As much as he doesn’t want to get carried away with Leicester City’s impressive run of results, Kasper Schmeichel is confident they will avoid relegation.
The Foxes looked as good as doomed a short time ago, but a 2-1 home win against West Ham United earlier this month has sparked a remarkable upturn in fortune. Nigel Pearson’s side followed this up with a 3-2 win at West Bromwich Albion and a 2-0 success against Swansea City, setting them up nicely for a crucial match against rival strugglers Burnley on Saturday afternoon.
Sean Dyche’s side were given a golden opportunity to take the lead in front of their home fans just before the hour mark when Paul Konchesky brought down Matt Taylor in the box, but the Clarets player picked himself up only to hit the post from the spot. This allowed the visitors to launch an attack of their own, and Jamie Vardy forced the ball over the line to secure a 1-0 win.
This was Leicester’s fourth successive maximum-point haul, and with Queens Park Rangers and Sunderland both dropping points, they are now out of the relegation zone. They also have played a game less than Burnley, QPR and Aston Villa, and whilst Schmeichel accepts they still have a big job on their hands, the goalkeeper admits he is confident of finishing the task.
“We’ve given ourselves a great chance but we’ve got some very tough games to go, so we’re confident but we’re by no means safe at all,” he told Sky Sports. “Any team in the Premier League winning four games in a row is a great achievement. We’re proud of that but that’s gone now. There’s still a lot of football to be played. I know it’s a cliché but it is one game at a time.”
As for Burnley, they are now five points from safety and have four matches to try and avoid an instant return to the Championship. Three of these matches are away from their Turf Moor home – at West Ham United, and fellow strugglers Hull City and Villa – with their only home fixture against Stoke City, and Dyche would love to see his side go on a similar run to Leicester.
“We know that Leicester have shown if you can get one, you can get two, and if you can get two you can get three,” he told Sky Sports. “It’s tough to do but we’re in it to win it. It’s different for us, I said to the lads afterwards ‘you’ve been written off now, you’ve been written off all season’, so it makes no difference to us. We go on to the next game and play hard to win yet again.”
Will Leicester City now go on to secure their place in the Premier League for next season, and what chance have Burnley got of avoiding an instant return to the Championship?