Leicester City 5 points clear
Leicester City beat Manchester City 3-1 away at the Etihad on Saturday, moving 5 points ahead at the top of the Premier League table.
The former relegation candidates have been lighting up the Premier League this season, led by talisman Jamie Vardy and winger Riyad Mahrez.
Leicester center back Robert Huth scored twice in the 3rd and 60th minutes, both off of Leicester set pieces. Manchester City has struggled defensively, especially on set pieces, without captain Vincent Kompany who has been out 18 of the last 19 matches with heart and calf problems.
Riyad Mahrez also scored a great goal in the 48th minute to put Leicester 2 goals ahead and allow for his team to sit back more comfortably in defense. Manchester City had 65% possession and a plethora of shots (22), but only 4 of those shots were on target.
Manchester City have been underperforming of late in the League, with onlookers continually expecting them to go top of the table and pull away from Leicester, Tottenham and Arsenal. When Pep Guardiola takes over as manager next season, he will have extremely high expectations to win the league by a solid margin, as well as achieve success in the domestic and international cup competitions.
Tottenham moved into 2nd place with a 1-0 win over Watford with a great assist by Dele Alli, the best place in the Premier League for Tottenham this late in the season in the club’s history. Tottenham also have the best goal difference in the Premier League with 26 (Manchester City is second with 21).
Tottenham have a young, exciting team that could present a title threat for Leicester City, especially if they can avoid injuries. Manager Mauricio Pochettino has been criticized for not securing a back up striker in the case that Harry Kane gets injured, but he has experimented, successfully, with playing Erik Lamela and Nacer Chadli up front, relieving some of the need for a striker. Pochettino has been linked with moves to bigger clubs, including Manchester United, but the manager has stated he is eager to leave “a lasting legacy” at Tottenham first.
Leicester have been impressive all season long, especially for a team that barely escaped relegation last season. They play an attractive, counterattacking style of football with quick passing and intelligent runs defining their game. They haven’t been afraid to face and take points from some of the bigger competition this season, and are looking better and better every week, improving both in their solid defense and quick, dynamic attack.
Leicester City have upset the status quo of the Premier League, and have the potential to go down in history as the biggest longterm underdog in the history of the Premier League, soccer, and possibly all sports to succeed at such a high level. This team is why soccer is so exciting – anything can happen. You don’t need to spend $500 million on players or have the biggest marketing deals. Any team can achieve success and beat any other team.
And with money’s increasing influence over soccer, maybe it’s time to prove that it isn’t necessary to produce results or play the beautiful game. Leicester City might, just might, save soccer from its dangerous destiny.