Hope left for Spurs and Arsenal despite Leicester win

Date published: Sunday 3rd April 2016 4:11

Claudio Ranieri: Efforts catch home country's imagination

Claudio Ranieri: Efforts catch home country's imagination

Leicester City are seven points clear at the top of the Premier League with only six games to play, but the title remains a three-horse race.

It is a pet hate of mine that sweeping statements are so regularly made about the make-up of the final league tables with so much football still to play.

It can see teams written off before Christmas in extreme cases, but even at this late stage of the season there are enough games remaining for some dramatic changes to the ordering of teams.

Six games may not sound like a lot, but there is still more than 15% of the season remaining in the Premier League. More for those on 30 or 31 games. Is there any reason why there should fewer twists in that final part of the season than there have been to date? Not on your nellie.

Leicester will be considered champions-elect after their win over Southampton, but they may need to win four of those final six games to seal the title. Given they travel to Manchester United and Chelsea in two of their final three games, Claudio Ranieri certainly won’t be taking anything for granted just yet.

It’s a classic manager’s cliche, but never has the Italian’s likely post-match warning to his players of the need to take things one game at a time been more true. They just have to go to Sunderland next weekend and win.

Home games against West Ham and Swansea City follow. If Leicester were to take nine points, it would likely be enough given Tottenham and Arsenal’s fixtures, but even one defeat could set up an exciting conclusion to the season.

Should the Foxes go into the final three games – their home game either side of the trips to Old Trafford and Stamford Bridge is against Everton – needing even one win to finish the job, the pressure will be unlike anything those players have ever experienced. Ranieri will be determined to avoid that situation.

That is not to say Leicester aren’t capable of winning one, two or all three of those last three games, incidentally. They are, Even if United, Everton and Chelsea are still chasing European spots themselves. But at that stage of the season, with so much pressure and so much to play for, you simply can’t make any informed predictions about how the games might go.

The good news for Leicester fans is that Ranieri has done a fantastic job so far in keeping his players focused having hit the summit and pulled clear. He’s done everything he possibly can to relieve pressure, saying as recently as three weeks ago his side were fighting to secure a Europa League spot.

He won’t change tact any time soon, but it will be virtually impossible for him to stop his players’ minds from wandering amid the hype that will follow this latest success against Southampton. There is nothing he can do to stop talk and dreams of the title now.

Wes Morgan, Leicester celeb v Southampton

That makes the Sunderland game an incredibly tough one. Leicester have been grinding out wins under pressure for a while now, but only now will the points they need to land the title start to be discussed. Every member of the squad will be preparing for that trip to the Stadium of Light knowing it’s a great chance to claim one of the four wins they need. Once that is in your mind, the pressure really starts.

Sunderland are playing well at the moment, incidentally, and certainly won’t roll over. Sam Allardyce in fact has told his players they need to beat the Foxes. The visitors should be too strong if they play to their full potential, but can they do that under this pressure?

Arguably, they haven’t done it for a while. Their performance against Saints certainly won’t go down as one of their best this season. They were second best for fairly sustained periods and grateful to see Sadio Mane fail when put clean through at 0-0. This was far from vintage Leicester.

It doesn’t matter a jot, of course, and the majority of the nation will be hoping the East Midlanders can hold on now, however they manage it.

But the time for Tottenham and Arsenal fans to give up hope is still long away.

Mark Holmes

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Home Forums Hope left for Spurs and Arsenal despite Leicester win

This topic contains 26 replies, has 10 voices, and was last updated by  nine nine nine 8 months, 1 week ago.

Viewing 20 posts - 1 through 20 (of 27 total)
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  • #945818
    Mark Holmes
    Mark Holmes
    Keymaster

    Leicester City are seven points clear at the top of the Premier League with only six games to play, but the title remains a three-horse race

    [See the full post at: Hope left for Spurs and Arsenal despite Leicester win]

    #945854
    Romansdirtypants
    Romansdirtypants
    Participant

    I’d just luv it… if Spurs fail to win the title… I mean this has to be the best year in probably a millennia that they’ll get a sniff and they’re still not good enough.

