Fab Four behind Leicester's title charge, says Richard Buxton
The defensive quartet of Drinkwater, Kante, Morgan and Huth are driving Foxes to the title
LEICESTER CITY 2
(Jamie Vardy 66, 90+5)
Tantalisingly, the English Premier League title is within touching distance for Leicester City.
Barring a calamitous collapse in the last five games, it is now a mere formality that Claudio Ranieri's side will be crowned champions.
Only Tottenham now stand in the way of plans for a potential early coronation.
The Foxes might have to depend on others to help them out as they approach the finish line but, in truth, it might be a needless ask, given their unrelenting penchant for seeing out narrow, yet comfortable margins.
A fifth successive 1-0 win failed to follow against Sunderland yesterday but the 2-0 outcome underlined how they have continued to solidify their title assault.
Since the turn of the calendar year, Ranieri's comeback kings have managed to transform themselves into consolidators.
No longer do they need to climb mountains and outscore their opponents to ensure their title tilt remains on course.
Since the end of October, they have fallen behind for the sum of only 47 minutes.
Credit for that will invariably gravitate towards Jamie Vardy, particularly after the England striker's latest offering, a double against the Black Cats, took his tally to a history-equalling 21 for this season.
But Leicester's devil remains in its defensive detail.
The fearsome pairing of Wes Morgan and Robert Huth have been central to a solidified foundation, with the defensive duo offering a present-day answer to Steve Bruce and Gary Pallister - the pillars of Manchester United's maiden EPL title triumph.
For all of Vardy's goals and the similarly relentless creativity from the likes of Riyad Mahrez, Shinji Okazaki and Leonardo Ulloa, the experience of Morgan and Huth has been a vital ingredient in shoring up Leicester's defence.
Few would have envisaged that Morgan, a journeyman from English football's lower reaches who runs three tattoo parlours across Leicester and Liverpool, and Huth, a Chelsea misfit, would be central to the plot of undeniably the greatest shock in the EPL's 24-year history.
Little gets past the pair, 32 and 31 respectively and, on the rare occasions that it does, they tighten their leash over the heart of Leicester's backline.
Admittedly, they have also been helped by a similarly formidable pairing directly in front of them.
Danny Drinkwater and N'Golo Kante's midfield bond has made light work of otherwise stern tests.
They certainly had their work cut out against Sunderland - a rare challenge.
The clamour for Drinkwater to join Vardy in England's Euro 2016 squad is understandable.
United may rue the decision to allow the homegrown Drinkwater to leave but, like Morgan, the midfielder was not expected to make the cut at Old Trafford.
Like so many of Leicester's current superstars, Kante, too, slipped under the radar.
High praise from United legend Sir Alex Ferguson heralded him as the EPL's outstanding player this season and with good reason.
In his absence, notably against West Brom, Leicester appeared bereft of the authority that the French enforcer so often provides in the middle of the park.
Countless would-be winners have famously seen their battle for glory both won and lost in England's north-east in recent times.
For a while, the Foxes looked set to become the latest to join those as their momentum appeared to stall at the Stadium of Light yesterday.
But on the weekend that the Grand National heralded an unfancied winner, the danger of stumbling into Devon Loch territory was successfully negotiated, thanks to Ranieri's fearless foursome.