In a season that contained so many twists and turns, so many moments of elation and heartbreak, so much joy and frustration, it’s tough to sum it all up in 10 numbers. But here’s an attempt, your own key numbers for the season are welcome in the comments.
1 – Leicester were beaten often in 2012/13, far too often. And just as is was last year, the margin of failure was narrow. In 2011/12 a dozen of Leicester’s 16 defeats were by just a single goal. This year the Foxes again lost 16 times, with 15 defeats coming by the odd goal. In the Championship only Barnsley in the regular season, and of course Watford in the playoffs, managed to beat the Foxes by more than one. Every other side in the division suffered at least four defeats by two or more.
6 – Whilst of course losing by one goal or four makes no difference to the points total Leicester’s narrow defeats, coupled with a string of high scoring wins, did enough for the Foxes’ goal difference for them to scrape into the top six. Leicester’s 6-0 thumping of Ipswich, their biggest league win for 30 years, was also the joint biggest win in the Championship this season. Ipswich were also the victims in Blackpool’s 6-0 win early in the campaign.
5 – On two occasions Leicester surged up the Championship table with five match winning runs. Whilst five other clubs could boast a similar winning run, no side in the division managed it twice.
9 – Which makes it all the more perplexing that this season also contained Leicester’s longest winless run for six years. A nine game stretch without a win that began in March put the manager’s position in serious doubt. It was part of a longer malaise which saw Leicester drop from 2nd to 7th. Rob Kelly and Paulo Sousa did not survive similar slumps in form. It remains to be seen whether Leicester’s late rally will be enough to save Nigel Pearson’s job.
23 – Perhaps the answer to Leicester’s slump can be found in this number. Leicester’s squad for the 2012/13 campaign had an average age of just 23. It was the third youngest in the entire Football League. It was also one of the smallest. Only Derby County used fewer players than the Foxes this season. Of course whether Nigel Pearson survives the summer or not will inform us of how much choice the manager had in this approach. With the onset of Financial Fair Play looming, and 11 squad members still on contracts signed during or just before Sven-Goran Eriksson’s tenure, the manger may have been given little option but to invest in youth.
16 – Of course the youthful squad argument doesn’t explain fully why some other more experienced players went off the boil at the same time. In January, David Nugent had 14 goals to his name and looked set to become the first Leicester City player since Gary Lineker to score 20 league goals at this level in a single season. In the end he had to settle for 16 in all competitions. By no means a bad return, but it could have been so much more.
68 – And so could the Foxes’ points total. 68 points was the lowest total ever for a side reaching the playoffs in a 24 team second tier. In the four seasons prior to this one that total would only have been enough to finish 8th. In 2006/07 a side on 68 points would have finished 11th. It was good enough this time, but Leicester fans should be under no illusions that the side were extremely fortunate to limp over the line.
48 – The Foxes might have finished the season with what was statistically the third best defence in the league (they conceded 48 goals). But when it came to the business end of the season City let themselves down. No clean sheet in 13 was the Foxes longest run without one since 2006/07. In the run up to the playoffs they conceded twice in each of their last five league matches. But again, it’s with noting that in 48 Championship matches only Watford were able to find the net three times against Leicester.
193 – And up until February, Leicester’s defence had been playing its part in ensuring the Foxes outshot their opponents. Over the course of the whole season City had 193 more attempts than the opposition. An average of more than four attempts per game. In fact Leicester had more attempts and attempts on target than any other Championship side. Conversely, as only the divisions fourth highest scorers, it can easily be argued they weren’t clinical enough.
4770 – Kasper Schmeichel played every minute of every Leicester City match this season, all 53 of them. Not far behind was captain Wes Morgan who missed only the Foxes League Cup defeat to Burton Albion, 87 minutes of the home defeat by Millwall, and the following 2-0 loss at Barnsley. Both players only have a year left on their respective contracts. The club will do well to get each of them to put pen to paper this summer.