I watched Sunday’s Sunderland v Leicester match, and the second half of Tottenham v Manchester United, and I am not as convinced as many that Leicester will be champions. Don’t get me wrong, so far as I have any emotional interest in the outcome, I would rather Leicester won. Although I have no bias against, nor dislike for Tottenham, the Leicester story is much more appealing. That, plus, a long time ago I met a Leicester fan, and although he has long since gone to meet his Maker, I can easily conjure up memories of his big, smiling face, and know how much it would have meant to him. He deserved it. On a related point, Claudio Ranieri seems like a thoroughly decent guy, and Leicester’s success would be an amazing coup for him as well. Unfortunately, the way that Leicester struggled to put Sunderland away contrasts sharply with the stunning demolition by Tottenham of Manchester United. (United are a shadow of their former selves, for sure, but still field a team of enormous talent, at least potentially.)
Leicester’s remaining fixtures are against West Ham, Swansea, Manchester United, Everton, and Chelsea.
Spurs’ remaining fixtures are against Stoke, West Brom, Chelsea, Southampton, and Newcastle.
I expect Leicester to at least be held by West Ham, while Spurs will crush Stoke. That would reduce Leicester’s lead to four or five points.
If Leicester start to feel the pressure then, the Swansea match will be no walkover They should win, but it is not a foregone conclusion. Let’s assume Leicester manage the win. Spurts will crush West Brom. So with three matches left, Leicester might still have a four or five point lead.
At this point, enter Manchester United. They will be hurt, and scrambling for points to keep West Ham off their backs. Leicester may find that a challenge too much, and a loss here will leave them the most slender of leads – if Spurs can beat Chelsea. On Sunday’s form, Chelsea will be brushed aside. That would leave Leicester with a one or two point lead, two matches to play, and one of them against Chelsea, who will be keen to make their mark. If my pessimistic senses are right, that is where the pressure against Leicester may become unbearable, and when the league leadership will change. That is when Spurs could grab the glory. Could.
Nothing is certain in football, and predictions are all guesswork. So, what is set out above could be rubbish. For Leicester’s sake, I hope it is.