“…….We saw the game yesterday was a draw and wanted to make the most of our opportunity. We really wanted it today……” Those were the exact words of Leicester City’s captain and goal scorer Wes Morgan shortly after their 1-0 victory over Southampton at the King Power Stadium on Sunday.
Following Tottenham’s 1-1 draw to Liverpool at Anfield, the foxes knew a win at home against Southampton will open up a seven point advantage with only six games left. Although they had a lot to do in Sunday’s match against Southampton with the later chasing European spot, the foxes held on as a Wes Morgan’s header when he outmuscled Jordy Claise in the penalty area to power a header past Fraser Foster from Christian Fuchs’ cross was just enough to secure the maximum 3 points against Southampton.
Leicester City’s ascension to the summit of the league is akin to the famous Cinderella fairy tale story. Around this time last year, Leicester City was bottom of the league table and seemed destined for relegation but suddenly started its recovery crusade with the pressure to avoid relegation at its height after beating West Ham 2-1 but the foxes kept their cool and went on to win seven of their last nine games to incredibly retain their place in the elite’s premier league.
What has majorly changed since last season is the replacement of manager Nigel Pearson with Claudio Raineri and what we learn from the Foxes’ relegation battle of last season is that this group of players can cope with pressure.
It may be argued in some quarters that winning the premier league pressure is a different kind of pressure as typified by the 02-03 season when Manchester United pulled Arsenal back from an eight point lead at the beginning of March to eventually win the league. However it is worthy of note that the foxes have being getting the sort of results that bear the hallmark of potential champions in recent times. Title winners are characterized by grinded out results as well as results gotten on days when things go down according to the script. Leicester city have won its last four games by a single goal, keeping clean sheets and getting maximum points at dangerous grounds such as Watford and Crystal Palace and their result grinding run has now being extended to the home victory against Southampton; a side contending for Champions league spot.
With six matches left, Leicester city seems destined for the league title but a cursory look at their fixture reveals that four of those matches include trips to Manchester United and Chelsea with a home game against Everton sandwiched in between as well as a trip to relegation fighting Sunderland; hence the key question still remains: will Leicester City continue to hold its nerve? Leicester City have so far proved their doubters wrong on a weekly basis and the latest victory over Southampton is a colossal step to the title. After their victory against Southampton, Leicester fans were on their feet in the stands and echoes of “we’re going to win the league” filled the King Power Stadium. I think we had better believe them.