Leicester City's incredible start to the 2015/16 English Premier League season has defied all expectations anyone might have had of Claudio Ranieri's team.
When the Italian boss, who managed Chelsea with mixed results between 2000 and 2004, took over at the King Power Stadium in July 2015, even the most optimistic Leicester fans wouldn’t have anticipated seeing their side competing for the top spot in the division along with Arsenal, Manchester City and Manchester United by Christmas time.
But here we are, approaching the end of the year, and it is Ranieri's new side who are right in amongst it at the very top echelons of English football. Meanwhile, his old side are suffering something of a crisis under Jose Mourinho, with bookmakers seeing more action on Chelsea going down than getting anywhere near the title this season.
Leicester's ascent to the top has brought Ranieri plenty of plaudits, and there has been no shortage of hyperbole hurled in the direction of his star striker. Jamie Vardy broke the Premier League record for goals in consecutive matches, netting 11 back-to-back games to take that title away from former Manchester United star Ruud van Nistelrooy.
The Foxes' form and consistency is forcing the hand of online betting destinations like Iron Bet, where odds on Ranieri's men qualifying for the Champions League - or even winning the Premier League title itself - are getting shorter with each week that goes by.
If they do succeed in securing a finish amongst the top league positions, there will be plenty to celebrate for an Australian who might not be grabbing the headlines but is nevertheless playing a role in Leicester's campaign.
Mark Schwarzer is, at 43 years of age, one of the oldest players ever to ply his trade in English football's top division. If Leicester finish first or second this season, he will be the first Australian soccer player to have finished as an EPL winner or runner-up since fellow goalkeeper Mark Bosnich. Bosnich had his critics but lifted the trophy with Manchester United back in 1999/2000.
To clinch a medal in what must be one of his final seasons in English football would be a just reward for Schwarzer, who has carved out a stellar career for himself in England since arriving at Bradford City back in 1996.
This season marks Schwarzer's 20th in English football, and only one of those has been spent outside the top flight. In 1998, he was part of the Middlesbrough side that bounced back into the Premier League. He then spent 10 seasons at the Riverside Stadium before securing a switch to Fulham, where he was a permanent fixture between the sticks for five successful years.
In the twilight of his career he has played a bit-part role, making just four appearances in a brief spell at Chelsea before joining Leicester last season and making six league appearances and two outings in the FA Cup.
But, regardless of the opportunities he gets between now and the end of this season, it looks likely that he is going to have another remarkable chapter to add to his long and illustrious career.
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