What a great time to be a Foxes fan.
Their unexpected success this year has seen them go from expected relegation fodder to possible Premier League champions. The amazing run of form has been well documented, but just a year ago this particular miracle just didn’t look possible.
Twelve months on and Leicester City are sitting five points clear at the top of the league and every week the footballing world utter the seemingly now nonsensical mutterings of “their bubble will burst this week.” But it hasn’t.
They play Arsenal away this weekend and then follows further winnable matches that will keep them up there for the rest of the season. To suffer a slump now would be unfortunate, painful to all concerned at Leicester and just plain unlikely. It has been good for the Premier League to see the emergence of other teams this season. Crystal Palace, West Ham and Leicester have deservedly played their pay in to the top ten, although Palace currently sit 12th after a string of poor results.
Leicester were riding on the crest of a wave from avoiding relegation last season and once Ranieri was appointed, doubts materialised after a series of managerial disasters following the Italian.
However, a much calmer, more poised Ranieri struts along the touchline at each game, watching his carefully prepared team defy the odds.
But at Leicester, there were no superstar signings, no “big” names, no wonderboy type players, just a group of carefully selected players that play for each other. Their attacking and counter-attacking football is easy on the eye and from having no household names, they now have Vardy and Mahrez.
It is interesting to note that eight of the players now a part of the successful Foxes team were signed by ex-boss Nigel Pearson. He signed players so shrewdly, that he knew they could hold their own in the Premier League, but not even he could see this fairytale unfolding.
Now they need to hold their nerve. Leicester seem fearless, they are at ease and it’s suggested that they are not feeling any pressure, playing with the freedom that wins them games.
After last weekend’s win against a disappointing Manchester City side, Leicester’s game is now being scrutinised and it is as though some are waiting for them to fail.
But with 13 games left, it doesn’t look as though those vultures waiting for Leicester’s demise will get their day. Leicester are about to make history and we will watch the dawning of a new club challenging for the highest honours, as the Champions League awaits – and that’s a different challenge altogether.
Talking to BBC Sport, Leicester forward Riyad Mahrez said: “We’re just going to keep dreaming, We’re going to fight for the title and see what we can do.”
If Leicester have dropped points, they have answered their critics with thunderous results in the very next match. They are convincing, assured and mature in their performance and this weekend’s game will be interesting, as Arsenal play similarly, with their two full-backs pressing forward.
The Tinkerman is clever and tactical, and psychology plays its part with the manager. Ranieri played down any talk of the title recently: “I don’t want to think about if we win.
“But we are alive and we want to fight. We know it’s a crazy league and we have to try. We enjoy it and we fight without pressure. The fans must continue to dream.”
This is the Foxes’ best ever chance and without the distractions of domestic cups and Europe, they can focus and carry on the fantastic work.
Can they win the league? Well, I wouldn’t bet against it.