Level on points at the top of the Championship tree with Burnley and QPR heading into this weekend, Nigel Pearson’s increasingly-confident Foxes are now three points clear and 11/4 second favourites to win the league following a convincing 3-0 home win over Millwall while their rivals choked on the road.
Burnley (9/1) lost 2-1 at Huddersfield while Harry Redknapp’s men (11/10 favs) went down by the same scoreline at lowly Doncaster, with both unexpected defeats handing the top spot to last season’s play-off semi-finalists.
And with a full calendar of fixtures hot on the heels in midweek, Pearson will know only too well that now is the time for Leicester to seize the initiative in the promotion race ahead of the Christmas run.
How promotion candidates handle the swath of fixtures around the festive period can often be a crucial barometer as to how the season will pan out, often depending on whether or not squads buckle under the stresses and strains of recurring games.
With the odds suggesting that, despite their recent setback, QPR’s squad furnishes Redknapp with enough class and experience to mount a prolonged bid for promotion, conversely Burnley’s odds confirm that Sean Dyche does not possess the same strength in depth, and the Clarets could well struggle should the form of impressive strikeforce Sam Vokes and Danny Ings hit a roadblock.
Leicester not only have a squad closer to the size and class of QPR’s, they’ve also got recent experience of a successful promotion push under Pearson, when he masterminded 2009’s League One title in his first stint at the club.
And with a trip to struggling Sheffield Wednesday on Tuesday followed by a game at Brighton before a potentially mouth-watering clash at home to Burnley, Pearson will expect his side to use the unexpected momentum gained from this weekend to assert their dominance in the league.
That momentum includes winning 11 of their last 14 games in all competitions, scoring 16 goals in their last seven and conceding just eight.
They also have stats on their side – in each of the last six seasons in the Championship, the side at the top of the league at the end of November have gone on to enjoy automatic promotion.
So with a place in the League Cup quarter-final and a home tie against Manchester City to look forward to, there’s a real sense of something good happening again under Pearson at the King Power Stadium, with a Premier League return following a ten-year absence being once again being talked about as a real possibility.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.