[This series will break down each positional group and preview its expectations on a player-by-player basis. First was goalkeepers. Now, defenders]
Leicester’s defense had two seasons within a season during their improbable championship run.
The first half of the year was full of high-scoring, open matches...many that the club would have preferred didn’t happen. As the new year turned, the defense tightened up and the goals stopped coming (for the opposition anyway).
The quartet of Christian Fuchs, Robert Huth, Wes Morgan and Danny Simpson were dominant in their performances and shut out even the most impressive of attacking forces.
Let’s see who will be patrolling the backline heading into this season...
Wes Morgan - @Wes5L1nk
The captain. The man in the middle. Morgan was a rock in the back for Leicester last season and Claudio Ranieri and Foxes supporters everywhere will hope the Jamaican can replicate his form from a year ago to aide the club to similar glory this go around.
Status: First choice
Season Preview: Coming in at a cool 32-years-old, Morgan probably doesn’t have many years left at this level but he’s been excellent for Leicester thus far and will remain ever-present in the lineup. His partnership with Robert Huth has becoming an imposing force in the Prem and there (at least right now) aren’t any signs of that changing.
Robert Huth - @robert_huth
The former Stoke defender joined Leicester halfway through the great escape campaign of 2014/15 and many (me, definitely me) feel he’s a massive reason for their turn around since then.
Powerful, aggressive, and a real pain in the you-know-what, Huth is everything you want in a Premier League center back.
Status: First choice
Season Preview: Morgan and Huth. Huth and Morgan. If there are two names you can depend on when waiting for the Leicester team sheet, it’s this pair. Won’t be any different this year, you know, unless something crazy happens like...well nothing could be crazier than last year. So yeah, Huth is the man.
Christian Fuchs - @FuchsOfficial
The Austrian fullback didn’t start every game last season but came into his own after Jeffrey Schlupp struggled to hold down his place early in the year. After that, the veterans guile and magical rainbow-making left boot kept him in the XI for the rest of the campaign. Ever notice how he has the same elbow tattoo as Richie de Laet? Weird, I know.
Status: First choice, for now
Season Preview: Fuchs would have a spot in the starting XI all nailed down if it weren’t for another guy on this list (hint: it’s Ben Chilwell). He’ll have the youngster breathing down his neck for a starting spot, particularly after the pair swapped roles for the majority of preseason.
Danny Simpson - @dannysimpson
Few expected Simpson to be a Premier League-winning fullback in his career. Cast off at Manchester United, Newcastle and then Queens Park Rangers, Simpson stuck with Leicester and put in some very productive performances for the Foxes last season.
Status: First choice, also for now
Season Preview: Not unlike his pal Fuchs on the other side, Simpson has to contest with the presence of a very formidable backup by the name of Luis Hernandez. The powerful Spaniard joined from Sporting Gijon in the summer and was given the no.2 shirt. He also has a long throw so there’s that. Simpson likely remains the first choice RB for the time being.
As I just noted in the above blurb, Hernandez is a new addition to the Leicester back four. A capable right back and center back, the 27-year-old should provide great versatility for Claudio Ranieri. Did I mention he has a long throw?
Status: First off the bench
Season Preview: Will provide excellent cover at two positions and should see significant playing time, given the amount of matches Leicester will be playing.
Ben Chilwell - @BenChilwell
Ben Chilwell, so hot right now. Ben Chilwell.
The 19-year-old left back was drawing interest from some of the biggest clubs in England but in the end, he decided to stay with the biggest and re-upped for five years with Leicester. He’s going to be a stud.
Status: Second off the bench
Season Preview: It was great to see the talented Chilwell re-sign with the club in the summer for another five years. That’s great stuff. He’ll likely challenge Fuchs for his spot this season and likely take it over outright for next year, if not sooner.
How can you not love this guy? The spitting image of Zangeef from Street Fighter, Wasilewski is equally as intimidating and probably a bit crazier. But hey, he’s on our side. The aging center back will provide cover and veteran leadership in a changing room that could always use both.
Status: Squad rotation player
Season Preview: Don’t expect to see too much from Wasilewski this year, outside cup matches and late cameos (never against Arsenal again though, Claudio). Great player with an excellent career, at 36, he should be seen as a last resort to line up at center back these days.