester will not win the title again this year, but they still have a quality team, one that is capable of qualifying for Champions League or Europa League. They haven't been in good form through two games, but they have been a tad unlucky (see the non penalty call on Musa) and should be able to expect players like Vardy and Morgan to improve the rest of the way.
Leicester can still to do well this season, just maybe not quite as well as they did last year, and it's not yet time to panic.