A midseason wobble has left Leicester City with too much to do in the hunt for the seventh spot in the Premier League. However, with an upturn in form under Brendan Rodgers clearly visible, can the East Midlanders still finish as the best of the rest? We assess their run-in – and, of course, some numbers.
Leicester Vs AFC Bournemouth
As farcical as it may sound, Leicester have never beaten Bournemouth in the Premier League. In the seven meetings between the two sides so far, the Cherries have won twice, while all that Leicester have to show is five draws.
Equally, the Foxes have never lost at home to Eddie Howe’s side, which will offer plenty of encouragement to fans and players alike. And as much encouraging should be the fact that Bournemouth are nowhere near the level they were when they annihilated Leicester by 4-2 in the reverse fixture.
On the other hand, Leicester are on the up with three wins in their last four games.
Huddersfield Town Vs Leicester
Well, this should be easy. Leicester have never lost to Huddersfield in the Premier League (two wins and a draw) and that shouldn’t change anytime sooner. It might have been different under Claude Puel, who did struggle against teams of the Terriers’ nature, but he’s not incharge anymore.
Placed 20th with just 14 points, Huddersfield should do no harm to Leicester.
Leicester Vs Newcastle United
Another team that Leicester have a rather interesting record against. They’ve faced Newcastle seven times since their promotion in 2014 and have won on five occasions, losing just twice. Their dominance over the Magpies is well reflected in the aggregate score during this time: Leicester 13-5 Newcastle.
However, it will take a very good effort from Leicester if they are to beat Newcastle when the two next clash. They’ve taken 17 points out of the last 27 available to them. That three of those points were secured in a comeback win against Manchester City does show that Rafael Benitez’ side won’t be run over.
It’s very tough to call this one but home advantage puts Leicester as the slight favourites.
West Ham United Vs Leicester
The first of Leicester’s three fixtures against London clubs in the run-in. In their last nine encounters with West Ham, the Foxes have lost just two times, winning twice as many games and drawing three. The record certainly doesn’t provide anything conclusive to suggest that Leicester have the upper hand.
Indeed, Rodgers’ side don’t have the upper hand, not just because of the Hammers’ own all-round improvements but the fact that this is an away game. It’s a lesser known fact but West Ham have got the best home record for any team outside the top six.
They’ve won 27 points in 16 home games, having won eight of those. Not to forget the wins against Arsenal and Manchester United and the draws against Chelsea and Liverpool.
Leicester will do well to get a point at the London Stadium despite possessing the sixth best away record in the league.
Leicester Vs Arsenal
The team with the sixth worst home record (Leicester) versus the team with the tenth worst away record (Arsenal). Leicester Vs Arsenal has the ingredients to be a Premier League classic but don’t expect it to be one, not with Unai Emery around, who is much smarter than Rodgers in terms of tactical maturity.
Even though the Gunners are a completely different proposition on the road, you’d say that this is their game to win any time of the year. It won’t be the most comfortable of games for them, but there’s just too much quality.
Manchester City Vs Leicester
There’s a healthy number of people who think Leicester are going to have the final say in the title race as they go to the Etihad Stadium late in the season. They’ve already beaten Manchester City once, and Liverpool fans will be hoping for their former manager, the “beloved” Rodgers, to hand the title to the Reds by doing the double against the Citizens.
But no, this isn’t happening. Again, it comes down to Rodgers’ one flaw: Opting for bravado against a big team. Why Leicester beat City earlier is because Puel set them up to defend. Rodgers doesn’t like that. Pep Guardiola would love it.
Leicester Vs Chelsea
Both mind and heart say that Leicester are set to do the double over Chelsea. Under Maurizio Sarri, they’ve been nothing short of a robotic embarrassment after an excellent start to the season.
They’ve got forwards who aren’t scoring, midfielders who are predictable and a defence that you just don’t know what to expect from. But for Eden Hazard, it could have been much more worse for the Blues.
Leicester should absolutely go all in for a win and treat the fans to a final day flourish.
Final points tally: 54
Since the inception of the Premier League, there have only been six instances of a team finishing seventh with 54 points or less:
1998/99: Liverpool finished seventh with 54 points.
2001/02: West Ham finished seventh with 53 points.
2003/04: Charlton Athletic finished seventh with 53 points.
2008/09: Fulham finished seventh with 53 points.
2010/11: Everton finished seventh with 54 points.
2017/18: Burnley finished seventh with 54 points.
The average points tally for a team to have finished seventh in the Premier League era is 58.03, which is well above Leicester’s predicted tally of 54. 14 times has a team with 58 or more points finished seventh, so 58 is what Leicester will have to look to achieve.
Even then, however, there are no guarantees because Leicester will require Wolverhampton Wanderers and Watford – who are both above them in the table and have a game in hand – to drop points. Sadly, there’s still no guarantee.
Were we to put it mathematically, Leicester’s probability of ending up seventh, based on the predicted total of 54 points, is 23%. Yes, 23%. Whatever you wish to make of it.