‘We are fighting for Europe.’ Claudio Ranieri pessimistically uttered those words despite his side sitting at the top of the Premier League, five points ahead of second-placed Tottenham with only seven games to go. The Leicester City manager is either still in denial that his side has a serious shot at winning the title or considering his past, does not want to jinx it. Ranieiri’s men are on course to make Premier League history, their success could even emulate that of Nottingham Forest considering the huge sums of money spent in football today.
Leicester have 66 points after 31 Premier League games, 41 more than they had at the same stage last season, when they were bottom of the table with seven games remaining. The foxes owe it to their front duo Riyad Mahrez and Jamie Vardy who have 35 goals and 17 assists between them. However, credit should go to the team’s defensive effort. In the past 13 games, they have conceded only six times and their ability to play off the ball is just amazing. They rank 18th in terms of ball possession and are the Premier League’s worst club when it comes to passing, but all that does not matter, they still kept 12 clean sheets and scored a total of 54 goals (more than any other side). Goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel and defender Wes Morgan are yet to miss a minute of football this season, the secret of their success is their consistency.
With N’Golo Kante chasing opposing midfielers all around the pitch, the team has what it takes to make it all the way to the end. Despite the riches of the likes of Manchester United and City, Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool, Ranieri’s men are looking on course to finish above them but Tottenham pose a real danger to their title bid. For Leicester to be top at this moment in football where money rules and dictates the movement of big stars, it could mean that it is a bigger achievement than that of Nottingham Forest
Leicester’s loss against Arsenal a few week back could have burst their bubble and made them lose their momentum, but the foxes were mature enough to bounce back. Their determination has taken them so far but seven games in English football is plenty and they still have a few big games ahead of them including ones against Manchester United and Leicester City. Can Ranieri finally become a winner?