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Why Everton away must be seen as biggest game of Leicester’s season

| 15.12.2015

It is somewhat amazing that four years ago, Leicester’s trio of most influential players this campaign would have struggled to make the in-depth database for that season’s Football Manager game.

15-goal Jamie Vardy was living the dream playing non-league football with Halifax, Riyad Mahrez was loitering in the reserve team of French Ligue 2 outfit Le Havre and N’Golo Kante was at little known US Boulogne.

After all made notable contributions in the 2-1 victory over reigning Premier League champions Chelsea, the Foxes now sit two points clear at the summit of the top flight with just one game remaining before Christmas.

This is significant given the crossover in recent seasons of a team sitting top prior to the Boxing Day fixtures and remaining in this position at the end of the campaign.

In the last six campaigns starting in 2009/10, five teams that have led the way following the final pre-Christmas fixtures have gone on to win the Premier League.

The one exception was Liverpool in 2013/14 and they are widely considered to have thrown away the title after topping the standings from late March to early May, losing at home to Chelsea in the match that involved Steven Gerrard’s slip and then blowing a 3-0 lead at Crystal Palace.

Leicester remain 16/1 to win the Premier League despite their current position and the cast-iron fact that they will be enjoying their Christmas pasta from top spot if beating Everton at Goodison Park in the next round of fixtures.

Based on recent history, there are reasons to put forward that this is the biggest game of Leicester’s season.

However, they have failed to beat Everton in all 10 showdowns this century, with eight of these meetings ending all square, including consecutive 2-2 draws last term.

A draw is not guaranteed to be enough to send the Foxes into Christmas this time, as Arsenal would jump above them on goal difference if beating Manchester City at the Emirates.

Meanwhile, Everton and Leicester are the only two unbeaten teams from the last six Premier League gameweeks of action, further suggesting that a draw is the most likely outcome at Goodison.

Leicester have been causing upsets and springing surprises all season. Another against the Toffees may be enough for them to put one hand on the Premier League title.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.