With Leicester five points clear at the Premier League summit, we list five reasons why the Foxes could complete the ‘impossible dream’ of winning the title this season.
Leicester’s stunning 3-1 victory at Manchester City has taken Claudio Ranieri’s side a step closer to winning the Barclays Premier League.
The Foxes, who have lost on just two occasions this season, are five points clear of their nearest challengers with only 13 matches remaining.
Our article after match on Saturday focused on why the Foxes are ‘simply brilliant and brilliantly simple’ – and here we look at five reasons why Leicester, now installed as the bookmakers’ favourites, could complete the impossible dream and win the title.
1. Record-breaker Vardy
Every championship-winning side needs a goalgetter and in Jamie Vardy, Leicester have got the league’s top scorer. The 29-year-old, who broke Ruud van Nistelrooy’s long-standing record of scoring in 10 consecutive Premier League matches, has netted on 18 occasions for the Foxes. In what has been a remarkable campaign for the former non-league nobody, Vardy is playing with confidence – as his wonder goal against Liverpool demonstrated – and if he remains fit and injury-free there is no reason why his goals cannot fire Leicester to the title.
2. Magic Mahrez
Has there been a better player in the Premier League than Riyad Mahrez? The £400,000 (yes, £400,000) signing from French second division side Le Havre has been on a different level for the Foxes this season. Mahrez, on the scoresheet in Leicester’s victory at the Etihad on Saturday, has been involved in 24 Premier League goals – scored 14 and assisted 10 – which is a record that cannot be bettered.
3. Dominant defence
While Vardy and Mahrez have been taken most of the plaudits this season, Leicester’s vastly-improved defence must also earn recognition. After conceding two goals against Sunderland on the opening day of the season, and nine against Aston Villa, Stoke and Arsenal in September, the Foxes have worked hard on plugging their leaky backline. Spearheaded by Wes Morgan, formerly of Nottingham Forest and Robert Huth, frozen out by Stoke, and marshalled by Danny Drinkwater and N’Golo Kante, Leicester have subsequently created one of the meanest defences in the league, Notable clean sheets against Tottenham, Manchester City and Liverpool have followed.
4. Sole objective
While Manchester City, Arsenal and Tottenham all have European exploits to deal with as well as the FA Cup, Leicester’s only concern is the Premier League. And their run-in does not look to bad either. After they travel to Arsenal next Sunday, Leicester’s ensuing five fixtures are against Norwich, West Brom, Watford, Newcastle and Crystal Palace.
5. Team spirit
While Leicester may not have a team of superstars, their team spirit is unrivalled. Following their victory at Manchester City on Saturday, manager Claudio Ranieri said: “We are 11 when we go on to the field and in all my career I don’t think I have known a team as strong at being together.” And it is that kind of togetherness which the fans at the King Power Stadium are feeding off. Indeed you will struggle to find a better atmosphere in the Premier League right now and with seven of their 13 remaining matches at home, the Leicester supporters could be the final piece of the jigsaw in this incredible story.