Former Arsenal midfielder Patrick Vieira has insisted that Leicester City could now start to really feel the pressure as they close in on the Premier League title.
Speaking to ESPN FC, the New York City FC boss believes that the real test lies ahead for Claudio Ranieri’s side as they now enter the final nine games of the season.
The Foxes have a five-point advantage over nearest rivals Tottenham with Arsenal eight points adrift after a poor period of form.
In turn, Leicester’s destiny is in their own hands as they know that if they continue to win, starting against Newcastle United on Monday night, they will be crowned Premier League champions in May.
Ranieri’s men have exceeded all expectations this season, as the Italian tactician has masterminded a spectacular campaign with the likes of Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez leading from the front.
However, the team’s work ethic and quality both on and off the ball has ensured that they deserve to be where they are as the usual suspects in the Premier League title race have all faltered.
Nevertheless, Vieira does have a valid point as we reach the business end of the season, and given their inexperience in this type of position, many will feel as though Leicester could now drop off and allow other sides to come into the picture.
Ranieri has failed to land any silverware aside from the Ligue 2 title with Monaco in 2013 since his heroics with Valencia between 1999 and 2004, and although he has come close on several occasions, he has ultimately fallen short.
As a result, neither the manager nor the players have been in this position before, and whether or not they are able to step up and deal with the pressure or fold under it will determine if they will finish the year as the most consistent side in England and produce a fairytale ending.