It’s the fairytale that just refuses to die.
Leicester City are top of the Premier League with 11 games to go and should they win it, it’ll be the most unlikely but brilliant story football has produced in recent memory.
Claudio Ranieri’s side have entertained everyone throughout the course of the season, and have now became everyone’s second favourite team and the one they want to clinch the title in May.
But can they do it? Here’s five reasons why Jamie Vardy and co. could be crowned champions in three months’ time:
When it comes to winning a Premier League title, most have been there before.
Only five teams have ever won the title and that usually means that come February time, they start thinking about winning the big one and start to falter – just ask Arsenal fans.
Leicester are totally different. They’ve never been anywhere near this kind of level before and because of that, they’re the team taking it one game at a time.
That makes them incredibly dangerous because they’re just thinking about winning on a Saturday afternoon, rather than how many points clear they’ll be if a title rival slips up.
Every year we hear the leaders’ manager say ‘we’ll just keep going, one game at a time’ but in Leicester and Claudio Ranieri’s case, it’s genuine.
Since the start of the season, Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez have taken the Premier League by storm.
Vardy’s story – coming from non-league to the Premier League in less than five years – is one that captures the hearts of many and Mahrez’s journey isn’t too disimilar.
The pair have been directly involved in 49 Leicester goals this season (they’ve scored more between them than eighth placed Stoke City’s entire squad has) and are the main reason the Foxes have stayed at the top of the league for so long.
Vardy looks a certainty for England’s Euro 2016 squad and Mahrez has attracted interest from Real Madrid and Barcelona. Who’d have thought that at the start of the season?
Claudio Ranieri earned the ‘Tinkerman’ nickname from his time at Chelsea, thanks to his constant chopping and changing of his Blues side.
In fairness, he had a lot of players to choose from back then but since taking over at the King Power Stadium, Ranieri has barely changed his personnel throughout the season.
Leicester have made less changes to their first team than any other side and it’s worked, with the likes of Vardy, Mahrez and Danny Drinkwater continuing to carry them towards the title.
Ranieri has proved he still has the tactics to boot though, as he showed in Leicester’s win at the weekend against Norwich, when he sacrificed a right-back in favour of Leonardo Ulloa, who promptly bagged the winner.
As I mentioned before, Leicester have quickly became everyone’s second favourite team.
This kind of support can only help the Foxes, as they bid for the most unlikely Premier League title in history.
It’s not like they’ve bought their way to the title or played ugly football along the way, they’ve just been the plucky underdogs that refuse to go away.
Every weekend when they pick up another three points that keeps them in the top two, they attract another batch of admirers that have been won round by their style and approach.
Long may it continue.
Their Run In
Being two points clear with 11 games to go is certainly a good position to be in, but Leicester’s run in will give them even more reason to believe they can win the title.
Of the remaining opponents, only one (Manchester United) are in the top five.
The likes of Newcastle United, Swansea and Sunderland all have to play the Foxes again and given current form, it looks like Claudio Ranieri could lift the title in May.
Leicester’s last three games against Man United, Everton and Chelsea look tricky but if they can pick up a few wins before then, they could be in position to stumble over the line without having to win all those games.
Should they need to creep over the line, Ranieri could do it on the last day of the season against Chelsea, the club that sacked him in 2004.