Alex Sharp for MailOnline

Top four and Champions League football next season, tick!

Claudio Ranieri’s side maintained their surge to a remarkable Premier League title with a 2-0 victory at Sunderland on Sunday.

To add to Leicester’s joy, title rival Tottenham’s 3-0 triumph over Manchester United on Sunday ensured the Foxes play in Europe’s premier team competition in the 2016-17 campaign for the very first time.

Goalscorer Jamie Vardy is embraced by Leicester goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel after Sunday's win

Goalscorer Jamie Vardy is embraced by Leicester goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel after Sunday’s win

Leicester City players, celebrating at Sunderland, can now look forward to playing in the Champions League

Leicester City players, celebrating at Sunderland, can now look forward to playing in the Champions League

Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri appeared in tears after their victory at Sunderland on Sunday afternoon

Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri appeared in tears after their victory at Sunderland on Sunday afternoon

Jamie Vardy’s brace at relegation threatened Sunderland kicked off proceeding’s for Ranieri’s soaring side before a three goal second-half blitz from Tottenham clinched the win for Mauricio Pochettino’s team.

Following defeat at White Hart Lane, Manchester United are 19 points off Leicester at the Premier League summit with just six games remaining for Louis van Gaal’s stuttering squad.

Leicester’s fans are in dreamland and will possibly watching the likes of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo at the King Power Stadium next season.

In the case of Manchester City and Liverpool winning the Champions League and Europa League – with both finishing outside the top four – only the Premier League’s top three would qualify for the Champions League, alongside the two European competition winners.

However, Leicester are guaranteed to finish in the top three if City fall out of the top four, because no team below Manuel Pellegrini’s side could catch the Foxes’ current total of 72 points 

Should they succeed, Leicester will become the only club since Nottingham Forest in 1978 to win the league for the first time. The closest Leicester came to claiming the title was a runners-up place in the 1928-29 campaign.

The Leicester City fans are dreaming of a maiden league title having secured a top four finish on Sunday

The Leicester City fans are dreaming of a maiden league title having secured a top four finish on Sunday

The earliest the Foxes could be hailed champions would be April 24, but that would require Spurs to lose at Stoke next weekend and for Leicester to beat West Ham then Swansea at home.

However it now appears to be a two horse race for the trophy. Arsenal were held 3-3 by West Ham at Upton Park on Saturday. Despite having a game in hand on Leicester, the Gunners cannot mathematically win the Premier League until the final day of the season.

Ranieri is all smiles as he congratulates his stalwart centre backs Robert Huth (right) and Wes Morgan

Ranieri is all smiles as he congratulates his stalwart centre backs Robert Huth (right) and Wes Morgan

Toby Alderweireld (centre) celebrates scoring his side's second goal in Sunday's win over Manchester United

Toby Alderweireld (centre) celebrates scoring his side’s second goal in Sunday’s win over Manchester United

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger's side can only possibly claim the title on the final day of the season 

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger’s side can only possibly claim the title on the final day of the season 

The chances of both Leicester and Tottenham both capitulating is highly unlikely given their emphatic Sunday showings. Consequently the Gunners are a 33/1 outside bet for the title. 

ODDS FOR THE TITLE 

Leicester – 1/5

Tottenham – 5/1

Arsenal – 33/1

Manchester City – 400/1 

*Odds courtesy of Oddschecker.com 

An emotional Ranieri saluted the home fans at the final whistle in Sunderland and is determined for his men to keep their composure for the run-in of an unprecedented title.

‘They can continue to say this. It is important we stay focused on the next match. I said this to the players, well done,’ said the Leicester manager.

‘We won today but now we have two matches at home, the first against West Ham United, a very difficult match because they are a fantastic team with good players, everything right. And then after that it is Swansea, another very difficult match. But now we must stay focused.’ 

Leicester striker Jamie Vardy celebrates the goal at Sunderland that saw him reach 20 goals for the season

Leicester striker Jamie Vardy celebrates the goal at Sunderland that saw him reach 20 goals for the season

Vardy's brace at Sunderland also meant Leicester qualified for the Champions League for the first time

Vardy’s brace at Sunderland also meant Leicester qualified for the Champions League for the first time

 

 

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