On this week’s FD Explained, we’re looking at Championship leaders Leicester, who already look to be running away with the competition after just a quarter of the season. The Foxes have made huge defensive and attacking strides under new coach Enzo Maresca, but how exactly has the Italian revived their fortunes? How did Guardiola and Brendan Rodgers lay the groundwork for their style? And which players have stepped up to fill the gaps left by Barnes, James Maddison, and Youri Tielemans?
Let us know what you think of our deep dive in the comments below.
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With just over a quarter of the Championship season down Leicester have Already made themselves favorites not Just to win promotion but to comfortably Top the table come May the foxes gambled Big on former Pep Guardiola assistant Enzo moresa over the summer and Substantially remade their squad with Key contributors like James Madison Harvey Barnes Yuri Tans and Kos yunu Moving on but clearly it's worked for Them the Midland side picking at 12 wins And just a single loss from their 13 Games today putting them on 36 points That's 14 ahead of third already that Start is so hot that only five teams in History can boast a better beginning to A campaign and if Leicester were to Maintain this pace they'd end the year With a goal difference of plus 71 and 127 points both records the latter Besting the current Benchmark by an Incredible 21 points so what exactly has Moresa done to overhaul The Vibes our Clubs stunned by relegation just seven Years after they were crowd champions of England are the comparisons to pep lazy Journalism or a useful way of Understanding the Italians tactics and Which players are powering the fox's Push for a quick return to the Top Flight on today's FD explained we're Examining a side incapable of playing a Boring season that's right it's
Leicester city unlikely demotes from the Premier League it's easy to dismiss Leicester's achievements this term as Simply meeting expectations after all The club spent 9 years soaking up that Sweet Premier League TV Revenue shaking Out to roughly 1 billion pound in in Total as well as earning some Champions League prize money allowing them to Build a squad which looks comfortably Superior to most of their current Rivals But it's not straight forward climbing Out of the championship no matter your Advantages in their investigation into Leicester's season so far opor analysts Side noted that under a third of the Teams promoted to the Prem since 2017 Were relegated from the top tier the Year before and since 1994 only 27 out Of 89 relegated sides have regained Premier League status in a single Campaign the division has also also Improved in recent years as demonstrated By the 12 players who left Championship Sides over the summer for more than 15 Million EUR and Lester were Hardy facing The campaign with the squad that went Down with four of the five players that Earned the most minutes at the king Power in 2022 2023 departing still Leicester made Solid moves over the Summer experienced ball players like Harry winks and Connor Cody came in for A combined 20 million EUR while former
Arsenal Academy player Stephie midi at 25 years old was a known quantity on the Wing and then came a raft of interesting Gambles young striker Thomas Cannon came From Everton 23-year-old goalkeeper mads Hermeson from bromby and three exciting Loans in Chelsea's highly rated Midfielder Cesar cassad Man City youth Defender Callum Doyle and Abdu fatwa Isaku a gar and Winger out of sporting Four of those rank in the team's 11 most Used players so far giving the lineup Both freshness and continuity and like Vincent company whose Burnley side have Been the obvious comparison from mesa's Work the manager has shown the influence Fluence of Pep Guardiola clearly in his Short Reign at present Leicester play an Intricate and patient possession game With the third lowest speed towards goal In the division and the most passes per Sequence which is exactly how man city Profile for the same stats among Premier League sides if to a more extreme extent And if Leicester are trying to do the Same thing as City they are Accomplishing it in a similar way with Ricardo Pereira stepping into Midfield From right back leaving a back three to Mop up any Breakaway attacks and Allowing Kier and jub Hall to push Further up the pitch here's pereira's Heat map now to some degree this may all Seem like obvious stuff moresa wants the
