Claudio Ranieri, Leicester’s tinker-man, has taken the Premier League by a force of will, it would seem. They’ve certainly been the most entertaining side to watch in this very entertaining campaign so far, and certainly miles more entertaining than the likes of traditional big-name teams like Manchester United, Chelsea, and Liverpool, all of whom were supposed to be above them according to the pre-season projections. Anyhow, defying all logic, this illogical table should make a case for less logical contenders for the title this season.
For example, though less surprising than the position of Leicester, Tottenham Hotspurs have moved into a very advanced place in 2nd on the Premier League table. With that in mind, when you also notice the fact that they’ve got two matches in hand on Leicester, and the gap being only 5 points, there’s a very good chance for Spurs to go top of the league. However, what will be even more illogical and more to the standards of this Premier League season would be if Spurs, uncharacteristically and quite the contrary to their form, dropped points in one or both of those two games. And so, don’t get surprised if they do, for this is the Prem.
The team that Leicester beat in the early game today, Man City, looked a bit out of place, similar to many other performances that we’ve seen this season from them, one that comes into mind immediately would be their last match in the Premier League against West Ham, though that was a draw rather than a loss. They seemed to have been missing De Bruyne and Kompany and the many others that were out injured. But, as we all know, using injuries as an excuse is just a bad way of covering the main problem, which is that they didn’t create that many clear-cut chances and weren’t decisive enough.
Riyad Mahrez and Jamie Vardy have been the duo in the Premier League this season, outscoring and out-assisting every other two player partnership in this league. Vardy’s now at 18 for the season, and Mahrez, after his wonder today, at 14 goals. They are a force to be reckoned with, but they aren’t the only ones that deserve the headlines.
N’Golo Kanté has been exceptional this season, making the transition from defence to attack in a matter of seconds, with either a quick pass to his ever-present colleague Marc Albrighton or Riyad Mahrez out in the wing area, or a long one to the already running Vardy.
Danny Drinkwater has been the victim of various social media trolls all made up from his name, from the ‘Drinkbeer’ joke to countless others. Ironically, they all seemed to have somehow disappeared from the social media these days. His tackles and hard work in defence has allowed guys like Mahrez and Vardy to make those brilliant offensive plays that they do, and though less sexy, these are skillfully as hard a job to do. Ranieri really owes this dude a hug and then some if they do finish in the top spot this season.
Marc Albrighton is best admired by Leicester fans and me, myself, for his impeccable crosses into the box from the flanks, and his quickness in the way that he does it. At the very maximum, he takes 3 to 4 touches before delivering his ball, and most of them boast quality, too, unlike some other players’. He is second to Mahrez in the assist list for this Leicester side, and that’s more down to the little Algerian’s talent rather than a fault on his part.
Robert Huth and Wes Morgan have arguably as brilliant at the back this season as Mahrez and Vardy have been up front. They simply take the life out of every attack of their opposition and have resembled a cohesiveness and understanding with one another that speaks of a truly magisterial defensive pairing. Huth had the opportunity to score his first hat-trick ever for Leicester today, and had it occurred, it would’ve been one to savor.
Leicester City, unlike many others who have surprised the league before, do have the potential to hold on to their position and have a manager that has the experience to lead them to the Premier League title. They’ve gone through the difficult spell already. Now, it’s just time they and their fans started believing that they are truly capable of what they are currently able to do. The rest, come May 15th, is set to be delicately embroidered in the history of world football.