Tottenham Hotspur: Fifth
Leicester City: 12th
Tottenham Hotspur: 5-4-0
Leicester City: 3-2-4
Last five match results:
Tottenham Hotspur: DDWWW
Leicester City: WLDLW
Tottenham Hotspur: $1.58 @ Crownbet.com.au
Leicester City: $5.50
YET to be defeated in nine matches this season, Tottenham Hotspur will fancy itself as a genuine title contender.
Spurs sit in fifth place, but are just one point off table leader Manchester City, among a glut of three teams on 20 points and two more on 19.
It’s tight at the top, somewhere reigning champion Leicester City has been as recently as last year, but their chances of back to back English Premier League titles are looking more remote than their hopes of winning were at the beginning of last season, when they were 5000 to one with most major bookmakers.
They have won just three games this season, albeit their most recent outing featured a far better performance in a 3-1 win over cellar dweller Crystal Palace.
It was City’s most clinical performance of the season, even if their opposition was sub standard.
Ahmed Musa kicked off the scoring on 42 minutes, before Shinji Okazaki and Christian Fuchs fired second half goals to put the result beyond doubt, even if they did concede a late one off the boot of Yohan Cabaye.
Striker Jamie Vardy came off the bench, but he, along with energetic midfielder Marc Albrighton, are tipped to come back into the side to face Spurs.
It was a solid result, but it doesn’t change the fact that every time the Foxes have come up against a top tier side, the scoreline has been ugly. Very ugly.
They count a crushing 4-1 loss to Liverpool, a 3-0 smashing at the hands of Chelsea and a 4-1 capitulation at the hands of Manchester United among their losses this season, making Tottenham, on paper, a very tough ask.
But Spurs have been gravely missing one man – injured gun striker Harry Kane – leaving them rather impotent in front of goal.
In the past two matches, they have played out a pair of draws, a 1-1 effort against West Bromwich Albion and then a scoreless stalemate against Bournemouth on the weekend.
The issue here is that the most recent clash was perhaps the most entertaining scoreless draw this season, with both sides enjoying a raft of chances, but neither managing to convert.
You have to feel, if Kane was in the side, his polish would have helped Spurs find the net at least once.
And manager Mauricio Pochettino agrees his side has been missing something up front.
“It’s true that we show a lot of positive things but the area we need to improve is to be more clinical and try to score more,” he said after the weekend’s game.
The draw was a massive missed opportunity for Spurs, given that they would have been clear top of the Premier League table, had they taken all three points.
“We missed a bit of freshness that you need in the first 15 minutes,” Pochettino said.
“If we want to be contenders, we need to win games like these.
“Maybe we need more depth in the squad to avoid a situation like the first 15 minutes.”
For us, Son is the man most likely and he has stepped up with four goals in the league this campaign, so we’re backing him for the first goal.
An interesting side note to this clash is that Vardy, along with Mahrez, were included on the 30 man Ballon d’Or shortlist, but the Premier League’s reining golden boot winner, Kane, was not there.
Sports stars will say they don’t pay attention to individual awards, but it seems absurd that Kane would not be included on the list, considering he had arguably a better season than Vardy, given that he scored more goals – even if Vardy was part of a title winning team.
He won’t get the chance to prove his chops, though, with injury still keeping him out of the team and we think Vardy might just get his chance to find the back of the net after a long drought.
Possible team line ups
Tottenham Hotspur: Hugo LLORIS, Kyle WALKER, Eric DIER, Jan VERTONGHEN, Danny ROSE, Victor WANYAMA, Erik LAMELA, Moussa DEMBÉLÉ, Dele ALLI, Christian ERIKSEN, Heung Min SON
Leicester City: Kasper SCHMEICHEL, Danny SIMPSON, Robert HUTH, Wes MORGAN, Christian FUCHS, Riyad MAHREZ, Danny DRINKWATER, Andy KING, Marc ALBRIGHTON, Islam SLIMANI, Jamie VARDY
First goal scorer tips
Jamie Vardy ($8 with Sportsbet.com.au)
Match result: Tottenham Hotspur to win ($1.68 with Sportsbet.com.au)
Correct match score: Tottenham Hotspur to win 1-0 ($7 with CrownBet.com.au)
Total match goals: Under 2.5 goals ($2 with CrownBet.com.au)
No one in their right mind would tip Leicester City here. But could they seize upon the likes of Kane, Toby Alderweireld and Moussa Sissoko (suspension) being missing from the match. It will be a test of depth that we think Spurs should be able to cover, given Leicester’s struggles. And yes, we know the Foxes don’t really have a defence to speak of – even though it’s not much different to last season – and could very well leak goals, but we’re going with the theory that a weakened Tottenham will again struggle to find the back of the net, just as they have in the past two matches. So the under 2.5 goals is the go – especially at the juicy even money quote.
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