Leicester look like champions.
I don’t mean that they have so many points with so few games to go that I expect they will win. I mean they have the hallmarks of a champion team.
They are “closers”. They are squeezing the life out of the season. They have picked up 16 out of a possible 18 points just at the stage when their rivals are praying for them to lose a couple of games.
They can grind out wins. They have won five of their last six games 1-0, which is the most “efficient” scoreline. (Arsenal under George Graham were famous for winning 1-0 but one day people may associate it with Leicester 2016.)
They have “bouncebackability”. If Leicester were going to crumble, it was after Valentine’s Day when they lost – heartbreakingly – to Arsenal with a goal in the 96th minute. Instead, they haven’t lost since.
They look in control. They haven’t just not lost in the six games since Arsenal: they didn’t lose in the previous seven in the Premier League. So, the only game they lost in 14 was the one they played with ten men for the last 40 minutes. So it barely even qualifies as a blip.
They are “stingy”. They have conceded seven goals in the league since Christmas (15 games).
Someone comes through for them. Earlier in the season, Jamie Vardy seemed to be the secret to Leicester’s success. He scored in 11 consecutive games (a Premier League record). But Mahrez has also scored 16 this season (four more than Arsenal’s top scorer). In the famous victory over Manchester City, veteran defender Huth scored two. In the last 1-0 win over Southampton, the captain Morgan scored his first goal of the season. Against Newcastle, it was Okazaki.
They are strong all over the pitch. Schmeichel has made some crucial saves, Kante is one of the pundits’ favourites, Drinkwater has earned an England call-up...
Their rivals are worse than them. It may seem obvious to say but none of the usual suspects have been good this season. Manchester City have been inconsistent, Manchester United and Chelsea have been surprisingly poor and Arsenal blew their chance. Spurs have had their best season in ages... and are seven points behind.
Apart from that, I am genuinely mystified at what makes Leicester so good.