Exactly a year ago, Leicester were 20th in the league fighting a relegation battle for their existence in the Premier League. Last weekend however, they were beating a team primed by many pundits to eventually win the title. How things can change in a year! It was yet another entertaining display from Leicester, as they dismantled Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium with their counter attacking football having won it 3-1 in the end pushing them 5 points clear at the top of the league ahead of Spurs and Arsenal. History on Leicester’s side since all the Premier league teams in the past who were top at the beginning of February have went on to win the league.
So much plaudits has already been directed (and rightly so) towards Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez for Leicester’s meteoric rise this season but players such as N’Golo Kanté, Christian Fuchs, Robert Huth and Marc Albrighton have all been unsung heroes for Leicester this season and deserve praise in equal measure.
The question everyone’s been asking after the last weekend is do Leicester have what it takes to win the league? They’re 5 points clear with 13 games to go, one wouldn’t be too wrong if they made them favourites to win the league with the solid brand of attacking football they’ve been playing. Add the fact that they have no Champions league/Europa league matches to look forward to this season, they have a favourable fixture list than the other title contenders.
However, if you look at their fixture list they face relegation battlers Norwich, Newcastle, Sunderland and Swansea City which won’t be as easy as it suggests. They also face Manchester United away, Everton home and Chelsea away as their 3 last league games in addition to facing Arsenal at the Emirates next weekend. That’s 8 out of 13 tough league fixtures with potentially every match making or breaking their season. We might finally witness Leicester crumbling under pressure.
One can’t predict what will happen come the end of May but one thing is for sure, Leicester have entertained and surprised us throughout this season. Another thing which we can be sure of is Leicester finishing in the Top 4 (unless there’s a drastic dip in their form which I don’t see happening) ahead of former heavyweights Manchester United and Liverpool. It’ll be fun to watch them play in the Champions League next season against the elite teams in Europe with the squad they have if they fail to win the title. Leicester face a tough task this weekend against a resurgent Arsenal side at the Emirates Stadium. They would have the added motivation of exacting revenge of the 5-2 defeat handed out by Arsenal back in September along with the incentive of increasing their lead at the top. If they manage to beat Arsenal, we shall a see good majority of Premier League fans piping them as favourites for the title.
Leicester City have punched well above their weight and emerged victorious time and again. Who knows we might very well be witnessing the greatest Premier League underdog story since the Blackburn Rovers team of 1995/96.
By Anand on 11/02/2016 at 23:13