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Leicester City Winning the Premier League Would Be Historic Accomplishment

Daniel Tiluk@@danieltilukFeatured ColumnistApril 28, 2016

Leicester City's Algerian midfielder Riyad Mahrez (R) celebrates scoring his team's first goal with Leicester City's English midfielder Danny Drinkwater and Leicester City's Ghanaian midfielder Daniel Amartey (C) during the English Premier League football match between Watford and Leicester City at Vicarage Road Stadium in Watford, north of London on March 5, 2016. / AFP / OLLY GREENWOOD / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.  /         (Photo credit should read OLLY GREENWOOD/AFP/Getty Images)
OLLY GREENWOOD/Getty Images

Three points—the stated objective of every player, every manager, every owner and every supporter on a weekly basis.

This places Leicester City's upcoming visit to Manchester United in an interesting light. A victory for the Foxes at Old Trafford on Sunday wouldn't be an ordinary three points; it would solidify the greatest accomplishment in the history of English football.

Odds of 5,000-1 at the beginning of the season was manager Claudio Ranieri's challenge, per Ladbrokes (via the Mirror's Richard Innes). How the Italian has cultivated a title-winning side from the mostly tattered remains of former manager Nigel Pearson's 2014/15 season is beyond logic, beyond explanation—but a win against Louis van Gaal's men would place Leicester as gods in the pantheon of sporting underdogs.

There have been one-off moments of shocking sports feats. Where one shot, one punch, one sprint has changed the course of history. Maybe the best example of that is Buster Douglas knocking out the undefeated all-conquering, all-destroying Mike Tyson in February 1990. One punch (followed by a few more) irreparably altered the course of heavyweight boxing and the lives of both men. 

There are massive moments in sports of upsets, but complete seasons? That's altogether rare.
There are massive moments in sports of upsets, but complete seasons? That's altogether rare.Tsugufumi Matsumoto/Associated Press

What Leicester have done, and are doing, though, is not the puncher's-chance cliche to which we've become accustomed. This is a systematic deconstruction of winning (arguably) the hardest league in world football. It's not a one-off event, but a week-after-week, game-after-game and point-after-point endeavour.

To win the Premier League—when your best attacking players, Riyad Mahrez and Jamie Vardy, cost a combined £1.4 million, when you were almost relegated last year, when you were in the Championship two seasons ago, when Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur spent enormous amounts this campaign—the word "miraculous" doesn't go far enough.

At every step and turn, people were expecting Leicester to fade away. When they fell to seventh place after Matchday 7—losing to Arsenal 5-2 at the King Power Stadium—that was meant to be Leicester's moment of realisation: "Clubs like us don't win the league; clubs like us don't even belong in the top four." But Ranieri's men never took that information on board. 

Claudio Ranieri's top striker, Jamie Vardy, will miss Leicester City's game vs. Manchester United.
Claudio Ranieri's top striker, Jamie Vardy, will miss Leicester City's game vs. Manchester United.Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Since Arsenal beat Leicester on September 26, they've lost just twice—by a difference of two goals.

Be careful with your life this week guys, you don't want to die before Leicester City win the title.

— ChelseaTalk (@ChelseaTaIk) April 24, 2016

It could be a remarkable story, maybe never repeated again.

The Premier League's perennial superpowers will spend copious amounts this summer to restore balance and the understood order. The likes of Vardy, Mahrez, N'Golo Kante, Danny Drinkwater and Marc Albrighton are sure to be targets for vulture-like scavengers. Are the Foxes, therefore, in a position to compete with overspending superclubs and fend off suitors for their best players?

UEFA Champions League football and whatever prize winnings should help their cause, but the answer is: probably not. It would be a shame for Leicester to break apart, but that's often the nature of football.

If Leicester were to secure the most improbable league title in Premier League history (including Blackburn Rovers' 1994/95 victory) and possibly the most impressive (including Arsenal's unbeaten season), they would send shock waves throughout English football.

PFA Player of the Year Riyad Mahrez has directly contributed to 28 of Leicester City's 63 league goals.
PFA Player of the Year Riyad Mahrez has directly contributed to 28 of Leicester City's 63 league goals.Michael Regan/Getty Images

Might this start more owners buying burgeoning/struggling football clubs and hoping to emulate Leicester chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha? Possibly, but the more likely scenario is tenured EPL clubs making sure this never happens again—protecting their places in the Champions League above all else.

The league leaders' (and our) chief concern, though, should be finishing the year with a trophy.

Leicester City have never won England's top division in their history. Ranieri has never won a league title in his 30-year managerial career. Their only player to receive a winner's medal in one of Europe's top-five leagues is Robert Huth.

They are a collection of upstarts, flying well above their expected altitude—but with an opportunity to do something unforeseen, unexpected and unprecedented.

Three points, and Premier League football changes forever.

Three points, and Leicester City are champions of England.

Three points, and the Foxes gain immortality.

*Stats via WhoScored.com; transfer fees via Soccerbase where not noted.