In Depth

Leicester's collective spirit makes them title favourites

Foxes are now 2-1 to win the title, but they can be stopped if their rivals adapt to their strengths

Leicester City are favourites to win the Premier League after their extraordinary demolition of Manchester City on Saturday.

The game, which the Foxes won 3-1, could go down as one of the most significant in Premier League history as the unfancied Midlanders overran their illustrious hosts.

The team that began the campaign at 5,000-1 no hopers are now 2-1 to beat Arsenal, Man City and Spurs to the title.

"It was an emphatic and mature performance that confirmed the tide of opinion is turning," says Phil McNulty of the BBC. "Leicester are no longer viewed as plucky underdogs but as a club in position to make history."

They "can no longer portray themselves as being on a fantasy ride with nothing to lose at the end - there should now be disappointment if they do not win the title", he adds.

But how have a team that narrowly escaped relegation last season morphed into the title favourites?

"They compete with skill, discipline and tactical coherence, but the most thrilling aspect of their play is the collective commitment," says Matthew Syed in The Times.

"Riyad Mahrez is a magician and [Jamie] Vardy a striker of breathtaking industry and guile (one or the other must win player of the season), but the true magic of Leicester emerges from the collective."

Harry Redknapp in the Daily Telegraph is also impressed by the Foxes' commitment and "work rate".

He says: "They run, close down, and stifle the opposition as well as playing themselves."

Redknapp picks out Robert Huth, Mahrez and Vardy as the key players in Leicester's journey to the top of the table.

"I think everybody now would like to see Leicester do it," he says, and it "would be great" for English football if they could "finish it off".

Yet they could still be undone, says Barney Ronay of The Guardian. Opponents must "start to take Leicester seriously, tactically, and tailor their own game to some very obvious strengths".

He adds: "Everybody knows Leicester want you to attack them... At some point this table-topping strength will demand even the best opponents play with some caution, block the flanks, vacate the midfield, insist Leicester score some other way."

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