In a season where they have never failed to stop defying the odds and just over a year after propping up the table, Leicester City have the chance to make history as a win away to Manchester United on Sunday would see them win the English league title for the first time ever.
There is of course plenty riding on this game for the hosts as they still have major aspirations of finishing in the top four and joining their opponents in next season’s Champions League. Hopes have increased as their nearest rivals have dropped points regularly over recent weeks, and should they manage to do so it may prove to be the salvation for manager Louis van Gaal, who is also close to winning his first trophy since taking charge of the Red Devils having masterminded an FA Cup semi-final win over Everton in their last outing.
It was a game which they snatched late on as outstanding performer Anthony Martial finished with the utmost composure to rend an impressive second half comeback from their opponents in vain. Leicester’s recent defensive record suggests that it is likely to be more difficult for the Frenchman to wreak havoc here, but that display was further evidence that he has the pace and trickery to frighten any backline.
As for the context of this match, it must hurt those at the top at Man Utd that the club is a long way off from being in the position that Leicester are, and the sight of seeing the title won on their own ground as mere subordinates is not what the club is accustomed to. Arsenal were crowned champions at Old Trafford in 2002, but this achievement would be of even more monumental proportions.
The detrimental effect forecast by the exaggerated media frenzy surrounding Jamie Vardy’s absence from the Leicester side failed to materialise last weekend as they sailed to a comprehensive 4-0 win over Swansea City, with his replacement Leonardo Ulloa finding the net not once, but twice. The Argentine will continue to lead the line here as the Foxes go in search of the three points that would lift this squad of players to a status of immortality.
Even if they do not manage to get the job done here, the seven-point lead they carry is such that it would take an unlikely set of results to see them overhauled by nearest challengers Tottenham, whose dropped points on Monday evening has moved glory very much within sight. The team has shown little or no signs of feeling the pressure up until now, so there is no reason to think that this occasion will be different, having been inspired to go all the way by manager Claudio Ranieri.
For the Italian, a first league title with such an unfancied side would be by far and away the biggest achievement of his long career. His decisions all season have almost always proved to be the correct ones, and there would be no winner more popular than him for his dignified, calm approach.
There are no new injury problems for Man Utd, who remain unable to call upon Bastian Schweinsteiger and long-term absentee Luke Shaw.
Marc Albrighton will be pushing for a recall to the Leicester side, while Vardy misses out again after having been banned for an additional match.
Last Meeting: There was no title in danger of being won in this fixture last season as Man Utd strolled to a 3-1 victory in January 2015. All of the home side’s goals were scored in the first half as strikers Robin van Persie and Radamel Falcao found the net before an own goal from Wes Morgan put the game beyond doubt. Morgan’s centre-back partner Marcin Wasilewski grabbed Leicester’s consolation 10 minutes from time.