Leicester looking good but expect twists and turns in title race - Alan Shearer
Published 03/03/2016 | 16:51
Alan Shearer knows from experience how jitters can take hold of an unfancied title contender as Leicester try to follow his old club Blackburn in upsetting the established order.
Twenty-one years ago Shearer was part of a Blackburn side that won the top flight just three years after they were promoted into the division - an achievement Leicester would beat by 12 months were they to lift the trophy in May.
Rovers had recorded two top-four finishes before finishing at the summit and they were heavily backed by local businessman Jack Walker, yet some parallels can still be drawn between their campaign and Leicester's own title pursuit this year.
Blackburn lost three of their last five games, including in the final round of fixtures at Liverpool, but they still pipped Manchester United to the championship and, with this year's contenders all slipping up to varying degrees this week, it could go down to the wire again.
"I don't think anyone can call it," Shearer told Press Association Sport. "There's going to be twists and turns between now and the end of the season.
"I've been in this situation with Blackburn in 1995 and nerves do come into it, but Leicester are looking very good at the minute. They're three points clear and it's been another great week for them.
"They've got a decent game on Saturday against Watford whereas Arsenal and Spurs play each other. It will be another fun weekend if you're sat watching and are a neutral. I'm almost certain that every neutral will want Leicester to win it - it would be a fantastic story.
"It's nerve-racking because Blackburn, like Leicester now, had never been in that situation. Whatever happens with Leicester, it's been an amazing season for them."
Shearer, the Premier League's all-time record goalscorer, has a vested interest in the other end of the table where his old club Newcastle sit in the bottom three.
They lost a sixth successive away fixture in the league on Wednesday night and have managed a paltry seven goals in 14 fixtures on the road - a statistic that Shearer believes epitomises their struggles.
"It's not looking too good at all," the 45-year-old added of the Magpies' predicament.
"Seven goals away from home all season is the worst in any league and when that happens you don't really deserve to be anywhere but near the bottom.
"They've got one hell of a fight on their hands. I think they have to win Saturday's game at home to Bournemouth; it's a must-win."
Shearer, now working as a television pundit, will hope scoring is not an issue for the players who will represent his team in Sport Relief's 57-hour Battle of the Five-A-Sides against Robbie Savage's team over the next three days.
Both took to the pitch in Salford's Media City on Friday, when the competition kicked off, and each ex-player will participate in a 12-hour stint alongside celebrities and members of the public.
"It's hard work, good fun, but there's a serious side to it as well to see if we can raise as much as we can," Shearer said.
"We raised just over half a million pounds two years ago with the backsides challenge at Wembley and whatever we raise this time the Premier League is going to match, which is a fantastic gesture. Hopefully we can raise a few quid."
:: For more information about the Battle of the Five-A-Sides, visit http://sportrelief.com/fiveaside