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2019/20 Premier League preview - Leicester City: Top six finish the goal for Brendan Rodgers

Richard Jolly runs the rule over Leicester City ahead of the new season, including key player, new signing to watch and predicted league finish

STOKE ON TRENT, ENGLAND - JULY 27: Youri Tielemans of Leicester celebrates his goal during the Pre-Season Friendly match between Stoke City and Leicester City at the Bet365 Stadium on July 27, 2019 in Stoke on Trent, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
STOKE ON TRENT, ENGLAND - JULY 27: Youri Tielemans of Leicester celebrates his goal during the Pre-Season Friendly match between Stoke City and Leicester City at the Bet365 Stadium on July 27, 2019 in Stoke on Trent, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

If Leicester City had something of a wasted season last year, at least they ended it with optimism after sacking Claude Puel and bringing in Brendan Rodgers, a manager well-suited to their group of emerging, attack-minded players and who should bring more home wins.

Leicester have added to the progressive feel by buying Youri Tielemans and Ayoze Perez, offering still more options in the positions between Wilfred Ndidi and Jamie Vardy, and with the latter perhaps meaning James Maddison is used less as a No 10.

Yet one unresolved question about Rodgers is if his teams defend well enough: should Harry Maguire go, will Leicester have a soft underbelly?

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Who finishes where in 2019/20?

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Key player: Jamie Vardy

Turns 33 in January but a player whose game is based on raw pace can feel impervious to the ageing process. Despite a slow start, he still got 18 league goals last season; no other striker has got more than seven for Leicester in any of the last four seasons. Perez looks a partner, not a replacement.

Signing to watch: Youri Tielemans

When Leicester sealed a £40 million (Dh182m) club-record deal for the Belgian, the surprise was that they did not face more competition. The problem of the try-before-you-buy policy was that the midfielder had advertised his class in a loan spell. At just 22, he promises to be a fine signing in both the short and long terms.

Talking point: Are Leicester the most likely team to break into the top six?

Leicester have strength in depth in most positions, a group of young players – in Maddison, Ndidi, Ben Chilwell, Harvey Barnes and Demarai Gray – who ought to get better again and a group, from Kasper Schmeichel to Vardy, who are good enough to play for the elite clubs.

Even under Puel, they showed the ability to beat the top clubs, with Chelsea, Manchester City and Arsenal last season’s scalps. The question is if they can out-perform one of them over 38 games, but they look the best of the rest.

Prediction: 7th

Updated: August 2, 2019 03:44 PM

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