Leicester reboots surprise title charge by beating Tottenham
Jan. 13, 2016
LONDON (AP) — After a three-game winless run and goal drought exceeding six hours in the Premier League, Leicester reignited its title bid by displaying grit and resilience in grinding out a 1-0 victory over Tottenham on Wednesday.
Robert Huth's late header showed that Leicester is clearly not prepared to yield to more illustrious sides. This unexpected pursuit of English football's top prize is not ready to be relinquished.
What a remarkable turnaround in fortunes it has been for Leicester.
When the 31-year-old Huth last scored in April, Leicester was bottom of the league in the closing weeks of the season. Nine months on, Leicester lifting the Premier League trophy for the first time in May seems a lot less implausible — especially with Arsenal drawing 3-3 at Liverpool and Manchester City being held by Everton on Wednesday.
Only goal difference is now splitting Leicester from leader Arsenal and the central England team is three points ahead of City. And Champions League games could be hosted at the King Power Stadium for the first time next season, with Leicester eight points clear of fifth place.
"It's only January. It's not May," Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri cautioned. "This is a crazy league this year and we must continue."
Fourth-place Tottenham had only lost two games, like Leicester, before their top-four faceoff at White Hart Lane where Huth powered in a header from Christian Fuchs' corner in the 83rd minute.
"It's not often having a square shaped head comes in useful," the German defender quipped on Twitter.
It demonstrated that Leicester is not so reliant on Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez, who have 28 league goals between them but rarely looked like scoring in north London.
"Vardy and Mahrez are very important for us and when you score without them that's good," Ranieri said. "We created a lot of chances and it's not only with Mahrez and Vardy."
Putting aside the 374-minute goal drought that Huth ended, perhaps more significant was goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel keeping a third consecutive clean sheet in the league.
No wonder Leicester fans did not seem so fanciful when they serenaded their overachieving team with: "We're going to win the league."
Asked how he responds to those suggesting Leicester could be champions, Ranieri said: "I laugh."