Leicester City
Leicester have swept aside all before them after being given the freedom to play football.Getty Images

What is the key reason for Leicester City's surge to the Premier League summit and pursuit of their first ever top flight English league title? Not Jamie Vardy's record-breaking goal-scoring run, nor the dazzling performances of Riyad Mahrez, N'Kolo Kante or Danny Drinkwater. Neither is it the tactical astuteness of Claudio Ranieri, the passionate support at the King Power Stadium or the deficiencies of their main rivals Arsenal, Manchester City or Tottenham Hotspur.

The outstanding quality of this Foxes team, free from the pressure of having to win silverware to justify their wage bill, is the freedom which defines their performances. In Ranieri's words, the team are encouraged to "enjoy" their football. Such a refreshing mantra has produced results which leaves us 13 games away from the most shocking finale in English league football since its creation in 1888.

Expression was a theme which dominated their win over City at the Etihad Stadium, the latest stand-out moment during a highlight-reel of a season. With no signs of their enthusiasm being curbed, it calls into question whether such foolhardiness is their trump card as the season reaches the sharp end.

A Leicester team unperturbed by the consequences of failure is a dangerous proposition for the likes of Arsenal and City, both of whom have won just three of their last 10 matches combined; relegation form. For teams and players suited and paid to cope in high pressure situations, they are flailing woefully with still a third of the campaign remaining.

"Swapping the Italian "Manuel", Claudio Ranieri, for Nigel Pearson has undone last season's good work. He might be the public relations delight that Pearson could never be but in the dugout, he exerts failure." Nick Howson, August 2015

The license given to Leicester is a luxury which could very easily produce vastly different results. Boardrooms and bank-rollers have no such time for throwing caution to the wind; they deal in tangibles such as results, league positions, televisions bonuses and global exposure. Ranieri could very easily have become the first dismissal of the season that many had predicted.

The Italian is unlikely to revel in the U-turns of the media and supporters alike, but now seems the right time to pay tribute to the Italian. As mentioned previously, he is neither a tactical genius nor the shrewdest of operators in the transfer window. But upon his arrival at Leicester he identified talented players performing within themselves [though seven wins in nine at the end of last term under Nigel Pearson provided encouragement] and put them on the straight and narrow.

Comparisons have already been made, both regarding the financial investment made in their squad compared with their illustrious rivals and how a potential title win stands up against the surprise winners of yesteryear, Nottingham Forest included. But these frivolous charts and debates only work to patronise a Leicester side who transcend spreadsheets and history. Leicester, for now, are here to stay. Time to start dealing with it.