By Greg Lea.

With the two teams in contention for the Premier League title, last weekend's meeting between Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal was billed by many as the most important north London derby of all-time. For the first time in the fixture's history, the biggest winners were Leicester City.

Both Mauricio Pochettino and Arsene Wenger expressed regret that their team were unable to claim all three points from the clash at White Hart Lane, which ended with Spurs and Arsenal each taking a share of the spoils after an entertaining 2-2 draw. The fact that their two closest rivals both dropped points was fantastic news for table-topping Leicester, who duly took full advantage with a 1-0 victory over Watford at Vicarage Road that moved them five points clear at the summit of the standings a few hours later. It was a showing that gave the best indication yet that Claudio Ranieri's side have what it takes to pull off what would be the most extraordinary title triumph in the history of the English game.

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The first period was a half of two halves, with Leicester dominating the first 25 minutes and Watford coming back into it thereafter. It was the visitors who started the stronger after the interval, though, Riyad Mahrez's fine strike in the 56th minute giving the Foxes a lead they would not relinquish.

The most impressive aspect of Leicester's display was their ability to shut the game down after going ahead. The introduction of Andy King for Shinji Okazaki at the break gave Ranieri's men greater control in the centre of the park, allowing them to keep possession more easily and take the sting out of proceedings once they had something to protect. Jeff Schlupp also entered the fray at the same time, with his pace and direct running pinning back Allan Nyom and helping to stretch the play laterally on the left-hand side of the pitch.

There was a steely confidence to the way Leicester went about things in the second half, with their cold and clinical game-management reminiscent of many champions who have gone before them. They did not panic and lose their discipline and organisation as the minutes ticked away, instead holding a good Watford side at arm's length for the remainder of the encounter.

"[It was a] big battle, we knew that," Ranieri told the BBC in a post-match interview. "Now there will be only battles for everybody, not only for us. It was a tough matchÂ… we are so happy now. The desire is so high and we have a great opportunity, but we know the way [forward] is very long and very tough."

There is indeed still plenty to play for, and Leicester may yet succumb to the pressure and scrutiny that is usually placed on league leaders at this stage of the campaign. Their response to the last-gasp 2-1 defeat to Arsenal four weeks ago suggests otherwise, however: losing in such gut-wrenching circumstances could have seen a squad low on experience at the highest level buckle, but Saturday's win made it seven points from nine since that trip to the Emirates Stadium on Valentine's Day.

In the same period, Arsenal have collected one point and Tottenham four; while Leicester's fixtures have been more favourable than the north London duo's, it is worth noting that they faced the Gunners, Manchester City (twice), Liverpool and Spurs between late December and mid-February and were only defeated once and that with a last-minute goal in a match in which they played with 10 men for over 35 minutes.

Five points is a healthy rather than insurmountable margin with nine games left to play. Perhaps, though, it was Leicester's performance against Watford rather than the resulting numbers that suggest they could actually win the championship this term.