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Unlikely league leaders square off: Preview, Barclays Premier League

Photo courtesy: mirror.co.uk
Photo courtesy: mirror.co.uk

1st vs 2nd
With the highest number of goals scored and the seventh-from-worst goals conceded tally, this season sees a team in blue topping the table 13 games into the Premier League campaign. If you’ve been oblivious to the happenings in the footballing world for the past few months, you could be forgiven for thinking that the team being referred to here is Chelsea or Manchester City. There are many more teams in English Football who wear blue, but none in a more purple patch than Leicester City.

At this point last season, Leicester were bottom of the table. Scraping through the relegation battle in April and May, Leicester City lived to fight another day, or in the case of football, another season. With ‘tinker man’ Claudio Ranieri at the helm, Leicester seem to have received a new lease of life. There’s no player who epitomises that more than Jamie Vardy, who has equalled Ruud van Nistelrooy’s record of scoring in 10 consecutive games in the Premier League. Add midfielder Riyad Mahrez to the mix, who has chipped in with a sizable number of goals and assists, and you have an intimidating forward line which has been running riot.

Sterner tests await them as they face the likes of Manchester City, Liverpool and Tottenham in the coming weeks, but first, they welcome van Nistelrooy’s former club, Manchester United, to the King Power Stadium.

Only time will tell whether they are this season’s Southampton. And only time will tell whether they better last season’s Southampton.

Manchester United, on the other hand have slowly but steadily climbed up to second spot in the table with many still apprehensive about Louis van Gaal’s style of play.

The last time these two sides met in the league, United employed the services of Angel Di Maria, Radamel Falcao and Robin van Persie, only to see the scoreline go 5-3 against them. This time around, none of those players remain at the club. But an away win against will take the Red Devils to the top of the table and send out a statement to the rest of the league.

North vs West London
It’s not time for Wenger vs Mourinho yet, but it’s Tottenham who will look to continue their rich vein of form against a Chelsea side who slowly seem to be stitching together a crumbled mess.

With their last league defeat coming three and a half months back, Tottenham Hotspur are definitely favourites going into this London derby. Harry Kane, who many wrote off as being a one-season wonder, did not start this season in the most glorious fashion. That negative criticism may have just fueled the fire within him as the last few weeks have seen him putting those boots to good use, thumping in eight goals in his last five matches.

Chelsea, a team which last won two consecutive league matches in May, will look to kick start their season, with less than two-thirds of it remaining.

If the recent results of this particular fixture are anything to go by, we may see a goal fest at White Hart Lane this weekend.

Rest of the league
In the other games this weekend, a flying Liverpool welcome an ailing Swansea, a resurgent Arsenal play at Norwich and a shocked Manchester City host Southampton at the Etihad.

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