So we now know that Claudio Ranieri’s Leicester City but the the nail in José Mourinho’s Chelsea coffin on Monday.
The Foxes beat the champions 2-1 at the start of the week to head back above Arsenal to the top of the Premier League table, as their superb start to the season went on. Goals from star men Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez were enough to see off Chelsea, and Wenger says we have to admit the Foxes are in the title race.
It’s so rare, and thus refreshing, to see a ‘smaller’ club with less of a budget at the top of the table at this time of year, and Wenger agrees.
“Not only for English football, it’s good for everybody to see teams who don’t have the biggest budget at the start can compete as well,” Arsenal boss Arsène Wenger said on Thursday.
“There’s always a way to be competitive if you are intelligent.”
It’s taken a while, but most people have now accepted that Leicester are considered a threat. They may still drop off, but to be at the top now is almost unique in the modern game.
With a 5-2 win in September, Arsenal are still the only side to have beaten Ranieri’s men this season.
“I always took them seriously,” Wenger insisted, but the same can’t be said of fans and the media. “When we won 5-2 there nobody took our performance quite seriously. Just, ‘Ok it’s normal that you win at Leicester,’ but now you see it was a great result and a great performance on the day.”
Looking back the result does look even better than it did at the time. Leicester face a tricky game against Everton at the weekend before Arsenal are back in action on Monday.
By the time the Gunners kick off against Manchester City, top spot may be up for grabs at Christmas time. Whether or not Leicester are top then they must, right now, be considered contenders.