13 Feb Field of Dreams for Leicester
At 12 noon on Sunday, the majority of football supporters across Great Britain will be hoping the dream continues and the impossible is closer to becoming a reality.
I will exclude Arsenal, Tottenham and Manchester City fans from this groundswell of goodwill towards, yes you’ve guessed it, Leicester City.
The neutral wants to see the Foxes replicate last week’s win over Man City with a victory over Arsenal in their own backyard.
If Claudio Ranieri’s men do indeed secure all three points tomorrow, hold on to your hats for the hysteria that will increase tenfold from what we’ve recently witnessed around the current league leaders.
The bookies now have Leicester favourites to win the Barclays Premier League, but a win at the Emirates will reduce the odds so much that you’d be better using your money guessing the next boss of Manchester United. That bet has slightly better odds!
Leicester would move eight points clear of the Gunners with a win and depending on what happens at the Etihad, they could move even further away from Manchester City, Spurs or both by early evening.
Liverpool and Arsenal remain the only two sides to defeat Ranieri’s men in the league this season.
Suddenly, the Leicester players are starting to talk about winning the title, but the most important wily old fox, Ranieri, is still keeping a lid on expectation and the pressure that is intensifying day by day.
“We work so hard to achieve this level, we want to stay there, it’s no pressure for us,” he said.
“We want to fight face to-face-with strength and respect. The pressure is about the other teams.
Even Arsene Wenger is heaping praise on his opponents, “They had a decisive test against Liverpool and City,” he said.
“If they had lost you would have said no, they can’t do it. But these two games were the turning point in their season.
“(Against City) they had a kind of dominance and belief in every challenge, that special force where teams get into a zone where teams think: ‘we can do this’.”
Whether it is mind games or genuine praise from Wenger, it hasn’t altered the Leicester boss’ mindset on the pressure of keeping the dream alive.
“We have a pressure for our little gap, Arsenal spend a lot of money, they have pressure.
“Tell me why I must feel the pressure? Why are so many journalists here? It’s a great story, so why the pressure, let’s enjoy it.”
‘” We don’t have the pressure, we did our job. Our goal is okay, anything more which comes is fantastic,” the Italian said.
“I know slowly, slowly somebody will want to put pressure on us. They say, ‘Okay, Leicester – sooner or later – will go down’.
“Now, some people are thinking, ‘Maybe Leicester can win, it’s important to put pressure on them, to say something because we spent a lot of money, if we don’t win it’s a disaster’.
If Leicester win tomorrow and go on to win the league, it will be one of the most remarkable stories in the history of the English game.
It will almost certainly be made into a movie with maybe even Pacino or De Niro playing the role of Ranieri. Whether Leonardo DiCaprio could play Jamie Vardy is another question.
Right now, the story is unfolding and we can only hope that Frank Capra is directing the ending we all crave.