After a fairly good showing in the Europa League during the 2020/21 season, Leicester City will get another chance to play in the competition this coming season, and two Nigerian players will play their part for the squad.
Wilfred Ndidi and Kelechi Iheanacho are key members of the squad and will be involved in the big games that Leicester play this coming season, including those that are play on a Thursday night in the Europa League.
Leicester are in the competition again thanks to their fifth placed finish in the Premier League. Things could have been very different for them, had they finished the season in better fashion. They ended just one point out of the Champions League players, and could have been playing in the biggest European competition.
Players, fans and the management team will no doubt look back to them losing three of their last four games and see that was the key moment, where Leicester lost their Champions League chance. However, the Europa League still provides a great opportunity for Leicester to perform well and if things go their way, getting through to the last eight of this competition is certainly possible.
Do Leicester Have a Chance to Win the Europa League?
The Europa League is often a very difficult competition to work out for those looking at it. This is because we have teams enter from the Champions League qualifying at the start of the competition, and then after the group stage, eight more Champions League teams move into the competition after finishing third in their group.
It only takes one giant of football to do that, and they will instantly become one of the tournament favourites and make it much tougher for the rest. Last season, this happened with another English club, Manchester United, they finished third in the Champions League, dropped to the Europa League and went all the way to the final, before losing to Villarreal on penalties.
With that in mind, it is difficult to work out the expectations of Leicester City this coming season, because a bad draw could hamper them in the knockout phase. First of all, the expectation is to get out of the group stage, and Leicester will be looking to win this, which would help them avoid a game against the Champions League teams at the start of the knockout round.
Then, it’s all about managing expectations based on the draw that Leicester have, this competition perhaps more than any other, has huge importance on the draw and who teams will play. When odds are released by new football betting sites, Leicester will not be amongst the favourites, but should certainly be given the tag of lively outsiders, and they are a team that not too many others will want to face in the knockout round.
Failure to get out of the group would be seen as a disappointment for the team, the expectation is that they go further than that, with the last eight being a target, though don’t be surprised to see them go further if the draw is kind.
Time to Impress Ahead of the African Nations
In terms of the individual Nigerian players at Leicester, Wilfred Ndidi and Kelechi Iheanacho, they will of course want to play well and bring success to the team but they will no doubt want to impress ahead of the African Nations.
After two postponements, the hope is that this competition can finally go ahead in January 2022, and on the European stage is the best place for these players to shine. With Leicester playing twice a week on most weeks, they will have no option but to use their squad, which should mean constant, regular football for them both and a chance to shine.
Should the 2022 African Nations take place, Ndidi and Iheanacho will be part of the squad, and will be expected to play a key part. If Nigeria have success, these are two of the players that can drive them forward.
The best way to get ready for that tournament is to arrive on the back of playing highly competitive games and being involved in a good way. With the Europa League group stage taking place in the early stage of the season, both of these players have a chance to shine for Leicester in two competitions and show why they are going to play an important part for Nigeria at the African Nations.