Leicester City is a Legitimate Champions League Contender

Photo Credit: Pioeb, Wikimedia Commons
Photo Credit: Pioeb, Wikimedia Commons /

As the Premier League season steams on towards the midway point, fans and pundits alike are beginning to make their top four predictions. Most see Manchester City, Arsenal and Manchester United as locks so the debate centers on who many believe will finish in the fourth spot. One team has been strangely absent from these prognostications. Despite currently occupying the third spot in the Premier League table, Leicester City is almost universally absent from everyone’s projections.

While I can understand the skepticism given Leicester City’s lack of history competing in England’s top flight I do think it’s off base. This is  a team with enough talent and attacking verve to beat any team on any pitch. They certainly have the quality to continue their run all the way to a top four finish.

They are a strangely fascinating team. Much of their success is built on their two attacking stars: Riyad Mahrez and Jamie Vardy. The two have been on an insane tear to start the Premier League and have combined for 19 goals and six assists on the campaign. They’ve been nothing short of magnificent.

But their names aren’t Wayne Rooney or Sergio Aguero. They don’t possess the faces that grace Sky’s TV promotions. They haven’t experienced massive international success with their countries. Vardy can’t even get sufficient respect from his England manager. All they do is score Premier League goals. Shouldn’t that be enough?

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  • Still pundits won’t buy into the Foxes. Some, no doubt, think that their manager is too weak for a top four finish. Claudio Ranieri is certainly an eccentric manager who doesn’t fit the Premier League stereotype, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t capable. He is known as “the tinker” and right now he’s pushing all of the right buttons. It’s a fair question to ask whether or not he can keep making the right plays over the entire season, but I don’t think we can dismiss the idea.

    Other traditionalists don’t think that Leicester can hold up because they lack the solid defense that champion sides require. While it’s true that their defense isn’t the equal of their prolific offense. It’s still better than most believe. Ritchie de Laet and N’Golo Kante do provide them a solid “spine” if you believe in that sort of thing.

    Those that don’t understand that you can win with offense should look to the United States and the NBA. The Golden State Warriors won the NBA title last season based largely on an explosive offense. They bucked the old adage that “defense wins championships” and Leicester could follow the same path. It’s a new day in the world of sport. There are multiple ways to achieve success.

    As a Tottenham fan, I fervently hope that Leicester City fall out of the top four sooner rather than later. Ultimately, I don’t see the Foxes staying in the top four mainly because I think their offense will regress somewhat to the mean. It’s still a mistake for pundits and fans to ignore them in the top four race. They will be a factor deep into the Premier League season.