Leicester City are on another feel-good run this 2019-20 season. After losing most of their key players following their stunning 2015-16 Premier League-winning campaign, Leicester City fell back in the pecking order, finishing 12th in 2016-17 and 9th in the next two seasons, respectively.
Rodgers has promised to take the Foxes to new heights this season, and although the season is just at its infancy, Leicester sit fourth in the table. Rodgers previously claimed his intent to break up the concept of the Premier League’s “Big Six”, and if recent performances are proof, then the Foxes might be in for their best finish in the Premier League since 2015-16.
Rodgers is the key factor in the rise of the Foxes. Only Liverpool and Manchester City boast a better Premier League record than Leicester since the end of February when Rodgers was appointed. The Foxes have won 31 points during that time as compared to Liverpool's 49 and Manchester City's 43. Rodgers was known for his pragmatic coaching methods, which bettered both Liverpool as well as Celtic, where he won the domestic treble for two consecutive seasons.
Another key to their success is their 23-year-old Turkish defender, Caglar Soyuncu. Soyuncu has been a revelation since the departure of English centre-half Harry Maguire, who joined Manchester United this summer. Many fans were sceptical of the departure, feeling that United got the better end of the deal. However, the £80 million move now seems like a clinical masterstroke, with Soyuncu making sure that the Foxes fans do not miss the absence of Maguire.
Soyuncu initially struggled to settle in England after his £19 million transfer from Freiburg last season, but the Northern Irish coach deserves immense credit for the way he handled the 23-year-old's development.
With the January window fast approaching, Soyuncu is already the subject of transfer talks, with Manchester City looking into the availability of the Izmir native as the answer to their defensive problems. However, Soyuncu should not be thinking about a possible transfer at this stage of the season as well as his career. Leicester City trail Man City by just two points, after beating Newcastle United 5-0 and narrowly losing to league leaders Liverpool, who beat the foxes 2-1, after Sadio Mane won a penalty for the Reds during injury-time.
In front of Danish keeper Kasper Schmeichel, the new defensive partnership of Caglar Soyuncu and Jonny Evans has conceded only seven goals in their opening eight matches – only Liverpool fare better - while the Foxes have now tasted defeat just twice in 10 games in all competitions.
Soyuncu still needs to improve in certain areas of his game. The only other game Leicester have lost this season was, ironically, to Manchester United, where Marcus Rashford lured Soyuncu into conceding a penalty. Rodgers and Evans will try and help the centre-back to become more accomplished without losing his personality. Leicester first-team coach Kolo Touré will also have good counsel to give on that front.
The Foxes’ defence have the perfect blend of youth and experience with Ben Chilwell and Ricardo Pereira on the wings supporting Soyuncu and Evans. Leicester sit comfortably above Chelsea, Tottenham and most importantly Manchester United. Moreover, Man United as well as Spurs are stuck in mid-table positions and stakes could not be higher for the Foxes, but Leicester’s new look team, led by their back four shows that Brendan Rodgers is on the way to making a killer team for the seasons to come.
Feature image courtesy: AFP/Lindsey Parnaby