Surprise leaders Leicester City face a severe test of their Premier League title credentials over the next 10 days, starting with today’s trip to Manchester City.
Claudio Ranieri’s intrepid side have become a second club for football fans bored with the dominance of Manchester United, Chelsea, Manchester City and Arsenal in the last two decades.
With 14 games left they will travel to the Etihad Stadium three points clear of a chasing pack, led by Manchester City but missing some usual suspects.
It sounds daunting, but all season Leicester has refused to bow to supposed superiors and rather than fade, the Midlands club are growing in stature at just the right time.
As Manchester City laboured to a narrow win at Sunderland, Jamie Vardy was firing Leicester to a 2-0 defeat of Liverpool, his two goals, the first a stunning volley, moving him to a league-leading 18 for the season.
They have bagged 10 points from their last four games, conceding just once, and even their most pessimistic followers are starting to believe that Leicester can become the first club outside the usual cartel to win the English title since Blackburn Rovers in 1995.
They confirmed this week that Bayern Munich manager Pep Guardiola would take over from Manuel Pellegrini in the close season and according to City keeper Joe Hart, they will try to send the Chilean coach off with a flurry of silverware.
After City and Leicester go head to head in Saturday’s early kickoff, third-placed Tottenham Hotspur, who are five points behind Leicester, can make up ground on one or both when they host Watford.
A 3-0 win lifted them above north London rivals Arsenal and Harry Kane, who scored his 14th and 15th goals in his last 18 league games at Carrow Road, says the club that last won the title in 1961 is thinking big.
Arsenal aim to halt a four-match winless sequence at Bournemouth on Sunday when champions Chelsea, held to a 0-0 draw at Watford in midweek, host a Manchester United side showing signs of life again just below the top four.