When Can Leicester Secure Champions League Football?

Vardy returning to his best has thrown Leicester towards Europe

Leicester City have been one of the surprise packages of the 2019/20 Premier League season. The Foxes are on course for their best finish to a season since their miraculous title-winning campaign in 2016.

Across the board, Leicester's men have been fantastic throughout. Veteran striker Jamie Vardy currently tops the goalscoring charts with 19 goals to his name and the Englishman is the favourite at 15/8 to claim his first Golden Boot.

Now, with nine games remaining in the season, Brendan Rodgers' side currently sit in third place, sandwiched between Manchester City, who are seven points clear of the Foxes in second place. Fourth-placed Chelsea are now seemingly their biggest worry, but the Blues are a distant five points away.

Most importantly for the Foxes is that they are eight points clear of Manchester United, which means that it will take something very special for Vardy and co. to slip outside the top four before the end of the season.

The odds of a top four finish are truly in their favour with a 1/6 chance of securing their second Champions League place in five seasons along with odds of a 7/2 to fail to qualify for Europe's elite club competition.

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Their Run-in towards the end

Unlike the teams around them in the table, Leicester have a pretty favourable run-in of fixtures between now and the end of the season. Their next four matches are against opposition that are currently in the bottom half as they will face strugglers Watford and Brighton before going up against Everton and Crystal Palace.

Considering that the matches will be played behind closed doors, we have seen, especially in the Bundesliga, that matches in no attendance seem to eradicate home advantage which will make them all the more likely to secure maximum points against Watford and Everton. Taking into account the quality of the squad, Rodgers will undoubtedly be less than satisfied with anything less than four wins from the next four matches which should all but secure a top four finish.

Their final five games could prove to be trickier as they will take on Arsenal, who are looking to climb back to the top six before they go face the Blades, who are aiming to be the first newly-promoted side since Ipswich Town in 2001 to qualify for Europe.

Leicester's season will conclude with matches against Tottenham Hotspur and United, where Champions League football may already be pencilled in for next season.

Should Leicester be worried about those around them?

In terms of securing Champions League football, Leicester can realistically expect to get the job done with around four games remaining.

When looking at the fixture list, the fans will recognise that the prize is now theirs to lose and would thus feel frustrated if they have failed to secure it going into the final three matches.

Should they secure a place in the top four with time to spare, the hard work will not be over for Rodgers. Currently just four points off City in second, they will be eager to push the Citizens all the way to try and land the runners up place considering they will be given a higher seeding by UEFA in the Champions League should they finish in second place.

When looking at other teams that are in the European mix, Chelsea are currently looking over their shoulders instead of what is in front of them. Should poor results for Leicester derail their form, the onus will then be looked at United and questions have to be asked whether Solskjaer's side have it in them to break into the top four at Leicester's expense.

With odds of 7/4 for United to finish in the top four and Wolves' odds of 15/2, there will certainly be questions in the coming weeks as to whether those teams would be capable of breaking into the top four. United, of course, are no strangers to hitting those heights but have fallen short of the top four on four occasions since Sir Alex Ferguson left the club.

As for Wolves, they will be aiming for an improvement to their seventh place last season but Nuno Espirito Santo's side have been too inconsistent over the course of the season to really have a serious shout of the top four.

By Rob Spereall

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