No, it hasn’t happened yet. In their first crack at wrapping up their miracle season as Premier League champions, Leicester City couldn’t nab the win they needed and drew against Manchester United, 1-1. Which was no surprise. And now the nervy times begin.
Leicester’s draw was in fact still a really good result for the Foxes. The concern was that, by failing to win against United this weekend, the expectations around Leicester would would switch from Oh man, this is so fun, it looks like little ol’ Leicester can actually win! to Ohhhh boy, Leicester better get this over and done with soon, or else the best story maybe in sports history might end with the car flying off a cliff and catching fire and exploding but not killing the beloved Foxes along for the ride until the thirteenth roll and flip on the ground, allowing us all to hear their agonizing cries as they endure the physical and emotional pains of the scorching flames and bone-snapping collisions and heartbreaking title failure.
Luckily, even a point against United should be enough to keep Leicester cool and confident during this final stretch of this championship race—a contest that could last as little as another few hours or as long as another couple of weeks. That’s because by securing that point in their last game, Leicester have made it so that they win the title with one slip-up by their only remaining challenger, Tottenham.
Leicester now sit atop the table with 77 points with two more games to play; Spurs are in second with 69 and three more matches, the next of which comes a little later today when they travel to Stamford Bridge to face Chelsea. The only hope Tottenham have of winning the league is if they win each of their final three games. (They’re away to Chelsea, home against Southampton, and away to Newcastle). This, by itself, is no easy feat. There’s a strong chance Spurs won’t even clear the first hurdle and either lose or tie Chelsea today—this Chelsea team has been pretty bad, but Tottenham still haven’t won a league game at Chelsea’s home stadium since 1990—which means Leicester could be toasting to their ultimate victory tonight. And even with a win today, then two more in the following two weeks, Tottenham would still need help from Leicester to pip them for first place.
For their part, Leicester’s magic number is 79. If they pick up at least two points from their final two games, they will guarantee themselves the title regardless of what Tottenham do. A single win against either Everton next weekend or Chelsea the week after would do the trick, but two draws would also be sufficient, if a little too close for comfort. Maybe the best part about Leicester’s point against United on Sunday is that the pressure, once again, isn’t totally on them. Leicester are indeed one win from two games away from becoming champions, but Tottenham are just a single non-win away from ending the title race.
(There is also the possibility that Leicester draw one of their final matches and lose the other. That, coupled with three Spurs wins, would put both teams on 78 points. In this case, Tottenham would win the league, thanks to their superior season-long goal difference, which would only increase under these circumstances.)
In the worst-case scenario for Leicester—two consecutive Tottenham wins and a loss of their own against Everton—they still can rest easy knowing that, as tense as it would be, they still can go into that final match of the season depending only on themselves for title glory, with the fallback of Spurs potentially failing to win their game and gifting the Foxes the championship. Tottenham, on the other hand, must take each of their last three matches as life-or-death affairs, and against a fairly difficult range of teams, as well.
The point Leicester got this weekend and the specter of Tottenham’s run-in should calm most jittery minds in Leicester itself and amongst the millions of fans and neutrals who would like to see the Foxes pull this off. The storybook ending to this fairy tale would probably involve Tottenham winning today, and Leicester beating Everton at home on Saturday, celebrating their final championship-winning performance in front of the devoted fans who have been a large part of why rooting for this underdog to come out on top has been so fun.
I, however, have had more than enough excitement this season, and would be perfectly content with the relatively anticlimactic ending of Chelsea holding Tottenham to a draw today. We’ve been waiting so long to see Leicester achieve the impossible; let’s go ahead and get it over with already.