Who can catch Leicester for a Champions League spot?
28th January 2016

Leicester City have gone from being relegation favourites at the start of the campaign, to near certainties to qualify for next season’s Champions League. The Foxes, following on from Saturday’s win against Stoke and Arsenal’s loss to Chelsea, sit three points clear at the top of the Premier League and are dreaming of lifting the title in May.

Having achieved his first target of 40 points and avoiding relegation, Claudio Ranieri has now stated he wants Leicester City to achieve 79 points in total this term. This would have seen City finish in second place last season, and it may well be enough to win it this time around. And why not?

Leicester’s bubble has yet to burst although recent results have suggested the second half of the campaign may be tougher. The club currently sit 10 points ahead of fifth-placed Manchester United. That’s clearly a very decent lead at this stage of the season. But will it be enough?

With Arsenal and Manchester City looking certainties to finish in the top four, Tottenham Hotspur, who currently sit in fourth place, have been one of the most consistent teams of the season. Should Leicester’s bubble finally burst, although it has yet to, they could find themselves in a battle to hold onto a Champions League place. But could anyone nick that top-four finish off Leicester City?

25th July 2015 - Pre-Season Friendly - Mansfield Town v Leicester City - Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri - Photo: Simon Stacpoole / Offside.

Can anyone stop Ranieri’s side finishing in the top four this season?

Well, having lost only two games all season, the fewest of any top-flight team, the Foxes have a win ratio of 57%. Yes we still have Arsenal, Manchester City, Manchester United , Liverpool, West Ham and Chelsea to play again, but should we be scared of any of these?

The answer is yes. Arsenal beat us 5-2 but the scoreline did not reflect the game, and Liverpool were lucky to win 1-0 at Anfield. We could easily come away with at least 12 points from these games.

This list also includes the teams that may just nick a coveted top-four finish from us, so our destiny is very much in our own hands.

Chelsea, despite their recent winning run, have in my opinion got too much to do. Still being involved in Europe may be their best chance of Champions League football next season, so once this returns, their attention may be on this.

The change of manager may have brought harmony to the dressing room but it has not brought the wins the club expected, and they only have a win percentage of 30% – almost half that of Leicester.

Liverpool’s fortunes have improved slightly since the arrival of Klopp, but a current ninth-placed standing with a win percentage of just 39% is still way behind Leicester, and they have the distraction of a League Cup final coming up in February.

West Ham currently sit in sixth and are the other surprise package at the top of the table, but their 39% win ratio, like Liverpool’s, falls well short of Leicester’s.

But what of Manchester United? Fifth at present, with the dreaded Europa League to contend with and a manager under immense pressure, they can only just beat West Ham’s and Liverpool’s figures with 43% a massive 14% behind Leicester.

This means on average, each of the teams will have to win a least a quarter of their remaining games to snatch a fourth-placed finish off Leicester City. Of course for it to happen it also means Ranieri’s men must not win any more games all season.

Living the dream? Maybe.

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