Six key matches in Leicester City’s title triumph

They did it. The greatest shock in sporting history was finally completed on Monday night as unfancied Leicester City were crowned Premier League champions for the first time after Tottenham’s 2-2 draw with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

Leicester City fans celebrate winning the Premier League title Action Images via Reuters / Craig Brough Livepic
Action Images via Reuters / Craig Brough.

At 5,000-1 to win the title before the season, the Foxes weren’t even outsiders – they were no-hopers.

Yet after becoming the first first-time winners of the top flight since Nottingham Forest in 1978, we examine six key matches that enabled them to defy the odds.

Leicester City 4-2 Sunderland – Saturday August 8, 2015

Leicester's Jamie Vardy scores their first goal Mandatory Credit: Action Images / Peter Cziborra Livepic
 Action Images / Peter Cziborra

The Claudio Ranieri era began with a bang as Leicester maintained the form that saw them haul themselves out of relegation trouble the previous season with a comfortable win over Sunderland on the season’s opening day.

Three men that would go on to be protagonists for the rest of the campaign got on the scoresheet as Jamie Vardy, Riyad Mahrez twice and Marc Albrighton all netted.

It was the perfect return to the Premier League for Ranieri as his new team got off to a flyer 11 years after he was sacked as manager of Chelsea.

Norwich City 1-2 Leicester City – Saturday October 3, 2015

This gritty win away at Norwich is an easy one to overlook on Leicester’s title journey but it kick-started a ten-game unbeaten run that cemented them in the top four.

Having been thumped 5-2 by Arsenal the previous weekend, it would have been easy for the Foxes to fold but instead Vardy’s penalty and Jeffrey Schlupp’s calm finish meant Dieumerci Mbokani’s strike couldn’t stop them claiming three vital points at Carrow Road.

In a neat bit of symmetry Leicester would start another ten-game unbeaten run by beating the Canaries later in the season, also just one match after losing to Arsenal.

Tottenham Hotspur 0-1 Leicester City – Wednesday January 13, 2016

Having drawn a blank in their three previous Premier League matches, Leicester looked set for a fourth game without a goal until Robert Huth’s 83rd-minute header gave them a narrow win over Tottenham.

With Spurs going on to be their closest rivals for the title, this clash looks even more important in retrospect and was the first of two games where old-fashioned centre-back Huth became an unlikely goal hero.

The win moved the Foxes level on points with leaders Arsenal and although still very few saw them as legitimate title contenders, there was a growing belief that a Champions League spot was a real possibility.

Manchester City 1-3 Leicester City – Saturday February 6, 2016

This was the day that Leicester announced themselves as genuine contenders and perhaps even title favourites as they ruthlessly swept aside Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium.

With Arsenal in the midst of their annual collapse and Spurs still some way adrift, City seemed the most logical champions but the loss left them five points behind.

The Midlanders were majestic as that man Huth popped up with two bullet headers either side of Mahrez’s classy finish to leave Sergio Aguero’s late goal as nothing more than consolation.

Leicester City 2-2 West Ham United – Sunday April 17, 2016

If you believe in fate or momentum, then surely this was the match that suggested Leicester’s was written on the Premier League trophy.

Seven points clear atop the table heading into proceedings, everything was going swimmingly when Vardy’s crisp finish on 18 minutes put them ahead.

But the striker was controversially sent off for diving on 56 minutes before Andy Carroll’s penalty and left-back Aaron Cresswell’s outrageous finish put the Hammers 2-1 up.

Yet, with just a minute of injury time remaining Carroll fouled Schlupp in the box – according to referee Jonathan Moss at least – and with usual penalty takers Vardy and Mahrez both off the field, Leonardo Ulloa stepped up to slot home the dramatic equaliser from 12 yards, sending the King Power Stadium into raptures.

Chelsea 2-2 Tottenham Hotspur – Monday May 2, 2016

Leicester City

The fairytale would have been perfect if Leicester could have just beaten Manchester United at Old Trafford 24 hours earlier to clinch the title but instead this ridiculous story climaxed on a Monday night at Stamford Bridge.

Spurs had to win in order to keep their chances of Premier League glory alive but despite first-half scores from Harry Kane and Son Heung-Min, Chelsea battled back with goals from Gary Cahill and Eden Hazard snatching them a point.

The game descended into an exhibition of common assault as 12 yellow cards, but inexplicably no reds, were issued and Mousa Dembele was caught on camera gouging the eyes of Diego Costa.

But Leicester didn’t care as once the final whistle blew they could celebrate being confirmed as champions of England for the first time in their history.

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