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Monday, April 4, 2016

Relentless Leicester take giant step towards title glory

lei0642_heroaThe Foxes are now just four weeks away from claiming a possible Premier League title win, edging. past Southampton in Sunday's keenly contested clash at the King Power Stadium Seven points clear with six matches to play. That is
the equation facing Leicester City. League titles have
been lost from stronger positions, but it is very
difficult to see the Foxes blowing this now.
During the first half of the season, Leicester were
the most thrilling side to watch in the Premier
League. Their counter-attacking style and willingness
to allow opponents the ball saw them score and
concede goals with almost reckless abandon.
Remarkably, it even saw them rise to the top of the
Premier League.
But as they found out rather cruelly against Arsenal
– albeit with 10 men for most of the second half –
playing in such a style could eventually cost them if
they were to complete the ultimate footballing
fairytale and win the title. Claudio Ranieri realised
his side needed to become more solid, and since
that defeat the Emirates Stadium they have become almost watertight.lee2950172le2951162Only West Brom have managed to breach their
defence in their six outings since, and though they
have only scored seven goals themselves, they have
been able to pick up 16 points from a possible 18.
Four straight 1-0 wins – and five in their last six-
have surely put the King Power Stadium outfit in a
position that will be impossible for their rivals to
catch.
Against Southampton they were made to work
harder than they have for some time, particularly in
defence as Ronald Koeman’s side relentlessly
attacked for an hour after being happy to sit back for the opening 30 minutes. Wes Morgan, Robert Huth and Christian Fuchs won
countless headers on the edge of their own box,
N’Golo Kante broke up play with regularity and
Kasper Schmeichel had to be at his very best to deny
Jose Fonte with the score 0-0.
Even when the Dane was beaten, the home side got
a bit of luck as Danny Simpson avoided conceding a
penalty and being sent-off when he clearly handled
Sadio Mane’s goal-bound effort. It felt like a crucial
moment made even more important minutes later
when Morgan headed past Fraser Forster at the
other end for the only goal. Champions need that
kind of luck, and Leicester certainly got it.Morgan has encapsulated Leicester’s spirit in recent
weeks, and it was fitting that he - as the team’s on-
field leader - should take the plaudits that are
usually reserved for Jamie Vardy and the Riyad
Mahrez. The Algerian was particularly quiet on
Sunday, but fortunately for Ranieri his side is much
more than just an attacking duo.
Leicester now need just four wins to secure the
title, and that is only if Tottenham and Manchester
City can maintain 100 per cent records between now
and the end of the season. The way they have been
playing in recent weeks, that may mean they only
require four goals to accrue those points.
Outside the King Power Stadium before kick-off, one
supporter was largely derided for selling scarves
that were printed with the words ‘Leicester City:
Premier League champions 2016’. If he stuck around
after full-time he may well have sold out. The
dream is so close to becoming a reality.
le2951042

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