Leicester City will have to be historically bad to finish outside the top four...and Chelsea would have to be historically good to make it

Leicester City v Chelsea - Premier League
Leicester are now 20 points above Chelsea following their 2-1 victory on Monday (Source: Getty)

Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri joked that he was still focused on discovering the final five points that would take the Foxes to the magical 40 mark said to guarantee Premier League survival following a 2-0 win over Chelsea, yet his team would now have to be historically bad not to make the top four.

In contrast, Jose Mourinho's men would have to make history to qualify for Europe following their horrendous start.

No team to have won 35 points after 16 games has ever finished lower than fourth in the Premier League era, meaning the prospects of Jamie Vardy and co lining up in next season's Champions League look more likely than ever before.

Meanwhile, Chelsea will be disheartened to hear that no club in their position after 16 games has ever managed to trigger a turnaround in form sufficient to qualify for the Europa League, let alone the Champions League.

Read more: Who could Chelsea turn to if they sack Mourinho?

Depressingly for the champions, the median average final league position for Premier League clubs on 15 points after 16 games since the division downsized to 20 teams in 1995 is 16th - where Chelsea are currently positioned.

Of course, with such talent stuffed in their squad, you'd expect the Blues to be capable of performing better than Burnley, Birmingham, Middlesbrough or other teams to have been relegated from such a position.

Yet only twice has a team ever climbed into the top half from such depths - Crystal Palace last season under Alan Pardew and Fulham under Mark Hughes in 2011, who notched up 33 and 34 more points to finish 10th and 8th respectively. In both cases, the clubs improved their points per game ratio from 0.9 points per game to just over 1.5 points per game.

In the same period, no club has ever finished lower than fourth after notching up 35 points or more.

However, teams rarely enjoy the luxury of leading the Premier League table with such a tally. Arsenal in 2014 and 2003 dropped to fourth and third from the league summit with 35 points.

The graphic below reveals how Premier League teams have got on from similar positions to those held by Leicester and Chelsea this season.

Coloured lines represent clubs who were on same number of points as Leicester/Chelsea this season, grey lines show those with either more than 35 points or less than 15.

Related articles