Our involvement in the title challenge has provoked different responses, behaviour, coping mechanisms and emotions. Everyone has hope and all too have varying levels of belief in how the season will unfold.
I’ve been a glass half empty Spurs fan (I’m never happy in a game unless we’re 3 up and the fourth official is waving his board around) long enough to have never entertained that we might be chasing the Premier League equivalent of Devon Loch, whereas others, with more confidence or less emotional scars, seem to think that we may be Red Rum chasing down Crisp in 1973.
Judging by the number of East Midlands based gamblers who cashed out their 5000-1 betting slips on Tuesday morning after our thumping of Stoke, there seem to be a fair number of faltering Foxes who can hear the thundering hooves (even though Fazio doesn’t play for us anymore) behind them and are fearing the worst. The doubts are there and the squeak of their bum cheeks is drowned out only by the noise of those ridiculous clackers.
This Sunday Leicester take on Swansea City minus Vardy, scorer of 22 goals this season but whilst he’s scored three of their last four those have been his only notches in the ‘for’ column in the last eight games. So will they miss him? Yes. Someone needs to chase those hopeful hoofs over the top.
We’ll all be Welsh for a day. The Swans have form against teams they ‘should’ struggle against; they’ve beaten the Gooners and Chelsea in the last couple of months and in Francesco Guidolin have a manager who appears capable of organising a side in a characteristically Italian we-have-what-we-hold type way, ie exactly the style that Ranieri has adopted since Christmas. In Sigurdsson at least they have the craft available to unlock a defence. Whether they have the steel to deal with what’s sure to be an bombardment from Leicester we shall see. Oh for one of those nil nil stalemates that Italian managers from a certain age take pride in.
Whatever occurs at the King Power we have a game to win on Monday of course. Our ratio of good results to bad in the ‘big’ games we’ve played this season isn’t all that great. We failed to win the games against Leicester, West Ham, Woolwich or Liverpool, we have though produced the goods against Man City, Man United and Stoke, all when the pressure was on. And the pressure will be on – even if Swansea don’t do us any favours, there’s a good chance that Gooners will be only two points behind us at kick off.
Despite being rank for most of the season West Brom have reached forty points and safety. They have one win in their last seven games and for once we have had a longer pre-game rest period than our opponents as they played in front of two men and a dog at the Emirates on Thursday. They’ve scored twelve goals away from home all season. The odds are in our favour but complacency will see us fall. There’s more work to be done.
Good luck Swansea and #COYS.
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