I’ll preface this article by saying that I’m writing this article prior to Tottenham’s Monday night trip to Stoke, so if you’re reading it after then, everything I say could well be wrong.
I’ll put it out there: Leicester could be chased down.
Just as all and sundry thought it was all but over, Leicester’s draw with West Ham has thrown Spurs fans a ray of sunshine.
A slim ray, but a ray nonetheless.
For many people, Leicester’s title challenge has always hinged on them sewing it up before their final three games, with the knowledge that Man United, Everton and Chelsea are likely to prove stern tests for the Foxes, and the likelihood of them extracting the maximum from those games seems slim.
With that in mind, West Ham’s trip to the King Power Stadium was seen as significant. Clinch three points from the Hammers, and Leicester would be pretty much home and dry.
But they didn’t do that. In fact, they came perilously close to losing, and although they secured a point, Jamie Vardy’s red card weakens them ahead of next Sunday’s fixture at home to Swansea, with the striker suspended for that game.
So let’s get hypothetical. Say Tottenham win at Stoke on Monday night, which you’d probably back them to do.
Leicester’s lead would be cut to five points, and both sides would have four games left to play.
And say Leicester lost to Swansea next week, and Spurs beat West Brom at home, as you’d expect them to do.
All of a sudden, next Sunday evening could see Leicester just two points clear of Spurs, with three very hard fixtures left.
In contrast, whilst Tottenham will have to play Chelsea, too, they host Southampton before visiting St James Park on the final day of the season, so you’d argue that Mauricio Pochettino’s side have an easier run in.
Were that to be the case next Sunday, I think I’d be inclined to back Tottenham to win the race.
No one knows where the failure to get three points at home to West Ham will have left the players psychologically, but it’s a fairly safe bet that they’ll be a little less confident next week; especially when one considers that their talisman and primary goalscorer will be missing.
This all being said, we all know how foolish it is to write off Leicester. This may just be a blip, one that will be recovered by soundly beating Swansea next week and strolling to the title.
But all of a sudden, it seems a little less certain. All hinges on Spurs’ fixture at Stoke…