How is that for a bold prediction? The defining moment of the Premier League season possibly occurred last Sunday when Jamie Vardy tried to draw a penalty but instead called for simulation and a second yellow card which resulted in him being sent off and also suspended for next Sunday’s clash with Swansea.
Vardy has also been charged by the Football Association for ‘improper conduct’ for confronting the referee. The Leicester squad was also cited for protesting a later penalty.
For now, Leicester has been left to twist in the wind but it is possible that Vardy’s suspension could be increased to two games, leaving him unavailable when the Foxes visit Manchester United May 1.
Even though Leicester rescued a point after being given a gift penalty in the waning seconds, their lead at the top of the table would still be reduced to five points with four matches left after Tottenham throttled Stoke City 4-0.
Can Leicester hear footsteps? Could that 5,000 to 1 shot fall apart at the last minute after all?
Their is no postseason playoff in the regular Premier League season. Teams with the highest bankrolls almost always win and the lesser teams exposed over 38 matches even when everything breaks right.
One can understand the angst of Leicester supporters. For Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal et al., there will always be next year to collect more trophies. For Leicester this is a Haley’s Comet, once in a lifetime event.
Even Tottenham traditionally runs a step behind the top clubs. The Spurs have only won the top tier of English football twice, 1951 and 1961. Tottenham has done better in the FA Cup, the March Madness-like tourney that runs concurrent to the Premier League, winning that trophy eight times.
Worst case scenario, Leicester has already clinched a Champions League berth for 2016-17. That appeared beyond any pundit’s wildest dreams back in August.
Here is how I see the last weeks playing out, Leicester does clinch with eight points in its last four games. (Odds per Paddy Power)
- Home to Swansea (3/4) – Draw
- Away to Manchester United (12/5) – Loss
- Home To Everton (11/10) – Win (Everton pasted 4-0 by Liverpool on Wednesday)
- Away to Chelsea – Draw
- Home to West Brom (1/4) – Win
- Away to Chelsea (11/8) – Draw
- Home to Southampton (4/7) – Win
- Away to Newcastle United – Win – Wild card for Survival Sunday is Newcastle could avoid relegation with a win. No, the three worst Premier League teams do not get rewarded with a top draft pick.
That would give Spurs 10 points to Leicester’s five, enough to give Tottenham the title via goal differential tiebreaker.