By: Danny Shin
Nine games remain in the Premier League season; nine games to see if Leicester City can pull off what once was considered impossible.
With 29 matches in the books, Leicester sit proudly atop the EPL table, five points ahead of Tottenham, eight clear of Arsenal and ten above Manchester City.
Just to put this into perspective: since the club’s founding in 1884, Leicester have never won a title in the top flight. The closest they ever game was a second-place finish in 1928-1929.
So can the Foxes do it? Absolutely, but they can’t lose the one advantage they have had over every other team all season long.
While the likes of Arsenal and Manchester City have stumbled, Leicester has remained steady. Their longest streak of matches without a win this season is three. In addition, they have had unbeaten runs of six, 10 and seven matches. On their unlikely road to Premier League glory, Leicester have helped themselves even more by remaining extremely difficult to beat.
Ranieri deserves credit, but so do the players. The back line, led by Wes Morgan and Robert Huth, has only conceded 31 goals to this point. In midfield, N’Golo Kante has proved to be an absolute steal last summer’s transfer market. An argument can be made that his £5.6 million signing is the best in recent Premier League history.
But it’s up front where Leicester has gained the most fans. Earlier this season, Jamie Vardy broke a Premier League record by scoring in 11 straight matches.
But for all of Vardy’s goals, the best player has been 25-year-old Riyad Mahrez, another bargain signing that has taken the league by storm. The Algerian international showed off his immense value when he netted the game-winner on Saturday to give Leicester all three points against Watford. With 15 goals and 11 assists, the 25-year-old is on of the front-runners for player of the year.
The next four games are very winnable for the Foxes. After games against Newcastle at home, Crystal Palace away, Southampton at home and Sunderland away, Leicester fully expect to come out of that stretch with all 12 points.
The final stretch of the season becomes significantly more difficult. Leicester will host West Ham, a side currently making a strong push for the top four, and Swansea City. After that, the foxes will finish the season with matches against Manchester United (away), Everton (home) and Chelsea (away).
United and Chelsea have not lived up to their high standards this season, but those are still two very tricky matches nonetheless.
Also, how great would it be to see Leicester City lift the Premier League trophy on the home turf of the 2015 EPL champions?
At this point, there’s no reason to doubt them. Just sit back and enjoy.