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Wednesday 21 February 2018

Statistics suggest Leicester fans could celebrate shock title in May

Could Riyad Mahrez and Jamie Vardy be celebrating a Premier League title in May?
Could Riyad Mahrez and Jamie Vardy be celebrating a Premier League title in May?

Leicester fans toasting their side being top of the Barclays Premier League table at Christmas could well be celebrating a surprise title triumph in May if statistics from recent years are a reliable guide.

The Foxes have completed a miraculous turnaround in form. They were bottom of the division on December 25 last year but now sit two points clear at the summit.

Claudio Ranieri's side have lost just once in the league all season - nearest challengers Arsenal beat them 5-2 in September - and recent Premier League statistics suggest they are in the driving seat to seal what would be the first English title in their history.

Of the 20 previous 20-team Premier League campaigns, half of the sides that topped the table after 17 games went on to lift the title - with five of the last six champions sitting in first place at this stage.

The unpredictable nature of this year's top flight means Leicester are top with 38 points - with the average points total for the eventual champions in the last decade coming in at over 40 at this stage.

Arsenal's victory over Manchester City on Monday night leaves them just two points behind the Foxes - but only four times in the last 20 years have a side sitting second after 17 games gone on to win the crown.

The better news for the Gunners is that they were the last team to win the title having sat lower than third at this point of the campaign.

There are also grounds for optimism for City supporters, whose side are now six adrift of Leicester, as their run to the title in 2013-14 saw them down in third after 17 fixtures - could history repeat itself?

Twenty-time champions Manchester United are enduring a sticky spell and are down in fifth with just 29 points on the board.

They actually claimed the title from sixth place at this stage in 1996-97, when they also had one point fewer before putting together a great run to seal the title.

Press Association

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