LONDON: There will be jollity among the jangling nerves at the King Power Stadium on Sunday as Premier League leaders Leicester City resume their improbable pursuit of the title against Southampton.
Leicester chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, who celebrates his birthday on Monday, is offering a free doughnut and bottle of beer to every home fan in attendance.
“It’s his birthday and he wants to offer some beer and something more,” explained manager Claudio Ranieri. “It’s fantastic.”
After pizzas for clean sheets and a locally produced sausage named ‘The Ranieri’, Srivaddhanaprabha’s doughnut giveaway is the latest culinary complement to Leicester’s extraordinary season.
There has been plenty to please the palate at the King Power since the campaign began and the champagne will soon be on ice if Leicester’s magnificent form continues.
Their lead currently stands at five points and with second-place Tottenham Hotspur travelling to Liverpool on Saturday — where they have won just once in 21 league visits — Leicester could conceivably find themselves seven or eight points clear by bedtime on Sunday.
With seven matches remaining, it is a dizzying position for a club that has never previously won the title and Ranieri is determined to keep his players focused on the task in hand.
Asked if the next six weeks will be the most important in Leicester’s history, the Italian replied: “Yes, of course, because never have Leicester been at this level at the end of the season.
“But now for us it’s important to be focused on the next match. Step by step, match by match.
“It will be a difficult match, but I hope with our support we can do a good performance.”
As the finishing line draws closer, Leicester is showcasing the kind of obdurate ness typical of title-winning teams.