When do title pacemakers Leicester become genuine threats?


Leicester City are back on top of the Premier League, but for once it wasn’t Jamie Vardy that drove them there.

The England international’s consecutive scoring run came to an end in Wales, but thankfully for the Foxes his deputy Riyad Mahrez picked up the slack.

The Algerian scored a blistering hat-trick as Leicester routed Swansea 3-0 to return to the summit, placing increasing pressure on Garry Monk’s future. Ironically, Claudio Ranieri, who was many people’s tip to be the first boss axed, has never looked so secure.

Leicester are at the early stages of a gauntlet-run of fixtures. Beginning with Manchester United last week, the Foxes were due to play four teams from last season’s top six in the space of six weeks. On their current form they shouldn’t be particularly worried.

Cut-throat counter attacking and the league’s two form players means Ranieri’s side are fast becoming genuine title challengers. It is no longer a case of when will their bubble burst, but how far will it carry them?

Ladbrokes still make the side 33/1 to win the league and 6/1 to finish in the top four, indicating that this is still the honeymoon period for the Midlands side.

However, should the club negotiate their matches against Chelsea, Liverpool and Man City without crashing back to earth; they can expect to see those odds collapse like a Jose Mourinho title defence.

The Blues are Leicester’s next opponents and are hardly well placed to inflict defeat on their former manager.

Then comes outings against Everton, Liverpool and City before hosting Bournemouth rounds off their 2015.

The play of Vardy and Mahrez is central to the side’s success. Between them, the pair have 24 Premier League goals, that’s more than Manchester United.

Mahrez moved into double figures when collecting the match ball in Wales, while Vardy is the favourite at 7/4 to be the division’s top scorer.

If those two keep their form, Leicester could well enjoy their league-leaders tag for a few months to come.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.