The 2015-16 English Premier League season defies all logic. Last season after 29 games Chelsea had 67 points and were top of the league; with Leicester City bottom with only 19 points, seven away from safety. The top four teams included Chelsea, Manchester City, Arsenal and Manchester United.
Almost a year later Chelsea find themselves stranded in mid-table, 27 points worse off than last season, whilst Leicester City, under the leadership of Claudio Ranieri sit proudly on the top of the league with 60 points, a massive improvement on last season of 41 points, with the top four comprising Leicester City, Tottenham Hotspurs, Arsenal and Manchester City.
There’s a five point gap between Leicester and Tottenham in second place, but Leicester’s points total after 29 games is the lowest, along with the 60 points picked up by Manchester United in the 2010-11 season.
SportsMatrix looked at the data for the exact number of games from the previous ten Premier League seasons, revealing that in eight of those seasons the team leading after 29 games went onto win the league. Five times (2006-07, 2007-08, 2008-09, 2010-11, 2012-13) the title was won by Manchester United, whilst the other three times (2005-06, 2009-10, 2014-15) Chelsea took the title.
The two seasons where the team leading the table after 29 games failed to win the league were 2011-12 and 2013-14, on both occasions Manchester City came from behind to win the league.
In 2011-12 City trailed United by a single point after game 29, winning the league on goal difference thanks to a 94th minute winner by Sergio Aguero. Perhaps something for Leicester City and those chasing the title to ponder was City’s triumph in the 2013-14 season, when just as now , they were fourth after game 29, nine points behind leaders Chelsea, albeit with games in hand; but went onto win the league by two points.
With nine games to go can Leicester City hold their nerve and pull off what will surely be the most remarkable achievement in the history of English football?
Despite their lead it’s not going to be easy and with their final three games including a trip to Old Trafford, a home game against Everton and on the last day of the season a trip to Stamford Bridge, it would surely be fitting for Claudio Ranieri to achieve his greatest managerial triumph at the home of the team who so unceremoniously dumped him in 2004.