    #945917

    Jennifer Logan
    Participant

    Haha, seems you have a weird sense of time and how long a millennia is, are you that old? maybe you should look at your own club and their pathetic attempts to win anything this season despite all the money you have;)

    #946004
    suarezsteeth
    suarezsteeth
    Participant

    Jennifer Logan nice avatar. Who’s your team?

    #946031

    nine nine nine
    Moderator

    I agree Mark anything could still happen and all three of the challengers can still win it and currently Leicester are just about getting over the line.

    Arsenal are still the best team in the race for the title imo with the easiest run in and whilst I really want Leicester to win it as it would be an incredible achievement and lovely for Claudio,as the dream gets close to reality with some difficult games to come Leicester might need all of that points cushion.

    I’ve just got this funny feeling about Arsenal. Hope I’m wrong.😃

    #946064
    SensibleS7
    SensibleS7
    Participant

    Just had a look at Tottenham’s remaining games. If anything, Arsenal have a better chance of catching Leicester.

    I don’t believe Spurs will win at Chelsea on Bank Holiday May Day Holiday and I think they might have a bit of a wobbler at Stoke.

    Based on this logic, Leicester’s 7 point cushion carries even more weight and from their 6 games, 3 wins should be enough to see them over the finishing line.

    #946142
    Mark Holmes
    Mark Holmes
    Keymaster

    Nine, I have that same feeling. They need to win at West Ham next weekend, but if they do that I think they’ll have a real chance as Leicester go to Sunderland the next day.

    Whoever wins it, it’ll be mightily close IMO.

    #946172

    nine nine nine
    Moderator

    Nil, you’re right Arsenal’s run in is the most favourable on paper albeit they are 11 points behind with a game in hand and I think you might be right 9 points might get Leicester over the line and with 6 games to go and their current form that doesn’t look to onerus.

    Leicester probably need to keep taking the lead in games because that allows them to play on the counter attack even at home which is probably their greatest strength.

    But Leicester’s last 3 games are away to United and Chelsea with a home game v Everton wedged in between so they might need to win the preceding 3 games to be sure which won’t be a walk in the park as Sunderland away and West Ham at home aren’t gimmee’s.

    I really hope Leicester do it but I feel a wobble may still come along and it might come down to how they deal with that and the last 5 or 6 games are always the most nervy in any run in.

    Leicester are undoubtedly the favourites but neither Spurs or Arsenal are out of it yet and in the most topsy turvy season we’ve ever seen certainly in the PL I just can’t help thinking that there will be some more twists and turns to come yet.

    #946223
    the specialone
    the specialone
    Participant

    Homzy – Truth is I’ve been expecting Leicester to drop points for the past three/four games as well but they just continue to keep on impressing.They’re really playing as a team.Even though they got lucky today as they had two clear handball(Penalty shouts) waived away and we all know if it was another big team there would be no end debating decisions.But that just says it all the fact people are not discussing about those controversial moments shows how much we all wouldn’t mind Leicester to win the league.

    It’s a fairytale story.I would obviously want my team to win the PL but for the fact I won’t be convinced simply because we didn’t turn up when it really mattered,I’ll be happy to see Leicester lift the title.The biggest overachievement and underrated job any manager has ever and will ever do in the PL.

    #946253
    SensibleS7
    SensibleS7
    Participant

    Nine, absolutely mate, and a good assessment.

    Just to break it down a little, they won today which put them in a healthy position of being 7 clear. 7 as it stands against Spurs is a magic number because Spurs have a much more of a superior goal diff’ over Leic.

    2 wins is definitely affordable and the suspected fixtures from where they could slip up would be at Old Trafford and Stamford Bridge.

    Sunderland away and West Ham at home are the Leicester’s next 2 games, and if they can grab 3 points at least from one of them, that would edge them closer.

    What they should ultimately avoid is defeat at that particular stage, because if Spurs were to put on a bit of a run themselves, then being only one point behind the Foxes, might give them that extra bit of motivation.

    All in all, the way this particular season has panned out, no team really have been consistent, and with the high level of unpredictable results, to me it just falls back to 2 teams in Spurs and Leicester who’ve been the most consistent against the rest.

