The famed Leicester City end-of-season collapse ended up proving fatal in their bid to return to the Champions League, as three defeats from their final four Premier League games in the 2020-21 season condemned them to another fifth-placed finish and another stint in the Europa League.
Unable to take advantage of Chelsea’s defeat to Aston Villa as they were sunk by a Gareth Bale-inspired Tottenham Hotspur on the final day, Leicester did
manage to march to their first-ever FA Cup triumph over the Blues, which booked their appearance in the season’s annual curtain raiser – the Community Shield.
Facing a Manchester City side far from full strength, the Foxes kept Pep Guardiola’s men at bay for 89 minutes before former City striker Kelechi Iheanacho coolly converted from the penalty spot to propel Leicester to their first Community Shield triumph in 50 years.
Winning the curtain-raiser is one thing, but Leicester supporters are clearly pining for a return to the Champions League, and as ever, an astute array of acquisitions in Patson Daka, Boubakary Soumare and Ryan Bertrand could prove priceless in their bid for a top-four finish.
Leicester’s home form in 2021 so far has certainly been a mixed bag – winning six and losing five of their 11 Premier League games since the turn of the year – while a record of one win from their last five opening-day matches is not exactly cause for optimism, either.
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London came calling for Nuno Espirito Santo after he failed to replicate the type of form which propelled Wolverhampton Wanderers into Europe, with yet another Portuguese in former Benfica coach Bruno Lage arriving at Molineux during a significant summer of change.
Of course, Wolves’ cause in the 2020-21 campaign was not helped by the sickening head injury suffered by Raul Jimenez, with Nuno’s side winning just three of their final 13 games in the top flight to claim 13th spot in the table – 17 points adrift of Europe and 17 clear of relegation.
Jimenez’s return to fitness has been a truly welcome sight, while the acquisitions of Francisco Trincao, Yerson Mosquera, Rayan Ait-Nouri and Jose Sa represent a statement of intent from Lage, who oversaw a mixed bag of pre-season results with the West Midlands side