Leicester Are Improving Every Year, Says Roberts
Former Leicester City striker Iwan Roberts has pointed to the Club’s season-on-season improvement following the conclusion of the elongated 2019/20 season.
– Iwan Roberts assesses Leicester City‘s 2019/20 Premier League campaign
– The Foxes finished in fifth place, the Club’s second-best ever final Premier League standing
– Roberts admits it is easy to understand the disappointment that City could not finish higher
– However, the former Wales striker believes season-on-season improvement is the key metric
While City’s form fluctuated following a 3-0 win at Newcastle United on New Year’s Day, Roberts, who netted 44 goals for the Club in the mid-1990s, believes there are so many reasons for optimism.
“I think it’s been a good season, I really do,” the Welshman said. “Especially that first half of season, the Club was outstanding. Thirty-nine points from 19 games is a really, really good total.
“During that period between October and December, they won eight consecutive games, including a Premier League record for an away win at Southampton, and things were looking great.
“Confidence was high. Plenty of goals were being scored. Clean sheets were being kept and everything was looking great.
“Then you look at the second half of the season, and it hasn’t quite lived up to expectations and maybe the standard of play hasn’t been as high as what it was in that first half.
“Six wins in the next 19 games, two wins since the season restarted. That’s why the Club have just missed out on Champions League football.
“But, all in all, to finish fifth, if you look at the teams ahead of Leicester – the top two, Man City and Liverpool, I think they’re streets ahead of anyone else in the Premier League.
“Then Chelsea – I thought they had a tremendous season with Frank Lampard in his first in charge, and you have to give credit to Manchester United, who just overtook Leicester on that last day.
“The run that they put together from the start of this year, until that 2-0 win at King Power Stadium last Sunday has been tremendous.
“Look at the teams that have finished below Leicester. You’ve got Arsenal, Spurs, Wolves. I can understand there’ll be an element of frustration and disappointment with the way it’s ended.
“They missed out on a top-four place and Champions League football for only the second time in the Club’s history, but it’s a season the fans should be proud of.
“To finish fifth, 10 points better off than last season, I think it has to go down as a good season.
“I think as a Football Club, season-on-season you’ve got to improve and progress, you’ve got to show improvement and that’s what Leicester have done.”
Asked to make his personal pick for City’s most impressive player of 2019/20, Roberts followed the fans’ lead by selecting Player and Players’ Player of the Season, Jamie Vardy.
The 33-year-old netted 23 goals for the Foxes across the season, enough to earn him the Premier League Golden Boot prize, and Roberts was delighted for City’s current No.9.
“The easy answer for a centre-forward would be Jamie Vardy,” he added. “Even though he’s 33 now, he scored 23 goals in the Premier League in 35 games.
“That Golden Boot was thoroughly deserved and I’m absolutely chuffed to bits for him. What an example for any player who gets disregarded at an early age and told he’s not good enough.
“For him to persevere and prove people wrong, it’s a fantastic story. I also look at the likes of young Harvey [Barnes], the way he’s come in.
“At the start of the season, we said he’s got to add goals to his game because his end product was improving all the time.
“His goals to games ratio wasn’t what it should be for a forward-thinking player, but then to score the goals he did, I think he’s done ever so well.
“Ricardo scores goals, his assists are second to none, and he has to be up there with Trent Alexander-Arnold. That’s how good and how highly I rate Ricardo.
“There have been some really, really bright individual performances and good performances as a team.”