Leicester City currently sit third in the Premier League with more points at this stage of the season than they had when they won the title in 2015/16. Foxes’ fan Charlie Carmichael gives his verdict on just how good they really are.
When I wrote my Leicester City season preview back in August, I said we’d finish seventh.
We have a brilliant, young attack-minded squad and a top manager, but I felt the sale of Harry Maguire would mean we'd just miss out on gatecrashing the big six party. Well, fast forward seven gameweeks, and it seems I had nothing to worry about.
Leicester are Starting to Click
Çağlar Söyüncü has transformed himself from £19m flop to Leicester cult hero in a matter of games. The Turkish centre-back has been nothing short of a revelation for us, offering our defence a composed, aggressive edge alongside the ever-reliable, Jonny Evans.
The fact Söyüncü is already being linked with a move to Manchester City tells you all you need to know about just how good he’s been so far this season. Harry who?
The midfielders are starting to find their feet, too. Wilfred Ndidi missed the entirety of pre-season thanks to his involvement in the Africa Cup of Nations – not that you could tell – and Youri Tielemans has started to rekindle his form from last season after a slow start.
As expected, James Maddison has kicked on as well, and is starting to look like the real deal. With two assists and a goal in his first six league appearances, there’s hope both those stats could be in double figures come the season’s end.
Up top, Jamie Vardy’s brace against Newcastle saw him move on to a grand total of 85 Premier League goals (a feat he achieved in fewer appearances than it took Cristiano Ronaldo, might I add). The 5-0 rout marked our biggest ever Premier League victory.
Vardy’s pace has been giving defenders nightmares for years. The trouble for them is, the deeper they sit to deny Vardy space in-behind, the more room they afford Tielemans and Maddison to creatively exploit.
Can Leicester Crack the Top Four?
Given how well we’ve started, it’s perhaps unsurprising to hear talk of another Champions League adventure on the lips of fans and pundits. Such talk is a little premature for me; we need to remain grounded for now.
That said, I think a Europa League spot is becoming a very realistic possibility. We’ve played three of the regular top six already – Chelsea, United and Spurs – and come away with a respectable four points, showing that we're more than comfortable rubbing shoulders with the league’s elite.
Liverpool at Anfield represents our next test, and it’s a big one at that. Most sane fans won’t be expecting three points, but the performance should tell us a lot about how far we’ve come from our post-title winning displays.
Watching us transition from a low-block, counter-attacking unit into a possession-based, forward-thinking side has been a joy to behold, and we’re only getting better.
The main problem for Brendan Rodgers will be keeping hold of Maddison and co. in the summer. As for now, though, I expect Leicester to become the first club to break into the top six since… well, Leicester!
Follow Charlie on Twitter @CharlieJC93