Monday 22 January 2018

Ranieri: Gap is closing between elite and rest

Ranieri: "This season we are fighting. It is changing not only for us but for all teams.” Photo: PA

Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri thinks the gap between the Premier League elite and the rest of the division is narrowing.

In a season that has been the most unpredictable and open campaign since the inception of the Premier League in 1992, the Foxes are the perfect case in point. Twelve months on from a relegation battle, they find themselves level on points with top-of-the-table Arsenal.

Time and time again Ranieri's team have defied the odds, but they are not the only ones. Stand-out results this season, to name but a few, have seen Bournemouth bag back-to-back wins last month against Manchester United and Chelsea, while Norwich also won at Old Trafford in December. Crystal Palace have won at Chelsea and Liverpool, while West Ham have victories over Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester City and Chelsea to their name. Stoke, Leicester's opponents at the King Power Stadium today, can point to reigning champions Chelsea and both Manchester clubs on their list of scalps. Asked if the gap was getting smaller, Ranieri said: "Yes. The table says there is no gap. However, everybody who knows football knows there is a big gap between Leicester and the other teams.

"This league is crazy. Tottenham, Stoke, Crystal Palace and West Ham - and I don't mention the big clubs. All these are fighting to achieve the European places. And Stoke is another tough match.

"It is changing. Last season it began with Chelsea and ended with Chelsea. Before that it began with Manchester City and ended with Manchester City. 'This season we are fighting. It is changing not only for us but for all teams."

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