We are at the halfway mark of the Premier League season. What a first half it was. The most intriguing stories have to be Leicester City, who exactly a year ago was at the bottom of the league standings staring at relegation and a very short stay in the Premier League to one year later in strong title contention and looking at a Champions League berth next season and defending Premier League Champion Chelsea bottoming out and letting manager Jose Mourinho go already.
Chelsea looks as if they may be on the comeback after a 0-0 result at Old Trafford against Manchester United on Monday, but the again Man U is not doing all that well as of late. In fact, Louis Van Gaal is firmly on the hot seat as Manager of the Red Devils. But while we keep waiting for Chelsea to break put, we’ve also been waiting for Leicester to wake up and realize where they are. But this team just keeps impressing the rest of the league.
Leicester closed out the first half with a 0-0 draw against Manchester City, the book makers favorites to win the title. Leicester has 39 points in their 19 games, tied atop the league standings with Arsenal who leads them by three goals in the goal differential tie-breaker. Man City sits third with 36 points after a blazing start to the season and Tottenham Hotspur is fourth at 35 points. Crystal Palace sits fifth at 31 points and Man U is a disappointing sixth with 30 points.
Leicester City’s last four games have been against Chelsea, Everton, Liverpool and Manchester City, all of which have at least 26 points. Leicester took away seven points in those four games, losing only to Liverpool 1-0 on the road.
Leicester City finished last season with 41 points. This year at the halfway mark, they are only one win away from bettering that total. At the halfway point of last season, they had 13 points and were in dead last in the league. That is as huge of a turnaround as you will ever see. Regardless of what happens in the next 19 matches, it has been a memorable season for a team that was not even in the Premier League for ten seasons prior to last season.
On Tuesday, with a payroll of about one tenth of their opponents, they played Manchester City to a draw. This was not a case of Leicester conceding they were not going to win so they stayed back and played defense, hoping to hold. This game could just as easily been won by Leicester. The second half of the Premier League season should be very exciting.