LASESARRE, SPAIN - AUGUST 5: Puma Orbita, the official match ball of LaLiga in detail prior the pre-season friendly match between Athletic Club and Real Sociedad on August 5, 2022 at Lasesarre Stadium in Barakaldo, Spain. Noxthirdxpartyxsales PUBLICATIONxNOTxINxJPN 195228971

The final day of the season must be excruciating for Leicester City fans. While the recruitment of Brendan Rodgers has been nothing short of excellent since his arrival from Celtic, and the start of the last two campaigns have been fantastic, the wheels always seem to come off and it has led to the Foxes missing out on the top four twice in consecutive years.

After some inconsistent results in 2020, not exactly helped by the coronavirus pandemic disrupting three months of the season, they never really found the momentum required to get going again and a loss to Manchester United sealed their Europa League fate. Flash forward twelve months and after looking like an odds-on favourite in the betting exchange with the form they were in at the turn of the year, capitulation against Tottenham Hotspur at the King Power led to another disappointing fifth place finish.

Once again questions are being asked of Rodgers’ side and the proverbial ‘bottle’ they have amongst their ranks. Now playing twice a week for the foreseeable future in Europe’s secondary competition, the Foxes will have their work cut out for them if they are to break into one of the coveted Champions League places as well as reach the latter stages of the Europa League — testing not only their strength in depth but their mental attributes if they are finally going to get over what seems to be their biggest obstacle.

Last season was not all doom and gloom in the East Midlands. The Foxes picked up an FA Cup and have started this campaign with a Community Shield victory over current league champions Manchester City. Leicester will have their work cut out for them in the league though as teams around them have invested heavily in the transfer market and have had players who suffered lengthy injury spells last season return — although Rodgers has delved into the transfer market himself.

With Jamie Vardy seemingly aging like a fine wine, it is understandable that he is being used in the big games, and the arrival of Patson Daka eases the forwards responsibility this season, having been the primary source of goals over the last five years, although a brilliant run of form from Kelechi Iheanacho was a surprising, but welcome arrival to the goal scorers ranks. Wesley Fofana is expected to spend some more time on the side-lines after picking up a knock in preseason from a nasty tackle, so the onus is on the rest of the back four to keep goals out after the Frenchman enjoyed a brilliant debut season in England’s top flight.

Leicester face a tricky group in the Europa League, with Napoli, Spartak Moscow and Legia Warsaw all beatable on the right day, but certainly requiring the full side. There will be no time for rest and rotation, especially for the number of difficult away games the Foxes face, with plenty of travelling and cold weather to boot. It will be another hard campaign for Rodgers side, who have a tendency of starting the season strong. If they can assess their situation over the hectic Christmas schedule and finally plot a coup for an illustrious Champions League spot it would certainly ease some tension from the Northern Irishman, who is earning a reputation of being the nearly man. Only time will tell if things can be turned around.