Leicester City have gone from being 5,000-1 to 2-1 favourites to win the Premier League title as they extended their lead at the top of the league with a fabulous Robert Huth-inspired 3-1 win at Manchester City.
The Foxes were one of the favourites to be relegated at the start of the season when new manager Claudio Ranieri came in to replace the departing Nigel Pearson but have surprised everyone this season as they sit five points clear of second-placed Tottenham with 13 games to go.
In a superb away performance, Leicester City outplayed and outthought their opposition to claim a famous victory to follow the 2-0 win over Liverpool in midweek.
Centre-back Huth scored twice, either side of a brilliant solo effort for Algerian wizard Riyad Mahrez before Sergio Aguero pulled a consolation back for the home side late on but it proved in vain as Leicester moved six points clear of Manchester City.
The visitors could not have possibly wished for a better start after Mahrez’s tricks drew in a foul by Aleksandar Kolorov just outside the area from a very tight angle; the Algerian whipped in a low cross which was bundled home by Huth, via a deflection, with just three minutes on the clock.
In an enthralling opening 20 minutes of end-to-end attacking football, Leicester had more chances to extend their lead with Jamie Vardy, who signed a new contract on Saturday evening until 2019, being denied by his England teammate Joe Hart.
The home side upped their game as the first half endured, forcing multiple corners and having over 70% possession in the opening 45 minutes, but never really threated former Citizen Kasper Schmeichel in the Foxes’ goal.
After the interval, the Foxes doubled their advantage just three minutes into the second half as a swift counter-attack involving N’Golo Kante and Marc Albrighton led to Mahrez picking up the loose ball on the edge of the penalty area before neatly getting the better of the Manchester City defence and firing a powerful strike with his weaker right foot past the stranded Hart.
A pivotal moment in the context of the game, and possibly the season, came a couple of minutes later as Manchester City were denied a foothold back into the game by an incredible reflex save by Schmeichel to deny Fernando, who headed towards goal from a corner.
But just as the home supporters thought they might get a chance to salvage something, it got worse for the hosts as Robert Huth headed into the top corner from Christian Fuchs’ out-swinging corner on the hour mark to put Leicester 3-0 up at the Etihad!
Unbelievable scenes unfolded in the away section of the ground as the travelling fans could not quite believe what they were witnessing – whether they were in shock that their beloved little Leicester were turning over the side that have won two of the last four Premier Leagues or that German defender Robert Huth was on course for a perfect hat-trick remains unclear!
Either way, the game was beyond Manchester City who still rarely threatened until the 88th minute when substitute Bersant Celina, making his Premier League debut, picked out Aguero with a cross, with the Argentina forward heading past Schmeichel for his 14th league goal of the season, denying Ranieri’s side a sixth clean sheet in seven league games.
There was one more nervy moment for Leicester and especially for Danny Simpson who failed to see Aguero as he played a terrible pass-back aimed for Schmeichel, but fortunately for the former Manchester United full-back, the striker’s first touch forced him too wide to trouble the Danish goalkeeper, not that there were many home fans left in the stadium by this point!
In the end, the visitors held on for a historic victory, possibly only paralleled by the 5-3 win over Manchester United last season, to extend their lead over Manchester City to six points with 13 games left of the season.
However, Tottenham subsequently beat Watford 1-0 to leapfrog Manchester City into second place, five points adrift of the leaders.
Can Leicester City really pull of possibly the greatest shock in English football history? Surely not, but you really wouldn’t bet against them!