    Maybe Arsenal can get something together and their experience could towards the end push Spurs at the very least, in unique (albeit Kenny Dalglish’s Blackburn Rovers in 1995), Leicester have been gifted with a very experienced Manager and one who’s managed at top level with pedigree and somebody who so far has kept it all together.

    Cheers

    #946256
    SensibleS7
    SensibleS7
    Participant

    I was just thinking after Liverpool narrowly edged past Norwich, April 20th of 14, how we were 25 5 lost 5, and I think that was like our 13th or so win on the bounce.

    It’s truly amazing looking back and just having that nice little cushy number of 1 game a week.

    We were in the driving seat and had 3 games left, but we ultimately capitulated.

    Now then, compared to Leicester, in fairness our situation was a bit of a Ben Nevis putting those sequence of wins together and coming from behind to regain top spot after losing it in the early part of the season.

    I so wish we had a 7 point lead at the time like Leicester have now because I feel our challenges in Chelsea and Man City were a lot stronger in the calibre of opposition compared to Spurs and Arsenal on Leicester.

    It’s just amazing to see from their last 6 games, 5 of them with 1-0 wins and just doing enough each time to seal 3 points – well played Leicester.

    #946259

    nine nine nine
    Moderator

    Nil, I think if Leicester win at Sunderland and follow that up with a win at home to West Ham they are all but home and dry. It’s how they would handle dropping points in one or both of those two games that would test them assuming both Spurs and Arsenal win their games which is not guaranteed. Cheers 999

    #946664
    Al The Gooner
    Al The Gooner
    Participant

    Cheers Mark, that’s a massive relief! I couldn’t understand why they hadn’t already presented Leicester with the trophy, until I read your excellent post. Do you think Wenger and Pochettino know? 😉

    Fact is that people have been writing off Leicester all season, keep expecting them to collapse and they keep defying everyone.

    I just looked up Ranieri’s history and was amazed to see that he’s never won a top division title, but he certainly has a lot of experience of title races and that could be all they need now to get them over the line. Barring injuries to key players, I think their cushion is more than comfortable enough to see them over the line.

    #946694
    banjo_chuckers
    banjo_chuckers
    Participant

    It would be quite funny if they “clinched” it against Chelsea at the Bridge on the last day of the season… 🙂

    #946697
    Al The Gooner
    Al The Gooner
    Participant

    Banjo – that would be brilliant – one of those “you couldn’t make it up” situations.

    To be fair to the Chavs though, I think a lot of them would be delighted – Roman might not be too pleased though!

    #947111

    nine nine nine
    Moderator

    It wouldn’t worry me if Leicester were to clinch the title at the Bridge Chelsea fans wont want either of Spurs or Arsenal to win it so if it was clinced at the Bridge it would be very likely that the Chelsea fans would join in the celebrations at neither Spurs or Arsenal winning it particularly as Claudio is the Leicester Manager.

    Hopefully though it won’t come down to the last game and Chelsea will put a big dent in Spurs title hopes on May 2nd.

    The title was there for both Spurs and particularly Arsenal who are the better team of all the three challengers to win this season and neither Arsenal or Spurs will get this sort of opportunity again.

    #947120
    Mark Holmes
    Mark Holmes
    Keymaster

    Al, I know you made that comment with your tongue in your cheek, but the amount of people that now seem to believe Leicester have won the title has really surprised me.

    Harry Redknapp has said similar to me in his Daily Telegraph column today, though, and I reckon he’s right that the title will be decided on the last day: http://www.teamtalk.com/news/title-race-not-over-by-a-long-chalk-redknapp

    Next weekend is the big one. If Arsenal win and Leicester don’t, it’s game on. I’d love to see Spurs win it, but I think their fixtures might be a bit too difficult.

    #947174
    steveosnakeeye
    steveosnakeeye
    Moderator

    how about this one then Mark?

    Those who backed Leicester City to win the Premier League title with Betfred have cashed in, with the firm paying out after the Foxes’ 1-0 win over Southampton. (Racing Post)

    (form the bbc gossip page)

    #947183

    nine nine nine
    Moderator

    stevo, publicity stunt by Betfred they always do it.

    #947204
    Al The Gooner
    Al The Gooner
    Participant

    I’m sure I remember PaddyPower paying out on Man U in Jan of 2002

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