Premier League 2015-16 Week 25: Leicester City Beats Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur Leap into the Fray
Has there ever been a Premier League season as tumultuous and unpredictable as this one? Starting with Chelsea’s complete and utter collapse and continuing with surprisingly limp campaigns from both Liverpool and Manchester United, the 2015/16 English Premier League has been anything but a foregone conclusion. In fact, 25 weeks into the competition (and with only 13 games to go until the end of the season), the EPL title is still anyone’s game.
Leicester City: Your New Frontrunners?
Leicester City, previously part of the Premier League’s so-called “middle class,” have been one of the major game-changers this season. Spurred forward by a record-breaking scoring run from Jamie Vardy, the Foxes have been hanging around at or near the top of the table for the majority of the season. This past weekend, we got the clearest indication yet that Leicester could actually win the Premier League when they thrashed Manchester City 3-1 at the latter’s home stadium.
The game—which saw German defender Robert Huth notch two goals—nearly ended as a shutout for an out-of-sorts Manchester City. Sergio Aguero came in at the 87-minute mark to put the Sky Blues on the board, but the defeat was still catastrophic for City. Coming into the weekend, the Sky Blues were in second place. Now, they’re in fourth, trailing Leicester 47 points to 53.
Man City have been the favorites to win the title for quite a while now, ever since Chelsea collapsed, and Manchester United showed clearly that they wouldn’t be much of a threat. But some football pundits suggest that last week’s big announcement about Pep Guardiola coming to Etihad Stadium next season could hurt the Sky Blues this season. After all, Manuel Pellegrini knows that he’s on his way out, and players tend to work a bit differently under an outgoing manager than under a manager they know is staying put. In any case, Manchester City should have been riding high on momentum and excitement following the Guardiola announcement, and instead, they lost big to their most pressing Premier League opponents. Not a good showing.
Tottenham Hotspur’s Big Week
Though Leicester City now have a five-point lead over every other soccer club in the Premier League, arguably the biggest beneficiary of the weekend’s outcomes was Tottenham Hotspur. The Spurs have taken a “slow and steady wins the race” approach to the season, coming back from an early season slump to somehow make themselves an even more powerful force than they were last season.
Harry Kane, in particular, has been splendid. His goalless streak at the beginning of the season was the prime reason for Tottenham’s slow start, but he’s since tallied 15 goals in 25 games—good enough to tie for the third best goal tally in the league.
The Spurs didn’t set the world on fire over the weekend, only winning 1-0 in a home game against Watford. But thanks to Man City’s loss, a 1-1 draw between Manchester United and Chelsea, and Arsenal’s recent slump, that slight win was enough to push Tottenham Hotspur into second place.
The Rest of the Field
Leicester City have never won a top-flight football title, and Tottenham Hotspur haven’t won since 1961. Needless to say, seeing one of these soccer clubs at the top of the Premier League podium come May would be an interesting (and not unwelcome) change of pace.
Still, with 13 weeks to go, a lot of things could still change. Arsenal, despite winning only their second Premier League match of the New Year over the weekend (2-0 against AFC Bournemouth), are still even with Tottenham in points (both clubs have a total of 48). Manchester City will have a solid opportunity to bounce back next week when they play the Spurs in a Valentine’s Day fixture. And Manchester United are sticking around in the top five—though they do trail their crosstown rivals by six points.
Elsewhere, Chelsea continued the bizarre undefeated streak they’ve kept up since Guus Hiddink took over (albeit, only avoiding a loss to United on a last-minute goal from Diego Costa), while Everton beat Stoke City 3-0 in yet another showcase of Romelu Lukaku’s game-changing talent. Liverpool, finally, continued to backslide under Jurgen Klopp, giving away a 2-0 lead to draw with the relegation-bound Sunderland.
Which football club do you think will win the Premier League? Will Leicester City win their first title ever? Will Harry Kane carry Tottenham Hotspur to the top? Will one of the Manchester clubs hit a late-season surge to claim victory? Or will Arsenal finally rise to the occasion and end their decade-plus title drought? Follow Soccer Box on social media to keep up with the latest in Premier League action! You can find us on multiple social platforms including Twitter, Instagram, and Google +.