Before the start of what has so far proven a rather unpredictable Premier League campaign in 2015/16, the concept of Claudio Ranieri and his supposedly relegation-threatened Leicester City ever finishing anywhere near the top of the table seemed ridiculous.
Such a notion was barely even considered before a ball was kicked this term – especially within the King Power Stadium itself – but since then, Ranieri’s plucky Foxes have subsequently proven to be the most entertaining and successful outfit in the division, and it now seems nothing is impossible for them.
So then, after seeing off Manchester City in what could eventually prove the biggest game of the entire domestic campaign, can Leicester now handle the pressure of being title favourites, and is Ranieri on the verge of finishing the season on the greatest high possible down at the King Power Stadium?
Well, even though many of us fans within the English footballing community have nonetheless been forced to eat humble pie in light of Leicester’s inspirational rise this season, perhaps it’s still fair to suggest that the Foxes fail to represent a title-winning side when all is said and done.
It’s all well and good operating as determined underdogs, scrapping it out against some of the strongest and most well-defined squads in and around the top-four of the English top flight, but now that Leicester are seeing off their most significant title rivals in glorious fashion, the dynamic now looks set to shift across the rest of the season.
Let’s face it, with thoughts of the recent victory against Manchester City in mind, we are all now slowly coming to terms with just how effective this Leicester team can prove to be on their day. Although the likes of Arsenal and Tottenham still remain well-placed with all things considered, the idea of Ranieri continuing his fine run at the King Power Stadium is becoming more and more believable with every passing week.
Opposing teams will therefore approach their upcoming matches with Leicester in a slightly different fashion throughout the remainder of the 2015/16 campaign, forcing Ranieri’s impressive unit to work on the front foot more often, as opposed to simply relying upon good old fashioned counter-attacking tactics.
Put in no uncertain terms whatsoever, the pressure is now on for the Foxes, for their fans – and everybody else concerned with matters of the Premier League for that matter – know that Leicester are clearly no longer considered one of the weaker sides around.
But seeing as this current Foxes outfit have routinely proved writers, pundits, supporters and general football ‘experts’ wrong so far this term, surely now is the time to back Leicester and their ability to achieve the so-called impossible in 2015/16…
Although little more than a gritty relegation dog-fight was seemingly on offer for Ranieri’s team before their monumental rise up the English top flight, Leicester have ultimately proven the most cohesive unit operating within the Premier League so far.
The Foxes’ front-line has admittedly scored goals at an incredibly efficient rate, and the likes of Robert Huth and Wes Morgan simply don’t look like letting up any time soon at the back. Jamie Vardy has experienced a huge transformation in fortunes in front of goal this term, players like Marc Albrighton and Danny Drinkwater arguably deserve to be included in Roy Hodgson’s EURO 2016 squad with everything fairly taken into account, and in the once unknown entity of Riyad Mahrez, Leicester potentially play host to 2015/16’s overall best performer.
Regardless of where your elegancies lie this season, normal Premier League proceedings have seemingly come undone. Both Manchester City and Arsenal have looked far from untouchable, while the likes of Manchester United, Liverpool – and now even Chelsea – have witnessed slides.
With all that in mind, the concept of Leicester eventually winning the Premier League title still feels like a strange one, but as the 2015/16 campaign has proven anything but calculable thus far, such a notion remains far from the realms of impossibility.