A ruthless Tottenham Hotspur decimated lacklustre Stoke City 4-0 to close the gap at the top of the Premier League to five points.
The emphatic win in the Potteries came a day after Leicester City could only draw 2-2 with West Ham United, a game in which they also lost talisman Jamie Vardy for at least one match to suspension.
Having shaved a few points off the chasm-like gap between themselves and Leicester, winning the league, it appears, is a distinct possibility as unprecedented levels of optimism reverberate around Lilywhite communities.
Realistically, though, is there enough time to overhaul the pacesetters?
Spurs have four games to wrest top spot from Leicester, a period in which they must travel to Chelsea and Newcastle United, as well as entertain West Bromwich Albion and Southampton.
Unless the Foxes crumble (and it’s important to note they’ve consistently refused to do so in the face widespread expectation throughout the entire season), all four of these foes will have to be vanquished in order to hoist the Premier League trophy for the first time.
Not since prior to the top flight’s 1992 rebrand have Spurs won at Stamford Bridge, so new ground will have to be broken there, while they’ve failed to beat the Baggies in five of the previous six meetings too. Clearly, they’re anything but guaranteed maximum points in the coming weeks.
Historically, they’ve got a sizeable obstacle to scale: only twice this century has the team topping the pile with four matches to go – Manchester United in 2012/13 and Liverpool in 2013/14 – failed to finish the job.
However, all of these factors are secondary to how flimsy Spurs’ chief cause for renewed optimism is.
Hopes of winning the title emanate from the fact that Leicester drew (not lost) a game. The nature of their draw (coming back with ten men to earn a point against one of the league’s strongest teams courtesy of an injury-time equaliser) will have had the same psychological affect as a win would’ve and undoubtedly didn’t dent morale.
Vardy’s loss is a blow, but the England international had only scored twice in eight matches (both goals came against Sunderland) up until his West Ham dismissal, yet his side still won six times.
And besides, the last time the Foxes failed to prevail, they went on to snare the spoils in five successive fixtures. Two will probably be enough to see them over title-winning line.