Team to be good good teams have the ball So Les to try to have the ball as much As possible and that obviously means Teams sit deeper making possession move More slowly up field but it also plays Into the squad's strengths even in the Premier League leester were a possession Based side averaging 51% of the ball Over their last three seasons in the top Flights and so moresa simply encouraged Their natural tendencies and now the Foxes have 61% possession the most in The championship vestard and Winks Have Been instrumental in this ranking first And second amongst all of the division's Players for completed passes while Pereira is 13th and F is 16th and this Extreme bull retention helps keep the Backline out of trouble other teams just Can't hurt them if Leicester have the Ball in a way then this Builds on both The work of Guardiola and Brenan Rogers Who used possession as a defensive Tactic both of the king power and in his Earlier years at Swansea City and let's Face it it's been a welcome tonic for a Rear guard run ragged last season though They were ultimately unlucky to drop Down the pyramid with underlying numbers Ranking them 13th in the Premier League In 20122 2023 the foxes have been in Defensive decline for some time from Conceding 41 League goals in 1920 they LED in 50 in 2021 59 in 2122 and finally
68 last season a truly appalling effort The erratic work of Danny Ward Exacerbated the issue costing the club An extra five goals above their 63 XG Conceded but that was still 15th in the Division and while they rated as League Average for pressing disrupting their Opponents every 12 passes that arguably Made them even more vulnerable they Pushed up to try and win the ball back But only succeeded in leaving space in Behind for the opposition with only Everton letting in more goals from Counterattacks and only Villa allowing More through balls all that added up to 15 shots on their goal each game again That was the third worst in the league And those shots were slightly above Average as well at 0.11 XG per attempt It was let's face it a disaster so Mesa's keep ball strategy has been Useful but by itself it wouldn't be Enough to make up the difference Fortunately the Press is also much Tougher going from the 12th most Aggressive in the Premier League to the Fourth most aggressive in the Championship with jub Hall especially Effective regaining possession in the Final third more often than anyone else In the division as a result the foxes Now control almost the entire pitch as This chart from the analyst shows in Blue they can see just 11 shots a game
And shot quality is down to 0.08 XG per attempt that's the joint Lowest amongst all 24 clubs so it's no Surprise they're the best team in the Competition by XG conceded allowing Under one XG in seven of their matches So far and they've only let in seven Actual goals in 13 games that's six Fewer than anyone in the championship The other end is just as impressive Scoring over two a game and leading the Table in XG makes for handsome reading And once again juy Hall he's the key Though Leicester boast five players with At least six appearances and over 0.5 XG Per 90 the 25-year-old is at8 that's More than Ole Watkins or Hyman son this Campaign and he's backed 10 goal Involvements of course top of the league He's shooting like a striker taking 3.2 Shots a game and creating like a world Class 10 at 3.4 chances created per 90 Leading the squad in both categories Whil also adding 1.5 dribbles a game and Only sitting behind doy for Progressive Passing that pressing is helping too With only two teams turning the ball Over in the final third more often and Four goals coming from those turnovers Already joint top it is an absolutely Astonishing all round individual effort Which would be getting way more Headlines if it wasn't happening in the Second flight but if it leads to
Promotion it'll arguably count as one of The most valuable breakout seasons for Any player in recent memory handed a Club with plenty of assets but a Seriously low morale issue Enzo moresa Has rapidly got his team playing an Attractive distinctive style and he's Done it with relatively few Peak age Stars a huge portion of the squad is Composed of youngsters breaking through An underrated journeyman how the coach Evolves his team and copes with the Demands of an arduous campaign remains To be seen but with such a hot start the Fox has surely given themselves a Cushion which can help them through the Tough stretches of the season and given That so many of these players have Recently appeared in the Top Flight Leicester should be even better better Place than many other teams to stay up Once they win promotion having dominated The ball even last season it may not be The fairy tale like 2015 16 but for the First time in a while the Good Feeling Is back at the king power and the club Have got some direction again who knows Where it can take them so that was our Look at Leicester city in the Championship if you enjoyed it hit the Like button hit subscribe thanks very Much for watching we'll see you later
Nochu Singh, a vibrant and dynamic sports journalist based in the sunny city of Los Angeles, California, has been a prominent voice in the sports journalism community for over a decade. Born to Indian immigrants, Nochu grew up immersed in a rich blend of cultures, fostering a unique perspective that he seamlessly weaves into his storytelling.